What Car? says...
The Range Rover Evoque changed Land Rover for ever. Before its watershed launch, the 4x4 maker's SUVs were handsome enough, but in quite a functional, boxy sort of way. After it, the British brand was as much about fashion and glamour as off-roading and country estates.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that the designers of this second-generation Evoque opted to take an evolutionary approach to the small SUV. It would have been daft not to, given the huge popularity of the original.
The new car's styling was also clearly influenced by the pricier Range Rover Velar – for example, in the squintier front and rear lights, and the flush-fitting door handles, which slide out gracefully when you unlock the car.
Land Rover hasn't been resting on its laurels, either. Changes over time have included adding a more sophisticated infotainment system and a range of more powerful engines that feature mild-hybrid technology to boost efficiency. You can also get a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version, allowing you to do shorter journeys on electric power alone.
None of those claim to be as capable off the beaten track, but how do they all compare when it comes to performance, interior quality, safety, practicality and running costs? Well, we've driven them all, and over the next few pages of this review, that's exactly what we'll be telling you – and more.
If at the end of it you decide the Evoque – or another vehicle of any make and model – is the car for you, you can secure a hefty discount without any haggling by searching our free What Car? New Car Deals pages. You should find some impressive new family SUV deals.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Most Range Rover Evoques have either a 2.0-litre petrol engine or a 2.0-litre diesel, with several power outputs to choose from. Logically enough, the petrols are prefixed with a 'P' and the diesels with a 'D'.
The P200 and D200 have similar 0-60mph times (8.0sec and 7.9sec), but the petrol has less low-down grunt and needs to be revved quite hard. That’s worth bearing in mind if you plan to tow a caravan or trailer. The P250 and P300 add more power and acceleration, but the Evoque isn't the sort of car that encourages you to drive quickly anyway, so we'd save the money.
On the other hand, the P300e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is well worth considering – in fact, it's our favourite engine. It's the fastest model in the Evoque range (0-60mph takes just 6.1sec), and is smooth around town and punchy on the motorway. It combines a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and 15kWh battery, and can officially travel up to 38 miles on electric power alone, although it is worth noting that on our real-world test route, we covered just 25.3 miles before the petrol engine kicked in.
Suspension and ride comfort
Ride comfort in the Evoque is impressive if you stick with 17in or 18in alloy wheels. Even with these, it's fair to say that the Volvo XC40 is a little smoother over potholes, but the Evoque is better controlled and sways around less along uneven roads. It also rides speed bumps with more grace and stays nicely settled on motorways.
Even if you go for a version with the relatively chunky 20in alloys (they're standard on Dynamic HSE trim), ride comfort is far from a deal-breaker, but there is more fidget. The PHEV P300e is the least forgiving because of the added weight of its batteries, but is still not overly firm.
We've also tried the optional adaptive suspension, although only in combination with enormous 21in wheels – the largest you can have (and standard on Autobiography trim). Based on this limited experience, we'd say save the money and stick with the impressive standard suspension.
The Evoque is no Porsche Macan through the corners but like the XC40 it handles assuredly. There's a fair bit of body lean but no shortage of grip, and the steering is accurate and appropriately responsive – not too slow but not so quick that the car feels twitchy. The P300e feels a little less agile because of its extra weight but is still perfectly fine.
You’d expect a Land Rover model to be good off road, and sure enough the Evoque can tackle terrain that would leave the BMW X1 and the XC40 flummoxed. The standard-fit Terrain Response 2 system can automatically tailor the four-wheel drive to suit the surface you’re on. The Evoque also has more ground clearance than most rivals and can wade through 530mm of water (80mm more than the XC40).
The Evoque can tow up to 2000kg (it varies depending on engine fitted). That's not the best figure in the family SUV class but towing stability is good.
Noise and vibration
The Evoque’s 2.0-litre petrol engines are impressively refined at low revs, but can get quite raucous when you ask a lot of them. You feel a bit more vibration with the D200 diesel, but it doesn't need to be worked as hard. The P300e is near-silent in electric mode then switches between electric and petrol power very smoothly (much more so than in the plug-in hybrid Alfa Romeo Tonale). In petrol mode, the 1.5-litre petrol engine isn't as quiet as it is in the Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e but it’s never a nuisance.
