Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 4x4 performance
The cheapest and most efficient Evoque comes with a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine. Badged eD4, it is available only with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox.
The performance of this model leaves a little to be desired, so we’d opt for the 178bhp TD4 engine with four-wheel drive. You can have this with a six-speed manual gearbox or, for a bit extra, the more appropriate nine-speed automatic. Straight-line performance still isn’t sparkling compared with, say, an Audi Q3, but there’s enough urgency from low revs to keep pace with fast-moving traffic.
If you fancy more performance and are happy to take the extra running costs, there’s the 237bhp 2.0 SD4 240 that’ll get you from 0-60mph in just 6.9sec. This adds an extra wedge of straight-line performance as well as more flexibility due to its stronger mid-range welly.
We’d definitely take the SD4 diesel over the 237bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol, badged Si4 240. Why? Well, the latter merely matches the diesel’s pace at the expense of a big hit to CO2 emissions and fuel economy. And if running costs really aren’t a concern to you, you might as well plump for the 286bhp 2.0 Si4 290. This delivers the fastest acceleration in the Evoque range (0-60mph in 6.0sec) and feels every bit as quick in reality.
While we recommend the nine-speed automatic gearbox over the manual versions (on those engines where it’s not standard), it isn’t perfect. It can be hesitant initially off the line and when you kick down to go for an overtake.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 4x4 ride
The Range Rover Evoque doesn’t ride as well as the best small SUVs, including the Q3 and X1. There’s a noticeable dip and wobble from the body as it soaks up bumps and those small ripples typical of torn-up British town roads can cause it to fidget and shudder.
True, you can add adaptive dampers on top-end models, but these do more to reduce body lean in faster cornering than they do to improve ride comfort. Higher-spec Evoques also come with bigger alloy wheels, which emphasise the choppy-feeling ride around town.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 4x4 handling
The Evoque’s steering is surprisingly quick to respond by SUV standards. This is great when you’re threading through urban backstreets, but it also makes the car feel nervous at higher speeds. And while the Evoque doesn’t sway about through corners like an old-school 4x4, neither does it change direction as sharply as rivals such as the Q3 and X1.
The cheapest model gets front-wheel drive, while the four-wheel-drive versions either have drive permanently sent to all wheels or there’s an optional (standard on SD4 and both Si4 engines) Active Driveline system, which allows the Evoque to run on front-wheel drive alone when it can for better efficiency, before activating four-wheel drive if it senses the need.
Either way, the Evoque does live up to Land Rover’s off-road credentials. All four-wheel-drive models come with a system that allows you to set the car’s system to best suit specific terrains, a 500mm wading depth is best in class and 215mm ground clearance is better than most rivals – so you can be sure that a wet grassy field or some mud-wallowing is well within its capabilities.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 4x4 refinement
Diesel Evoques are a touch clattery under acceleration, but quieten down to an easily ignored thrum at a steady cruise. There’s some vibration through the controls under acceleration, but nothing too bothersome.
At motorway speeds, wind noise over the door mirrors is only mild, but road noise, especially on bigger-wheeled versions, is an annoying drone.
The manual gearbox has a fairly precise shift and a light clutch, so it’s no chore to use even in traffic. The nine-speed automatic is more relaxed and blurs its shifts well, but takes time to react when you ask for a sudden burst of speed.