With the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover has a significant presence in the compact premium market to compete with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. The striking Evoque is designed to offer sporty looks with the go-anywhere off-road ability that’s a given with everything out of the Land Rover stable.
Built in Merseyside, the Evoque is the shortest Range Rover in its 42 year history. However, the Evoque is more than just the smallest, lightest and most fuel efficient vehicle from this manufacturer. Style led, with a very bold on-road presence, and prices from Euro 40K it comes as no great surprise to learn that the company has a huge book of orders and will be sold in 160 countries. With a choice of three engines, two body styles, three design themes and a wide range of options , Land Rover says that 90% of Evoque buyers will be new to the brand, and younger.
The Evoque is based on the Land Rover Freelander underpinnings but lowered and widened, while the Range Rover family hallmarks are all there in the styling. Meanwhile, on the inside there is switchgear also found on the JaguarXF or Land Rover Freelander, which is all nicely finished and logically laid out. Rear space is average for the class, with plenty of headroom.
The two body styles are a coupé and 5-door. The coupé provides two individual rear seats, with the option of three-seat bench if preferred. The Evoque 5-door extends the appeal of the model even further by offering greater practicality and family appeal.
The roofline stands 30mm higher than the coupé, which delivers extra head and shoulder room for rear seat passengers.
On the powertrain front there is a choice of both petrol or diesel, six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, and, for the first time in a Range Rover, the option of 2WD (front wheel drive) as well as 4WD.
The engine, transmission, drive and design theme combinations available are - TD4 diesel 150hp 6-speed manual 4WD (Pure, Prestige); SD4 diesel 190hp 6-speed manual 4WD (Pure, Prestige, Dynamic); SD4 diesel 190bhp 6-speed automatic 4WD (Pure, Prestige, Dynamic); Si4 petrol 240hp 6-speed automatic 4WD.
In place of the conventional equipment grade hierarchy, three defining design themes have been developed for the Evoque: Pure, with a contemporary feel; Prestige, which majors on luxury and Dynamic, which embraces a bold and sporting character.
My test car was the TD4 Pure 4X4 5 door which is the entry four wheel drive model and it comes with a price tag of 40,975 euro for the 6 speed manual. For the entry model of a premium brand the level of spec is impressive: you get half leather, climate control, cruise control and 17” alloy wheels all thrown-in and also Bluetooth as standard.
To get to the Dynamic grade one must pay around €9,000 more and while you are leaping a significant wedge in terms of pricing you do get a 19” wheels, Xenon and LED lights, a 380 Watt Meridian Sound System, steering wheel mounted controls, 8” high resolution screen and leather upholstery.
The car is now €50,295 for the 5-door and it is only a very small price walk from here into the top spec Prestige model, which include diamond turned 19” alloys, Windsor leather and a few other styling differences.
The 2.2 litre engine develops 148bhp and 295 lb/ft which enables the Evoque to attain a top speed of 115mph. The sprint from 0 to 100km takes 10.3 seconds and the average fuel consumption is quoted at 5.68L/100km (49.6 mpg). Emissions are 149 gm/km which puts it into band C and E330 annual road tax.
The chassis has been carefully wrought to make the most of its Freelander-derived independent suspension. The swaying induced by a tall ride height is assuaged by savings in top weight with an aluminium bonnet, roof and suspension components.
Weighing in at 1.64 tons (plus 62lb for the optional panoramic glass roof), the Evoque is 220lb less than the Freelander, which also helps to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
It also feels different to drive, similar to a car in response but with an off-roader’s driving position. At medium-fast speeds it rides firmly, but is supple and positive over bumps.
There’s enough suspension travel to shrug off most potholes and sleeping policemen. Driven hard, the Evoque is fun, safe and more rewarding than anything in its class, or on the Land Rover price list.
It may be the ‘baby’range Rover, but there’s still plenty of space inside the Evoque. Unlike the other Range Rovers the rear door in the Evoque is conventional hatch.
The boot has a fine capacity of 550 litres and with its rear seats folded flat, the it can accommodate 1350 litres- roughly the same size as a VW Golf estate.
The Evoque offers brand prestige, luxury and hi-tech kit for a relatively affordable price. Lower-spec models prove the perfect entry-point into Range Rover ownership, while even the top-of-the-line variants cost considerably less than anything else the marque has to offer.
The Evoque 2WD which arrived in Ireland not so long ago has a retail price of €39,900 with annual road tax of €225.