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?
In spite of Land Rover's off-road heritage it must meet customer demand for an SUV that does not drive all four wheels. It's expected that the majority of Range Rover Evoque buyers will opt for this 2WD version. After all, it looks the same - which is to say it grabs attention like no other rival in the class; and that concept car styling is undoubtedly one of the Evoque's biggest selling points.
It's powered by a recalibrated 2.2-litre diesel engine and the only gearbox available for now is a six-speed manual. As in all other versions the cabin manages to be inviting and stylish without resorting to gimmicks. There is one major difference here though: the lack of a series of buttons controlling the Terrain Response system. Without them the centre console does look a little bare, but only in comparison.
What's it like?
The steering is as direct, light and linear as ever and the car feels inherently agile. A weight reduction of 75kg enhances this while giving the brakes less to do on a spirited drive. Despite that, the eD4 model is the slowest in the range. The numbers say it has a little less torque than the 4WD version, but it still pulls well - and there's no effect on the impressive refinement. The payback is Co2 emissions of just 129g/km and 57.6mpg economy - improvements of 20g/km and eight mpg respectively.
We tested the 2WD version back-to-back with the 4WD Evoque on a series of tasks ranging from climbing a steep hill on mixed grip levels to an emergency lane change on ice. The four-wheel drive car boasts a wider breadth of capabilities and proved more competent in all disciplines, but not by as wide a margin as you might expect.
Should I buy one?
The 2WD model copes with much more than an average road-biased car in the same price bracket would. Most owners won't test its limits while appreciating everything that makes the Evoque such a desirable proposition. Company buyers will really value the emissions reduction.
Shane O' Donoghue
Range Rover Evoque 2.2 eD4 Prestige 2WD
Price: £36,625; Top speed: 112mph; 0-62mph: 11.2sec; Economy: 57.6mpg; CO2: 129g/km; Kerbweight: 1595kg; Engine type, cc: 4cyl, 2179cc, turbodiesel; Power: 148bhp at 3500 - 4000rpm; Torque: 280lb ft at 1750 - 2500rpm; Gearbox: six-speed manual