New & Used Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: In Depth
2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque AutobiographyEnlarge Photo
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The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque may have a long name, but in reality it's one of the most compact vehicles in the British SUV maker's lineup. Stylish and sized for urban missions, the Evoque shares some of its mechanicals with the Land Rover LR2.
As a part of the Range Rover sub-brand, the Evoque gets more luxurious trim and features. As such, it's a rival for vehicles like the Volvo XC60, Audi Q5, even the BMW X4.MORE: Read our latest Land Rover Range Rover Evoque review
The Evoque touches all the right surfaces, for those who don't lean toward the rugged-chic SUV aesthetic. It's also drawing in admirers who want the Land Rover cachet but don’t want a big vehicle or large fuel bills. Rather than many other crossovers, which start as SUVs to the eyes and become softer in the details and the drive, the Evoque’s look starts as a car and gets just a few rugged touches in its look. The roofline itself could be mistaken for that of a sports coupe, and its backward slope and blacked-out A-pillar make it especially distinctive from afar, but it’s the tall, rugged stance, really, that make the Evoque what it is. Not since the AMC Eagle has there been a vehicle that looks so carlike, yet so brawny.
Powering the Evoque is a 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s a bit coarse in character but works well with the six-speed automatic transmission and altogether feels quick. With a version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response all-wheel-drive system, as well as an excellent magnetically controlled suspension on many models, the Evoque feels as much in its element on potholed city streets and curvy mountain roads as it does on a forest trail. Acceleration to 60 mph happens in just over seven seconds, with a top speed of 135 mph, and in its initial year the Evoque earned EPA ratings of 19 mpg city, 28 highway.
Interior appointments for the Evoque are on the mark in every respect—warm and inviting, with a soft padded dash, earthy (Prestige models) or colorful (Dynamic models) tones and contrasting trims, and in general it feels more luxury coupe than off-roader.
At just 172 inches long, the Evoque is truly compact, which makes it a great partner in urban environs. The packaging and electric power steering make parking and maneuvering in tight spots very easy. It still manages to be comfortable for four adults, although getting full-sized folks into the back seat of the two-door model is a little tough. The Evoque keeps everyone inside connected to the outside world, with a USB port, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, and a touch-screen head unit all standard. Navigation is an option, as are high-powered sound systems.
Land Rover has shown an Evoque Convertible Concept (at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show), although it hasn’t yet made any formal announcement about whether this model is headed to production.
For 2013, a new Pure model ditched the panoramic glass roof and some of the interior leather (replaced by synthetic suede) to shave $2,000 off the entry price to the range. A new Park Assist automated parking feature was also made available for 2013, and off-road navigation is now included in the standard navigation package.
For the 2014 model year, a new nine-speed automatic transmission was fitted to the Evoque, offering smoother shifts and closer ratios. The result is a slight but noticeable improvement to gas mileage, from last year's 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined to this year's ratings of 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway). Also new for the 2014 model year was the Active Driveline system, with active differentials and torque vectoring, which is equipped standard in all models. The new system aims to reduce drag on the drivetrain by de-coupling the four-wheel-drive system automatically at speeds above 22 mph, then re-enabling it within 300 milliseconds whenever it's needed.
For the 2015 Range Rover Evoque, the Autobiography trim has been applied to the standard-output model, as well as the newly available 285-hp Dynamic version. Both feature enhanced body styling, 20-inch forged alloy wheels and premium leather interior details. The Dynamic also benefits from a chassis that’s been optimized for sharper handling, larger brakes and a more responsive transmission.
Land Rover is also using the 2015 Range Rover Evoque to debut its new smartphone-enabled InControl system. It allows control of select smartphone apps (iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Glympse, others) through the vehicle's touchscreen and buttons. InControl works with Android and Apple phones once they're connected to a USB port in the Evoque.