As for cruising ability, the Evoque generates a lot less road noise than the X1 or XC40, and there isn’t much wind noise, either. In fact, the only sound you really notice is the suspension working away along pockmarked roads.
One flaw in the Evoque’s otherwise calming road manners is the nine-speed automatic gearbox in non-PHEV versions. The stop-start system is prone to killing the engine when the speed drops to about 10mph. If the road ahead clears and you hit the accelerator before you've come to a halt, the gearbox drops into drive with an annoying jolt. The P300e has an eight-speed unit and doesn't suffer from this. If you want a manual gearbox, you'll have to choose the entry-level D165, which is available with a six-speed option.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Land Rover is one of the best in the business when it comes to driving positions, and the Range Rover Evoque is yet another example of it getting things right.
You sit higher than you do in most rivals – including the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1 – and the pedals are comfortably lined up with your body. Even those measuring north of six feet tall will find it easy to find the right driving position because there's loads of steering-wheel adjustment, and if you opt for S trim or above you get heated, 12-way electronically adjustable front seats (14-way in Dynamic HSE models). Regardless of which version you go for, the seats themselves are very comfortable.
The dashboard is higher than in most rivals and entirely uncluttered. Other than the window switches and the controls on the multi-function steering wheel, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many physical buttons at all. Dynamic HSE trim replaces physical air conditioning controls with a 10.0in touchscreen that sits beneath the main infotainment screen.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The Evoque's extrovert styling doesn't mean it wasn't thoughtfully designed, and forwards visibility is good. The lofty driving position gives you a commanding view of the road ahead and the front pillars don’t block too much of your diagonal view at junctions and roundabouts.
Despite the rising rear window line and shallow rear screen, you can see quite a lot of what's behind you compared with some other family SUVs. Every Evoque comes with front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera as standard.
If you pay a bit extra (or opt for Autobiography trim) you'll also get a rear-view mirror that, at the touch of a button, becomes a screen showing a view from the back of the car, so you can see behind even if the car is loaded to the roof.
Sat nav and infotainment
The Evoque's Pivi Pro infotainment system is pretty much the same as you’ll find in the larger Land Rover Defender. Its 10.0in touchscreen is sharp, and if you go for Dynamic SE trim and above you can adjust its angle to suit your driving position. Trims below that have it recessed into the dashboard unless you pay extra for it to be moveable.
You get plenty of gadgets as standard, including DAB radio, Bluetooth, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring that uses the entire screen to show a trimmed-down version of your phone's display. Models above the entry-level Evoque or R-Dynamic trims have built-in sat-nav as standard.
The system responds promptly to prods and swipes, and although its operating system isn’t as intuitive as the X1 set-up, it’s better than in the Volvo XC40.
When it comes to outright solidity, the Evoque’s interior matches the best in class, including the XC40. Its materials feel plush, especially with the standard leather seats.
You can opt for a non-leather interior, called Eucalyptus, as a no-cost option. With that, the steering wheel covering is made from recycled plastic (although it feels like suede), and the seats are trimmed with a material that looks and feels a bit like denim. If you’re worried that that sounds a bit low-rent, we can assure you that it doesn’t detract from the overall upmarket look and feel of the interior.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The Range Rover Evoque is quite a substantial car, so you wouldn’t expect to struggle to fit in the front, and, sure enough, you won’t – unless you’re exceptionally tall.
The front seats slide a long way back on their runners, and you’d have to be close to seven feet tall to feel your hair brushing the ceiling, even if you opt for a panoramic glass sunroof (a feature that often severely restricts head room).
As for storage space, there’s loads, including a reasonable-sized glovebox and cubby under the central armrest, a couple of cupholders between the front seats and lots of handy trays.
The Evoque is roomy in the back compared with most other family SUVs. True, the BMW X1 and the Volvo XC40 offer a bit more knee room, but the Evoque's seats are better shaped and there's plenty of space for six-footers.
The relatively broad interior makes carrying three adults in the back less of a squeeze than it is in many rival cars.
Seat folding and flexibility
The rear seats don’t do anything clever, such as slide or recline (handy features that are available on the Audi Q3 and the X1).
