The Evoque prioritizes form over function, and that’s a good thing in some cases.
Range Rover – a brand that carries much cache in the worldwide SUV market that it turns heads everywhere. They started in Europe, and Asia is currently one of the brand’s biggest markets. It’s one of the most respected brands in the Middle East and in North America, where SUVs rule the road, the luxury brand sells very well. On the streets of Toronto, crossovers by Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes Benz are everywhere you look. Seeing a Range Rover is rarer, and even drivers of the brands mentioned earlier will turn their head to see what has pulled up beside them. The 2020 Range Rover Evoque HSE R-Dynamic, much like the first generation model it replaces, gets noticed quickly.
Sliding into the driver’s seat, you’ll notice numerous screens, starting with a clean and well-organized digital instrument gauge cluster. Sitting in the centre is the InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. The top screen tilts out of the dash for a perfect line of view. You have access to the navigation system, multi media apps and radio; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. The screen also doubles as a rear view camera with high resolution so it’s always crisp and clear. Under is the second screen that controls the HVAC, seat functions and AWD settings. The two large knobs change when you switch from one screen to the next, which is confusing and distracting if trying to access certain controls while driving. A small volume knob in tucked in the middle and blocked by the shift knob.
The interior is modern and inviting. Build quality is top notch with high quality materials. A massive panoramic sunroof and sliding sunshade pull back when you start the Range Rover Evoque R Dynamic HSE. More light is always a nice touch during the winter season when sun rays are a rarity. The seats are super comfortable and have a good amount of side bolster if you decide to test the handling capabilities. Optioned are heated and cooled seats along with a massage feature. Sitting in traffic was actually quite enjoyable while getting a massage. Storage capacity up front is more than ample. The centre console with dual sliding armrest for the driver and front passenger is quite large. The cup holders by the door held my large water mug bottle with ease. There is a small compartment tucked under the shifter for smaller items such as your phone. Ambient lighting adds some personal customization if your into that. I basically turned it off and never gave it a second look. With this being a compact SUV, there are only 591 litres of capacity in the trunk with the rear seats up and with the seats down, this number grows to 1,383 litres. Unfortunately the rear seats do not fold down completely.
The Evoque’s exterior has been completely reworked for the 2020 model year. Range Rover’s update to the second generation version of the compact crossover provides a modern and aggressive look that makes its presence known. The door handles that recess into the doors provide a clean look that had several passengers ask to see them in action. The 20-inch wheels optioned on this model are snazzy, but those looking for more comfort and a subtle look should stick with the standard 18-inch setup. If style is more your flavour, a 21-inch option is also available. The Black Exterior Package replaces all exterior chrome with gloss black for a more aggressive look, for $800.
Power comes in the form of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. This system collects regenerative energy when the user applies the brakes, and uses that stored power when accelerating. Power is smooth and linear through a nine-speed automatic transmission, however it did seem to shudder more than expected when the cylinder deactivation engages. With 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque, there is more than enough power for the average crossover buyer.
Weighing just over 4,000 pounds, the Evoque takes 6.6-seconds to scoot from a stop to 100km/h. Towing capacity is about 3,300-pounds, which is more than enough for those weekend trips up to cottage country. After a week of evaluation in mainly city driving, we experienced consumption of about 11.5L/100km, and premium 91-octane fuel is required to fill the 67 litre tank.
Ride quality is fairly composed on major streets and highways where the Evoque will spend most of its time. Handling is actually impressive, with quick steering ratios. Trying to avoid potholes and raised manholes was quite impressive; this is the type of confidence you want in a vehicle if ever put in a situation where evasive maneuvers are required. With this being a Range Rover-brand vehicle, its off-road capabilities are some of the best in the business. The equipped Terrain Response 2 system monitors the driving conditions and makes adjusts the throttle, chassis, and all-wheel-drive system to select the most suitable mode for the situation.
Standard safety features on board include automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and a front and rear parking aid system. Our test vehicle was also equipped with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and high-speed emergency braking. Pricing starts at $47,950 for the base Evoque P250 (with a de-tuned motor), while the R-Dynamic tested here starts at $53,500 and comes with the 296-hp powertrain as standard issue. The top-trim R-Dynamic HSE starts at $62,500, and our test vehicle added a few packages included premium paint, a Driver Assist Package, and comes in just shy of $70,000.
The Evoque competes with the likes of the BMW X2 (reviewed here), Mercedes-Benz GLA 250, and Land Rover’s own Discovery Sport. It’s definitely a bit on the pricier side, especially as equipped, but gets style points and attracts a significant bit of the market share as such. The Evoque is not necessarily something you see on the road very often; it’s unique and genuinely enjoyable. If making a statement and having some off-road capability is a necessary part of the equation, this might be the pick for you.