2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
April 4, 2013

The 2013 Range Rover Evoque nails the coupe-crossover concept, and puts the off-roading on mute with a sexy shape and a casual elegance.

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque defines trendy--yup, it's a "coupelike crossover"--but somehow it defies the quicksand that's sunk other star-crossed attempts at this kind of SUV husbandry. Where the BMW X6 and Infiniti FX underwhelm on room and overwhelm on price, and where the MINI Paceman un-satisfies, the Evoque wins us over. And it's not all based on its wardrobe choices.

For 2013, a range of updates and a new entry-level model bring a freshness to the Evoque in its second year on the road. Not that its design needed any freshening in the first place; it's the most comely crossover we've seen--perhaps ever. While there's still a vague resemblance to its blocky, slab-sided Land Rover complements, the Evoque pares it all back to a sleek, angular form that looks at home in the city as no off-roader truly can.

The Evoque still retains its off-road DNA, too, though it's less obvious than it is elsewhere in the brand's offerings. A new off-road navigation feature in navigation-equipped models brings a better sense of direction to off-book excursions, while Terrain Response electronics and MagneRide dampers help the all-wheel-drive system cope with a variety of surface conditions, off road or on.

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Under the hood lives a 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that can be a bit coarse at times, but still gives the Evoque a strong, peppy feeling once the turbo is spooled. The Evoque's relatively light weight and small dimensions help with the  sense of sport and nimbleness.

Inside the Evoque, you'll find a compact crossover that makes the most of the available space, with a wide cargo and passenger area. The front seats offer plenty of room for most adults, and while the rear seats are a bit tighter, there's still room enough for friends, though entry to the rear seats can be tough in the three-door coupe models. The five-door variant eases this, but still carries the same amount of total cargo at nearly two dozen cubic feet of space.

For 2013, there are five variants of the five-door, and three variants of the coupe. Ranging in price from $41,995 to $52,595 for the five-door and $44,995 to $53,095 for the coupe, the primary differences are found in equipment levels, though subtle exterior cues will tip off knowledgeable fans. A new Pure trim is the entry-level Evoque for 2013, shaving about $2,000 off the previous year's base price.

Jumping up to the Prestige trim line brings 19-inch wheels, more premium leather throughout the interior, and genuine wood and metal finishes on the trim. The top-range Dynamic adds unique bumpers, side sills, a different grille, unique tailpipes, and its own 19-inch wheels. Contrasting  colors for the roof and spoiler are also available, while the interior gets a darker sport-themed treatment with dashes of bright accent colors, and perforated leather seats.

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2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Styling

Stylish and compact, the 2013 Range Rover Evoque still somehow manages to show its Land Rover roots.

A sexy fusion of its own LRX concept vehicle and--of course--the MINI Cooper, the 2013 Range Rover Evoque is the first coupe-like SUV to really work. It's an aesthetic home run from the outside, and pretty successful inside as well.

From launch, Land Rover took pains to associate the Evoque with fashion, including a special edition by Victoria Beckham. Even without the celebrity endorsements, the Evoque is convincingly stylish. In fact, the Evoque is the most stunning SUV or crossover we've yet laid eyes on. At the front, the bull bar gives a powerful look, with the Land Rover grille fitting the smaller Evoque's front well; a chopped, channeled silhouette gives a sense of motion, and the cutline details curve over the wheel arches, exuding power and stability. The sloping, angular roofline and reverse wedge of the glass make instant-classic proportions, accented by the availability of contrasting roof colors.

Inside, trims can range from sleek, cool metallic to warm, inviting wood; either way, the suggestion of the larger Range Rovers is present without making a mockery of the Evoque's small size. Large, rounded gauges feature front and center before the driver, while cut-corner rectangles frame the controls. Dynamic models mix bright color and trim combinations, while Prestige versions mellow out with earthier tones. Under it all, there's a depth and quality to the look, enhanced by ambient LEDs in driver-selectable colors--and which turn red in Dynamic models when sport mode is engaged.

Tweaks to the look for 2013 include a revised grille with black Land Rover logo inset, a new wheel finish on Prestige models, and the availability of a contrasting roof color on all models.

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2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Performance

Once you get past the slight turbo lag, the 2013 Range Rover Evoque is peppy, fun, and carlike.

