With the recent trend for downsizing in full swing, it was only time before an entry level Range Rover would appear on the scene, and that’s exactly what the Evoque is. It offers the same desirability, superb interior and proven off-road capability as a Range Rover, but in a smaller package with a more affordable asking price.
Visually the Evoque doesn’t stray too far from traditional Range Rovers with its bulging arches and prominent waistline. However, to appeal to a more youthful audience, there are slim lights and an unusually shallow window area, giving the car plenty of road presence.
A classy interior on the Range Rover Evoque
Inside there’s a classy interior with a layout that’s faultless with a large touchscreen infotainment system in the centre of the dash and a centre console that rakes steeply down towards the transmission tunnel. It houses a rotary gear selector that rises from the console when you start the engine. The dials are a particular highlight, treading a fine line between classy and glitzy but they look high end and are easy to read.
Not only is the interior well designed but it’s also beautifully finished with high quality leather on the dash and door tops, and good use of brushed aluminium and veneers creating a prestige ambiance. Build quality is also impressive with a real feeling of solidity.
Accommodation is pretty good, with plenty of space for 4 adults to stretch out although rear headroom is a little compromised if opting for the optional panoramic sunroof. The boot too is a good size and shape offering 550 litres of cargo space extending to 1,350 with the seatbacks folded.
Powering my test car is a 190 bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine producing 309 lb ft of torque from just 1,750 rpm mated to a new 9-speed automatic transmission. It’s a punchy unit with enough power to make swift progress. The gearbox is a gem with well-spaced ratios and silky smooth gear changes meaning that you rarely feel it swapping cogs. Power delivery is also smooth and progressive with impressive refinement even when cold.
Standard across the range are Range Rover’s magnetorheological dampers that strike a good balance between ride comfort and stability. The majority of the time the Evoque rides with decent pliancy only coming unstuck over deeper urban ridges which – thanks to huge 19 inch wheels – tend to make themselves known.
For such a tall car the Evoque handles incredibly well. It turns in sharply resisting roll remaining impressively flat in corners. Thanks to well-weighted communicative steering it’s easy to place on the road as you always know what the front wheels are doing. Exemplary grip levels add to the feeling of security aided by the four-wheel-drive system fitted to my test car.
In true Range Rover tradition the Evoque isn’t cheap to buy, with entry level models coming in at around £30,000. The SD4 Prestige you see here will set you back just over £40,000 before adding options but does come loaded with equipment. Standard kit includes 19-inch alloys, DAB digital radio, a 380-watt Meridian sound system and eight-inch touchscreen, MP3 compatibility and USB plug-in, Bluetooth, heated front seats, cruise control, climate control, electric heated power-folding wing mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic xenon headlamps, parking sensors at the front and rear with rear camera and hitching guidance, voice control and satellite navigation. There are plenty of options to choose from too, including the rear seat entertainment fitted to my test car but these don’t come cheap.
Running costs are higher than average for the class, returning 47.1 mpg over a combined cycle although whilst with me I only managed 36 mpg. With emissions of 159 g/km or CO2 the SD4 Evoque sits in VED band G setting owners back £180 per year.
Tech Data for Range Rover Evoque
Price as tested: £49,659 (£40,005 excluding options)
Details of leasing options from First Vehicle Leasing
Engine: 2.2 16v 190 bhp – 0-60 mph: 8.0 secs – Maximum Speed: 121 mph
Economy: 39.2 mpg (urban) 53.3 mpg (extra-urban), 47.1 mpg (combined) – Emissions: 159 g/km (Band G) – VED (12 months): £180
Dimensions: Length: 4,355 mm – Width: 1,985 mm – Height: 1,635 mm – Wheelbase: 2,660 mm – Kerb Weight: 1,685 kg
*data from JLR UK