As a car for us to assess, in some ways the Evoque calls to mind its Freelander stablemate. Not in the way it drives, looks or feels, but in the impression it leaves on you.

A few of our testers came away feeling merely satisfied with the small Range Rover – neither disappointed nor blown away.

Like the Freelander before it, we anticipate that the Evoque will have lasting appeal

Yet the same was true with the Freelander, and its true appeal and enduring qualities only really told later. It was a four-star car when we tested it, and its rating hasn’t diminished at all with time. Similar longevity will be the making of the Evoque.

Several of our testers fell for it completely; its showroom and visual appeal is second to none and its dynamics are able enough to make it the premium compact SUV of choice.

Rivals like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Volkswagen Tiguan aren't as appealing, and lack the same sense of occasion that the Range Rover imparts.

But, especially at this price, the Evoque will have to prove it is more than a firework car (whiz, bang, fizzle) to become a stand-out choice its class for years.

Our bet is that it will.

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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