2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
June 26, 2015

The 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque tones down the off-road chops of its older siblings and turns up the design, creating a stylish carlike utility in the process.

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is easily one of the more attractive entries in the coupe-ish SUV set, beating newcomers like the BMW X4 for sheer beauty, and carrying tidier proportions than Infiniti's QX70.

Th Evoque is more concerned with style than off-road capability and, in that way, it's a refreshingly honest take on the modern crossover, as they're increasingly being purchased as fashion accessories and seldom if ever venture off pavement.

Offered in three-door and five-door variants, the Evoque is one of the best concept-to-production examples in a while. Nearly everything, from the sharp sheetmetal to the stark interior, made the transition from show car to showroom. We applaud Land Rover for having the guts to make such a design statement with this model, and to bring it here in two different body configurations as well.

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The Evoque's turbo-four engine makes 240 horsepower and is well-suited to the stylish utility's size and nature. There's 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. New for 2015 are two Autobiography special editions; the Autobiography Dynamic brings a 285-hp version of the same engine, as well as exterior and upgrades found on the Autobiography model.

The Evoque got a mechanical upgrade for 2014. A nine-speed automatic transmission replaced the six-speed auto as the only available gearbox, offering smoother shifts and closer ratios. The result was a slight but noticeable improvement in gas mileage, from 20 mpg city, 28 highway, to current ratings of 21 mpg city, 30 highway. In everyday driving, the difference isn't hugely perceptible, though the new transmission does smooth out some of the coarseness we had previously observed in the Evoque's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Also new for 2014 was the Active Driveline system, with active differentials and torque vectoring, which is standard equipment on all models. The 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.

The Evoque's 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 2015, there are once again five variants of the five-door model, including the Pure, Pure Plus, Pure Premium, Prestige, and Dynamic, as well as the Autobiography and Autobiography Dynamic editions. The Evoque Coupe, or three-door, comes in just three of those varieties: Pure Plus, Pure Premium, and Dynamic. The three-door costs $1,000 more than a comparable five-door model in each of its trim levels.

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Styling

The Range Rover Evoque is a stiletto of an SUV, styled for urban missions rather than rugged ones.

The Range Rover Evoque does a pretty great job of melding sporty, elegant, and rugged elements into a cohesive design. That it nearly matches the show car that preceded it is both astonishing and icing on the cake. This is, after all, a style-driven segment, and no other entry is as focused on good looks as the Evoque. It even has many sports cars beat for pure visual pull.

To be sure, it's the only crossover we've felt a connection with, and it's certainly a pleasing mix of heritage Land Rover cues and modern styling. The nose has 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. Wide, powerful wheel arches mix well with the sloping, angular roofline, which can be set off by optional contrasting paint. It all terminates in a bobbed, canted rear end featuring jewel-like taillamps and a high beltline.

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. It's definitely a dramatic vehicle, crossover or no, so be ready for some extra attention.

For 2015, two new Autobiography special editions bring glitzier exterior trim and spruced-up interiors.

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7

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Performance

Capable and civilized, the Evoque is the most pavement-friendly Range Rover.

The Range Rover Evoque is decidedly on-road focused, although it doesn't entirely abandon its family's mountain-climbing ambitions, either. When kept to the streets, however, the littlest Landie offers composure and adequate performance, with its road-oriented suspension reminding that it's more sport than utility.

Under the hood lies a 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The transmission, new for 2014, 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. Sourced from Ford, a similar version of this four-cylinder is found in the Focus ST hatchback. Somehow, though, Ford's version seems better sorted, as a lot of that grittiness remains despite the nine-speed, and the sound at full throttle isn't quite as premium-feeling as the rest of the Evoque. New for 2015 is a 285-hp version of the turbo four, available solely on the Autobiography Dynamic five-door.

The word "carlike" tends to get thrown around 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; the independent suspension brings nimbleness and balance. With the Dynamic trim package, adaptive magnetic dampers offer even better 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. The feeling is small but solid, and it's more at home on the road than the related LR2.

Last year's updates also brought 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 torque-vectoring system is also fitted as standard, helping to reduce understeer in hard maneuvers.

Land Rover's four-mode Terrain Response system is standard, providing Normal, Snow, Mud & Ruts, and Sand modes--all selected by a press of a button. But what happens when the pavement runs out? Does the Evoque truly deserve its Land Rover, let alone its Range Rover, appellations? The answer is yes, though perhaps with some necessary qualifications. 

Short overhangs and a touch more ground clearance than is found on 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 Evoque acquitted itself as well as any other compact crossover we've driven. The Hill Descent Control helps to creep down inclines, and the Terrain Response package lets you ease back up them. The Evoque can manage things you wouldn't expect of such a civilized vehicle--just don't ask it to be an expedition-capable adventure vehicle like the full-sized models from the brand. In the end, most Evoque owners won't take theirs off-road, so it can be considered overbuilt for the majority of its customers, but it's still nice to know it's as capable as it is. 

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Comfort & Quality

The Evoque has more interior space than the wedgy shape suggests, and the pricey trims are rich-looking.

