Review

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SUV (2019 - ) review

The Range Rover Evoque is a small premium/luxury SUV and the cheapest car to carry the Range Rover badge. It’s a rival for cars like the Porsche Macan, Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40.

Words by: First published: 13th March 2019
The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.0
The second-generation Evoque largely improves on the attributes of the original, with striking looks and some state-of-the-art features. It feels evolved, more grown up than the car it replaces, and while it’s not perfect, it’s still a car worth checking out for anyone in the market for a small luxury SUV.

Pros

  • Comfortable ride and assured handling
  • Eye-catching looks
  • Strong off-road capability

Cons

  • Mid-range diesel lacks poke
  • Some materials not quite luxury spec
  • Reliability concerns

Interested in buying a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque?

How good does it look? 5/5

With the latest model, Land Rover has tried to channel the spirit of the original Evoque while also leaning heavily on the larger Range Rover Velar. The result is undeniably modern, with full LED headlights and door handles that retract flush into the door when not in use. There are two families of Evoque – the standard range and the sportier-looking R-Dynamic models – each of which are available in four trim levels. This means a total of eight versions, not counting special editions.

On both ranges, the entry-level car rides on 17-inch wheels and comes with a rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors. The S model adds 18-inch wheels, while the SE and HSE models have 20-inch wheels and more advanced headlights.

What's the interior like? 3/5

The Evoque’s interior takes its cue from the larger Velar, with a minimalist approach that largely ditches dashboard buttons in favour of touchscreens. Higher spec models get a pair of screens in the centre, one for entertainment and navigation and the other for vehicle set-up, temperature control and so on. It looks very slick, but the lack of buttons mean the screens are soon coated in fingerprints, and they’re fiddly to use on the move.

The seats in the cars we’ve tried lack some lateral support and aren’t quite as plush as you might expect. You feel like you’re perching on them rather than nestling into them, but they’re available with a range of luxurious upholsteries, and the driving position is good with a range of adjustment on both seat and steering wheel. There’s a cockpit-like feel to the front of the cabin, with a high centre console. Higher-spec versions get a screen in front of the driver, unlike the more traditional analogue dials in lower-spec cars.

There’s plenty of opportunity to spec your Evoque to match your personal style, and for the most part the materials used feel luxurious and a bit different to those offered by rivals, which is nice to see. However, some of the plastics don’t feel as solid as you’d expect from a car like this, and things don’t feel quite as well screwed together as an Audi Q3. Overall though, it’s a pleasant environment to sit in.

How practical is it? 3/5

The latest Evoque is pretty much the same size as the car it replaces, although Land Rover has worked to improve interior space. The boot is 10% larger, although it’s not exactly cavernous at around the same size as a hatchback. The rear seats fold down for more space, but not completely flat.

For passengers, there’s enough space to be comfortable, although it doesn’t feel particularly roomy. The rakish roof line and the rising sides of the car mean in the back, in cars without the panoramic sunroof, it can feel quite dark and enclosed. Having said that, leg and headroom are adequate for a couple of six-foot adults.

The tiny rear window means visibility isn’t great. To combat this, Land Rover offers a rear-view camera system called ClearSight, which displays a wider view on a screen in the rear-view mirror. It’s standard on HSE models but an option on others. It works quite well, although because there’s no depth of field to the screen, it can take some getting used to.

Storage-wise, there’s space under the central armrest and reasonably sized door pockets, as well as a couple of cupholders between the front seats. They’re different sizes, which is either great if you have different-sized containers, or annoying if they’re both the same and one fits while the other doesn’t.

What's it like to drive? 4/5

The first Evoque was notable for its engaging driving experience. With the right engine choice, it approached hot hatch-levels of entertainment. The newer car is more mature in its character, but it’s still very capable. The comfort levels are good, both with the standard suspension and the optional adaptive suspension. There’s a bit more up-and-down movement from the car in the standard set-up as you ride over bumps, but it’s suitably wafty as befits the Range Rover badge.

Through the corners it’s well behaved. The steering is lighter than you might expect, and doesn’t weight up through the bends, but push on and you’ll find plenty of grip, poise and control in the bends. The Evoque is quite a heavy car, thanks in part to all its tech and off-road kit, and you can’t fool physics. But it does a good job of disguising it, to a point. There’s a bit more body roll with the standard suspension than the adaptive, but on either version you’ll find it’s very capable, if not as dynamically impressive or as engaging as the Porsche Macan.

