From £31,0308
Baby Range Rover comes of age with improved refinement, interior and technology

Our Verdict

Land Rover Range Rover Evique 2019 first drive review - hero front

Gaydon’s baby Range Rover has matured fast for its second model generation. Remarkably refined, genuinely luxurious – although mid-range petrol power might not suit it best

Range Rover Evoque D180 SE R-Dynamic 2019 UK

What is it?

How to describe the new Evoque? Like the old Evoque but dialled up by 10%. And that’s exactly how Land Rover wants it.

Since launching seven years ago, the Evoque has done for Land Rover what the Cayenne did for Porsche, making it, perhaps, the most important model in its line-up. And while sales normally taper off as a vehicle ages, that hasn’t been the case here. The buyers just keep on coming.

When you have such a successful formula, wisdom suggests not to mess with it. The second-generation’s design is only a subtle evolution, yet looks can be deceiving because this car is fresh from the ground up.

The body structure is 99.9% new with only the door hinges remaining from the former car. Plus, it sits on a new platform, the Premium Transverse Architecture, which crucially allows for mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants and gives more interior space. 

Space was a major bugbear on the last Evoque. This new model has almost the same footprint as the previous generation – as dictated by buyers’ wishes - yet the wheelbase is 21mm longer. Land Rover admits that it lost prospective owners the first time round due to poor rear space versus rivals, so you’d imagine this was top of the ‘to improve’ list here.

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When the Evoque launched, the compact SUV segment barely existed. Now, with a shedload of rivals, the Evoque must not only be on a par for space but everything else too. 

What's it like?

Diesel is certainly not dead when it comes to the Evoque: 75% of sales are expected to be oil-burners. There are six four-cylinder powertrain options, split equally between diesel and petrol. Bar the entry-level D150 diesel, all have a torque-vectoring four-wheel-drive system and are assisted by a 48V mild hybrid. 

Behind the wheel of the mid-range D180 diesel - likely to be the biggest seller – there’s enough grunt to satisfy on all but the steeper hills, although its pairing with the auto ’box can be troubled, acting overzealously when driving in anything but the smoothest of fashions. 

Still, the hushed tones of this engine should be applauded, as should the broader refinement of this car. It defiantly absorbs undulations and cossets the driver in equal measure, achieving this without the loss of decent dynamics. This doesn’t float around the road but instead moves with relaxed purpose and respectable body control into twists and turns.

It’s not the most agile in its class, not least because of its sheer mass - a hefty 1891kg – but thanks, in part, to a quicker steering ratio, turning into corners still holds some joy. Thankfully, that’s not at the expense of straight-ahead driving where stability reigns.

That sense of luxury behind the wheel translates to an improved interior in every facet. You’ll find better-quality materials, although still the odd scratchy plastic when you look hard, and notably more rear leg room, albeit not class-leading. The dash and markedly the dual-screen infotainment system are, in this writer’s opinion, the best looking in the class, evoking (see what I did there?) exactly the kind of luxury that Land Rover hoped, not least to justify the costly sum of this model.

If over-the-air updates, ample USB ports and Apple CarPlay/Android integration no longer impress in this digital age (and the Evoque ticks all these boxes), there are two nifty technologies that might.

The first uses a roof-mounted camera to display the road behind on the rear-view mirror at the flick of a toggle, eradicating visibility or full-boot issues. The other is a so-called ‘see-through bonnet’ in which a number of cameras build an image of what’s underneath the car. It’s perfect for off-roading but, more prudently, it’s just as effective when parking near high kerbs in cities. 

Just a quick mention, then, for the Evoque’s off-roading capabilities. Despite few owners veering off road, Land Rover’s 4x4 roots mean it won’t create a car which isn’t adept. This is no soft-roader, with respectable 212mm ground clearance and numerous all-terrain systems, and found to be even more skilful than its predecessor on a varied off-road course.

Should I buy one?

Thanks to its improved comfort, practicality and innovative technology, the Evoque has dramatically stepped up, bringing it onto a level playing field with rivals such as the Volvo XC40 and Audi Q3

Good lease rates will be crucial given that this is a pricier proposition than those competitors, but nonetheless the Evoque has reached maturity at a time when it was crucial it did so. 

