The Range Rover Evoque is a bit of a stunner. Always has been, ever since Land Rover whipped the covers off the LRX concept back in the heady days of 2008. Better still, it’s barely changed on the journey to production and has sold by the boatload to those who love its blend of style, driving enjoyment and genuine off-road ability.
Pretty much any Range Rover Evoque review will reference the fact that it looks fabulous, and how this variation of the classic set the company off on its current path of vehicles that look as sleek as they are capable.
Land Rover made two generations of Evoque – and in the tradition of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” the manufacturer saw little reason to mess with the original’s visual appeal for the current car.
All versions have a contemporary, modern look, with that signature sloping roofline, narrow headlights and raised stance. If ever a car shouted ‘urban SUV’, it’s the Range Rover Evoque. It faces some tough rivals in the shapes of the Audi Q5 and Volkswagen Tiguan, which offer quality and efficiency, if not as much style.
Pretty much any Range Rover Evoque review will reference the fact that it looks fabulous
What’s it like to drive?
You might think that SUVs are tall, ponderous cars aimed at comfort rather than fun. In the Evoque’s case, you’d be dead wrong. It’s genuinely enjoyable to drive, with punchy petrol and diesel engines up front, quick steering and suspension that’s firm enough to give the car nimble responses but not so firm that it’s uncomfortable. Choosing a car on smaller alloy wheels tend to make the ride just that bit more comfortable.
The Evoque’s compact dimensions make it easy to drive in town, and simple to park. The narrow glass area to the rear does mean you’ll have to rely on the parking sensors.
On motorways, the engines tend to fade into the background even if the door mirrors tend to generate a bit of wind noise.
The Evoque’s compact dimensions make it easy to drive in town, and simple to park.
The driver and front-seat passenger are separated by a large centre console that houses the climate controls. Above that, there’s a central touchscreen for the sat-nav, audio system (which includes DAB) and various car set-up menus.
First-generation cars had a rotating “puck” gear selector, which works well, although this has been replaced by a conventional gear lever on current-shape cars.
All are well equipped, with leather trim, climate control, cruise control and rear parking sensors featuring on even entry-level models. Higher trim levels give you xenon or LED headlights, automatic lights and wipers and a reversing camera – on later cars this has evolved into a surround-view camera system. Later cars also feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, but earlier cars will be Bluetooth or USB only.
Lack of space is a weak spot in the Evoque. Yes, there’s plenty of headroom and legroom for the two people in the front, but those in the back seat will be happier if they’re on speaking terms.
The second-generation is better in this regard. If you plan to regularly carry people in the rear seat, there are other options out there, such as the Audi Q5 or BMW X3.
The first-generation Evoque is also notable for having a pretty small boot, although the current-shape is much better and has a 40/20/40 split rear seat, which helps its practicality.
There are plenty of storage areas dotted around the Evoque’s cabin, and the door bins are big enough to store your large waters bottles after a run in the countryside. There are also cupholders in the centre console, although in the later model these are accessed by lifting away a small tray, so you’re left with the problem of where to put it. Just as well the glovebox is a decent size.
Running costs and reliability
The vast majority of Range Rover Evoques have a diesel engine under the bonnet, although petrol power is also on offer.
In first-generation cars, the four-wheel drive 178bhp TD4 is the engine of choice, because it’s both punchy and economical. There’s only one petrol motor – a 237bhp 2.0-litre that can do a reported 36.2mpg.
There’s a wider range of options in the current-shape Evoque, but the best remains the D180 diesel, which can average 41.5mpg under the latest WLTP testing regime. All have a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
What we love
The Range Rover Evoque is one of those rare cars with a popularity base comparable to its major rivals. That’s because it looks equally at home on the high street, outside the local school, or at the far end of a farm track.
Diesel engines better suit the car’s character because they pull strongly at low revs and don’t glug.
It makes a great car for couples and young families, because it’s great to live with and decently cheap to run. Just make sure you can live with the smallish rear space.
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The Range Rover Evoque is a great-looking, well-equipped SUV that also happens to be good to drive, whether in town or on the motorway.
Recommended for: executives; active couples; young families; country dwellers.
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