REVIEW: Range Rover Evoque still a style leader for luxury SUVs

The Evoque first debuted in 2011 and Range Rover managed to sell 772,000 vehicles all over the world – a feat that was unimaginable for an SUV with a small back seat and Range Rover pricing.

In fact, the Evoque took the industry by storm and surprised even the most experienced automotive experts because no one thought that people would choose “styling” over “function” in the sport utility market. Range Rover proved to the whole world that styling, fashion, and design still mattered.

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Fast forward to the model year 2020 and we have an all-new Evoque that continues to pioneer styling and design while drastically improving its practicality – all while adding some cool technology features. The redesign maintains elements from the previous model but improves on key areas like interior space, functionality, quality, and performance.

Design

Evoque
The Evoque’s stylish design makes it stand out when compared against the many other generic-looking vehicles in the compact SUV class. photo supplied

The exterior of the vehicle is as sleek as ever, with strong design cues borrowed from the larger Velar. Precise detailing makes the Evoque sophisticated and dramatic-looking. Door handles are flush with the door and deploy on demand (like in Tesla), and LED lights stay on even in the daytime to give the Evoque a distinct look. The modern design elements include a clamshell hood that wraps all the way around the front end and downward into a sloped roof. This lower roofline does make it harder for taller passengers to get into the vehicle.

The interior of the Evoque follows closely the trend set by the Range Rover Velar. These include fine Kvadrat wool and suede-based seats that offer alternatives to leather seats (the suede cloth is produced from 53 plastic bottles per vehicle). There is also a fully plant-based “leather” seat made from eucalyptus as well.

There is a Drive Assist mode that allows the driver to see under the front wheels with three separate front cameras. A 180-degree view is also available which will help manoeuvre through just about any space. Two separate touchscreens are provided and the infotainment display is very similar to the one in the Velar – which can be an issue since it’s not an easy interface to figure out.

Other technology features include optional Wade Sensing, which uses ultrasonic sensors in the door mirrors to sense if water levels are approaching the vehicle’s max wading depth (60 centimetres). The low traction launch and hill descent control are among some of the other available options.

Evoque
While the Evoque is an excellent vehicle for the urban jungle, it is also a very capable off-roader. photo supplied

Standard in the Evoque is a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but an optional upgrade called the Touch Pro Duo is available, which includes dual high-definition touchscreens to allow the driver to access multiple features at the same time. Land Rover InControl includes an app that allows the driver to interact with their Evoque remotely. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Spotify are all included in the infotainment suite. A number of smart settings are also standard, including the “Learning” function, where the vehicle learns and automates your preferences based on your habits, past routines and preferred cabin temperature.

Performance

The Evoque offers two engines: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder gas engine that produces 246 horsepower, or a more powerful 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline with a MHEV (passive hybrid) engine that produces 296 h.p. The second engine option is worth the money as it is paired with a 48-volt mild hybrid system that provides better fuel economy and delivers a better power boost. Both options come with a nine-speed “shiftable” automatic transmission.

While the Evoque is an excellent vehicle for the urban jungle, it is also a very capable off-roader that won’t take a backseat to any other car out there. Part of the reason for this capability is the Terrain Response 2 which is an automatic system that monitors the driving conditions in real time and selects the most suitable drive mode. The Evoque offers excellent grip and handling thanks to an intelligent torque distribution system.

In comparison to the competitors, the Evoque offers better refinement than most and significantly better off-road performance. The handling is mid-pack; it’s not as sharp as the BMW X1 or Audi Q3, but perhaps a tad more refined and smoother than both of those. The car is more fun to drive than the Lexus NX, which is showing its age, and features more technology than any other car in this market. And of course, the Evoque looks the best among the many generic looking compact SUVs. BMW tried to offer something stylish in the form of the X2, but that car falls short of the Evoque in most of the key areas.

For the Evoque, buyers have a choice of six trim levels: S, SE, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, R-Dynamic HSE and First Edition. R-Dynamic is a better option for those who want the more powerful mild hybrid engine and sportier styling. First Edition is a great choice for those who want a fully decked-out, luxurious and sporty Evoque. The main difference between choosing an S or SE is the slight difference in innovative technologies, wheels, sound system and headlights.

Summary

A styling leader from the get go, the Range Rover Evoque delivers a certain sophistication and off-road superiority that’s hard to beat. Seated firmly in a competitive market segment, the 2020 redesign with sustainable technologies and solid performance bring the Evoque into the new era that’s a step beyond its main competitors.

The 2020 Range Rover Evoque starts from $47,950 for the Evoque S and goes up to $61,500 for the First Edition trim – not bad at all for a compact SUV with so much capability.

editor@automotivepress.com

 

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