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

Deputy road test editor
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
  • Hyundai Santa Fe makes for an excellent ownership proposition

    Hyundai Santa Fe

    2
  • Land Rover is targeting the growing number of people buying into two-wheel-drive SUVs

    Land Rover Freelander

    3
  • 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

    4
  • Toyota RAV4
    This is the fourth model in the RAV4's history

    Toyota RAV4

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    CLA looks, bonkers 45 AMG performance, but with added estate practicality. An enticing mix, but is this Shooting Brake worth the extra?
  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    Savagely rapid, four-wheel-drive diesel version of BMW's four-door coupé could be brilliant, or it could be a niche too far. We drive the 435d xDrive Gran Coupé to find out.
  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    This is our first opportunity for a UK drive in a manual version of the new Discovery Sport. Does swapping cogs yourself make more sense?
  • First Drive
    3 March 2015
    Sharper handling, more refined and better-looking. Still a bit rough around the edges, mind, but now good enough to be a class contender
  • Car review
    27 February 2015
    The second pure Mercedes-AMG model is a triumph of engineering and design, and should have rivals from Porsche and Audi worried