In today’s very competitive small SUV market (those with 2-rows of seats), there are so many different choices from just about every automobile manufacturer. But there is only one Range Rover, and here is where the Evoque fits in. This model has been around since 2012, designed with a sporty and luxurious flair, than the previous Land Rover small SUV’s that came before the Freelander and Discovery Sport. The Evoque has hit a sweet spot the small 2-row SUV segment.
Not unlike its bigger brother the Land Rover Discovery, (Range Rover, Land Rover, are all the same company), it has plenty of quirks and oddities, that at first, we found annoying, but began to accept as we spent more time with this SUV during our week of test driving. A friend who has had a 2013 Evoque, adores it, even after the many miles that have been put on it. Because of that, I really wanted to spend some time to understand what about this car was so wonderful and brings about so much love and appreciation.
Our tester was the Evoque First Edition in Nolita Grey. A very striking and different color than you see on other vehicles. With a price tag of $57,845 that includes a $995 ground transportation fee, the Evoque is at the upper end of the price spectrum from other 2-row SUVs. We wondered what is it you are paying for on this, say in comparison to it’s Japanese, Korean, or even American competitors?
First of All, Space
Space for cargo, space for passengers, the biggest surprise that one might not expect from this size class. During our week with the Evoque, we found it to have a lot of useable cargo space with our without the rear seats folded down. Mostly due to the large opening of both the rear hatch and the rear side doors, making loading a breeze. Easy to get things in and out without forcing them. Large boxes and odd-shaped items fit in without any problem, and lots of little places to slip smaller items into, which is often necessary when packing stuff.
New slim LED headlamps provide a more sophisticated front and rear lamp design, emphasizing the vehicle’s new design language. Flush door handles add to the smooth, sculpted look of the exterior, one with the footprint almost identical to that of the previous model, yet there is more interior space than before thanks to the Land Rover brand’s new mixed-metal Premium Transverse Architecture. A longer wheelbase yields 0.8-in (21mm) of extra rear knee room. Cargo luggage space is 6 percent larger (21.54 cu-ft) than that of the previous model as well as much wider, with space increasing to 50.5 cu-ft when the flexible 40:20:40 second-row seats are folded.
Inside, the design is quite uncluttered with premium materials creating a luxurious cabin. Designed to be a calm and serene space, ensuring the comfort of its occupants, with technologies such as the optional twin touchscreen InControl Touch Pro Duo™ infotainment system, featuring new, faster software, 16-way seat controls, and cabin air ionization that complement the increased interior space. Offered as premium alternatives to leather, technical textiles such as Kvadrat wool blend and Dinamica® suede cloth, as well as a Eucalyptus Textile and Ultrafabrics™ use recycled plastics and natural materials.
Luxury and Comfort
Loaded with people or cargo, this small SUV provided plenty of legroom without that arduous task of moving front seats forward, so rear-seat passengers have adequate legroom. That was not even a discussion. And what does luxury actually mean? Quality of the seats, the touch, and feel of the interior finishes and everything where it should be. That is what it means in this Range Rover.
Today’s cars are built with lots of safety systems, from cameras to cross-traffic assist, to emergency braking and lane-keep assist. The Evoque has all the usual, and expected systems, including a Park Pack, which includes 360-degree parking aid, a door exit monitor, which lets you know when you open the driver’s door if there is something like a bike or pedestrian will be in your blind spot. As well as Drive Pack which includes stop and go adaptive cruise control and high-speed emergency braking. This is the first vehicle that I have tested that has had the Clear Exit Monitor, while the rest of the safety items seem to be pretty standard across the board (though sometimes sold as an add on priced option on other vehicles in the class.)
The Range Rover Evoque is not just a paved or even a dirt road cruiser, with its legendary off-road heritage it can conquer the trail as well wade through water up to 23.6-in. With Evoque’s standard Terrain Response® 2 system is designed to automatically detect the surface being driven on, adjusting the vehicle’s driving character accordingly. The new Range Rover Evoque comes with all-wheel drive and driveline disconnect as standard. Combined with the available second-generation Active Driveline and the optional Adaptive Dynamics feature, the Evoque is designed to deliver in more adverse conditions.
The Evoke has a maximum 3968-pound permissible tow mass for a trailer with brakes, and with a 1653 pound unbraked tow mass. So it can haul a small, lightweight trailer like snowmobiles, watercraft, or even a pop-up camper.
Our experience with it
The first thing you notice is the fact that while it is a small 2-row SUV, it is hardly a small SUV. We were able to load it with plenty of cargo and still get passengers in it comfortably. Be it two in the front or an additional one in the rear. There were plenty of configurations for that during our week with the Evoque.
The Shift Lever is not the rotary dial that you find on the larger Discovery, it is a real (and more sporty) stalk that you engage with the release button and push forward for reverse, backward for Drive, and a separate button for Park. I wondered if this was a Germany, as it is the same from the Stelvio, the Supra, and the Z4, I recently drove, all of which sourced their automatic transmissions from Germany, and had a similar stalk shifter. Actually sourced out of the USA.
