A car’s styling often merits no more than a few cursory mentions in our road test, but the Range Rover Evoque demands an exception.

Supercars aside, only Citroën’s DS3 and some retro hatches draw so heavily on their design as a selling point.

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
There's no denying that the Evoque has attention-grabbing looks and some fine detailing

The Evoque was born out of a desire to make Land Rover appeal to a more youthful audience. After a number of design studies were created, they were finally honed into the LRX concept car, which saw daylight at the 2008 Detroit motor show.

Even then, its future was uncertain; part or all of it could have become a premium Land Rover, or it could have been left as a show car. In the end, the whole design was adopted and given the Range Rover moniker.

The Evoque is, as much as possible, the LRX in production form. Land Rover is coy about having the two cars – concept and reality – photographed together, lest the production version look limp by comparison.

Little chance of that, we’d have thought. To our eyes, the Evoque is a brilliantly successful interpretation of how relevant, approachable and striking a contemporary 4x4 can look.

Have you ever seen an SUV with slimmer side and rear windows and a wedgier waistline? Nor have we.

Top 5 Compact SUVs

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    Can Seat’s first SUV impress, even with the heavy burden of expectation?
  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    The last hurrah for the current Aston Martin Vantage adds the track-ready GT8 to the range
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    20 October 2016
    New S5 Sportback is more spacious, better to drive and offers a calmer ride than before, but rivals offer greater involvement
  • Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy
    First Drive
    19 October 2016
    Mildly revised hot hatch is enjoyable on UK roads but continues to play second fiddle to the Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2016 Smart fortwo Brabus cabrio xclusive
    First Drive
    18 October 2016
    Mechanical upgrades make the Smart Fortwo Brabus cabrio better to drive, but it’s too pricey to recommend