2016 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

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor
June 28, 2016

Buying tip

Although we're impressed that Land Rover's even offering a three-door Range Rover Evoque, this model only makes sense if you don't plan to put

The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque breaks through with a more urban, street-smart style and tones down the off-road chops.

The Range Rover Evoque may have been seen as a wild card when first introduced, but several years later it's one of the smartest moves Land Rover has made—giving it a distinctly different "urban rugged" entry that perfectly counters the brand's more traditionally styled products, like the Range Rover, as well as the new (and closely related) Land Rover Discovery Sport.

The Evoque stands on its own aesthetic and functional merits against the BMW X4 and Infiniti QX50, among others, but it's more concerned with off-road capability than other stylish urban crossovers. Offered in three-door and five-door variants, the Evoque continues to make a strong design statement, yet Land Rover has given it a light refresh for 2016, with a new grille, some new finishes inside and out, and a few new features inside—including new infotainment systems.

All 2016 Evoque models are powered by a 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that provides plenty of pep and punch for tasks ranging from trails to backroads and high-speed passing. Since the Evoque is relatively small and light, it even manages to come off as nimble, too. It's definitely a more car-like driving experience—and at an EPA-rated 21 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined—than you'll find in most other crossover models.

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An Active Driveline system, with active differentials and torque vectoring, is standard equipment on all models. It's one of the keys to that impressive fuel economy, as it decouples the rear wheels above 22 mph, 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, and for 2016 there's a new All-Terrain Progress Control that has the vehicle crawl at a determined speed when negotiating tricky terrain, allowing the driver to focus on the steering.

Put bluntly, the Evoque doesn't skimp on what's inside. It's all richly detailed, just on a smaller scale. 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.

Pricing for the Evoque, offered in SE, SE Premium, HSE, and HSE Dynamic models, can blow way past $60,000 when optional extras are added. But top HSE offer more than ever, with Oxford leather seats, a fixed panoramic glass sunroof, a universal garage-door opener, blind spot monitoring, and Reverse Traffic Detection. The HSE Dynamic model includes a special Dynamic Mode for the Adaptive Dynamics system, illuminated treadplates, bright exhaust finishers, a rear aero spoiler, and a perforated leather steering wheel, while a surround camera system and passive entry remain optional. Massage seats are a new option, and the Evoque's infotainment systems are all-new this year, with a cleaner interface.

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2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Styling

The Range Rover Evoque gets some fresh new details for 2016, but it remains styled for urban missions more than rugged ones.

For 2016, the Evoque gets a new front bumper, a new grille design, some new wheel patterns and full-LED headlamps (the first of any Land Rover). Yet the British utility-vehicle brand has been very smart in not introducing changes just for the sake of changes on a model that's been received very well.

The 2016 Range Rover Evoque manages to take some of Range Rover's signature "rugged-chic" elements and mixes them with some urban style, sportiness, and a different kind of elegance. It's brought a breath of fresh air to Range Rover showrooms, and even several years after its introduction we'd say that it turns heads just as effectively as many sports cars—especially if you consider the unique three-door body style.

The nose feels like it has two distinct tiers—with the lower blunt styling of an SUV down low and the thinner, pulled-back look of a sedan or coupe up top. The bull-bar-style treatment that adds power to the Land Rover grille, even one with a smaller frame. You might even say that in silhouette it's been influenced by the chopped-and-channeled look of old hot rods.

There's a lot to discuss from the outside, from the powerful wheel arches to the linear beltline and angular roofline, with a greenhouse that's narrower toward the rear and blacked out pillars throughout. It all wraps around to a bobbed, canted rear end featuring jewel-like taillights and a high window line.

Inside there was maybe a little more room to tweak the look and the package, and Land Rover is introducing a new seat design and new door casings for 2016; the look of the dash might be a bit different, too with the new infotainment system and its 8.0-inch touchscreen display.

That said, much about the cabin design hasn't changed, and that's also a good thing. 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, whatever you want to call it or however you classify it.

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2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Performance

The 2016 Range Rover Evoque is the most on-road focused model of the Land Rover lineup.

Range Rover vehicles have always been tenacious off-roaders with a surprising degree of on-the-road comfort, too. The Evoque is a bit different as it flips that balance on its side—with performance that's definitely on-road focused, without giving off-roading short shrift. 

The word "car-like" tends to get thrown around a little too often when talking about well-mannered crossovers, but in the Evoque's case, it's truly apt. Here there's nimbleness and balance in all the right ways, with electric power steering enabling light, 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.

The 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and 9-speed automatic transmission that you get in all Evoque models moves these small crossovers confidently and quickly. It's technically the same 9-speed that has earned plenty of drivability complaints in Chrysler and Jeep products the last couple of years, yet here it's somehow much better calibrated. Because of the engine's flexibility, it's perfect for both low-speed stop-and-go, trail rambling, and high-speed passing. The only thing we're not as fond of is the coarse sound of the powertrain under acceleration.

The four-wheel drive system in the Evoque now disengages at speeds above 22 mph, reducing the load on the drivetrain for improved gas mileage. It can reengage all-wheel drive in just 300 milliseconds should four-wheel-drive grip become needed. 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. And for the most part, the Evoque does indeed muster the off-road ability that owners will seek. The hill descent control helps to creep down inclines, and the Terrain Response package lets you ease back up them; and for 2016, a new All-Terrain Progress Control has the vehicle crawl at a pre-determined speed when negotiating tricky terrain, allowing the driver to focus on the steering.

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.

Overall, the Evoque can manage things not expected from such a civilized vehicle—just don't ask it to be an expedition-capable adventure vehicle like the full-sized models from the brand.

