Range Rover Evoque review - What’s it like to drive?

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  • New 'baby' Range Rover
  • We drive the five-door Evoque
  • Find out our verdict, here
What’s it like to drive? Impressive. Jaguar Land Rover’s 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine pulls strongly from little more than 1000rpm, allowing progress that’s brisk instead of slow (or genuinely rapid). The SD4 auto can reach 60mph in 8.0 seconds, and a maximum speed of 121mph – but beyond these headline figures there’s enough torque to allow swift cross-country driving.

At motorway speeds any engine noise fades rapidly into the background; at 70mph the Evoque’s motor is running at less than 2000rpm, so wind- and road noise drown it out. General refinement is good, though; we’re also impressed at the wind seals on the optional panoramic roof, which made no discernible addition to the general hum.

The gearbox is reasonably foolproof, although it can feel like it’s scrabbling for a gear if you come to a halt and then immediately want to move off again. You can assume control of the transmission through paddles behind the steering wheel; this system works well, with quick, smooth shifts between ratios.

The Evoque’s ride is firm, but generally compliant, on the standard 19in wheels; we’d warn against speccing the optional 20in items. The steering varied on our two test cars; it was nicely weighted, consistent and accurate on the diesel, but over-assisted and a little vague on the petrol. Land Rover puts the discrepancy down to both cars being very early examples; we only hope it’s the petrol’s set-up that was out of tune.

The CO2 emissions of 174g/km are respectable, although a little higher than those of BMW’s comparable X1 xDrive23d. Early next year, Land Rover will launch a front-drive, manual-transmission Evoque Coupe that will emit less than 130g/km.

Read the full What Car? 9-point review on the Range Rover Evoque

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