Driven : Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic Lux

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Five years on from launch, the Range Rover Evoque has been tweaked and fitted with JLR’s impressive Ingenium turbodiesel. Is it still the must-have crossover in the premium sector?

Evoque exterior

We love the Range Rover Evoque at AROnline. It’s the car that brought super-profitability to Jaguar Land Rover, opened new markets for the company and delivered a desirable, aspirational product to a much wider audience. No wonder you voted it your Car of The Year in 2011. Five years on, it’s still in huge demand but, despite that, Land Rover isn’t resting on its laurels, giving the Evoque a mid-life refresh – and introducing the Ingenium engine into the mix.

Thankfully, Land Rover hasn’t messed too much with the Evoque’s groundbreaking styling, as penned by Julian Thomson and ex-Lincoln Designer Jeremy Waterman. The visual changes are limited to optional all-LED headlights, the corporate LED running light shape, and new LED tail lights. There are also larger air intakes, as previewed in the 2014 Autobiography model.

Inside, it’s been mildly tweaked, too. The infotainment screen has been upgraded (it’s faster and easier to use than before), and the instruments have been modernised, with a new central supplementary screen. It’s very much in keeping with the more upmarket Range Rovers, and much more pleasing on the eyes. We also rather like the optional head-up display (£1000), which given its contribution to driver safety, should be offered as part of the standard equipment package.

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The big news is the addition of that Ingenium engine. It wasn’t as if the old Ford TDCi power unit was lacking in power but, compared with the best of the best opposition, it wasn’t that economical or that clean at the tailpipe. That’s all changed now – although there was something of a wait for the new four-cylinder oil-burner to make it to the Evoque. Put that down to the modifications needed to make it fit in the transverse engine bay of the Evoque, and the need to meet Land Rover’s wading depth requirements.

This model pumps out 177bhp , and is fitted with JLR’s nine-speed auto for a 0-60mph time of 8.5 seconds and a maximum speed of 121mph – more than enough to keep up with the flow. Although the entry-level Evoque develops 109g/km CO2 and makes 68mpg (combined), this one is a little juicier at 134g/km and 55mpg (combined). In reality, and during our week behind the wheel, we averaged 40mpg – which is more than acceptable for your company expenses, given the combination of city and motorway driving we subjected it to.

Unlike the Jaguar XE we recently tested, refinement levels seem very impressive indeed. We’ll put that down to the excellent sound deadening in this 1690kg car. At idle, it’s soft and muted, and throttle response is keen. The nine-speed torque-converter transmission shifts beautifully between ratios, and never is it wrong-footed, even when trundling along the motorway at the legal limit in the long-striding top gear, at less than 2000rpm. Moreover, in give-and-take driving, it feels genuinely alert and rapid, without the need to resort to driving hard.

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On B-roads, the high seating position and effortless speed give the driver confidence, while the light and quick steering result in sharp turn-in. This is an impressive effort by the JLR Chassis Engineers, who have clearly given the car a little more agility, thanks to its lighter drivetrain. Of course, Evoques aren’t generally bought to pile down B-roads, but it’s good to know it has genuine dynamic prowess should you feel in the mood to have fun.

No, the Evoque’s USP is it’s ability to make the driver feel good – and that process begins even before you jump in. The edgy styling, restful interior and upscale overall ambiance is something that none of its rivals come close to matching – not the BMW X3 or Audi Q3, perhaps the Jaguar F-Pace, but – ahem – we won’t mention that here.

This, then, is great news for Land Rover. Five years on, it’s still endowed with massive doses of pure want. In facelifted form, the Evoque is still a front-line contender in the executive car market. The updates merely improve a design that’s done wonders for its maker, and spawned a generation of impersonators. It’s not perfect, and at £51,650 tested, it’s a very pricey option – consider that the brilliant Lexus RX450h we recently tested is usefully cheaper. However, if feeling good about yourself means more than mere money, or your fleet manager is a generous soul, this five-year old groundbreaker still makes a great deal of sense.

