Whether you viewed Land Rovers back in 2011 as terrifically versatile, upmarket off-roaders and the supreme achievement of the British motor industry or as pretentious and unreliable pieces of tin masquerading as luxury cars, you will still have come away impressed from your first encounter with the then new Evoque.
It was a towering achievement. Launched at just the right time to capitalise on the increase in demand for SUVs, it soon became Land Rover’s best-seller, with buyers drawn to its chunky good looks and premium badge. They also liked its clear potential for off-road high jinks, a corollary of the clever tech it inherited from its larger siblings.
Now, with used prices starting from just £10k, it looks even more attractive. Most of them are powered by diesel, although you’ll also find a few with a 237bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine. Initially, there were 2.2-litre diesel units with 148bhp (eD4 in front-wheel-drive form, TD4 with four-wheel drive) or 187bhp in the four-wheel-drive SD4. The lower-powered models came with a six-speed manual gearbox, whereas the SD4 had the option of a six-speed automatic (later replaced by a nine-speed auto to improve efficiency).
After a facelift in 2015, the Evoque adopted Jaguar Land Rover’s new 2.0-litre diesel engines, producing 148bhp in eD4 guise, 178bhp in the TD4 and 237bhp in the SD4.
Originally, the Evoque’s trims were Pure, Prestige and Dynamic. After the facelift, the range was brought into line with other Range Rover models, working through SE, SE Tech, HSE Dynamic and HSE Dynamic Lux to range-topping Autobiography.
In the earlier Evoques, the eco-minded 2.2 eD4 was a little sluggish, and so was the TD4. The more powerful SD4 got along well enough, although rivals such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 were lighter and felt more effervescent. However, the extra power brought to the TD4 in the facelift meant its combination of performance and fuel economy was good enough to make the SD4 seem superfluous.