The Range Rover Evoque isn't a full-scale Land Rover, despite the name, but it's impressively capable off-road for what it is--a catlike Land Rover crossover. Just don't go fording any fast-moving rivers or trekking the Rubicon.

Lower in height, and also lower in power and displacement than the other Land Rovers, the Evoque is nonetheless peppy and fun in its own right, with a 240-horsepower direct-injection 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder driving it along. A six-speed transmission handles gear changes--rising out of the dash like the one in the Jaguar XF, a cool and futuristic feature--playing well with the engine for an engaging driving experience. A bit of turbo lag does rear its head, a trait that isn't ideal on the trail or in the mud, but which doesn't really get in the way in typical use on the road.

The term "carlike" is thrown around a bit too lightly at times with other crossovers; here, it's perfect. Electric power steering makes steering light and crisp, while the independent suspension gives it a nimbleness and balance completely unlike an SUV or larger crossover. Step up to the Dynamic model and magnetically-controlled dampers replace the standard units for even more ride quality and body control. A few miles behind the wheel of the Evoque makes it clear: this is not just a new breed of Land Rover, but a new breed of crossover.

Still, it's the promise of true off-road strength that brings buyers back to the brand when an Audi Q5 or a Volvo XC60 might do just as well. A reinforced, high-strength steel body is underpinned by Land Rover's four-mode, all-conditions Terrain Response system. It puts a Haldex all-wheel-drive system together with electronic software that splits drivetrain behavior into normal, Snow, Mud and Ruts, and Sand modes, which are selected by tapping buttons on the console--no levers to shift.

The Evoque has short overhangs, and even a bit more ground clearance than the LR2, and in our trail-riding time in prototype three-doors, the system showed off as much all-weather talent as the Explorers we've driven this year. It'll clamber up or roll haltingly down fairly steep hills, anti-lock sensors dictating bursts of torque and braking to modulate the trip up or down. It's pretty amazing how electronics have changed the art of off-road driving to a few switches, but make no mistake--the Evoque's hardware does a lot of things, but it's not intended to be, and not capable of being, the off-road equal of a "real" Range Rover.

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2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Comfort & Quality

Comfortable and built with excellent materials, the 2013 Range Rover Evoque doesn't disappoint.

The 2013 Range Rover Evoque draws on some of the genes of today's Land Rover LR2, which itself is kin to the Volvo XC60. But the Evoque's been lowered, shortened and widened into a distinct package that's consciously smaller outside and less spacious inside than its sibling--all in the name of fashion.

Despite the implicit indictment, the Evoque doesn't skimp on the accommodations despite the downsizing. Front passenger comfort, especially, is very good, with power-adjustable seats, wearing cut-down bolsters, trimmed (on some versions) in bold stitching. As the low roof line implies, head room isn't excessive, but it's enough for most occupants, even with the panoramic sunroof fitted. Elbow- and hip-room are very good--the Evoque is actually a few inches wider than the larger LR2.

The back, however, is a bit tighter. Both three- and five-door models clip head room for the roof's visible slope, requiring a duck to enter the back seats, and a brush of the head against the sunroof, if equipped--at least for taller passengers. Once there, the contoured, supportive seats are comfortable, though the shorter seat bottoms don't add any practical leg room, leaving six-footers rubbing knees against seatbacks. Bottom line here: while you might begrudge a full-size SUV or even a larger crossover this trimming of space, in the Evoque, it's part of the package--and forgivable as a result.

Three-door Evoques offer about the same room and comfort as the five-door model, as they share the same wheelbase. What's not the same between the two is the ease of entry and exit from those just-big-enough rear seats; clambering past the front buckets and contorting under the low roof might sound fun for kids, but those of us with a few more miles will find it a bit awkward. Three-door models do offer a choice between a bench seat for three or a pair of buckets. Since rear-seat access isn't the strong suit of the three-door Evoque, we'd probably pick the buckets just for sheer impracticality.

Storage space is still quite good, and despite its cut and creased body, it has more cargo room than some taller luxury crossovers. The three-door Evoque sports 19.4 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats, and 47.6 cubic feet when those seats are folded down. The five-door has marginally more space, at 20.3 cubic feet with the seats up, and 51.0 cubic feet with them down.