The Range Rover Evoque is closely related to the Land Rover LR2, although it's very different in proportions and style. It's lower, shorter, and wider, and the Evoque's interior finishing and content are much more like those of its larger Range Rover brethren.

Though it's the smallest Land Rover model, the Evoque doesn't skimp on accommodations. Everything is richly detailed, just on a smaller scale. Front passengers will find the Evoque especially comfortable, with power-adjustable seats that are stylishly trimmed and moderately bolstered. The low roof line limits headroom somewhat, 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 present, though most will only brush against it. The rear seats are contoured and supportive, although they don't offer generous leg room. In the Evoque's compact footprint, these compromises are forgivable. The "Coupe" (three-door) model offers a four-seat setup with individual rear buckets bridged by a sort of console; we'd probably keep the three-seat setup, even if only for the occasional ability to pack a trio back there for a short trip.

The cabin 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 a home for small items.

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 makes a little more room, at 20.3 cubic feet with the seats up, and 51.0 cubic feet with them folded down.

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Safety

The Evoque has a full roster of safety gear, but no crash-test scores.

The Range Rover Evoque hasn't been crash tested by either of the nationally recognized safety agencies—the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). This is not an indication that it's an unsafe vehicle; low-volume and expensive vehicles are often skipped by both agencies. We base our score on the Evoque's known safety features, because they're fairly extensive.

The 2015 Range Rover Evoque 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. Driver-assistance features include Adaptive Cruise Control with "Queue Assist," Forward Alert, and Intelligent Emergency Braking; Park Exit; and Closing Vehicle Sensing. 

Bluetooth is standard, enabling hands-free phone use, as is a rearview camera and rear parking sensors, for safer, easier parking maneuvers. A surround-view camera and a blind-spot detection system are also available as options. For 2015, the blind-spot monitor adds rear traffic detection, while the available park-assist feature can put the Evoque into a perpendicular spot now, in addition to the trickier parallel-parking jobs it automated previously.

Overall, the Evoque presents as a safe and easy-to-drive vehicle, with good forward and side visibility, though the rear view is pretty compromised. Land Rover makes up for it somewhat with the additional electronic aids, which are becoming the crutch of the stylist these days. 

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Features

Base Evoques are a little light on luxury, but the Autobiography edition lacks for nothing.

Pricing for the various 2015 Range Rover Evoque models ranges from a low of about $42,000 to a high of around $58,000, and that's before optional extras are added. The spectrum covers a spread of features, although it should be said that even the least-expensive Evoque comes well equipped.

Changes for the 2015 model year include an upgraded blind-spot monitor that can now detect rear cross-traffic, and an optional parking-assist feature that can handle perpendicular spots as well as parallel ones. There's also a new Convenience Package available on the two lowest trim levels, which bundles a smart key with passive entry and a hard-disk navigation system.

The Evoque five-door is offered in five trim levels, while the three-door is limited to just three. The procession starts at Pure, moving to Pure Plus, then Pure Premium, Prestige, and Dynamic (the three-door offers Pure Plus, Pure Premium, and Dynamic).

Pure models include a mix of leather and Dinamica synthetic suede upholstery, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient lighting, a six-way power driver's seat, and fa our-way power front passenger seat; they do 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, and 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 model is the sportiest trim line, but also the most premium. Unique bumpers, sills, grille, tailpipes, and 20-inch wheels give it an 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.

The special-edition Autobiography models will sit at the top of the range, although pricing hasn't yet been announced. Both include upgraded exterior and interior trim, while the Autobiography Dynamic adds a 285-hp version of the standard turbo four.

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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7

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Fuel Economy

Gas mileage is one of the happy surprises with the Range Rover Evoque.

The 2015 Range Rover Evoque is just as efficient a last year's model, taking the same advantage of the nine-speed automatic and more-efficient all-wheel-drive setup. The carlike descriptor extends not only to its handling and on-road demeanor, but to the fuel economy it returns, which is a welcome change from some similarly sized crossovers.

As all Evoques use the same engine and transmission combo with standard all-wheel drive, they're all rated the same by the EPA, whether three-doors or five-doors. The numbers are 20 mpg in the city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined--all while keeping the same 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood.

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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December 19, 2016
2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 5-Door HB Pure

Brutal - wish I never laid eyes on it.

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I've always wanted a Range Rover. I finally bit the bullet and dusted off my wallet for a 2015 RR Evoque Pure. I wish I had never laid eyes on this thing. I read someone else's review saying "Its a ford escape... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 5-Door HB Pure Plus

Land Rover has come a long way!

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Very impressed with Land Rover and the Evoque. Thecombination of the performance, features, comfort and reliability is what drove us to pick this sporty mid size crossover and we are very happy with it!
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April 17, 2015
For 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Beautiful Styling, incredible fit and finish, more electronics than a space ship

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The Evoque design is really striking in a land of most SUV's looking alike. the fit and finish of the body and interior is what you would expect from a premium maker like Range Rover. The interior leather... + More »
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