Used Range Rover Evoque long-term test: Report 3

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...

Long Term Range Rover Evoque electric and petrol

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 7273 List price new (2023) £55,560 Price new with options £57,795 Value now £35,180 Official economy 189.4mpg Test economy 35.1mpg

1 March 2024 – Gonna rock down to Electric Avenue

There are times, when I’m trundling around town, that an electric car would make perfect sense. There are other times, such as when my position of chief photographer for What Car? Calls me to drive hundreds of miles to the Cairngorms or somewhere similarly far flung at a moment’s notice, when something combustion engined seems a rather better fit. One of each would be nice. And that’s exactly what my Range Rover Evoque gives me.

Given that I only have a single parking space at home, the two-cars-in-one nature of a plug-in hybrid seems like just the job for me. The Evoque’s 12.2kw battery is officially enough for 37.3 miles of urban pootling, and I recently put that to the test with a cross-capital run from Twickenham to Walthamstow. This involved the usual stop-start misery of town traffic, but did bring occasional bursts of 50mph on the North Circular, and the whole trip was dispatched without any petrol being used. And you know what? It was extremely pleasant.

Range Rover Evoque 2023 long-term hybrid modes

Land Rover doesn’t yet make a fully electric Evoque, but I now have a pretty good idea of what one would be like. In EV mode, it’s usefully swift (noticeably nippier than my previous Suzuki S-Cross) and extremely quiet. It made fume-free urban travel pleasingly relaxing, and I had 27 miles of tranquil reverie before there was no more electricity left and petrol power had to take over. That’s a good deal less distance than the official figures suggest, but this was a real world test, in ever-changing London traffic.

When the Evoque is running on combustion power, life is rather less peaceful. Its engine – a three-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol – isn’t the last word in discretion; the growl it emits when worked hard seems a little at odds with the Evoque’s demure, sophisticated character. That said, it’s not short of grunt. Land Rover claims a 0-60mph sprint of 6.1 seconds when petrol and battery power joins forces, and it certainly feels quick enough to back that figure up.

You don’t seem to need a full battery to make use of that power, either. In the time I’ve had the car so far, there’s always enough amps left to help the engine out when a burst of speed is required. The transition between the two power sources isn’t entirely seamless, though. It’s not jerky or laboured, but there’s a distinct sensation of the baton being passed as if in a school sports day relay race.  

Long Term Range Rover Evoque on charge

Mind you, when the battery is depleted, that little petrol engine has quite a lot of work to do to heave the Evoque’s 2082kg bulk around. It’s best to consider its official 189.4mpg fuel economy as a target; an ambition rather than a rule.

At times when I’ve not had the opportunity to charge for several days on the trot, economy has dipped to 29mpg – a fair bit less than my S-Cross or my ridiculously quick Cupra Leon Estate routinely managed. When I’ve been able to charge three or four times between petrol tank top-ups, though, the Evoque has reached almost 40mpg. In the real world, the amount of petrol you’ll use is entirely dependent on how much of your travelling is done electrically. 

With my home electricity costing 28p/kWh, and petrol currently hovering around £1.60 per litre, I’d certainly be quids in when it comes to running costs if I never left the urban jungle and plugged in every night. Don’t be surprised if you soon see a lot more What Car? photoshoots on the banks of the Thames, then.

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