Currently reading: First ride: 2019 Range Rover Evoque
We take a ride in the new-generation model on Welsh roads to see if it can improve on the original

Having produced a design masterpiece in the original Range Rover Evoque – first as a concept in 2008 and then as a showroom hit from 2011 – Land Rover was never likely to move far away from the original when it came time to launch this second-generation car.

That relationship was instantly proven when we clapped eyes on the new Range Rover Evoque for the first time outside of a show stand. It was waiting beside one of the challenging Welsh roads on which it had been developed over the past 18 months, ready to be demonstrated by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) dynamics expert Mike Cross.

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Keep looking and you see that the 2019 Evoque is modernised in almost every detail but that it continues to use every one of the original’s key design cues: bold front wheel arches, prominent rear haunches, a rising belt line and a falling roof (the designers cheerfully acknowledging that a compromised rear three-quarter view is worth it for the visual drama), a very short rear overhang and large wheels.

The rear-facing cameras help the view behind, but in tight going, the front is downright remarkable because of the much ballyhooed ‘see-through bonnet’.

But investigating these things is not my mission. Today, we’re to sample the car at higher speeds on the variable, challenging roads around Welshpool, a favourite haunt of Cross’s chassis teams because the roads are at times wide and quick, then abruptly narrow and rough edged, bounded by encroaching rock faces. You need a composed, supple-riding and precise-steering car for this. And because we’re several hours from JLR’s Midlands bases, you also need a car with refinement and long legs to kill fatigue.

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Read our review

Car review

The Range Rover Evoque drew heavily on style as a selling point, but also possesses the substance to back it up

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Our mount is a high-spec HSE Dynamic, powered by a 296bhp twin-turbo petrol four driving through a discreetly smooth nine-speed ZF automatic. Cross soon proves we have an abundance of torque and ratios for the quick passing that this kind of motoring needs.

Inside is the latest expression of design boss Gerry McGovern’s preference for elegantly simple interiors, with a clean fascia, and seats covered in the new-theory Kvadrat textile much favoured by JLR’s modern-minded colour and trim experts. It’s so much nicer than leather.

The latest Evoque introduces a new floorpan that improves its body rigidity by around 17%. It lengthens the wheelbase by around 20mm (all of which goes into rear leg room) while maintaining overall length and weight.

Much work has been done refining suspension rates and reducing road noise, to levels well below those of competitive German models. That surface quietness has made it necessary to chase away wind and mechanical noise (the 296bhp four is now only plainly audible when accelerating hard) and the result seems to be a small Range Rover that is just about as quiet – even over bitumen ruts – as its twice-the-price parents.

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Cross demonstrates the car with immaculate smoothness, but there’s no missing the fact that much of the time it seems to glide along. The Evoque seems to function best on its supple Normal chassis settings, rather than the selectable Sport that stiffens dampers, holds on to gears and makes the steering a shade heavier.

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Our car has adaptive damping that reacts to surfaces and circumstances, but Cross claims the cheaper passive set-up is “also very good”.

In all, this new SUV is an Evoque in every detail. No one’s going to miss that from the looks. But once you’re inside and on the move, according to the judgement of my ears and the all-important backside test, this is more a Range Rover than ever.


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Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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DBLT 14 February 2019

New Evoque - The DBs

Saw this in the showroom yesterday, it is absolutely brilliant! Owned the original Evoque from new and sold it a couple of months ago, ordered this new version in November and due delivery in March, can’t wait! The new Evoque is a transformation on the old model and exudes quality with super finish and fit. Had both Freelanders 1 and 2, followed by Evoque, none of them missed a beat, superb reliability throughout, shame LR gets poor press for this, maybe we’ve just been lucky? Only minus point we found on the new model is the cover plate for the central cup holders, which needs to be removed and stored in the glovebox.  Once removed will it ever go back?

Ludicrous speed 14 February 2019

Looks ok on the Road

living in the Cotswolds I have seen these going around for months in both camouflage and full road trim.

Mini Velar in most respects. My neighbour has a black 18 plate Evoque and they love it. It sits next to their old XC90. It’s been totally reliable but the biggest complaint is 42mpg. They were expecting 50+ 

I thinks it’s a decent looking car and it will sell no problem.

its my opinion so Trolls can @#£+



fsizer 14 February 2019


Judging by the negativity of the usual anti JLR posters this car will probably be a roaring success! We could do with some good news for the British motor industry.