Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The majority of engines are either 2.0-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel units, and there are numerous power outputs to choose from. For reference, the petrols are prefixed with a 'P' and the diesels with a 'D'.
We’re yet to try the D165 and D200 mild-hybrid diesels, but the previous D150 and D185 engines that they replace were punchy enough, so these should perform fine. As for the mild-hybrid petrol engines, the P200 is quicker than any of the diesels, but only if you rev it hard. That shortage of low-rev pull is worth bearing in mind if you plan to tow a caravan or trailer. The P250 and P300 add yet more power and increasingly faster acceleration, but the Evoque isn't the sort of car that encourages you to drive quickly, so we'd save the money.
Those looking to save fuel should also consider the P300e plug-in hybrid; its electric motor is punchy enough for rush hour traffic or the urban grind, and when its 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine joins in, it’s rather brisk. 0-62mph takes just 6.4sec making it the fastest Evoque available. All versions will do more than 30 miles on a single charge, with certain versions taking this to over 40.
Suspension and ride comfort
Ride comfort is fairly 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 relatively chunky 20in alloys, ride comfort is far from a deal-breaker, but doing so does instigate more fidget and causes the Evoque to become more prone to thudding over sharp-edged ridges. Plug-in hybrid P300e models are a little stiffer than other models, but ride comfort is by no means poor.
We've also tried the optional adaptive suspension, although only in combination with enormous 21in wheels – the largest you can have on your Evoque. Based on this limited experience, we'd say save yourself the money and stick with the regular suspension.
It’s no Porsche Macan through the corners but, like the XC40, the Evoque handles quite assuredly; there's a fair bit of body lean but no shortage of grip. The steering is also accurate and appropriately geared – not too slow but not too quick. P300e models feel a little less agile, but not disastrously so.
You’d expect a Range Rover to be jolly good off road, too, and sure enough, the Evoque can tackle terrain that would leave an XC40 or a BMW X1 flummoxed. Its Terrain Response 2 system can automatically tailor the car’s four-wheel drive system to suit the surface you’re driving on, plus the Evoque has more ground clearance than most rivals and can wade through an impressive 600mm of water (150mm more than the XC40).
If you plan to tow, the Evoque can pull up to 2000kg (it varies depending on engine). That isn't a best-in-class figure, but towing stability is good.
Noise and vibration
The Evoque’s petrol engines are smooth and quiet at low revs, but ask a lot of them and they can get a bit raucous. We’ve previously been impressed by Land Rover’s diesel engines, but we’re yet to try the latest D165 and D200 models. As for the P300e, there’s a noticeable but acceptable delay between your foot meeting the carpet and the Evoque surging forwards; it proves much better than the Volvo XC40 Recharge hybrid in this regard. It also switches between petrol and electric power smoothly. We wish the P300e’s 1.5-litre engine was a little smoother and quieter, though; the same engine is also used in the Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e, in which it proves rather more refined.
The Evoque is a relatively peaceful cruiser in other respects, generating a lot less road noise than the XC40 or X1 on the motorway. There isn’t much wind noise, either, although you can hear the suspension working away along pockmarked roads.
There is one flaw in the Evoque’s otherwise calming road manners: its gearbox. The stop-start system has a predilection for killing the engine when the speed drops to around 10mph – its assumption being that you’re about to come to a halt. Yet if the road ahead clears and you hit the accelerator before you've come to a stop, the gearbox drops into drive with an annoying jolt. That isn’t an issue on the P300e, though.
The Infiniti QX30 is likeable, and some buyers will be swayed...
The MG GS is good value and relatively spacious, but its refin...
The Ssangyong Tivoli XLV offers good space and practicality to...
The Vauxhall Mokka X is stylish and well equipped, but its riv...