The Evoque has established itself as a commendable option and a worthy competitor to the likes of the Germans.
Long gone are the days where the size of your SUV mattered in terms of a status statement. Now, it’s all about the sleek design, the size of the wheels, and of course, technology and safety. Even practicality has been all but put on the back burner. Compact SUVs from premium automakers like this 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque HSE Si4 (there’s a name…) are the de-facto choice for young professionals looking to graduate into the next stages of life. With the potential of a family looming ahead, it’s now time to tuck away the sports car and look into more practical and capable vehicles.
In the premium compact crossover market, leaders include the Audi Q3 (reviewed here), Mercedes-Benz GLC, and BMW X1. Land Rover has been making premium SUVs for decades, and one of our longtime favourites is the full-sized Range Rover (reviewed here). On the market since 2012, the Range Rover Evoque is a subtler and more efficient choice with a milder bite, but possesses honourable presence in our urban core. The Evoque has become more and more popular over the years, having established itself a great reputation with its crisp, fresh styling and modern take on the crossover.
Though plenty of rivals offer actual off-road capabilities, most crossovers are relegated to the Costco parking lot and the gravel lot behind the local flea market when “off-roading” is considered. Still, Land Rover has ensured that their reputation for off-road prowess hasn’t been forgotten, with plenty of capability packed into the little Evoque. For those who prioritize style even more, Land Rover will sell you a convertible verson of the Evoque, as well as a two-door coupé. This Firenze Red Metallic test vehicle is a traditional five-door SUV configuration, still packing the same striking design that the Range Rover sub-brand is known for.
Found under the hood of our Evoque HSE is the Si4 powertrain. Not to be confused with the Ingenium four-cylinder found in the Discovery Sport (reviewed here), the Evoque still uses the older 2.0L turbocharged inline four-cylinder from the Ford-Land Rover days. It’s essentially a tweaked Ford EcoBoost (reviewed here) engine, good for 240 horsepower at 5,500RPM and 250 lb-ft. of torque at just 1,750RPM. The Evoque isn’t slow by any means, though implementing the Ingenium motor would increase refinement and improve efficiency even more.
Sending the power to all four wheels (when necessary) is the new nine-speed transmission sourced from ZF. Also seen in applications from Fiat-Chrysler (reviewed here) and Honda, this transmission gets better and better with time. Though initial implementations were less than stellar, the gearbox is pretty good and is eager to get into ninth gear at highway speeds. When driving around the city, gear changes are usually imperceptible, though fast passes can occasionally leave the Evoque hunting for gears. This can be annoying, though the fuel economy advantage of the nine-speed is inarguable.
The turbocharged-four paired with the nine-speed sipped fuel throughout the course of our test. At highway speeds, the RPMs are down low in ninth gear, and it’s nice and quiet too. Land Rover rates the Evoque at 11.3L/100km in the city, 7.9L/100km on the highway, for a combined figure of 9.7L/100km. Our week-long test concluded averaging 10.2L/100km on premium 91-octane fuel (required), and this included a heavy bias towards city driving. It’s also worth observing that this test took place in relatively warm winter temperatures, never really dipping below the freezing mark. This test vehicle was also riding on winter tires.
The suspension on the Evoque is on the firm side, which matches its sporty demeanour. It’s a bit on the harsh side for city slickers, especially with the 20” wheels equipped on the HSE Si4 test vehicle. Handling is perfectly adequate, and the turning circle is tight enough to make ease of parking within small spaces. One feature that outdoorsy buyers will appreciate is the Terrain Response system, which adapts the chassis and all-wheel-drive system to various terrains including snow, sand, and dirt. It also adjusts throttle response and sends traction to the appropriate wheel to ensure maximum grip at all times.
The interior of this particular Evoque is upholstered in two-tone black and Pimento Oxford leather upholstery. It also includes a perforated, heated, and leather-wrapped steering wheel, which is a similar design to the Discovery Sport rather than the bigger Range Rover (reviewed here) models. Configurable ambient mood lighting, 12-way power front seats, adaptive cruise control, and heads-up display are also on board this loaded tester.
The panoramic sunroof is fixed and does not open, though with the shade retracted, still adds plenty of light to the cabin, compensating for the small windows. Headroom overall is limited with the sunroof and thanks to the low-profile roofline of the vehicle, especially for rear seat passengers. One of our six-foot editors was able to sit comfortably in the front seats, though the rear was a bit of a challenge. Legroom is surprisingly adequate, and the rear seats fold down to make for a generous cargo area for weekend trips or even golf clubs.
Infotainment is managed via the latest version of Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Touch, which is vastly improved over previous years, with a higher resolution display. It’s a lot easier to browse through, and the display shows vibrant colours, but the system still has its limitations. There is smartphone connectivity via Bluetooth and USB, which again, is faster than before. Unfortunately, there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support; we would like to see this added in future years. The Meridian audio system replicates music beautifully, and is easily one of the best in the segment.
Competitively priced when compared to the competition, the Range Rover Evoque SE starts at $49,990. This is just about $7,000 more than the Discovery Sport, so the premium for the Range Rover sub-brand is quite significant, considering the Evoque is approximately the same size and uses many of the same parts bin items. The HSE Si4 Dynamic starts at $61,990, and our test vehicle with many options including active park assist (parallel and perpendicular self-parking) crested the $70,000 mark. This is quite expensive, considering the Range Rover Sport (reviewed here) starts at $77,000, though the Evoque is nearly fully loaded for this price.
The 2017 Land Rover Range Rover HSE Si4 fits comfortably into the premium compact crossover segment. Despite having taken quite a bit of slack for being little more than a status symbol for wealthy housewives, the Evoque has established itself as a commendable option and a worthy competitor to the likes of the BMW X1. It may be a bit on the pricier side, but there’s a price premium expected for the image and style that this crossover brings. At the end of the day, it’s also pretty capable off the beaten path, which is sure to make the Evoque a great choice for weekend adventures out of the city.