Back in 2011 Land Rover made a bold move by introducing a third car to the Range Rover line up, called the Evoque. The car got a lot of publicity over the years and soon became a very popular cross-over with bold looks.
I have been very intrigued by the Evoque over the years, especially in coupe but never got the chance to experience it.. until now! This is my review of the 5 door version of the 2015 Range Rover Evoque Dynamic.
Huge thanks to Land Rover & Weber Shandwick for this amazing weekend ride.
The Range Rover Evoque has a lot of its big brother’s DNA including the off-road tech, quality and looks. This is unmistakably a Range Rover by all means, just shrunken down.
Fortunately, for this review, I had just driven the Mercedes Benz GLA250, which I would consider as a competitor in this segment, so, I got great insight into how the others do it too!
Range Rover Evoque Introduction
To start things off, the Range Rover Evoque is a baby Range Rover with very capable DNA and experience, but being that there are a lot of competitors in this segment, it has a big badge to live up to.
Life is simple when purchasing an Evoque as it comes with 1 engine option across the board of coupe and 5 door options, which is a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine with 240HP and 340NM of torque. This isn’t a performance car but the 0-100 kmph time is pretty reasonable at 7.6 seconds with a top speed of 217kmph.
The power is delivered to all 4 wheels through an industry first 9 speed ZF gearbox which results in better acceleration, comfort and of course increased fuel economy.
As far as the interior of the Evoque, it fits 5 adults comfortably with a trunk load capacity of 550 litres, which is pretty decent.
All in all, the Range Rover Evoque looks lovely on paper with great looks, capacities, abilities and DNA, but the real test comes from how it is like to drive and own!
The Range Rover Evoque on the outside
There is no denying that the Range Rover Evoque is a good looking car, they definitely did not hold back on style or going bold and when an Evoque passes you, it will grab your attention at how strange it looks, but in a cool way!
On the front, the Range Rover Evoque has standard daylight running lights in LED, which will be upgraded to a more square look in 2016 (not much in terms of vehicle changes), Bi-Xenon headlamps, fog/corner lights, plenty of aluminium trim. The car may be a cross-over but still sits quite tall, as after all, it should be capable off road.
The Evoque has quite good obstacle clearance with 215mm front axle, 240mm rear axle clearance and as far as wading depth is concerned (not much of that in Dubai) the Evoque can handle 500mm of water!
The design is very aerodynamic, sleek and is very modern and young – definitely looks that stand out
To the side is where the sportiness of the Evoque emerges with the low swooping roofline that makes the car look like a coupe where rear passengers aren’t allowed to have necks, but surprisingly, there is good headroom in the rear!
The Dynamic model as tested comes with a glass panoramic roof which is one piece. The rear is short and resembles the range rover sport quite alot. Overall, the car isn’t a very long one with 4,355mm length and 2660mm wheel base, which makes the Evoque a very maneuverable cross-over indeed.
Every element of the Evoque will remind you of its bigger brothers, which to me, is a good touch.
The Range Rover Evoque came with standard 20 inch five split-spoke wheels and sitting behind these wheels are 300mm ventilated front brake discs and 302mm solid rear brake discs, which helps the car stop quite smoothly on and off-road.
The unique looks continue all the way to the rear with a small rear window, spoiler, tiny rear lights and exhaust tips that fit into the rear bumper.
The Evoque did not come with 360 cameras, but just a rear camera, which is sufficient with the parking sensors. Considering the price tag, a 360 camera should be standard, but I am not complaining much.
The Range Rover Evoque on the inside
Thought the exterior was nice? Let me show you some more Land Rover niceness!
The interior is a beautiful place to be, with nice materials and soft touch all round. There were a few elements that I liked and a few I didn’t.
To start with, there were some flimsy plastics, which made no sense for a car with this kind of badge and price tag. The roof sunglasses holder was extremely low-end and wouldn’t open and close properly for example and was such a disappointment. The leathers and metals were nice, but any element that had plastic, was low-end.
They did do a good job on materials that they did work on. For example, there are plastics on the side of the door, which have a rubberized texture. The dashboard is covered in a fabric but what is cool is, the texture of the fabric is nearly identical to the rubberized plastic! That was lovely to see.
Overall layout was really nice, it looked a lot like it’s bigger brothers which is a plus point. Everything was ergonomically placed and easy to reach. The screen is a touch screen as with other Range Rovers and Jaguars so was very easy to use and familiar. Sitting below that were controls for the air conditioning and then the drive modes, pretty simple.
There are two screens on the information display that are unique to the Evoque which is the drive mode, which provides additional information when going off-road such as the mode, power delivery and more.
The other screen has a few additional applications to adjust the interior lighting, access the camera, economical data and to go stealth (turn everything off)
The steering wheel had a lot of buttons for the driver controls, telephone, radio and of course, gear paddles for when you need to drive the Evoque manually.
Another element taken off Jaguars is the gear lever that rises up when the car is started. The only problem I personally found with this set up is the gear changes is not super smooth at times, and sometimes would lock up for a second or two before allowing you to turn – that wasn’t so great. Driving off though and the gearbox does a great job though.
As expected, the seats are quite comfortable, with soft leathers and good support. One thing I appreciated in the Range Rover Evoque was the seating position, even when lowered, the driver feels like he is on top of the road, quite like its bigger brothers too!
There are several driving modes on the Evoque to best tune the gearbox, suspension, traction control and engine.
From the left; Dynamic mode for improved road handling and performance, Normal on road mode, Off-road/snow mode, Rocks and softer surfaces mode and finally desert and very fine sand driving. Turning the car into dynamic mode turns the deals to red for increased adrenaline feel
The large glass sunroof is a great way addition making the Evoque feel like a much more roomier car, and admittedly I loved it! The roof does not open up as it is a solid piece of glass, but it looks stunning, almost as a convertible.
Rear trunk lid is electric which aids opening and closing and the 5 door version of the Evoque has 500 litre trunk capacity with the seats up and 1350 litres when the rear seats are faced down, which is quite a fair trunk size for a car of this segment.
Driving the Range Rover Evoque
This is the part I have been waiting for as I do have a few bones to pick!
First of all, the seating position on the Evoque is really nice, even when the seats are lowered, the driver feels up high, which gives a more commanding drive. The steering is really nice and light and you tend to know pretty much where the wheels are at all times.
The car does come with a cool feature, which is automatic parallel parking.
I also took the Evoque off-road, well, a little bit and it did quite well! The car was on top of the game at every point and made sure that every wheel got the traction it needed to get out of every sticky situation.
I did manage to get the Evoque stuck on a sandy bit (especially since I did not deflate the tyres) but with a little reversing and traction control wizardry, the Evoque got itself out quite easily! All credits go to Range Rover DNA.
I think the only true issue I had with the Evoque was, although it was good looking, fairly capable, economical (Returning an average 12L/100kms when the official numbers are 10.3L/100km) and built fairly well, it did not feel very special. I am not sure if this was due to the feel you get from its bigger brothers or just me expecting a lot out of a Range Rover, but it wasn’t as special as I was expecting it to be.
Overall, the Range Rover Evoque is a very nice cross-over and definitely stands out between the competitors, but it did not have that “extra special” feel, and being that it is among the priciest of its competitors, it needs to be special.
If you love the Evoque and get one because you want an Evoque, you will not be disappointed at all. I definitely look forward to the next version!