The Evoque is the 4.4m-long baby, or is that ‘darling’, of the Range Rover/Land Rover lineup. When it first launched around 2010/11, it introduced a lot of ‘posh’ to the sub-compact SUV market, so much so that Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice herself) claimed to have a big hand in designing one of its special editions — a claim that has been subsequently refuted by the actual designer, Gerry McGovern. Anyway, regardless of all that, the Evoque is now in its second generation, and I was given the keys to check it out.
First look and you can see that the Evoque apple hasn’t fallen far from the Land Rover/Range Rover tree, which is a good thing. For despite its short rear overhangs and near-coupe styling, the Evoque showcases elements of the award-winning Velar plus the tenacity and capabilities of the Range Rover (and brand) itself. The P250 model I had been given was a ‘First Edition’, a mixture of the R-Dynamic SE plus a variety of extra tasty morsels.
From its low front air ducts to the tailpipe surrounds, bronze highlights and ‘First Edition’ script has been strategically placed all around the Evoque, but not overdone. It sits on 21-inch silver shoes that come with a five-split-spoke design. Matrix LED headlights (the ones that can block out oncoming cars) light the way ahead, with headlight power wash should they get dirty. Fog lights that will possibly never get used but privacy glass that undoubtedly will. My model also had a fixed panoramic roof located in its black contrast roof, a roof that has been designed to slope down towards the Evoque’s raising shoulder line. Its silhouette is cleaner and more aerodynamic and now features ‘deployable’ door handles. It’s an attractive car from all angles, but more so when you’re inside.
The cabin is awash with (in my case) cloud and ebony soft grained leather furniture and fixtures. A perforated leather steering wheel with the atlas bezel, is heated. Piano blacks and touches of chrome enhance the upmarket experience while the graduated linear dark aluminium trim with subtle ‘First Edition’ script caps it all off.
Infotainment (incontrol/touchpro), connectivity, heating and drive modes comes via two touchscreens (one of which pops out to greet you) and the instrument cluster is digital too. My Evoque came with a ‘clearsight rearview mirror’ option, a magical device that should something in the rear seats or category leading (798L) luggage space be obstructing your view, a quick flick of a lever under the mirror will turn it into a display screen that shows the reverse camera image. Good during the day, even better at night. Adaptive dynamics, head-up display and a surround camera go someway to complete the picture, but not all.
Oh no. To get the full picture you need to drive this new Evoque. For, thanks to its electronically controlled dampers, it seems to glide as it drives, isolated from the outside world but fine materials and even finer insulation. The 2L Ingenium engine offers 186kW and 365Nm but that’s somehow immaterial, the Evoque will simply get you to where you want to go — wherever that may be. A 30.6-degree (class-leading) departure angle, 600mm wading depths and Range Rover’s Terrain response ‘wherever that may be’.
In truth, I never really took the Evoque out of our urban utopia. Honestly, I didn’t feel the need. I know how capable it is ‘off-road’ and I know how comfortable it would be on the long open roads, so I opted for a more sedate drive around the city and along the waterfront. Meridian sound system playing my favourite tunes, temperature set to ‘just right’ and heated seats on low — sigh.
With its stylish good looks and sleeker design, the new Range Rover Evoque certainly attracts attention from the townsfolk. It’s a vehicle that is at home in an upmarket suburb or at a five-star hotel, but is also comfortable beside anything boutique, too. Of course it revels in the city but, rest assured, it’s more than happy to play rough when it needs to.