Used Range Rover Evoque long-term test: report 1

Does plug-in hybrid power make sense in a hard-working small SUV? And is nearly-new the best way to buy it? We're finding out...

Range Rover Evoque 2023 long-term urban driving

The car Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic HSE 1.5 plug-in hybrid AWD Run by John Bradshaw, chief photographer

Why it’s here To find out whether this plug-in hybrid SUV really is at home in town as it is in the countryside, and whether nearly-new is the way to buy one

Needs to be fuel efficient in town and on the road alike, and as indulgent as it is practical

Mileage 2724 List price new (2023) £55,560 Price new with options £57,795 Value now £35,180 Official economy 189.4mpg Test economy 38.2mpg Options fitted Nolita Grey metallic paint (£705), Privacy glass (£450), Wireless device charging (£300)

18 January 2024 – At home in the Range?

Around this time of the year, the What Car? Awards are the focus of my work as the magazine's chief photographer, and that means a whole lot of driving and a whole lot of snapping. The working day begins when it needs to, and it lasts as long as is necessary to get the job done. It's hard work, both for me and my car. And that was on my mind when I came to choose this one, my nearly new Range Rover Evoque.

As a premium small SUV, the Evoque (I'm hoping) will be pampering enough to soothe me when hard work is on the agenda, as well as helping me to chill out when the weekend rolls around. And while the Evoque has just been treated to a facelift, I figured that opting for a slightly older machine would be a very sensible way to go; pre-owned examples can be snapped up with tempting discounts if you use the What Car? used car buying service. And mine – save for its mileage,  number plate and a few styling details – could easily pass as a brand new car.

Long Term Range Rover Evoque EV range

I've gone for an Evoque R-Dynamic HSE P300e whose original owner chose exactly the same optional extras as I'd have gone for myself. Firstly, the colour. Nolita Grey (a £705 option when new) is no longer available on the Evoque, and I think that's a pity. It manages to look modern at the same time as acknowledging classic Land Rover models, and I reckon it gives the Evoque a bit of a country-set feel. That, incidentally, is matched by the interior trim; the tweedish Kvadrat fabric on the upper seatbacks, arm rests and door panels (contrasting with the suede-like Dinamica material elsewhere) has a real touch of the country squire's sports jacket about it.

I'm also glad the original owner opted for the wireless device charger with phone signal booster (£300); it keeps my phone topped up on the move without the need to plug it in, and they way it uses the car's external antenna increases the likelihood that I'll get decent reception when photoshoots take me to remote locations. Finally, there's privacy glass (a £45o touch), which provides a certain amount of reassurance when I have to leave valuable photographic equipment in the car by concealing it from prying eyes.

Why the P300e, though? Well, after my previous hybrid-engined Suzuki S-Cross, I'm all too mindful of the economy benefits that electrification brings, and being a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), the Evoque should do even more to keep my fuel consumption down. You see, while I typically criss-cross the country travelling between shoots from Monday to Friday, my weekends tend to be much more local. I often stay within a dozen miles of home in Twickenham, and – with its official all-electric range of 37 miles – plugging the P300e in overnight should give me more than enough juice to do my urban trundling without burning any petrol at all.

Range Rover Evoque 2023 long-term off-road modes

And yet the P300e is also the quickest model in the Evoque range, with 0-60mph taking just 6.1sec. It certainly oughtn't feel sluggish in urban traffic, and it might even serve to entertain when I find myself on the right road. Of course, I'm under no illusion that it'll handle like my Cupra Leon Estate did, but our test team gives the Evoque a solid four-star rating in this regard. In other words, I'm unlikely to find driving it a chore.

The Evoque strikes me as a sensible choice for the winter, too. For starters, it has four-wheel drive. That gives me a certain sense of security, knowing that I should always find traction on greasy countryside roads, and unlocking the possibility of occasional off-road excursions. I'm not talking about hardcore swamp- bashing, but the best photographic locations are often a little way off the beaten track, and the ability to get there without having to unload my gear and proceed by foot is always welcome.

So, will it prove a cost-effective way to evoke the feelings that only a premium SUV can bring? I'm very much looking forward to finding out.

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