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque D180 SE R-Dynamic specification

Where Cheshire, UK Price £44,000 On sale Now Engine 4 cyls, 1999c, turbocharged, diesel Power 178bhp Torque 317lb ft at 1750–2500rpm Gearbox 9-spd automatic Kerb weight 1891kg Top speed 127mph 0-62mph 9.3sec Fuel economy 41.3mpg (WLTP) CO2 WLTP figures tbc Rivals Audi Q3, Volvo XC40

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Comments
8

27 March 2019

That’s just what LR would like, in line with their engine production capabilities. Reality? The other way round. Don’t know anyone who’d buy a diesel now. But the real tragedy for LR is that they’re so far behind with electrification of Evoque. They should obviously have a plug in version, or at least a hybrid like Lexus UX.

Robbo

27 March 2019
Aussierob wrote:

That’s just what LR would like, in line with their engine production capabilities. Reality? The other way round. Don’t know anyone who’d buy a diesel now. But the real tragedy for LR is that they’re so far behind with electrification of Evoque. They should obviously have a plug in version, or at least a hybrid like Lexus UX.

Robbo

You really really don't like JLR do you ? You're now living in Australia a country that didnt support its home grown car industry politically and was swamped with imports and now has NO car industry. Is that where you want to see in the UK ? Compare and contrast with France/Germany/China etc etc where unions and/or government have built and protected incredibly strong business even they turn out some poorly built crap or illegal cars (yes Renault and VW) . Give it a rest please .

27 March 2019
Sundym wrote:
Aussierob wrote:

That’s just what LR would like, in line with their engine production capabilities. Reality? The other way round. Don’t know anyone who’d buy a diesel now. But the real tragedy for LR is that they’re so far behind with electrification of Evoque. They should obviously have a plug in version, or at least a hybrid like Lexus UX.

Robbo

You really really don't like JLR do you ? You're now living in Australia a country that didnt support its home grown car industry politically and was swamped with imports and now has NO car industry. Is that where you want to see in the UK ? Compare and contrast with France/Germany/China etc etc where unions and/or government have built and protected incredibly strong business even they turn out some poorly built crap or illegal cars (yes Renault and VW) . Give it a rest please .

He's not just citical, he's also delusional; when I was extremely lucky to go round their Wolverhampton engine factory a few months back, the diesel and petrol components are run through the same machines, and the engines built on the same line, with fully flexible sequence and mix.  

27 March 2019
Aussierob wrote:

That’s just what LR would like, in line with their engine production capabilities. Reality? The other way round. Don’t know anyone who’d buy a diesel now. But the real tragedy for LR is that they’re so far behind with electrification of Evoque. They should obviously have a plug in version, or at least a hybrid like Lexus UX.

Robbo

Some people just don't know when to quit, it has one of biggest range of engines for the BUYER to decide, way more choice than most Japanese companies in this segment. Now I'm not keen on diesel engine as most people know but a heavy, 4WD true SUV that does 14,000 miles+ they 8 out of 10 buyers will go for diesel, unlike Lexus with their limited range.  

As to the Hybrid comments did you not read all "Bar the entry-level D150 diesel, all have a torque-vectoring four-wheel drive system and are assisted by a 48v mild hybrid" now that all the £2,500 gov cash back has gone for the plug-in it might prove a wise decision by JLR until the fog clears. Unlike Lexus with their crap Auto gearbox and Hybrid petrol power (do they offer any choice at all?) JLR let the owner decide.

Nice car with big range of engines/gearboxes, will sell!! 

27 March 2019

Fully agree, what other manufacturer let the customer chose between petrol/diesel manual/auto like JLR do? Just try configurating an Evoque and you'll see what I mean.

Was expecting a load of JLR hate on this section but glad to see people are thinking straight.

JLR deserve so much more.

27 March 2019

I deffo buy a diesel, just not this horrid thing.

27 March 2019

Why people so obsessed with the softness of plastics? For God's sake! If you're not sitting on it and it's well made, who cares? A soft plastic isn't better than a hard one per se. There's good quality hard plastic and poor quality soft plastic. Why is there nothing is this report about how the mild hybrid system works around town between 0 and 10 mph, a speed at which a lot of us drive, a lot of the time. If I want to ready an magazine about plastics, I'll go out and buy one.

27 March 2019
rhwilton wrote:

Why people so obsessed with the softness of plastics? For God's sake! If you're not sitting on it and it's well made, who cares? A soft plastic isn't better than a hard one per se. There's good quality hard plastic and poor quality soft plastic. Why is there nothing is this report about how the mild hybrid system works around town between 0 and 10 mph, a speed at which a lot of us drive, a lot of the time. If I want to ready an magazine about plastics, I'll go out and buy one.

They never complain about the nasty hard wood used by Rolls-Royce and Bentley, do they?

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