Does an Evoque that costs over £50k make any sense? We take out the latest model to see if it does
What do we have here?
It’s not wrong to say that Land Rover changed the SUV landscape in 2011 when it launched an all-new entry-level Range Rover, the Evoque.
Six years on and there are new SUVs hitting the shelves on what feels like a daily basis, many with new daring designs and filling previously unimaginable market voids.
In that time, the Evoque has marched on pretty much unchallenged. In its current guise, it’ll be around for a few more years still. 2016 saw a mid-life refresh and the introduction of a two-door convertible to join the current two-door coupe and five-door lineup. The refresh included very minor styling changes but more importantly, a new diesel engine was introduced.
It’s a four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel that the firm calls Ingenium. It’s been designed and built in Britain especially for Land Rover and sister company Jaguar. Available with 148bhp and 178bhp and matched up to either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic gearbox. It can also be selected with two or four-wheel drive.
A 2.0-litre petrol engine that develops 237bhp is carried over unchanged.
The current Evoque line-up is available in five trim levels: SE, SE Tech, HSE Dynamic, HSE Dynamic Lux and Autobiography, with prices starting from £30,600 up to £51,200.
We’re testing the range-topping 178bhp diesel with all-wheel drive and the auto-shifter. It comes with £2,700 worth of options, including; special paint; infrared windscreen; heated and cooled electric seats; graphite design pack; and head-up display.
How does it drive?
Despite the designer sporty looks, the Evoque is best thought of as a downscaled version of the full-fat Range Rover. That’s to say that it excels at wafting, treating you to a luxuriously comfortable ride to sooth away those troubles and fears.
It has a feeling of class as you float along, yet it’s well damped so that you don’t end up bouncing down the road like an orb.
Through the bends, just back off and let the Evoque glide through rather than being hurried. There’s a huge amount of grip and not just from the four-wheel drive system, but it’s accompanied by body roll meaning it’s not the most engaging to chuck around.
Its steering is well–weighted, silky, consistent and accurate.
Under that famous clamshell bonnet, the Ingenium engine is quiet at lower revs yet is powerful enough to whisk you up to the speed limit with little fuss. It’s not what you would class as fast but has enough in reserve to overtake slower vehicles in little time at all.
Rev too hard and all that peace and tranquillity is broken by the shrill of the diesel as it strains to meet your demands. The gearbox is equally reluctant to be sporty as kick downs can be a little jerky, yet let it cruise and you’ll forget there’s even a gearbox there as it uses a slight of hand to change gears, i.e. you’ll never notice.
There’s a sports mode for the auto box and the steering wheel-mounted paddles work well with quick changes.
A button on the dash allows you to change the Evoque’s setup with Terrain Response from settings including; general driving; grass/gravel/snow; mud & ruts; and sand.
What's it like inside?
From the outside, the Evoque looks much smaller than its bigger brothers but once in the driver’s seat, even with the seat in its lowest position, you feel high-up. It’s feels commanding with an excellent view out (of the front at least).
You get a feeling of plushness from the leather-wrapped surfaces and the cosseting and comfortable seats, while the touchscreen infotainment system with shortcut buttons offers a taste of modern day connectivity.
The interior remains an attractive and delightful place to while away journeys, although, some of the buttons are on the small side and can be fiddly to use. None of that glove wearing farmer macho-ness here.
Finding an agreeable driving position is a synch with excellent seat adjustment, a steering wheel that offers good reach and tilt while there’s more than enough head and shoulder room.
It’s practical as well with deep door bins, two central cupholders compete with sliding cover, a huge glovebox and sunglasses holder by the rear-view mirror. Only a small central bin lets the side down, although it does have USB ports inside it.
There’s a smallish opening when climbing into the rear of the Evoque but once in you’ll be pleased to be treated with good head, leg and knee room, all of which is complimented by comfortable heated seats. It’d be a little tight with three adults, however, keep it to two and the central armrest folds down with two cupholders.
The tailgate opens and closes electrical to a decent sized boot that will take a couple of large suitcases. The opening is big and square, as is the boot floor which is also flat. There’s little boot lip to worry about, a couple of bag hooks and a neat brushed stainless steel scuff plate.
The Evoque gets Land Rover’s three-year unlimited mileage warranty complete with roadside assistance throughout that period. That means you can call for assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for any motoring emergency, from breakdown to punctures or accidents.
The Evoque offers a truly wonderful form of motoring with its styling looks, a comfortable ride, luxurious interior and premium badge.
It’s not the final word in dynamism and the engine can be too loud when revved hard.
The cost of the Autobiography is eye watering when compared to lesser trims, so we’d recommend going with SE Tech or HSE Dynamic.
However, if you’re downsizing and want to keep all the creature comforts of the larger and more expensive Range Rovers, then this may make more sense for you.
Driver's Seat Rating:
8 out of 10
It's worth considering:
2016 Range Rover Evoque 2.0 TD4 180 Autobiography Automatic Stats: