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

  • Ford Kuga
    Ford's targeting a class above with its bigger Kuga

    Ford Kuga

    1
  • Volkswagen Tiguan

    Volkswagen Tiguan

    2
  • Range Rover Evoque
    The Range Rover Evoque is available as a three-door, pictured here, or a five-door

    Range Rover Evoque

    3
  • The second generation BMW X1

    BMW X1

    4
  • Honda CR-V
    If the new CR-V looks more crossover than old-guard SUV it may be because the roofline is 30mm lower than before

    Honda CR-V

    5

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