It is, however, more than capable off-road, at least in all-wheel drive guise. You can select a range of set-ups for different terrain, from gravel to mud and ruts to snow, and while the Evoque can’t boast the clambering ability of its larger Land Rover colleagues, it certainly won’t disgrace itself.

How powerful is it? 4/5

There’s quite a range of engines available for the Evoque, with both petrol and diesel offerings, a plug-in hybrid, and full electric model planned for 2020.

On the diesel side of things, the range starts with the 150-horsepower Td4, which is the only engine available with two-wheel drive and a manual gearbox. Like the rest of the range, it’s also available with all-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox. There’s also a 180-horsepower of the Td4 diesel engine, and a more powerful Sd4 with 240 horsepower.

Petrol fans can choose from three versions of the Si4 engine, with either 200, 250 or 300 horsepower.

We’ve tried the 240-horsepower diesel, which has sufficient grunt for everyday driving but not much more than that, and working it hard doesn’t yield much extra performance. But if you’re not looking for excitement, it’ll do the job nicely, and it’s quiet too.

We also had a go in the 250-horsepower petrol, which feels much more peppy and pulls well at higher revs. The actual acceleration is not much more than the diesel, but its character is much more engaging.

The nine-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and unobtrusive, but can be slow to respond when you want a sudden burst of acceleration. You can use wheel-mounted paddles to shift manually, although with nine gears to get through you may be flicking them quite a lot.

All the automatic cars have a mild hybrid system, which adds a small battery to recoup energy from braking, and help acceleration, but it can’t run in pure electric mode like a full hybrid. It operates largely behind the scenes, rather than being a noticeable feature during driving.

How much will it cost me? 4/5

One of the key attractions of the Evoque is the breadth of choice consumers have when it comes to engine choice, which not all its rivals can offer. For example, Porsche’s Macan is only available – at the time of writing – in two versions, neither of which are diesel powered, although it has the advantage of excellent resale values. Generally, the Evoque is more expensive to buy than the equivalent Volvo XC40, or Audi's Q3, and it’ll likely be more expensive to service, maintain and repair too. But the Evoque’s decent predicted resale values should, to a large extent, make up for that. We suspect, however, the Volvo’s strong resale values and better fuel economy make it a slightly more appealing car financially.

How reliable is it? 2/5

Land Rover doesn’t have a great reputation for reliability, and that’s echoed in JD Power’s 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study, which ranks the manufacturers. Land Rover was fourth from bottom, although that is at least better than rivals BMW and Audi. It’s also one place higher than the same study in 2017, so there are signs things are slowly improving. Should anything go wrong, Land Rover offers a reasonable three-year, unlimited mileage warranty on all its new cars.

How safe is it? 4/5

The latest generation of Evoque has yet to be crash tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP, but we’d be surprised if it doesn’t repeat the feat of the original car and score the maximum five stars. All cars come with automatic emergency braking that will react to cars, pedestrians and cyclists in the event of an impending accident, as well as lane keep assist, which stops cars unintentionally drifting out of the lane. There are six airbags and two Isofix child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats.

Options include a Park Pack, which adds a rear traffic monitor that detects approaching vehicles when reversing out of a parking space, and clear exit monitor, which checks the coast is clear when opening a door into traffic. A Drive Pack includes a high-speed emergency braking system, which works up to 99mph, and a blind spot detection system.

How much equipment do I get? 3/5

All Evoques come with a reasonable level of kit, although it’s very easy to send the price rocketing if you want more bells and whistles. The entry-level Evoque features heated front seats but lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That’s included from the S model as part of an infotainment upgrade which also features navigation and a wi-fi hotspot. The S also features electric front seats.

Move up to the SE and you’ll get the extra touchscreen in the centre console, more advanced electric front seats and the Park Pack added, while the HSE has even more adjustable front seats, a Meridian sound system and the Drive Pack, which features adaptive cruise control. Overall, it’s not a bad set-up, but several features you’ll need to upgrade for are available on much cheaper cars as standard.

Other options include some less ethically controversial upholstery choices for those that don’t want leather. These include fabrics from high-end furniture manufacturers and it’s nice to see something different from the norm, although they’re not at all cheap. You can also spec a Black Pack, which adds various gloss black elements to the car’s exterior. Land Rover also offers a panoramic sunroof.

Why buy? 4/5

The Evoque is a car for customers that want one of the most stylish and desirable small SUVs on the market. As well as being a looker, it’s a strong all-rounder that does plenty of stuff well, and is available with a wide range of trim levels, engines and personalisation options. If you’re in the market for a small, luxury SUV, you’d be foolish not to at least look at the Evoque.

Interested in buying a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque?