- Distinctive styling is the best in class
- Comfortable seats in a stylish interior
- Refined diesel engine
- Go easy on the options – they get expensive
- Turbo lag
- Big wheels roughen the ride
The Range Rover Evoque blends its fashionable design with strong handling and the cache of a top-end badge. Like bigger Range Rovers, the Evoque has a luxurious air about it that its German competitors would love to match.
For a few years the Evoque’s success went unchecked by the conservative Audi Q5 and BMW X3 but recently the competition has become much stiffer.
The arrival of the Mercedes-Benz GLC and Porsche Macan is attacking the Evoque at both its entry-point and top-end range flanks.
While Land Rover are confident in the Evoque’s abilities, the mechanical and aesthetic updates for 2016 need to do some heavy lifting to keep the baby Range Rover in the game.
Luckily, the updates make a big difference. New diesels built in house are much more refined and take the Evoque’s premium character to new levels.
Inside, though, changes are minimal and the Evoque struggles to match the elegant cabin of the new Mercedes.
It’s also easy to spend much more than you might expect on an Evoque: the black HSE Dynamic in our video review hit the road at about $110,000. That’s Porsche territory.
We borrowed an updated Evoque to see whether the recent changes justify that sort of premium pricing.
Walk into a Land Rover showroom and you’ll find the Evoque shares floor space with its similar-looking cousin, the Discovery Sport. The Sport replaces the old Freelander, but the resemblance to Evoque runs deep. There are shared chassis components and eventually the engines will all be common.
While our Discovery Sport review was positive, as a rule the Land Rover model is $10,000 to $20,000 less expensive than an equivalent Evoque. So, we were keen to find points of difference in the way they drive.
The biggest advantage to the Evoque is its superior diesel engine. The Discovery Sport makes do with a Ford-sourced 2.2-litre, while the Range Rover is equipped with the two-litre Ingenium diesel built in-house.
The new motor is much quieter and with 132kW and 430Nm, it pulls strongly. Unlike the Mercedes, though, Land Rover have only given the Evoque one turbocharger – meaning it lags and hesitates if you try to rush off the line. A future twin-turbo update would solve this frustration.
The fuel economy claim of 5.1L/100km is aspirational but a figure under 8L/100km was very achievable.
Though the new diesel makes the Evoque a more refined car than the Discovery Sport, it’s highly likely that by end-of-year, the Land Rover will get this motor too.
The Evoque’s taut chassis makes it feel quite sporty. The small steering wheel is hooked up to a quick rack – making the Range Rover maneuverable in town and almost darty in country driving. Braking is free of drama. Unusually for an SUV, the Evoque verges on being fun to drive.
Body roll is impressively controlled because the Evoque is quite stiff. Though the dampers are tuned nicely, going for huge wheels like the black ones on our car tend to make the ride very rough. They also make the cabin noisier. Avoid them, and you’ll be a lot more comfortable.
The way the refined engine, sporty steering and decent ride – on smaller wheels – come together cohesively makes the Evoque feel special. However, option it beyond $100,000, and dynamically, the Range Rover can’t match the Porsche Macan.
Where the Evoque will clearly outdo the rest is off-road: the Land Rover badge isn’t for show. This is the only car in the class to be able to attack bush tracks. High trims get the great Terrain Response System from bigger Range Rovers models. The approach, breakover and departure angles of 18.5 degrees, 22 degrees and 30 degrees are workable. It will wade 500mm comfortably.
The way the Evoque drives might feel similar to the less expensive Land Rover Discovery Sport, but step inside the Range Rover and you see what your money buys.
From the HSE model up, this is a luxurious and tasteful interior – particularly in monochrome black-and-silver.
It’s a surprise that the entry-level Pure is available in Australia – with manual gearbox and cloth seats – and the next step up, the SE, is also quite basic.
We recommend the mid-range HSE which gains the sumptuous Oxford leather seats that live up to the luxury implied by the Range Rover badge.
The seats are tightly bolstered and, at least for narrower frames, are very comfortable. They are a decent step up from the flatter seats in the Mercedes GLC or Audi Q5.
The HSE model is also equipped with the updated touchscreen, which makes navigation and audio easier to control. It also packs a punchy 380-watt Meridian sound system with eleven speakers. The standard heads-up display is also a valued inclusion.
A fixed sunroof is available and while it fills the cabin with light, it’s hard to see the point of splashing out on a glass roof that won’t open on a summer’s day.
Three passengers can squeeze into the back but the Evoque is more suitable for carrying four. Legroom and headroom are pretty good, despite the rakish roofline. Like those in front, the seats in the back are bolstered and are comfortable for long drives.
The futuristic lines make it look compact but the Evoque hides one of the largest boots in its class.
All but the entry-level car have a powered tailgate as standard, and opening it reveals a well-packaged 575 litres of space. Compare that to 550 litres in both the Mercedes GLC and the BMW X3.
That’s enough space for luggage for four passengers to head away for a week or so.
The rear seats also fold in a 60:40 ratio and they go fully flat, so longer packages will slide in without much fuss.
Inside the cabin things are a little tighter, with a smaller glove box and central bin than you’ll find in some rivals. However, there are smart inclusions like a cubby behind the floating centre console.
Unlike the Discovery Sport, the Evoque is strictly a five-seater. Those looking for seven with the more premium badge will have to step up to the considerably-dearer Range Rover Sport.
A reversing camera, plus front and rear parking sensors are standard across the range – a good thing too, as visibility out the narrow rear window is laughably restricted. However, blind spot monitoring is only optional ($1,090).
RELIABILITY & RUNNING COSTS
Land Rover are holding out on their decision not to offer capped price servicing, so it’s difficult to indicate what the Evoque will cost to service. What we do know is that the servicing intervals are very generous. You will only need to bring the car in for a service at the first of 24 months, or 34,000 kilometres.
That’s indicative of the faith that Land Rover are placing in their recent engineering efforts – particularly in the motors which they now design and build in-house.
You are free to easily use the Land Rover network of dealerships, though, because each Evoque service history is available online.
The Evoque is built alongside the Land Rover Discovery Sport, at Jaguar Land Rover’s plant at Halewood in the United Kingdom. Build quality looks solid, with interior presentation top-notch without a single seam askew. However, a soft groaning noise was occasionally audible on our test car – to be fair, press cars are driven particularly hard.
It is still too new to comment on reliability, except to say that customer reviews in Australia have been generally positive. Significant investment flowing through Land Rover is improving matters but JD Power found in 2015 that there were more issues on average with Land Rovers than with German alternatives.
Predicted Evoque depreciation is average. After three years and 42,000km—the average—Glass’s Guide indicates that the Land Rover should retain about 65% of its value. That is equal to the Mercedes, and just shy of 67% for the BMW and Porsche.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Nearly every Evoque is a five-door but a three-door ‘coupe’ is available. Later this year an Evoque convertible will join the range.
While the alternative models have plenty of star power, the best Evoque is the mid-spec HSE model with the most powerful diesel – the Td4 two-litre with 132kW. The HSE Td4 costs $74,230 but with a few options ticked a figure in the early $80,000s is realistic.
The silky turbo petrol option is worthy of consideration but it won’t get near the diesel in terms of fuel economy.
Buyers stepping down from a full-size Range Rover will appreciate the new Autobiography model ($91,905) which packs plenty of standard luxury kit, but the value proposition isn’t worth it when the car pushes past $100,000 on road.
Keep it simple with an HSE which brings quality leather and seat adjustability, xenon lights, good speakers, good navigation and a heads-up display as standard. The smaller wheels will also mean the ride quality is as good as we know it can be.
The options list is expansive but just a few catch our eye: first-row heated seats ($620), a cool, contrast-paint roof ($920) and LED headlights ($2,850).
Because it covers such a wide range of price points – $52,000 to $92,000, but options can push this much higher – the Range Rover Evoque faces a wide range of competitors.
At the lower end, these include big names from Mercedes, BMW and Audi that deliver a lower reliability risk – but they look much less interesting.
Many buyers will feel lured by the less expensive Discovery Sport which offers a similar driving experience to the Evoque and all those Land Rover credentials.
At the higher end, the Evoque strays into Porsche Macan territory, where the Range Rover is better equipped but slower and less nimble.
The imminent arrival of the Jaguar F-Pace will mean even more serious competition will arrive from within the Jaguar Land Rover stable.
- Audi Q5 TDI ($62,600)
- BMW X3 xDrive20d ($65,800)
- Jaguar F-Pace 20d (Coming later in 2016)
- Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury ($69,690)
- Lexus NX 200t Sports Luxury ($72,110)
- Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d 4Matic ($70,990)
- Porsche Macan S Diesel ($91,900)
|Power||132kW at 4,000rpm|
|Torque||430Nm at 1,750rpm|
|Power to weight ratio||80kW/tonne|
|Fuel consumption (combined)||5.1L/100km|
Transmission and Drivetrain
Dimensions and Weights
|Cargo space (seats up)||575L|
|Cargo space (seats down)||1445L|