We happened upon the ClearSight rearview mirror by accident, it transforms into a high definition video screen at the flip of a switch displaying the rear-facing camera feed, which is helpful when the cargo area was filled with boxes. The ClearSight using a camera positioned above the rear window provided a wider 50-degree vision and provided clearer visibility in low light conditions.
And when off-road, a realization of the “Transparent Bonnet” Technology previewed by the land Rover brand in 2014, the Range Rover Evoke features ClearSight Ground View Technology, allowing the driver to virtually see through the hood and under the front end of the vehicle projecting a 180-degree view of the ground onto the cars upper center touchscreen. This is useful when negotiating tight parking spaces or rough off-road terrain. A real
Quirky and wonky
Land Rovers – Range Rovers are not your norm, nor have they ever been. Back in the early 1960s, my mother decided she needed a four-wheel-drive vehicle, and it was between a Land Rover and a Jeep, she chose the Jeep. As I recall, the British Land Rover had a rugged and rudimentary interior, and she felt the Jeep was better suited as a family wagon. Or maybe being a WWII kid, she felt the Jeep was the way to go for the Pennsylvania snow.
The Evoque showed much the same quirky side as we saw in the Discovery we drove last year. Like shutting off the engine, if you put it in Park and took your seat belts off before hitting the ignition button to turn it off, it turns out, it is programmed that way. We have heard people park their keyless cars in their garage, forgetting to turn them off, causing problems like carbon monoxide poisoning. So this is actually a good thing that the computer turns the motor off, even if you are not expecting it to do so.
Size and design, inside and out, were our biggest likes in this small SUV. Sleek and classic looking on the outside without compromising the interior roominess. Even the door handles disappear into the body when the car is locked like Its all-electric sister, the Jaguar I Pace.
Plenty of power from the 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine and the 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift. Never did we think the engine was underpowered for the vehicle, no matter if we were on city streets, highways, or backcountry roads, though the stop-start engine did delay acceleration after a stop.
The interior was well detailed, front and rear, and even in the cargo area. Materials and design were well thought out, and access to door handles, switches, and power ports were where you wanted them to be. Even in the cargo area that had a 12-v cigarette lighter style power port.
There were only a few things that we did not like: The fact that with the driver’s seat adjusted to where I felt comfortable to drive, did not provide enough room for my left leg to stretch out, which would get very old on a long road trip. The Stop-Start (a fuel-saving thing that seems to be on all fossil-fueled vehicles today) was lazy and would delay a second or two for acceleration on startup from a stoplight. Easily defeated by the button, but you did have to set that every time the engine was restarted.
Not a big fan of the all touch screen internal switchgear. While there were buttons on the steering wheel, most of the controls were on the touchpads in the center console. How you turned things on and off as well as access other menus were through a touchpad on the center screens. While I understand it for the audio, it was the HVAC controls that I had problems with. Toggling between temp and fan speed, sometimes would not, though if I would leave them be and come back later, and it would work. But if I would touch and touch again, it would just lock up and do nothing. Plus, touchscreens need to be cleaned from all the fingerprints that show up on the display.
Would I buy this vehicle or recommend it? Actually, Yes, but with the qualifications that you want to spend close to $60K on a small 2-row SUV. Which if you wanted the Range Rover name, you might. I really enjoyed the week driving this car, and was sad to see it go back to the fleet company.
- 2.0 Liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine providing 245 horsepower and 269-lb-ft of torque.
- 9-Speed Automatic ZF Transmission with paddle shift that delivers 20 mpg city 27 highway 23 overall with a 17.7-gallon tank of premium fuel.
- All-Wheel Drive with Terrain Response 2 ® Selectable driving & Off-Road Modes, Hill Descent Control
- Torque Vectoring by Braking
- 38.1-foot turning circle
- Wheel sizes are 18” with 235/60/18 tires, 20” 235/50/R20 tires, 21” 245/45/R21 Tires with 8-inch wide wheels
- MacPherson Front Strut with passive anti-Roll Bar Front suspension – Integral Multi-link with passive anti-Roll Bar rear suspension.
- 5355 pound GVW for the vehicle.
Our 2020 Range Rover Evoque First Edition tester came in at $57,845. The most expensive in the lineup. The model starts at $42,650 for the S, SE price begins at $47,200. R, the sportier model runs from $46,600 to $55,800, plus fees and optional equipment.
Will Hopper is a life-long automotive enthusiast who enjoys finding out about all things automotive, tech, travel, and more. He can be found on Instagram as DCCarGuy and Twitter as WWHopper
No compensation was provided for this one-week vehicle review, other than the use of the vehicle with a full tank of fuel.
Thanks to Land Rover | Range Rover and the fleet company NAVs for providing this vehicle for review.