The Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q3 have been with us since 2011, and both have proved popular with buyers. Both are offered with four-wheel drive, but more economical front-wheel drive models are also available.
Neither could be considered cheap, though, because both have a desirable badge and an envious image. So, if you’re trying to decide between the two, here’s our head-to-head guide to how they measure up.
The Range Rover Evoque is almost indistinguishable from the original LRX concept car meaning it gets the same chunky-yet-handsome styling. A recent facelift brought new light signatures but, overall, it wasn’t broken so Range Rover didn’t fix it.
This latest Q3 gets the new Audi single-frame grille along with body-coloured plastic panels instead of the grey-coloured wheel-arches and sills. When combined with with the LED head- and taillights, it makes the car look extremely modern and as desirable as any other Audi.
The Evoque’s cabin is classy and luxurious. It has a boldly styled dashboard that’s easy to navigate and ambient LED lighting that can be configured to bathe the cabin in a red, white or blue glow. Standard equipment levels are very generous, with all models coming with heated leather seats, climate control, an infotainment display, Bluetooth and an 11-speaker Meridian sound system.
The Q3 has plenty of soft-touch plastics covering the dashboard, and nice details including stereo controls that get a knurled metal finish. Even entry-level models get climate control, alloy wheels and rear parking sensors. The build quality really impresses with nothing in the cabin letting out so much as an untoward squeak.
The Evoque now offers a range of JLR Ingenium 2.0-litre engines that have replaced the old 2.2-litre units. The entry-level diesel delivers 148bhp in the two-wheel-drive eD4, claims 68mpg and emits 109g/km of CO2. Next up is the 178hp TD4 that promises 59mpg, and then there’s the 237hp Si4 petrol. All diesels come with either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic box and stop/start technology, while the Si4 is only available in automatic.
The Audi gets a choice of 2.0-litre diesel and petrol engines or a new 1.4 with cylinder on demand technology. The new 1.4 develops 148hp, and has a claimed economy rating of 47.9mpg. While all the 2.0-litre units are available in both front and four-wheel drive, the 1.4 drives the fronts only.
Neither the Q3 or the Evoque could be called sporty but, depending on the engine you go for, either model can be lively enough. Both are smooth and refined for the most part and ideally suited to the families that will be buying them.
The Q3 doesn’t steer as well as the Evoque because it requires too much steering input which makes it feel a little slow witted but its ride on smaller alloy wheels is exceptionally composed. The optional quattro system means you’ll have to try hard to get it stuck in adverse conditions.
The Evoque is the opposite of the Q3 – it steers fantastically but the ride quality tends to suffer on its larger alloy wheels. The nine-speed automatic gearbox really is a joy, which contributes as much to the smooth ride as it does to the improved fuel economy. The Evoque also has some real off-road ability thanks to its Terrain Response control.
Value for money
With the introduction of the 1.4-litre Q3, the Audi now starts at a considerably lower entry price than the Evoque. There’s no getting away from the fact that an Evoque costs a lot of money for a vehicle that’s no bigger than a Ford Focus.
If you’re concerned about fuel economy, the Q3 is the one you want. However, the new engines and the nine-speed automatic in the Evoque have certainly narrowed the gap.
At the entry level, the Q3 represents much better value for money than the Evoque. But, when you start getting to the trim levels and options you want on a vehicle in this class, value for money really does go right out of the window.
If you’re buying with your head, the Audi Q3 would probably be the one to choose – it’s extremely competent, refined, very well finished and tastefully styled. It’ll hold its value well and it’s likely to prove itself as reliable and dependable over time.
One look at the Evoque will instantly tell you why so many people are prepared to invest so much in the baby Range Rover. Its concept car looks, powerful engines, luxurious interior and desirable image all add up to a package that’s hard to resist.