2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
August 13, 2014

The 2014 Range Rover Evoque may not be as burly as its bigger brand-mates, but it's every bit as sophisticated and stylish.

The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque may be the best-looking compact crossover utility around. The British call them "soft-roaders," but the Evoque pairs beauty with brains to make a surprisingly sensible vehicle that packs a lot of space into a small footprint. It's still a luxury vehicle, so it doesn't compete on value with the volume crossovers from bigger brands.

But while there are a growing number of coupe-styled crossovers entering the market--the latest is the BMW X4, joining the Infiniti QX70 (nee FX)--the Evoque interprets its role with suave grace and quiet confidence. After you've spent some time living with it, the notion that it might compare to something like the cartoonish MINI Cooper Paceman recedes into the rear-view mirror.

Now in its third year, the Evoque gets a mechanical upgrade for 2014. A new nine-speed automatic transmission reaches the range, 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). In everyday driving, the difference isn't hugely perceptible, though it does smooth out some of the coarseness we had previously observed in the Evoque's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

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That turbo-four engine rates 240 horsepower, and is well-suited to the Evoque's size and nature. The turbocharged nature means plenty of torque, giving the Evoque a peppy, punchy feel. Since the Evoque is relatively small and light, it even manages to come off as nimble, too. The combination makes for a more car-like driving experience than you'll find in the rest of the crossover-coupe world.

Also new for the 2014 model year is 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. Active Torque Biasing and Torque Vectoring also aim to improve traction and distribution of torque to the optimal wheel in low-grip conditions or in performance driving scenarios.

Inside the Evoque, the cabin is compact but well-arranged, making the most of the available space. The front seats are spacious and comfortable, with a wide range of adjustment; the rear seats are a bit tighter, but still suitable for adults. In three-door models, entry to the rear seats can be a bit difficult, but the five-door version remedies that completely. Cargo space is not excessive, but given the Evoque's exterior dimensions, it's reasonable at 24 cubic feet, and the space itself is wide and easy to access.

For the 2014 model year, there are five variants of the five-door model, including the Pure ($41,995), Pure Plus ($44,995), Pure Premium ($49,595), Prestige ($56,295), and Dynamic ($57,195). The Evoque Coupe, or three-door, comes in three varieties: Pure Plus ($45,040); Pure Premium ($50,595); and Dynamic ($58,195).

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Styling

Debonair style and compact size makes the 2014 Range Rover Evoque the perfect crossover for the urban lifestyle.

The Range Rover Evoque is the first of the coupe-like crossovers or SUVs to put those disparate design elements together in a way that works. Sexily fusing the sporty, elegant side of its design with a still-rugged aesthetic in the undertones, the Evoque is a stylish home run for Land Rover.

Even outside the world of the coupe-like crossover, the Evoque is perhaps the most enticing of all SUVs. It's one of the only we've felt a connection with, and it's certainly a pleasing mix of heritage Land Rover cues and modern, 21st-century technology. The nose hosts a bull-bar-style treatment that adds power to the Land Rover grille, even on the smaller frame. The silhouette looks almost like the chopped-and-channeled style popular with mid-century hot-rodders, giving a sense of motion and sport. Cutline details curve over the wheel arches for a powerful stance, and the sloping, angular roofline matches the glazing's reverse-wedge profile for a new instant classic set of proportions, set off by the available contrasting roof colors.

The Evoque's cabin is sleek, if not quite simple, with a range of cool metallic or warm wood trims available. Hints of the ultra-luxurious trappings of the full-sized Range Rover line can be found in the shapes and themes, with large, rounded gauges ahead of the driver and cut-corner rectangles framing the controls. In Dynamic models, bright colors liven up the trim options; Prestige versions find a mellower, earthier medium.

Beneath the layer of style and pop, there's a sense of quality and care, a depth that says there's substance as well as sizzle. Ambient LEDs turn up the details a notch, especially in Dynamic models, which flare to red lighting when sport mode is engaged.

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Performance

Peppy, fun, and car-like, the 2014 Range Rover Evoque is a civilized, capable crossover.