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Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

27 Comments

  1. “£51k as tested”. Only 177bhp. Still looks like a Kia Sportage. I’m a big JLR fan, and can definitely see the appeal of the new Discovery Sport as an upmarket family car, but the pricing of the Evoque is just insane. Still, they’re selling well, so what do I know.

    Plenty of coverage of the LR range in the last few months from you, Keith. Will you be getting to drive the F-Pace soon?

      • I didn’t know that, but it makes good sense as the Sportage was a stylish car when it came out, and was very popular in its own (much cheaper) market sector.

        • I still don’t think you know that (must be true bloke in a pub told me..) £51K is for absolute top trim level with every conceivable extra. Nobody except JLR’s press fleet will spec a car like that.

  2. To paraphrase “it was meh before, and it’s still meh”. I’d love to know what they call that colour? Collateral damage intestines pink?

    But I do wish someone somewhere could make a retro fit kit for the newer multi speed transmissions. An engine spinning at 3000rpm at 70mph in top when another ratio could take it to 2000, can’t be economical. It’s especially important now since the 1.5c global warming level is now apparently unobtainable whatever we do..

    Still it could be worse, Theresa May might be going for prime minister..

    Oh wait..

  3. Yes, expensive, but then it’s Britain’s lowest depreciating car, so you get it back again at sale time, or you can lease/finance it at ‘below’ it’s price level.

    The Wife’s had her’s three years now, bought in case of winter snow of which it’s never seen, but now she only wants for another Evoque. Speaks volumes for another LR success story.

  4. One of those great bits of design that will be really hard to replace.

    Do you go for something radical, or just go for more of the same and hope the market doesn’t get bored with it?

    The 500,000th rolled off the production lines in February, so this upmarket and very expensive SUV will soon have outsold the Montego!

  5. Stupid car, really, the ‘cabrio’ even more so (saw one the other day … I fail to see how a bloke driving one can ever look anything other than a right ….). However, phenomenally profitable and popular, and has, I am sure made a mint for JLR, so I love it for that alone.

  6. Anything that is a success for JLR can only be a good thing, but I still object hugely to it wearing a “Range Rover” badge. I think it cheapens the proper one, personally (and, yes, before you ask, I do drive a ‘proper’ Range Rover!).

    Plus, if it hasn’t got a low ratio transfer box and it hasn’t got a V8, then it isn’t a Range Rover as far as I’m concerned. And don’t get me started on the rear visibility…

    • In just that same way that the Discovery Sport has undermined the Discovery name (my own D4 is now shorn of all “Discovery” badges as a result!), the Range Rover name has now been tarnished by putting a tart’s handbag of a car.

      I was trying to describe the current RR to my 85 year old folks when I was considering bustine the.budget and buying one recently; when we met again, a week or so later, they’d seen a “Range Rover” in a car park and thought I’d lost the plot – I then had to describe the difference between “the real one” and this pretend thing.

      When you’re spending this much cash on a car, the brand is vital – it has to be bomb proof and something to be properly proud of owning. It no longer is. I’m sticking with the Land Rover “D4″….

  7. A big success for the once troubled Halewood factory in Liverpool and the Evoque has created 2000 new jobs in the city. I’m pleased the Evoque has done so well for Land Rover as earlier cars were notorious for reliability and quality issues. Also if it’s appealing to newly rich Asian women, then that’s a good thing as this is a rapidly growing market.

  8. Drove one of the 2.2 SD4’s. Not impressed really especially with engine refinement. I am sure it is better with the 2.0 ignium, but compared with the similarly priced Audi or Porsche equivalents with their 3.0V6 diesel it is woefully underpowered.

  9. Which Audi or Porsche comes with a 3.0 V6 at the price of an Evoque?

    I run a 3.0 V6 in my Disco 4, but it’s run out of extreme financial dedication to the cause! It may be a gem to drive; it’s hugely powerful, has mountains of torque, is as smooth as silk and makes really nice noises. However, it is financially ruinous and would make the HMRC very rich if I had to pay company car tax on it!

