Range Rover Evoque comparison: Road test review
The Evoque is designed to appeal to a younger audience, in comparison to models of the past and attract new customers to the Land Rover brand.
It is working too, as if you wanted one of the baby Rangies, even if you placed your order today, you wouldn't get it for six months, such is the demand.
The Evoque is the car that Land Rover hopes will also be a serious challenger against rivals such as the Audi Q3.
To see how the Evoque fares in everyday life, we tried the SD4 2.2 litre diesel Dynamic Coupé (£39,990 as tested) and a Si4 2.0 litre petrol Dynamic five-door (£38,995 as tested) back to back.
The Evoque gets off to a good start on the outside, with the slippery 0.39 shape thankfully looking barely changed from the attractive 2008 LRX concept.
Highlights from the front include a modern take on the classic Range Rover styling clamshell bonnet, the slim headlights with the intricate detail for the daytime running lights, the aggressive grille and the chunky airdam with its skid plate detailing.
From the side, there's the sweeping, floating roof (which was of the glass variety on both test cars, part of the £4,325 LUX pack ), which is most obvious on the Coupe and in our view is the better-looking of the two Evoque versions. There is also the distinctive beltline which rises sharply towards the rear of the car, the large wing mirrors and bulbous wheel arches.
At the back, the short rear overhang is distinctive and attractive. Other neat design touches include the slim jewel-like 3D petal design rear lights, the small rear window and the chunky rear bumper.
Land Rover have tried to use weight-saving techniques where possible. This means for example, that the clamshell bonnet is manufactured in aluminium, with the one-piece tailgate made out of composite plastic.
Sadly, those funky looks mean visibility issues at both the front and back. It's worse at the back, especially in the Coupe, where the slim rear window and the way that the rear falls away, means you can't see where the back ends. Rear parking sensors and camera were thankfully a standard feature on both models.
The 2.2 litre diesel Dynamic Coupé, was powered by the same diesel engine that's also used in Fords, Peugeots and Citroens. Refinement is good for a diesel engine; it returns 49.6mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 149g/km and it's well matched to the six-speed automatic box.
The five-door Si4, on the other hand, was powered by a 240bhp version of the latest turbocharged 2.0-litre Ford Ecoboost engine. It also has a healthy 251lb ft of torque, the top speed is 135mph and 60mph comes up in just 7.0 seconds. It works well with the six-speed automatic transmission and the gearchanges are quick and smooth even in sport mode.
The two Evoques we drove were enjoyable because of their responsive steering and tight handling. However, if we were buying, (which if we had £40,000, we would!), it would be the 2.2 diesel we'd go for. There's enough performance to make the most of the excellent dynamics and it doesn't guzzle fuel like the petrol model.
As you can see from the pictures, we had the three-door Coupé during the recent snow and did some mild off-roading in it. The Evoque didn't disappoint, living up to the Land Rover badge and it's far more capable than most owners will ever need.
Considering its off-road capabilities, both Evoques rode well on the standard 20-inch wheels offered with the Dynamic model. However, we'd advise against using the Dynamic on-road mode of the switchable off-road box. It stiffens up the ride so much that these Evoques felt quite unsettled and jiggly over bumps.
The Evoque's we drove were early launch cars, with over 12,000 likely to be hard-driven miles on each. So whilst we can forgive them for this, we don't really feel the quality of the interior of both cars was in line with the price.
Previous Land Rover models haven't done very well in customer satisfaction surveys and considering how good the rest of the car is we hope the Evoque performs better.
Rear space in the Coupé is adequate but access is tight. The sweeping roofline means tall passengers will moan about the lack of headroom and the upswept rear glass means it can feel claustrophobic too. The five-door might not look so cool but it's worth sacrificing some coolness for extra practicality and doors; especially if you have children. A 550 litre boot is a surprise considering the curvy shape; fold the rear seats forward and this increases to 1,350 litres.
These test cars were in range-topping Dynamic trim. Standard equipment includes xenon headlamps, auto-dimming and auto-dipping headlamps, electrically adjustable driver's seat with memory function and a heated leather steering wheel.
These Evoques were fitted with £4,325 of LUX Pack that includes keyless entry, a power tailgate and panoramic glass roof, 825W Meridian surround sound audio system, an 8-inch high-resolution dual-view touch-screen display, analogue/digital television and a Park Assist system.
So to sum up, the Evoque is an impressive car that is great to drive in either Coupé or five-door versions. It's definitely a game-changer for the brand and Land Rover should be justifiably proud of its abilities.
We still have issues with the interior quality and the baby Range Rover isn't cheap, but if we had the money we'd be straight down the local Land Rover dealer to place an order and we're not alone.