Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Every engine is either a 2.0-litre petrol or a 2.0-litre diesel, but there are numerous power outputs to choose from. For reference, the petrols are prefixed with a 'P' and the diesels with a 'D'.
Don't ignore the entry-level 148bhp D150 diesel, because it has enough punch to manage motorway journeys without fuss. But the 178bhp D180 is our favourite; it isn't as quick as the Volvo XC40 D4, but it has enough poke for reasonably crisp overtaking. The 237bhp D240 is pretty rapid if you need more oomph.
As for petrols, the P200 is quicker than any of the diesels (bar the D240), 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 hesitance of the Evoque's automatic gearbox is more frustrating with the P200 petrol engine than it is with any of the diesels.
Suspension and ride comfort
Ride comfort is pretty impressive if you stick with the smaller 17in or 18in alloys. Even with these, it's fair to say that the XC40 is a little smoother over potholes, although the Evoque is better controlled and sways around less along uneven roads. It also rides speed bumps with more grace and stays very nicely settled on motorways.
Even if you go for the 20in alloys, ride comfort is far from a deal-breaker, but doing so does cause more fidget and the car becomes more prone to thudding over sharp-edged ridges.
We've also tried the optional adaptive suspension, but only in combination with enormous 21in wheels, with which it proved no better than the standard setup. Again, smaller wheels might tell a different story.
It’s no Porsche Macan through the corners but, like the Volvo 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.
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, which isn't a best-in-class figure, but towing stability is good.
Noise and vibration
The engine stop-start system of the D150 isn't as smooth as those of the D180 and D240 (these have mild hybrid technology that fires the engine into life unobtrusively). The D180 and D240 are also quieter than the D150; in fact, they're quieter than rival diesel engines in the XC40 and BMW X1. The petrol Evoques are even smoother and quieter at low speeds, but ask a lot of them and they can get a bit gruff at higher revs.
The Evoque is a relatively peaceful cruiser in other respects, too, generating a lot less road noise than the XC40 or BMW 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 manner: 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, while the engine starts slickly, the gearbox drops into drive with an annoying jolt.