When the Range Rover Evoque was introduced in 2012, it was more of a fashion statement rather than an off-road performer like its siblings. This new one is even more stylish but also a more capable off-roader that is packed with new technology.
Engine – The heart of the Evoque is the familiar 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that is found in other Jaguar & Land Rover vehicles such as the E-Pace SUV. Two versions of it are available with 246 hp or 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque as equipped. For a compact SUV that tips the scales at almost 1,900 kg, the engine gives you a pretty good kick in the back when accelerating. Granted it does have quite a high turbo threshold, as in, you have to rev the engine before the turbocharger can give the boost in power. Don’t be surprised if you see the rpm needle hit 3,500 rpms when setting off from a stop.
This new Evoque is also fitted with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. It doesn’t provide any boost in power but it does shut off the engine when coming to a stop to save fuel. It’s a very aggressive system, more so than the one in the Mercedes-Benz E53 because it will shut off the engine even when it is ice cold on a chilly morning. Normally on other vehicles, the system is disabled to let the engine warm up for a few minutes but not on this. It’s the same story when you’re in stop/go traffic. Crawl a few feet and the engine gets shut off as you come to a stop. Again, other vehicles shut off the auto start/stop feature automatically after one or two cycles but not the Evoque. The actual restart of the engine is smoother than in other vehicles but it can become irritating after a short while.
But despite this little niggle, it’s a fairly efficient engine despite the heavy body that it has to move. During my week with the 2020 Range Rover Evoque, I averaged 11.3 L/100km (20.1 mpg) in total. Land Rover has not released official fuel economy figures at the time of writing this review.
Transmission – The only transmission available with the 2.0L turbo engine is a 9-speed automatic. This is where some of the sporty driving dynamics fall short on the Evoque. While this 9-speed is fast and smooth on upshifts, it is slow, dimwitted, and jerky on downshifts. It doesn’t matter whether the crossover is in Normal, Sport, or manual modes, the transmission when downshifting is slow to respond to the driving situation.
Braking – The brakes are strong despite the nearly 1,900 kg weight of the Evoque. The can feel a bit sensitive to use but after a few times, you get used to how little pedal effort is required to stop the crossover. Emergency automatic braking is a standard feature on the 2020 Evoque.
Handling – The Evoque is a sporty little SUV. Although this particular demo doesn’t have the Adaptive Dynamics package, it still feels lively through corners. Like the old generation Evoque, this new one is also equipped with real torque vectoring. Although unlike the old one, this 2020 Range Rover Evoque uses electronic clutch packs in the rear differential rather than hydraulic. What this means is that around corners, more power can be sent to the wheel which has the most grip for better turning. Steering feel though is still a bit lacking in feel and is on the lightweight side for sporty SUV driving like the Jaguar F-Pace SVR but it is ideal for bustling city streets.
Ride Comfort – As mentioned this particular demo doesn’t have the adjustable suspension but even so, it provides a supple ride over most bumps. Only large, deep potholes really unsettle the Evoque. Both front seats offer good support for the bum and the back as well as fairly good side support when driving enthusiastically around corners.
Interior Space – Front occupants have plenty of head and leg room but rear occupants are more limited in terms of both. Cargo volume is on the small side with just 472L (16.6 cu-ft) of space with the rear seats up and 1,156L (40.8 cu-ft) with the seats folded.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – For the most part, the cabin of the 2020 Evoque is well insulated. Wind and tire noise are fairly subdued on highways and are at levels that you’d expect from a compact luxury SUV. Engine noise is a bit loud when accelerating from a stop as it can go up to 3,500 rpms.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – Let’s just get this out of the way, you can’t actually see through the hood. For those that don’t know, when Land Rover announced the Evoque, they talked about a feature that would let you see through the hood of the car when going off-road. There is no camera under the SUV but what it actually does is use the forward mounted camera to slightly delay the image that is projected on the screen to make it appear as though the hood is invisible when driving forward. It’s just very clever camera work.
Other gadgets on the 2020 Range Rover Evoque include a rear camera mirror that lets you see the road behind without any obstructions. It also comes equipped with Terrain Response 2 for when you’re taking the car off-road. A nifty new safety feature called Clear Exit Monitor warns the occupants when exiting the car if another vehicle or cyclist is approaching as they open the door.
Other than those new gadgets, the Evoque also comes standard or can be equipped with the usual suite of features such as heated seats and steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, massaging seats, emergency automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep system, blind spot sensors, and park assist to name a few.
Exterior Design – The 2020 Evoque took a lot of styling inspiration from its bigger brother, the Range Rover Velar. From certain angles, it looks like a smaller version of the Velar which is one of the prettiest looking SUVs out there right now. Styling was one of the biggest selling points for the old Evoque and this new one continues the trend because it looks stunning from every angle. Oh, but those black “exhausts” are fakes. The real exhaust tip is actually behind the bumper cover and points downward.
Interior Design – The stunning design continues on the inside as more Range Rover Velar influence is visible in the form of the dual screen layout. The top touchscreen projects the navigation, audio, and various apps while the lower screen is for the climate, Terrain Response 2, and a few settings. Visually they look stunning but the system itself has a slight delay in response. Probably due to the amount of processing power that is required to run both screens.
Other than that, the rest of the interior design and materials are top notch. The leather is soft and the aluminum trim is real. There’s also a bit of storage behind the lower touchscreen for small items as well as in the lower pockets of the doors.
The 2020 Evoque starts at $47,950 CAD and can easily go up to $80,000+ CAD with all the options ticked off. I personally wouldn’t need every single option so I’d opt for a more “mid-range” equipped Evoque. However, while it does offer sporty driving with excellent daily comfort, the transmission ruins the entire driving experience. If it were just a bit more responsive like the 8-speed automatics found in other JLR vehicles, it would make for a much better driving experience.
Thank you to Land Rover Canada for providing the vehicle. www.LandRover.ca