The Range Rover Evoque draws heavily on style as a selling point, but also possesses the substance to back it up
First DriveThe Land Rover Evoque Convertible is an odd fish - although the firm has battered, fried and served it up appropriately enough.
First DriveWe sample the most potent version of the drop-top Evoque, the 237bhp Si4 petrol. Is it more appealing than the diesel?
What is it?
We've tested the top Evoques, the 187bhp SD4 turbodiesel and the 237bhp Si4, and we rate them highly. But most buyers will opt for a humbler turbodiesel, either the entry-level eD4 with front-wheel drive or the TD4.
This diesel makes 148bhp and, predictably, less torque than the 310lb ft that the SD4 offers. The eD4, tuned for CO2 as low as 129g/km, produces 280lb ft, while the TD4 ups that to 295lb ft which, together with the extra pair of driven wheels, brings CO2 up to 149g/km. That's for the six-speed manual; opting for the six-speed Aisin-Warner auto raises it to 174g/km in the five-door, 169g/km in the three-door, figures identical to those scored by the auto-only SD4 despite the latter's beefier outputs.
Confused yet? What's clear is that the most tax-efficient way of owning a four-wheel drive Evoque is to have a manual TD4 as featured here. You can't combine this with Dynamic trim, leaving Pure and Prestige to choose from, but you can add MagneRide adaptive dampers as a separate option as fitted to our five-door test car.
What’s it like?
Dramatic as the three-door 'coupé' looks, the five-door is the more practical machine with more rear headroom and a better view aft thanks to a roofline which slopes downwards less dramatically towards the tail. It also costs £1000 less, suggesting a very healthy profit margin for the coupé with its fewer components, and it still looks pretty striking.
Maybe the less power-sapping manual transmission helps the feeling, but this TD4 feels just as lively out on the road as an SD4. The engine pulls with vigour and no detectable harshness from low speeds, gives ample overtaking punch and it cruises quietly. The shift is light and precise, and the clutch is smoothly progressive which helps when tackling tricky off-road hazards.
Should I buy one?
The MagneRide suspension has off-road benefits too, even if the on-road gains are less clear-cut. With Terrain Response set to an off-road programme, MagneRide loosens the dampers right off to give a fine ride over bad bumps. It's the perfect solution.
Range Rover Evoque TD4 Prestige 5dr
Price: from £36,380; Top speed: 115mph; 0-62mph: 10.8sec; Economy: 49.6mpg; CO2: 149g/km; Kerb weight: 1700kg; Engine: 4cyl, 2179cc, turbodiesel; Power: 148bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 295lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual or auto