The Range Rover Evoque's Land Rover genes might not be bone-deep--it's not the go-anywhere luxury-upholstered mountain goat--but it's  still impressive and capable off-road considering its decidedly urban upbringing. More catlike than the rest of the range, the Evoque spans a gap most other crossovers can't manage.

Lower in height and power, lighter in weight, and smaller in footprint than the rest of the Land Rover and Range Rover line, the Evoque bridges the gap between car-like ride and handling and SUV-like feel and function.

Under the hood lies a 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The transmission is a notable upgrade from the previous six-speed automatic, doing much to smooth out some of the coarseness in the turbo engine's nature and improve gas mileage in the process. While never overwhelmingly powerful like the 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 in the full-sized Range Rover, the Evoque's turbo four is peppy and punchy as soon as the turbo is spooled up.

Words like "car-like" tend to get used too often when talking about well-mannered crossovers, but in the Evoque's case, it's truly apt. Electric power steering makes for light and crisp maneuvers; independent suspension brings nimbleness and balance. With the Dynamic trim package, magnetic dampers offer even more ride quality and body control. Drive the new Evoque and you'll realize it's not just a new kind of Land Rover, but an entirely new kind of crossover.

Other new features for the 2014 model year include a new four-wheel drive system that disengages at speeds above 22 mph, reducing the load on the drivetrain for improved gas mileage. Should four-wheel-drive grip become needed, however, it can re-engage in just 300 milliseconds. A new torque-vectoring system is also fitted as standard, helping to reduce understeer in hard maneuvers.

But what happens when the pavement runs out? Does the Evoque truly deserve its Land Rover, let alone its Range Rover, appellations? It does, though perhaps not to the same degree. A reinforced, high-strength steel body wraps around the capable turbo four-cylinder powertrain and Land Rover's four-mode Terrain Response system, with Haldex all-wheel-drive providing grip in Normal, Snow, Mud & Ruts, and Sand modes--all selected by a press of a button.

Short overhangs and a touch more ground clearance than found in the more rugged-looking Land Rover LR2 give the Evoque the geometric requirements for basic off-roading. In our time off-road with the three-door model, the overall system acquitted itself as well as any other compact crossover we've driven, whether using Hill Descent Control to creep down inclines or using the Terrain Response package to ease back up them, the Evoque can manage things you wouldn't expect of such a civilized vehicle--just don't expect it to be an expedition-capable adventure vehicle like the full-sized models from the brand.

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Comfort & Quality

Fantastic materials and surprising space meet comfort in the 2014 Range Rover Evoque.

Sharing some of its genes with the Land Rover LR2, the Range Rover Evoque is nonetheless its own beast. Lower, shorter, wider, and absolutely unique aesthetically, the Evoque is also much closer to its larger Range Rover brethren when it comes to interior quality, features, and style.

Smaller it surely is, but that doesn't mean the Evoque skimps on the accommodations. Front passengers will find the Evoque especially comfortable, with power-adjustable seats, stylishly trimmed and moderately bolstered. The low roof line limits the extremes of headroom, but even those over six feet will find space in the Evoque's cabin--even with the panoramic sunroof box ticked.

The back seat can be a bit tighter, though there's still adult-sized room. Five-door models make ingress to the second row markedly easier; three-door models will require a little contortion. Taller passengers will also notice the roof when the sunroof is equipped, though most will only brush against it. The rear's seats are contoured and supportive, however, if not expansive in leg room. In the Evoque's compact footprint, these compromises are forgivable.

Whichever version of the Evoque you choose, there's a fair amount of storage space, especially considering the crossover's overall size and the amount of room dedicated to passengers. The three-door model offers 19.4 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats, or 47.6 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. The five-door gets a few extra percentage points, at 20.3 cubic feet with the seats up, and 51.0 cubic feet with them folded down.

The cabin itself offers a large center console with cupholders under a sliding door, and a relatively deep bin below the armrest. The glovebox is also fair-sized, and door-panel pockets offer some small-item stashes.

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Safety

A full complement of standard and available safety equipment weigh in favor of the 2014 Range Rover Evoque.

The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque hasn't been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), but that doesn't mean it's not a safe vehicle.

