The Range Rover Evoque is great looking, fun to drive and comfortable, but its interior isn’t as well-built nor practical as similar models
The Range Rover Evoque is easy to dismiss as a ‘fashion statement’, but this is a small SUV that provides a sleek and stylish alternative to the likes of the Mercedes GLC and BMW X3. You’ll certainly enjoy driving the Evoque on the road and it’ll go an awful lot further off-road than its trendy looks suggest – not that most people will be too concerned about that. However, you won’t find it hard to pick an SUV that’s more practical.
You can choose from three different body styles, but for most people, the choice will be between the sporty-looking three-door version (which Range Rover calls a coupe) and the far more practical five-door model, both of which are covered here. However, there’s also a convertible version, which is reviewed separately.
After being launched in 2011, the Evoque was subtly updated in 2015 and had some very minor extra tweaks in the middle of 2016. Since those revisions, it’s been available with optional LED headlights, remodelled bumpers, a revised infotainment system and new engines. The 2.0-litre diesel units have power outputs ranging from 150 to 240hp, while the two petrol units give stronger acceleration, with 240 or 290hp.
If you’ve fallen for the Evoque’s classy shape, then chances are you’ll also like the relatively simple design of the cabin. It looks modern and generally feels pretty well built; and, only if you poke around lower down in the cabin will you find hollow-sounding plastics that you just wouldn’t get in, say, a BMW or Mercedes.
Sadly, no amount of slick design can get away from the fact your rear-seat passengers will feel more cramped than they would in a similar SUV, because both leg and headroom are rather tight. If you choose a model with the panoramic glass roof, it’ll feel a bit lighter inside, but taller passengers will still have plenty to complain about, especially in the smaller three-door models.
Whether you go for a three- or five-door Evoque, it has a 420-litre boot, which is smaller than you’ll find in both the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC. It’s still a useful space, though: nice and square, with a flat load lip and an adjustable floor that makes it easy to load heavy luggage or slide in bulky furniture.
Depending on which model you go for, the Evoque’s infotainment system is another weak point. The 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s fitted to the more basic models is neither as sharp nor as responsive as systems offered by Mercedes or BMW, although it is bright and comes with physical buttons to take you straight to some of the key features.
You’re better off going for the upgraded 10.0-inch infotainment system that is standard on HSE Dynamic models and above, and a cheap option elsewhere. It’s far nicer to use and has a super-sharp screen.
The Range Rover Evoque looks great from the outside and absolutely lovely from the driver’s seat
What you will like is the way the Evoque drives, as it feels more like a jacked-up sports car than a big SUV. Thanks to its nice and high driving position, you’ll have a good view of the road ahead and the car doesn’t lean too much in tight corners. Its supple suspension soaks up potholes and speedbumps better than the rather firm BMW X3, too – even when fitted with large 20-inch alloy wheels. You do get a loud wind whistle coming from the door mirrors at motorway speeds, though.
Rather more welcome is the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, although the Evoque did earn that back in 2011, when the tests were less stringent than they are today. Mind you, even the entry-level models come with automatic emergency braking and a lane departure warning system.
You can get the Evoque with a wide range of engines, although every one – petrol or diesel – is a 2.0-litre unit. At the bottom of the range is a 150hp diesel that returns around 65.7mpg and strikes the best balance between running costs and performance. The more powerful 180hp version will suit you better if you regularly tow heavy trailers, but you’ll find it hard to justify spending the extra on the range-topping 240hp diesel – and it’s a similar story with either of the petrol engines, which are expensive to run.
With the exception of the basic 150hp diesel models, all-wheel drive is standard across the range, but if low running costs are important to you, those basic models are the best bet.