Breath-taking looks outside and in, staggering levels of equipment and technology plus sharp pricing – no wonder the Range Rover Evoque was one of the most heralded all-new vehicles launched in 2011. And no wonder it scored our highest rating to date.
The smallest, lightest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover turns heads wherever it goes and had eager customers racing to dealerships - 230 were sold in just a few weeks before the end of 2011.
Does it live up to the hype? You bet! Our week in a Range Rover Evoque S14 Coupe Dynamic was too short and we can’t wait until our next acquaintance.
Range Rover Evoque Overview
Three-door coupe, five-door, all-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive, petrol or diesel, the Range Rover Evoque is sold in three design themes – ‘Pure’, ‘Dynamic’ (as tested) and ‘Prestige’. Prices start at $49,995 for the 2WD ‘Pure’ (on-sale in July) – our ‘Dynamic’ Si4 listed at $73,895.
By any measure the ground-breaking first compact SUV from Range Rover is brilliant. Sure there are the looks and the technology, but beneath the skin are myriad details which make this ‘Rangie’ a champion for today – lightweight technologies like the plastic front fenders and tailgate and extensive use of re-cycled materials in areas like the interior roof lining show the incredible attention to detail which is a hallmark of the British brand.
Range Rover took time to get the Evoque spot-on – and it has been worth the wait.
Range Rover Evoque Engine
Range Rover Evoque employs an all-turbocharged engine lineup – our Coupe Dynamic Si4 running the 2.0-litre petrol engine with 177kW/340Nm and driving through a six-speed automatic transmission. Zero to 100km/h is achieved in 7.6 seconds.
Range Rover worked hard to minimize the weight of the turbo 2.0-litre (it’s 40kgs lighter than the existing 3.2-litre engine on which it’s based).
And attention was paid to noise – a Mahle sound generator employed to ensure the engine delivers a purposeful sound when accelerating.
Range Rover Evoque The Interior
Saying the Range Rover Evoque feels like a mini Range Rover Vogue is both a compliment and an injustice. Design Director Gerry McGovern and his team have delivered a totally modern interior which stamps the Range Rover Evoque as unique, but by the same token, you instantly sense that definite Range Rover feel and standout quality.
And there is technology overload available – just as you would expect in a Range Rover. A surround camera system with five cameras providing a 360-degree view, Park Assist (a first for Range Rover) for automated parallel parking, timed climate control so the interior is the ideal temperature when you arrive, blind-spot monitoring and hard-drive satellite navigation…to name just a few.
The Dynamic model as tested gains a sports interior highlighted by darker trim materials and perforated leather seats, but you can customize further from a choice of four metal finishes and two wood veneers – all-up there are 16 interiors from which to choose. And of course Range Rover style and quality exudes – twin needle stitching for the leather trimmed dashboard and instrument panel for starters.
You sit low in the Range Rover Evoque for a sportier feel as soon as you climb inside. The perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach and there is the usual Jaguar-Land Rover timed, illuminated startup sequence which concludes with the rotary gear selector dial rising, ready for use.
We loved the two-gauge instruments with nice graphics housed under a curved binnacle – all very stylish. The centre console is steeply raked and contains the eight-inch touch screen for camera views, navigation and the 11-speaker Meridian digital processing audio system.
For those in the rear, Range Rover Evoque provides nicely sculptured seats with good access and reasonable leg-room.
Range Rover Evoque Exterior & Styling
Individual choice inside is matched by individual choice outside with the Range Rover Evoque. Just for starters there are 12 exterior colours, three contrasting roof colours, eight alloy wheel designs and you can have roof rails in chrome or black. The Dynamic grade as tested gains bold 20-inch alloy wheels and unique sports style bumpers, sills, grille and exhaust tailpipes.
Of course the Range Rover Evoque came from the startling LRX concept car and when the production version was unveiled, even designers from rival car companies were in awe at just how close the newcomer was to the concept. Cutting edge no doubt, but design cues from the classic Range Rover style have been incorporated very cleverly into the Evoque.
Both the Range Rover Evoque coupe version as tested and its five-door sibling are dramatic wedge designs with a steeply rising beltline exaggerated by the black pillars. Prominent waistline curves blend ingeniously into the rear where they’re met by the stunningly curved roofline.
At the front, Range Rover Evoque exudes its muscular stance with a high, narrow grille and slim-line headlights. That purposeful stance extends to the side view which features bold, curved wheel-arches.
And the rear is a masterpiece making clever use of the narrow tailgate glass, distinctive tailgate and prominent bumper.
Range Rover Evoque On The Road
On (or off) the road is where Range Rover Evoque’s technology overload takes centre stage. It’s all very sophisticated and computer controlled with systems like Terrain Response, Dynamic Stability Control and Roll Stability Control constantly monitoring yaw rates, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, brake pressure and accelerator pressure…and adjusting braking forces and engine torque to each individual wheel.
There’s also Trailer Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist , Hill Descent Control and Gradient Release Control and if that’s not enough, Adaptive Dynamics with high performance MagneRide dampers is also available.
Around town the Range Rover Evoque was pleasingly nimble thanks to spirited acceleration from the turbocharged 2.0-litre and smart calibration of the six-speed automatic. The engine sounded great under acceleration and – as you would expect – refinement levels were top shelf.
In developing the Range Rover Evoque, the focus was on driving dynamics demanded by younger, more engaged drivers – a sportier feel than the full-size Range Rover Vogue. Over our high speed mountain roads test loop that translated into precise response, sharp turn-in, nice balance and feedback – much like the German rivals.
We particularly liked the cohesive relationship between front and rear suspension in high-speed turns but the EPAS power steering system would benefit from a bit more directness.
Range Rover Evoque Challenges
No-compromise design has its price and in the case of the Range Rover Evoque those swooping lines mean restricted rear three-quarter vision (noticeable when street parking and changing lanes).
Of course the available five-camera system and blind-spot assist address those concerns.
Range Rover Evoque Verdict
Range Rover promised a stunner and they delivered. The scores of international awards already garnered by the Range Rover Evoque didn’t come from cereal boxes – breath-taking looks, ground-breaking technology…it has it all.
Our only question would be whether to buy the coupe or the five-door.
Range Rover Evoque The Competition
Gets tricky here because our Range Rover Evoque test car this time was the three-door coupe.
Audi Q5 has all the renown Audi attributes but looks a bit plain alongside the Range Rover Evoque. You’ll need the $73,500 3.2-litre V6 (195kW/330Nm) to eclipse the Si4 Rangie and we’d rather be in the Brit when heading off-road.
Same thoughts on the BMW X3 and to beat the Rangie’s 177kW you’re required to go for the $71,900 190kW/310Nm xDrive 28i.