In fact, we base our score on the Evoque's known safety features, because they're fairly extensive, and grow with the addition of new driver-assistance features for the 2014 model year, including: Adaptive Cruise Control with "Queue Assist," Forward Alert, and Intelligent Emergency Braking; Park Exit; and Closing Vehicle Sensing. On top of the new features, the 2014 Range Rover Evoque also offers standard front, side, and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction and stability control; user-selectable all-wheel drive with trailer stability assist; and hill-descent control.

Those last two features leverage the Evoque's anti-lock braking system to improve vehicle stability in low-grip conditions, including off-road use. For 2014, the Evoque also gets a new differential and torque vectoring system aimed at reducing understeer in high-performance or emergency maneuvers.

Bluetooth is standard, enabling hands-free phone use, while a rearview camera is also standard, along with rear parking sensors, for safer, easier parking maneuvers. A surround-view camera and a blind-spot detection system are also available as options.

Overall, the Evoque presents as a safe and easy-to-drive vehicle, with good forward and side visibility, though the rear view can be a bit difficult--though it is made easier with the electronic aids.

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Features

Well-equipped in base form, the 2014 Range Rover Evoque has an extensive array of available upgrades.

Ranging from relatively affordable to firmly in the premium segment, the 2014 Range Rover Evoque offers a broad mix of features and equipment, well-equipped even in base form, but with many available add-ons and extras.

Last year, Land Rover added automated parking assist, off-road navigation, and expanded availability of the contrasting roof color option. For 2014, the Evoque gets new safety and driver-assist equipment, including adaptive cruise control, "Park Exit," and "Closing Vehicle Sensing."

In addition to the upgraded driver assist features, the Evoque also gets a new nine-speed transmission as standard equipment, and a new set of active differentials with active torque biasing and torque vectoring.

Arrayed in five trims (for the five-door version; three trims for the three-door) the Range Rover Evoque starts at "Pure," rises to Pure Plus, then Pure Premium, Prestige, and Dynamic (the three-door offers Pure Plus, Pure Premium, and Dynamic). At the entry-point of Pure, the Evoque includes a mix of leather and Dinamica synthetic suede upholstery, cruise control, climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient lighting, six-way power driver's seat, and four-way power front passenger seat; but does without pricier features like the panoramic sunroof.

Stepping up to Prestige level (five-door only) nets exclusive 19-inch wheels, sparkling metallic interior trim details, an almost complete leather interior upholstery. The leather itself is upgraded to a more premium feel, twin-needle stitching is used, and genuine wood and metal finishes set off a variety of two-tone color schemes.

The Dynamic is the sportiest trim line, but also the most premium. Unique bumpers, sills, grille, tailpipes, and 20-inch wheels give the aggressive exterior, while a darker interior accented with bright splashes of color accentuates the sport theme, along with perforated leather seats and sport trim elements.

Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with audio streaming is standard; available extras include an 825-watt Meridian audio system; Smart Key passive keyless entry and start; a surround camera system for 360-degree visibility; powered tailgate; heated windshield, seats, and steering wheel; hard-drive-based navigation; and more.

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Fuel Economy

Well-equipped in base form, the 2014 Range Rover Evoque has an extensive array of available upgrades.

With a new nine-speed automatic transmission for the 2014 model year, the Range Rover Evoque is more efficient than ever, even edging up into sedan territory despite is higher-riding crossover status.

The previous model rated 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. For 2014, those figures rise to 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined--all while keeping the same 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood.

Of course, the new nine-speed transmission isn't the only reason for the Evoque's gas mileage. The 2014 model year also sees the introduction of a new system that disengages the four-wheel-drive system above 22 mph, only re-engaging it when necessary.

The Evoque's relatively light weight also plays into the reasonable gas mileage figures, as its 3,600-pound curb weight isn't far off many five-passenger sedans of similar footprint, and is as much as 1,000 pounds lighter than the full-size Range Rovers.

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June 1, 2015
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 5-Door HB Dynamic

Great SUV the best car i have ever had and Fantastic for towing the Caravan

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Had car for 14 months fitted with new 9 speed auto/ gearbox which give you a good MPG .Great Design and very comfortable i have a glass roof, i only wish they fitted sunroofs to Evouqe .
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Styling 9
Performance 7
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