The cabin has a big center console bin with cupholders hidden under a sliding screen, and a fairly deep bin under the armrest. A nicely sized glovebox and decent door-panel pockets give drivers some places to stash stuff out of sight.

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2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Safety

The 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque hasn't yet been crash-tested, but it carries a full set of safety equipment.

Though it's entering its second year on the market, the 2013 Land Rover Ranger Rover Evoque hasn't yet been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).

Our score, therefore, is based on the Evoque's safety features, including: front, side, and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction and stability control; and user-selectable all-wheel drive with trailer stability assist and hill-descent control. The latter two features rely on the Evoque's anti-lock braking system to enhance vehicle stability in more extreme driving (especially off-road) or towing conditions. New for 2013, the optional Park Assist system offers automated parking, and off-road navigation is added to enhance travel off the beaten path.

Hands-free phone operation is easy with standard Bluetooth. A standard rearview camera and rear parking sensors makes backing up easier. An optional surround-view camera enhances the view further, and blind-spot detection is available for highway lane-changes. These two optional extras are worth looking at, as the Evoque's high-rise rear end, rear headrests, and rear pillars can impair visibility.

Not that visibility in general isn't very good--it is. Just beware the view out the back.

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2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Features

Standard features cover the basics, but the extensive options list lets owners the 2013 Range Rover Evoque their own.

Last year, base prices started at just under $44,000 for the Range Rover Evoque five-door and $45,000 for the three-door. This year, a new model takes the Pure spot in the range, shedding the panoramic glass roof for a solid aluminum panel and a lower starting price of just $41,995, while the other models hold steady on price as features grow

New features for 2013 include automated parking assist, off-road navigation, wider availability of the contrast-color roof option, and a new wheel finish on Prestige models.

Packaging its trim lines as themes keeps with the Evoque's premium design statement, and the three core types are Pure, Prestige, and Dynamic, though Pure now comes in three grades.These themes govern the look and material of the interior, while options and features are primarily a la carte.

The new lower-cost entry-level Pure does away with the panoramic glass roof common to the rest of the range, while the cabin does away with some of the leather for a mix of genuine leather and Dinamica synthetic suede. Standard features like cruise control, climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient lighting, six-way power driver seat, and four-way power front passenger seat are included.

Prestige models get exclusive 19-inch wheels, metallic trim details, and an extensive leather treatment throughout the cabin, with twin-needle stitching detail. Genuine wood and metal finishes complete the look of the luxury-themed two-tone contrasting style.

Dynamic models go for a sportier look, with unique bumpers, side sills, grille, and tailpipes, plus 19-inch wheels. Contrasting roof and spoiler color options offset the sport-themed, darker interior accented with slashes of brighter colors. Perforated leather seats and sports detailing finish the look.

A wide array of convenient and high-tech options can also quickly inflate the bottom line, including: Surround Camera System for 360-degree views; adaptive/auto-dimming headlights; heated windshield, seats, and steering wheel; Smart Key passive keyless entry and start; powered liftgate; hard drive navigation; Bluetooth with audio streaming capability; an 825-Watt Meridian surround sound system; rear-seat entertainment with 8-inch screens and wireless headphones; and satellite radio.

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2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Fuel Economy

It's no Prius, but the 2013 Range Rover Evoque's downsized engine and weight-conscious design help it score well.

It's hard for any sport utility vehicle or crossover to get a high green score, primarily because of their size, weight, and power requirements--they just don't typically add up to an earth-pleasing sum. With the 2013 Range Rover Evoque, however, minimizes those weaknesses and plays up its strengths.

That strength comes largely from its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which delivers good power (240 horsepower, to be precise) while still achieving an estimated 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Final EPA numbers haven't been confirmed, however.

But the smaller, turbocharged engine isn't the full story. Land Rover shaved weight from the Evoque to just 3,600 pounds--about a ton lighter than the larger Range Rovers. On top of that, each Evoque includes about 35 pounds of recycled plastics.

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June 27, 2015
2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 5-Door HB Pure Plus

It's beautiful with not so great performance

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- Ride comfort: 3/5; isn't the best. It's stiff most times and the seats are not even close to the comfort of BMW X5 or 535i - Acceleration: 3/5, the turbocharged engine while delivering decent torque at... + More »
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Styling 9.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 8.0
Features 9.0
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