Sporting fresh styling for 2016, Range Rover Evoque is both beautiful and quirky, a design home run for Land Rover. It’s a crossover SUV the size of the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA-Class and Audi Q3, although it has the style and luxury to compete against the BMW X4, Infiniti QX50 and others. The Evoque is unique, for its striking looks and offroad prowess.
Evoque comes as a four-door or a two-door coupe, both with hatchback liftgate.
And, in mid-2016, an Evoque convertible will be available as a 2017 model. We’ve seen one in Australia, and it takes your breath away, for all it says.
For the here and now, the 2016 Range Rover Evoque gets refreshed with a new grille and bumper, new seats and door trim, new infotainment system with 8-inch touchscreen, and LED headlamps, the first on any Land Rover.
New for 2016 is All-Terrain Progress Control that maintains the crawling speed the driver sets on trails. Also new for 2016 are optional massage seats.
Evoque uses a punchy and peppy 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with a 285-hp version available in one top model. Its handling is nimble and light. It’s richly detailed inside. It’s EPA-rated at 21/30 mpg City/Highway.
The Evoque might not look like the original Land Rovers that explored the Outback, but it’s for real.
It’s got the Active Driveline system, with active differentials and torque vectoring. At 22 mph the Evoque goes from all-wheel drive to front-wheel drive, but can switch back in 300 milliseconds. It’s got the Active Torque Biasing and Torque Vectoring, giving more power to the wheel that has the best grip.
Range Rover Evoque SE ($41,475) comes with four doors, while the stylish Evoque Coupe SE Premium ($46,675) has just two doors.
Evoque HSE Dynamic ($53,775) features Oxford leather seats, panoramic sunroof, active magnetic dampers, and aerodynamic spoiler.
The 2017 Evoque convertible ($51,470) should be at Land Rover retailers spring 2016.
Evoque is elegantly sporty, a showstopper in Land Rover showrooms and head-turner on the street, especially the slim two-door convertible.
The coupe looks like a chopped and channeled hot rod, with powerful wheel arches, high and linear beltline, radical roofline, black pillars, narrowed greenhouse at the bobbed and canted rear end, with jewel-like taillamps.
Evoque’s face captures its character of the car, with a low and blunt chin like an SUV, riding under a thin black mesh grille that flies like a boomerang across its forehead. It gets the bull-bar treatment like a Land Rover should. Short overhangs give it more ground clearance than the Land Rover LR2, announcing that the Evoque is ready to go trail-crawling.
The spacious front seats have enough adjustment to make anyone comfortable. The cabin is upscale, sleek but not simple. The shapes and themes are Range Rover, with big round gauges. LED ambient lighting, subtle wood or metallic trim. The base SE is mellow and earthy; the HSE Dynamic throws bright colors on the available trim, and in Sport mode the lighting turns red.
The rear seats are smaller but still adult-sized. It’s hard to climb into the back of the three-door, but the five-door is okay; and the liftgate on both is wide and easy.
Cargo space is 24 cubic feet, less than crossover competitors, but they don’t have the sexy shape of the Evoque, do they?
Evoque was designed with an independent suspension to be first superb on the road, while being awesome off the road, and it succeeds. It’s truly car-like. It feels balanced, with light steering that brings crisp maneuvers, with electronic torque vectoring that reduces understeer. It’s small for a Land Rover but solid.
The engine has enough torque to be perfect for crawling on trails, and enough horsepower to be good at high-speed passing. Although the powertrain, mainly the engine, sounds coarse under acceleration.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, made by ZF. It performs well, shifts quickly and smoothly, and doesn’t hunt around for gears the way so many other 9-speed automatics do.
The Land Rover Terrain Response system is standard, with four modes: Normal, Snow, Mud & Ruts, and Sand. The Evoque musters the off-road chops to satisfy owners. It’s pretty much pushbutton, no seat of the pants needed. All you have to do is steer. Hill Descent Control takes you down inclines, and All-Terrain Progress Control takes you back up them.
The Range Rover Evoque is a small vehicle with a beautiful, high-quality cabin and wonderful driving demeanor. It offers excellent capability in all types of weather and over primitive roads.
Driving Impressions by The Car Connection. Words by Sam Moses.