Range Rover Evoque Coupe diesel review

* Three-door diesel Evoque tested * Coupe from 28,950 * Picture gallery and rivals, too...

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Chas Hallett
25 July 2011

What is it? You won't get a much bigger car launch this year than the eagerly awaited 'baby' Range Rover, the Evoque.

We've already tested two models: the five-door diesel, which will account for the vast majority of UK sales, and the three-door Coupe petrol turbo model. This is closest to the original LRX concept car that first showed what a smaller, trendier Range Rover could look like.

The version we've just tested, however, is the Coupe diesel that's likely to be the most popular of the three-door versions.

Our test car was in Prestige spec, with four-wheel drive and powered by a 187bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine mated to an six-speed automatic gearbox.

What's it like to drive? Just like the other Evoques that we've driven, it's impressive on the road. The 2.2-litre turbodiesel doesn't quite have the punch or refinement of the excellent 2.0-litre petrol, but it's capable of brisk progress nonetheless and is genuinely fun to drive especially if you flick the gear selector to 'Sport' and use the wheel-mounted paddles to shift the gears.

The Coupe feels agile, too. Not just because it has quick, direct steering, but also because there's little body lean and huge amounts of mid-corner traction. In fact, we'd go so far as describing it as a high-riding hot hatch.

Yet it also takes on the role of motorway cruiser well. The diesel's commendably refined at motorway speeds and although there's a little more wind- and road noise than you might expect from a baby Range Rover, it's certainly not off-putting.

Just like the five-door, the ride is firm but not uncomfortable. That said, it was firm enough for us to question the need to have anything bigger than the 19-inch alloys our test car had fitted.

Our test route also included some mild off-roading, covering mud ruts, steep descents and plenty of green-lanes, so we're confident that the Evoque is good enough off-road to cater for what most of us would throw at it and, importantly, good enough to be rated as a proper Land Rover too.

Review continues below our gallery

Range Rover Evoque Coupe gallery

What's it like inside? If you go for the more svelte Coupe you will have to put up with a more confined cabin. It has a lower roofline than the five-door, which is evident when you're in the back seats.

That said, we're only talking about an inch. Despite what it looks like from the outside, once you've clambered into the back it's acceptable for two tall adults, even if the narrow rear windows make it feel a little claustrophobic.

The radical styling also has minus points when you're behind the wheel, because this is the first Land Rover where visibility isn't terrific.

Visibility aside, the rest of the cabin is simply superb. Apart from a few centre console plastics it's all beautifully crafted, well-thought through and easily a match for the big Range Rover, not to mention its would-be rivals.

Seat comfort is superb, too, although it does take quite a while to find an optimum driving position and even then the steering wheel feels like it is set a shade too high.

Should I buy one? Yes. If you want the best-looking, trendiest Evoque, the three-door Coupe is definitely the one to go for. The 2.2-litre diesel engine is the optimum choice for most drivers and available in a wider variety of specs than the petrol.

However, with practicality in mind, the five-door is likely to be a much better bet even if you use the rear seats only occasionally. You'll also save some cash in the process.

Either way, this version proves that it's hard to go too wrong if you buy any Evoque.

Audi TT
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What Car? says

Chas Hallett

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