All-New Range Rover Evoque UK Launch
If you have a winning formula, why change it? On initial inspection that would appear to be the philosophy adopted by Land Rover with its new Evoque.
However, looks can be deceiving as the new baby Range Rover is completely new from the ground up.
As if to emphasise the point, a visit to the Halewood factory was included in the UK Media Launch – a chance to see the production process from start to finish. It’s an impressive set up even for a set of seasoned motoring hacks. Buyers will have the opportunity to take the tour and watch their own car being built.
A billion pounds has been invested in the new Evoque, much of which has gone into the car’s electrification.
Quality is paramount, as it should be with any premium car company and the inspection process at each stage of the manufacture is rigorous.
The original Evoque sold over 800,000 units in 116 countries around the world in eight years of production and scooped many awards.
Offering luxury Range Rover attributes in a compact model barely bigger than a Ford Focus clearly caught the public imagination. The new Evoque remains the same size but an increase in wheelbase has freed up more passenger space.
This is especially noticeable in the rear, where two large adults will now be able to sit with some comfort. Boot space has increased too and provision has been made for electrification.
With that in mind, all bar the entry level front wheel drive Evoque, now come fitted with a mild hybrid system. This clever technology allows the recovery of energy when the driver lifts off the throttle.
Better fuel economy and lower emissions are the result. Expect to see a plug-in hybrid model before the year is out.
For the time being, Evoque buyers can choose from 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel and petrol engines with differing power outputs.
My test car on the launch event was diesel-powered. Boasting 240hp and mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox, performance is brisk as indicated by the 7.2 seconds 0-60mph sprint time.
Boasting 500Nm of torque, the engine has plenty of low-down grunt for quick overtakes and rarely felt stretched even on some of the more challenging roads that made up the North Wales test route.
Up to 40.4mpg is promised under the new WLTP testing regime, with the trip computer recording around 35mpg during my time with the car.
Aiding progress is the familiar self-shifting automatic gearbox, which can be controlled by the steering wheel paddles should you so desire.
Much effort has been made to improve passenger comfort and the new Evoque boasts a cosseting ride even with the optional 20” alloy wheels.
Up the pace and the Evoque does not disappoint. It remains composed in high speed corners and body control is excellent. It’s more fun that the outgoing model, but those seeking ultimate thrills behind the wheel might be better served by a Jaguar E-PACE.
The launch event included some time at the Land Rover Experience Centre at Peckforton Castle and it came as no surprise that the new Evoque romped round the challenging off-road course. We did more than any owner is likely to and on standard-fit road tyres.
Interior quality has been dramatically improved and now is worthy of the Range Rover moniker. Plastics (all high quality) are recycled and whilst leather seats are likely to be most popular, there is the option of ‘Kvadrat’, a wool blend that should prove to be warmer in winter. It was fitted to the test car, though £1,735 seems a tad dear.
All the latest technology comes as standard and two central touchscreens control most of the car’s major functions. Once understood, the menus are reasonably easy to navigate but, in my mind, too much time can be spent glancing at screens rather than the road ahead…
Land Rover has fitted the Evoque with two new pieces of equipment that are worthy of mention. The first is ground view technology which uses cameras to show the front underside of the car. This is especially useful off-road, giving a view of where the front wheels are pointing and allowing the driver to avoid any large rocks or obstacles that would normally be obscured. It works well.
I am slightly less convinced by the Clearsight Rear View mirror. This works by flipping the interior mirror which turns it into a wide-angle screen. This could be useful if you have tall rear passengers or a large load. However, I found it difficult to refocus on the screen when averting my eyes away from the road – an age thing I suspect!
An Evoque can be on your driveway for a reasonable £31,600, but most are likely to spend considerably more. In SE R-Dynamic form, my test car would require the princely sum of £46,300 to gain ownership. Add a few choice extras and it is easy to break the £50,000 barrier.
All is not lost as Land Rover were quick to draw out attention to the affordable PCP deals available. With a 10% deposit, an Evoque can be financed for as little as £259 per month. Add around £150 a month for a higher spec model.
The new Evoque look sets to continue to shine in the sales charts. Land Rover has stuck to the winning formula but improved its new baby RR in all key areas - more premium interior, powerful yet frugal engines and the latest technology, all wrapped up in a stylish and desirable package.
Range Rover Evoque D240 SE R-Dynamic
£46,300 On The Road (£54,700 with options)
2.0-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine (240hp)
Nine-speed automatic gearbox/All-Wheel Drive
0-60mph in 7.2 seconds
Top speed 140mph
Economy 40.4 - 37.9mpg (WLTP)
Emissions – 163g/km CO2
Towing capacity 2,000kg (braked)