Range Rover Evoque 2.2 SD4 review
The Sd4 is available in all three Evoque trims – Pure, Prestige and Dynamic – and in both three-door and five-door bodystyles. The model we’re testing here is a five-door Dynamic, which costs £37,380.
What’s it like to drive? Excellent, without ever really traversing the dividing line between SUV (which it is) and pure driver’s car (which it isn't). The gearbox is sweet enough and, without an automatic 'box to sap its potential, the motor feels genuinely strong; there’s urge from just under 1500rpm and it’ll happily rev through to beyond 3500rpm.
The chassis set-up is composed rather than thrilling, while the steering is well weighted, but not involving enough. The ride is supple enough to cope with pock-marked British roads, with only the worst potholes causing problems.
The Evoque is generally quiet; road- and wind noise will start to bother you long before any diesel grumble does. A 70mph motorway cruise requires around 2000rpm in sixth gear, so the 2.2-litre motor fades nicely into the background.
What’s it like inside? Like all other Evoques, which is to say that it feels (just about) premium enough to be a Range Rover instead of a Land Rover. Clever use of fabrics and soft-touch materials see to that.
There are compromises in the Evoque’s concept-car looks, of course; it’s more of a crossover than many SUVs, although the five-door’s tweaked dimensions do make it a little more roomy than the three-door (it’s a lot easier to get into the back seats, too). Four six-footers will fit in, but only just, and if you’re hoping to accommodate three people in the rear, they’ll need to know each other well.
It’s a little gloomy in the rear, too; blame the rising waistline and slowly dipping roofline for that. We're told that almost nine out of 10 Evoques are being specced with a panoramic roof; a £600 option, and that makes sense to us. It’s sensibly priced, and makes a huge difference.
Should I buy one? Yes, if you can bear the long waiting list. The Evoque is one of those cars that has appeal extending way beyond the bare sum of its parts. Its basic abilities are sound enough, and if you can live with the compromises on packaging, the desirability factor will do the rest. This example is one of the best models in the range; if you’re not set on an automatic transmission, we’d argue it could be the pick of the crop.