By Nauman Farooq
Land Rover’s premium brand, Range Rover, first introduced the Evoque for the 2012 model year – and it was an instant hit!
This was the first Range Rover badged vehicle that was neither huge, nor extremely expensive. In fact, it was priced more like a premium entry-level luxury sedan or coupe, rather than an SUV; and when you combine its good looks with a well equipped interior, and a ride height that is very useful to tackle the urban jungle on a year-round basis, it’s not surprising that the Evoque found an audience.
Trouble is, now just about every premium make offers a compact SUV or CUV, so the Evoque certainly doesn’t have the market to itself.
To deal with the competition, the Evoque has been thoroughly revised for 2020, but is it enough to one-up the competition?
Time to find out!
Styling: The designers at JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) have done an excellent job of incorporating design elements from the larger – and much loved – Range Rover Velar onto the platform of the Evoque.
This means, sleeker headlights, flush-to-the-body door handles, and slimmer taillights. As a result, the Evoque certainly looks more upmarket than it used to. So, if you like the look of the Velar, but need to spend less, than the new Evoque might just be the ticket!
Interior: Step inside and again, it takes a lot of inspiration from the Velar, and a lot of changes over the outgoing model.
First of all, gone is the analog instrumentation, replaced by a TFT screen. Look at the center of the dashboard, and now you’ll find two more TFT screens, one mainly for infotainment needs, and the lower one for climate control and drive modes. This certainly helps to not only de-clutter the center console with lots of buttons, but also gives the vehicle a more upmarket look. Also, the gear selector is now a lever, rather than a pop-up rotary dial – although, I quite liked the dial.
Mind you, some things haven’t changed between the old Evoque and the new one, and that includes space. This new Evoque is no more (or less) spacious than the model it replaces, and that means, those in the front seats will have good amount of room, but legroom is tight for those sitting in the back seat. Also, while the trunk space is decent, it isn’t as commodious as some of its rivals.
Here’s the thing, if you’ve a young, hip, single (or just a household of two), than the Evoque is the right size. If you’ve got a family to haul around, you’d probably prefer something else!
Upgrade to the ‘R-Dynamic’ trim, and now this motor produces 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
Power goes to all-wheels via a configurable system that adapts to the terrain you’re on, through a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Performance & Driving Dynamics: You wouldn’t expect a pretty little SUV that is mainly targeted to those living in the urban jungle to have performance, but the numbers are really quite impressive! The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes just 6.6 seconds, while top speed is quoted as 242 km/h – that’s really fast!
On the road, in ‘normal’ driving mode, it doesn’t feel that quick. I also found that the throttle pedal has a long travel, and you really have to be on it deeper than you expect when on the highway. Thankfully, my tester had adaptive cruise control, and I’d just engage that and cover distances with very little stress!
The ride quality is very good, as it seems to melt away most of the potholes and bumps. This is in fact one of the few vehicles that impress you more on country roads, rather than on the highway.
On back roads, you also get to enjoy its handling. The steering feels right, and it turns in well, and the worse the surface the better it feels – the Evoque might be aimed for those in the urban jungle, but it truly shines in rural areas.
Fuel Economy: In my fuel economy test (where I drive a vehicle 170 km on the highway + 130 km in the city) the 2020 Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic averaged 10.8 L/100 km. Compared to the Jaguar XE P300 I tested last week, the Evoque drank just 0.2 L/100 km more than that sporty sedan – that’s quite impressive!
Pricing: The 2020 Range Rover Evoque range starts from $47,950. That’s a good entry point, but if you get carried away with options, you can push that price up to about $70,000 – at which point I’d rather have the Velar.
Verdict: The 2020 Range Rover Evoque is not an all-new vehicle, but one that has been heavily revised. It is better than its predecessor in just about every way, and it will surely find a sizeable audience.