Even without adaptive dampers, even on 20in alloy wheels, and even carrying the extra mass that can corrupt the dynamic compromise of so many other PHEVs, the P300e rides and handles like a polished, refined and really agreeable downsized luxury operator.
The manoeuvrability and urban agility that Land Rover claims for it are there to be appreciated too; this is a Range Rover that you can easily swing around within the confines of a typical B-road T-junction without resorting to a three-point turn, and it’s well capable of dashing neatly around a traffic island, or being threaded through a gap, when occasion calls for that. Out of town, there’s a level of dynamic verve and handling precision that’s half a cut above what most compact SUVs offer.
The car steers with plenty of dependable and consistent weight. There is a sensible rate of gain in the incisiveness of the rack as you add lock off-centre that lends a pleasing sense of bite to the handling around tighter bends but never takes you by surprise. It rolls a little as lateral load builds, but the car’s rate of roll only ever betrays the car’s weight through tighter S-bends. Due to the fairly supple way it’s set-up, the car needs slightly longer to settle onto its loaded side than some rivals, but had decent outright lateral grip levels even on slippery, chilly Tarmac thanks to the Pirelli Scorpion Zero tyres.
The chassis balance can even feel quite playful as you accelerate out of slower bends; there’s 200lb ft of torque instantly available to the rear wheels, and if you deploy it smoothly without triggering the electronic aids, it can add the faintest, fleeting suggestion of rear-driven poise.
Comfort and isolation
The last Evoque didn’t uphold the highest luxury-car standards for cabin isolation, which was one of the ways in which it felt less like a mini Range Rover and more like a Freelander in evening wear. The new one rights that shortcoming pretty clearly, though. Having registered 64dB at 50mph in first-generation, diesel-engined form when we tested it on a warm, still day in 2011, the new PHEV recorded 62dB at the same speed and in windier conditions.
It’s a difference you would notice, and not just because of the quieter powertrain; better wind sealing and road noise suppression is clear.
The car’s seats may be found by bigger drivers to be slightly narrow in the upper backrest, and a bit meanly padded in places, but its ride is supple and generally quiet, with those 20in rims only thunking slightly over sharper-edged bumps. The car’s weight does show itself if you hurry it along cross-country roads with bigger undulations, but only in the odd bigger-amplitude heave or squat.