However, the rear seatbacks split in a 40/20/40 arrangement. That's better than the 60/40 split you get in the XC40, because the added flexibility comes in handy when you need to carry a combination of rear-seat passengers and a lengthy load.
You can ignore the official boot capacity in litres because Land Rover measures boot space in a different way to most other manufacturers. In the real world, there's certainly enough space in the Evoque's boot for a buggy or a set of golf clubs.
Even so, we managed to squeeze only five carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf, compared with seven in the XC40 and eight in the X1. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) P300e has the same boot capacity as non-PHEV versions.
The 40/20/40 split rear seats fold down to leave an almost completely flat extended load bay for when you need to cart around more clobber.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
One of the most convincing reasons to buy a Range Rover Evoque is how well it’s likely to hold on to its value. Our depreciation experts expect it to be worth more than any of its rivals – including the Alfa Romeo Tonale, the Audi Q3 and the Volvo XC40 – at three years old.
For private buyers, that’s especially sweet when you consider that the entry-level Evoque’s price tag is somewhere in the middle of its key rivals, including the BMW X1 and the XC40. PCP finance rates are often competitive, helping to offset the Evoque’s relatively poor fuel economy (the petrols are especially thirsty).
If you’re a company car driver, it's not such good news – the Evoque’s fairly high CO2 emissions and list price will bump up your monthly tax bill. The exception is the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) P300e. It’s one of the pricier versions to buy, but company car users are rewarded with low CO2 emissions, giving it by far the lowest benefit-in-kind company car tax rating of the range. It has the best official fuel economy in the line-up, but you'll only see the benefit of that if you charge the battery regularly.
Equipment, options and extras
Every Evoque is well-equipped, with 17in alloy wheels, climate control, rain-sensing wipers, automatic LED headlights, keyless start, power-folding door mirrors and heated front seats fitted even to the cheapest version. Unless you go for range-topping Autobiography trim, you’ll still likely dip into the options list.
S trim gets 18in alloys, along with heated 12-way electrically adjustable front seats, leather upholstery and rear animated directional indicators. This trim is our pick for the best value-to-toys ratio.
Dynamic S is similar to S, but gets a sportier look and bigger 19in alloys. Dynamic SE trim is worth considering – it adds an electric tailgate, automatic high-beam assist for the headlights and blind-spot assist. Autobiography is luxurious but very expensive.
This isn’t usually an area of strength for Land Rover. Indeed, the brand finished 31st out of the 32 manufacturers in our 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey (Jeep came bottom). BMW, Volvo and Audi finished 16th, 17th and 21st respectively.
The news isn’t much better when you look at our most and least reliable family SUVs results: the current Evoque came fourth from bottom, while the 2011-2019 Evoque was one above bottom.
Land Rover gives you a three-year unlimited mileage warranty. That’s the same as BMW's offering and slightly better than the three-year, 60,000 mile Volvo warranty.
Safety and security
The Evoque earned the maximum five-star rating when it was tested for safety by Euro NCAP. It didn't score quite as highly as the Q3 or the XC40 for adult occupant crash protection, but it beat the Q3 for child occupant protection. In other words, it's one of the top cars in the class for keeping you and your family safe in the event of a crash.
There’s plenty of safety technology to prevent a collision in the first place, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance and a system that alerts the driver if they show signs of tiredness. Blind-spot monitoring is optional on most trims and standard on R-Dynamic SE trim, as is a clear exit monitor and a rear traffic monitor (to stop you reversing into the path of another car).
Two sets of Isofix child seat mounts, one on each outer rear seat, are included as standard on all versions, but there's no option to add a third set on the front passenger seat.
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The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version, the P300e, is our pick of the engine range. It has the best performance, and as long as you can charge it up regularly, will be far more efficient than other versions. Our favourite trim is S, because although it’s the cheapest option it includes lots of luxuries.
It should be a very safe car, having scored the maximum five-star rating in its Euro NCAP test. It has plenty of safety technology to prevent collisions, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance and a system that lets the driver know when they are showing signs of tiredness.
|RRP price range||£40,080 - £60,440|
|Number of trims (see all)||4|
|Number of engines (see all)||5|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||diesel, petrol, hybrid|
|MPG range across all versions||193 - 46.7|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£1,077 / £4,179|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£2,154 / £8,358|