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2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Comfort & Quality

Rich-looking interior trims and a quite roomy cabin make the 2016 Range Rover Evoque a very appealing place, provided you're in front.

The Range Rover Evoque built on some of the underpinnings of the former LR2, yet now there's an LR2 replacement, the Discovery Sport, that puts a little more emphasis on seating space, ride, handling, and comfort than its predecessor. The Evoque remains the sportier, more stylish sibling of those two, yet you shouldn't automatically assume that it forgoes all comfort.

Put bluntly, the Evoque doesn't skimp on what's inside. It's all 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. Our only caution is that the panoramic sunroof will leave head room for those in the over-6-foot range a bit tight. Yet those in front are taken very good care of with seating and driving position; for 2016, for the first time, there's an available massage function and up to 14-way adjustment.

The back seat is a different story. You'll find adult-size space, but barely. Five-door models make ingress to the second row markedly easier, although taller passengers will here also notice the sunroof when it's present. The rear seats are contoured and supportive, although they don't offer generous leg room. Three-door models we wouldn't recommend for regular (or even occasional) use, as it's mostly an issue of the contortion required to enter and exit.

All versions of the Evoque have 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 about 19 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats, or nearly 48 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. The five-door makes a little more room, at about 20 cubic feet with the seats up, and 51 cubic feet with them folded down.

Elsewhere it's a bit coupe-like; the cabin offers a large center console with cupholders under a sliding door, a reasonably roomy glove box, door-panel pockets, and a relatively deep bin below the armrest.

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2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Safety

There are no crash-test scores for the 2016 Range Rover Evoque, yet there's no lack of safety features.

If you require top-tier occupant protection ratings for your next vehicle, you might be a bit disappointed here—not because the 2016 Range Rover Evoque has bad ratings, but because it has no ratings at all.

Neither of the nationally recognized U.S. safety agencies—the NHTSA nor the IIHS—have crash-tested the Evoque. In all fairness, low-sales-volume models like the Evoque are often skipped over by those testing programs, and it says nothing about its relative safety.

That hurdle aside, you'll find that the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque continues to offer some very impressive safety feature—and it's bolstered that somewhat in the active-safety area for 2016. Front, side, and curtain airbags are standard, as are anti-lock brakes, traction, and stability control.

On the traction and off-road side, the Evoque offers a 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" to help in stop-and-go traffic; forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking. Electronic driver aids for the 2016 Evoque also include a new All-Terrain Progress Control that lets the vehicle crawl at a set speed when negotiating tricky terrain, allowing the driver to focus on the steering. Buyers will also now find lane-keep assist, automatic braking, and a driver drowsiness detection system that works by constantly monitoring steering inputs to detect when a driver is at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Audible alarms and visual warnings signal when drowsiness is detected.

The Evoque presents as a safe and easy-to-drive vehicle, with good forward and side visibility, though the rear view is pretty compromised. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors, for safer, easier parking maneuvers. A surround-view camera and blind-spot monitors, including rear cross-traffic alert, are also available as options.

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2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Features

The 2016 Evoque is a luxury vehicle throughout the lineup; you can step up to a lot more, albeit at a rather steep premium.

The 2016 Range Rover Evoque is priced as a premium vehicle all the way, and even though this model has a more urban focus and "younger" look and feel throughout, its feature set is that of a full-fledged luxury vehicle.

Pricing for the Evoque—offered in SE, SE Premium, HSE, and HSE Dynamic models—can blow way past $60,000 when optional extras are added.

The Evoque SE comes with 12-way front seats, perforated grained-leather upholstery, front and rear parking assistance, 18-inch split-spoke alloy wheels, and the InControl Touch Plus infotainment system, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen. SE Premium models add bi-xenon headlamps, LED accent lighting, headlamp washers, a gesture-operated tailgate, front fog lamps, driver’s seat memory settings, a navigation system, and InControl Apps compatibility.

HSE models are the premium-trim levels in an already luxury vehicle. These models include Oxford leather seats, heated front seats, chrome tread plates, a fixed panoramic glass sunroof, automatic high beams, a universal garage-door opener, interior mood lighting, and blind-spot monitors with closed vehicle sensing and rear cross-traffic alert.

Want more? The top HSE Dynamic model includes a special Dynamic Mode for the Adaptive Dynamics system, illuminated treadplates, bright exhaust finishers, a rear spoiler, and a perforated leather steering wheel.

There's an available park-assist feature can put the Evoque into a perpendicular spot now, in addition to the trickier parallel-parking jobs it automated previously.

Other available extras include an 825-watt Meridian audio system; keyless ignition; a surround-view camera system; and a heated windshield and steering wheel.

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2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Fuel Economy

Gas mileage remains better than most crossovers and far better than nearly all off-road-capable SUVs.

The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is car-like, not just in the way it responds and handles, but in the efficiency that it returns in day-to-day driving.

All Evoque models are powered by the same engine and transmission, with standard all-wheel drive, and they come with the same EPA ratings of 21 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined, regardless of the number of doors.

The wide ratio spread and deep overdrive top gear of the 9-speed automatic transmission plays some role in fuel efficiency, as does an all-wheel drive system that mostly disconnects power to the rear wheels when all-wheel drive isn't needed. At around 3,600 pounds, the Evoque is also a lightweight vehicle compared to other Land Rover models.

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September 25, 2016
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 5-Door HB HSE

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Let me start by saying that I've wanted this car for so long, and after two months of owning one it was well worth the wait. That said, two of the three three star ratings are partly my fault... + More »
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