    3.0 V6’s are nice but, even speaking as an enthusiast, they are as relevant to the future as VHS Video!

    • An Audi Q5 is available with a 3 litre diesel for Evoque money.
      I have just crossed a Discovery Sport off my list due to the slow and noisy 4 cylinder Diesel engine.

        • A Q5 3 litre starts at around £40k before discount. Similar to a a mid spec Evoque on which you are unlikely to obtain a significant discount. A discounted Touareg can also be had for £40k.

          • Thank you Neil, that was the information I was looking for.

            There’s no doubt, the Evoque can be desirable, but it can be breath takingly expensive. Even speaking as a Land Rover enthusiast, it’s hilarious that they can charge over £51,000 for a, high specification, 2.0 litre diesel!

            Also, to put £40,000 into perspective, that would also buy a discounted Disco 4 3.0 V6, with 8 speed auto, which would better all of these cars for a combination of off road capability, internal space, car for the money, road presence and sheer class, although the running costs are for the dedicated and / or completely “screw loose” (I bought a new one last Autumn, so I know…)!

  10. My apologies, the largest discount currently available takes the entry level model to £43,000 (unless you’re an NFU member…)

    It’s hard to keep track of the prices rises when Land Rover “realign” their models.

    • John
      I have owned two Discovery’s a 3 and a 4. I am now about to replace my second Touareg a 3 litre R Line 245bhp costing new £38k in 2014.
      Wanting something smaller I had set my sights on a Discovery Sport. However after a half day loan I have completely gone off the idea. The Disco Sport in desireable HSE trim with auto box is just too expensive at £40k when equipped with a puny 2 litre 4 cylinder engine. The Evoque with the same engine and a higher price ticket is just as bad or even worse.
      I would really like to own a new Land Rover Discovery Sport with a 6 cylinder Diesel engine for around £40-£43k. I am sure a 6 cylinder Evoque would sell like hot cakes too. My local Land Rover dealer says that will never happen.
      I know I could buy a Jaguar F pace with a 6 cylinder engine, trouble is they are over £50k and to my eyes as ugly as sin

      • Interesting.

        While I really like 6’s, the market is going to be very limited in the UK; emissions based company car tax will ruin the chances of anything > 129g/km, while the predictable resale value and the fuel consumption will attract the private buyers. These vehicles will be niche vehicles for the fortunate few.

        It’s interesting how beauty is in the eye of the beholder; I really like the F-Pace (although no use to me – off road is what I need), while you see it as hideous. I feel the Q3 looks like yet another predictable slight variation on a VW Golf theme, while you must like it to be considering one.

        And good luck to you – it would be a dull world if we all liked the same thing!

        • It’s the Q5 that I have been casting my eye over but a new model is imminent so the old model would be a poor buy. I have tried a Macan S Diesel it drives well on the road but is really expensive by the time you have added the options deemed necessary these days.
          Disco v Touareg, the latter has been much cheaper to run and more reliable. Has better on road performance but worse off road. Depreciation wise they are more evenly matched than you may expect. My Touareg has dropped £13k in 32 months of ownership, price paid to trade value. VW offer a Touareg Escape version more suited to off road use..

  11. It would be good if they managed to make small engines behave like larger engines. I would be interested to see if the ignium 2.0 has a much improved ‘real’ mpg advantage over the Audi or Porsche equivalent V6TD. I expect it doesn’t. Heavy cars and small engines don’t really deliver economies of scale. I don’t suppose the resultant increased revving does anything for longevity either.

  12. I believe the Evoque is a triumph of styling and marketing, very much part of the Zeitgeist. It’s appeal to women must have been intentional from the start and was a wise move.
    I’m full of admiration for those that designed it and manage to make so much money out of it.
    Even if I had the money I wouldn’t consider one though, they’re hideous!

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