Range Rover Evoque (2011 – 2019) Review
Range Rover Evoque (2011 – 2019) At A Glance
Given that the Range Rover Evoque started life as the next Land Rover Freelander, but suddenly found itself upgraded to Range Rover status en route to launch in order to justify its price, you’d be forgiven for approaching it with a degree of suspicion. But regardless of its backstory, it won over an army of buyers and is a worthy alternative to the Best Used SUVs around.
Lest we forget, the company first set about re-evaluating the brand with the irritatingly successful Range Rover Sport; a cocksure mongrel disguising Discovery underpinnings beneath slightly brash detailing and marketing-lie badging.
So, the Range Rover Evoque actually constitutes Round 2. Was this, then, a true Range Rover – a worthy rival to such upmarket down-sizer SUVs as the Audi Q3, the A-Class-based Mercedes GLA and the BMW X3, or merely the boastful bearer of what some might consider an increasingly devalued brand badge?
That’s the question this Range Rover Evoque review will attempt to answer.
Much has been made of how closely the car resembles the stunning, 2008 LRX concept from which it was spawned. Land Rover furtively perpetuated this perception by refusing to allow concept and finished article to be photographed anywhere near each other.
430mm shorter than a proper Range Rover, with enormous door mirrors, the Evoque certainly is, viewed from any angle, a fabulous looking machine. Compared with unremittingly blobby rivals, it stands out exquisitely.
Happily, the ‘bling’ factor increasingly besetting Range Rovers of the era has been kept to a minimum here, and is largely restricted to the now familiar grille modelled on the blades of a chop-anything kitchen appliance, plus distinctive running lights.
Boasting a roofline 35mm lower than that of five-door versions, the three-door car is the most aesthetically pleasing model. With the classic, Range Rover floating roof sloping rearwards this acutely, you’d expect to find back seat accommodation somewhat compromised, and it’s something of a packaging miracle that this is, in fact, not the case.
The interior is tidy, nicely trimmed and a far more conservative effort that that hinted at by the Range Rover Evoque’s exterior couture.
The only jarring notes are provided by a multimedia touchscreen that falls short of Range Rover quality in terms of operational speed and tactility, and the little chips of clear plastic that numerate the driver’s instrument dials, allowing the back-lighting to turn a vulgar red when ‘sport’ mode is engaged.
At launch, powerplant options were all welterweight four-cylinder affairs, restricted to a choice of 150PS and 190PS, 2.2-litre diesel units and a 240PS, 2.0-litre petrol engine.
The lesser diesel proves extremely lethargic, and, although the more powerful unit’s 8.5-second 0-62mph time suggests adequate enthusiasm, it’s mated to a sluggish gearbox.
All of which is a pity, because the Evoque rides and handles with considerable aplomb. The steering is light by Range Rover standards, but nicely accurate.
Thanks to trick, ‘MagnaRide’ adaptive suspension, body composure is little short of extraordinary for a car this tall, and the Evoque can be chucked about with surprising alacrity. Best of all, though, when cruising at motorway speeds, it does give you just enough of that majestic, Range Rover feeling of being insulated from mere mortals on the road.
With off-roading ability a given in any Land Rover, what really determined the badging of the Evoque as a Range Rover was the price. At launch this car could be yours for as little as £27,955.
But by the time you’d added enough toys to make it feel like a true Range Rover and armed it with a powerplant that stood even a fighting chance of pulling a Christmas cracker, there was no change from £40,000.
A 190PS 2.0 litre diesel and nine-speed transmission joined the fray in 2014, by which time Range Rover Evoque pricing was on something of a charge, and kitting out a car to more than £50,000 became commonplace.
With no V6 waiting in the wings, the question, then, was; would you fork out forty grand and more for a car with a four-cylinder engine?
Whatever your take on this, the Range Rover Evoque absolutely flew out of showrooms from the off. There was a deal of speculation when the nee-Land Rover first broke cover as to whether its concept car looks would stand the test of time. We should not have worried.
If you’re looking for a new version, check out our review of the latest Range Rover Evoque here.