The Evoque brings new dynamism and sparkle to the Range Rover marque inside. The dials add new bling to the dashboard, and the centre console – throughout Land Rover history as upright as the car’s nose – rakes steeply down towards the transmission tunnel. There rests the rotary gearlever dial, born in a Jaguar but fast becoming a feature of all automatic Jaguar Land Rover cars, and surrounded by more neatly designed, smaller switchgear than in previous Range Rovers.
Land Rover has trodden a careful path with the Evoque’s cabin. It would have been easy to over-glamorise it, but instead it just errs towards the classy, without being overly bejewelled (except perhaps in the dials department). Perceived quality is broadly very commendable. You will find no better plastics, leathers or textures at this price and it’s worth noting that, although our test car wore over £6000-worth of options, none of them affects the materials you’ll see in these pictures apart from the panoramic roof.
In Prestige trim, those surfaces extend to leather seats, whose shape looks more appealing than it feels to sit in during spirited driving, where several of our testers felt them too flat. They’re a compromise somewhere between the upright ‘command’ driving position of which Land Rover is proud (and which this car’s short length dictates if decent rear legroom is to be maintained), and the conventional low-car driving position most Evoque buyers will be more familiar with. A widely adjustable steering wheel means most will be able to find a comfortable driving position, but it took some of our testers a touch longer than usual to do so.
The rear cabin is respectable for adults, but this three-door variant (which costs more than the five-door) does put headroom at a much greater premium. With a high floor, a low roof and a stubby rear overhang, you’d expect the boot to be small, but it’s respectable, at 550 litres. However, it dispenses, unforgivably for an SUV, with a spare wheel. Throw the rear seats forward and you create 1350 litres of volume. Meanwhile, Land Rover has, perhaps more astutely, taken care to ensure the Evoque can take a set of golf clubs “without long clubs having to be removed from the bag”.