‘I took the new Range Rover Evoque for a test drive – and it exceeded my expectations’

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader

Land Rover’s baby SUV, the Evoque, has been a huge success, attracting new customers to the brand, including more women and town dwellers. But it looks and feels dated now, so has the new version done enough to bring even more drivers on board?

Style

Sad news first: there will be no convertible or three-door version of the Evoque. Both were quirky and fun designs but neither sold in big numbers. So here we are, with just the five-door model. There’s a new palette of more grown-up colours – out go bright paints and in come muted blues, grey whites, putty browns and metallic options.

Inside, you can have leather, but for those interested in a more sustainable approach, you can choose from plant-based vegan textiles or the expensive kvadrat wool blend, both of which look smarter. The interior design is far more pared-back, with a lounge ambience: surfaces are expansive with clean lines, and there are fewer buttons, with most functions contained on two massive touchscreens.

Tech

At last, Land Rover has introduced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to its cars: whoop. But the most impressive piece of tech is Land Rover’s new Clearsight system which transforms the rear view mirror into a video feed from a rear camera, so you can see more of what’s behind you, relayed in extraordinary high definition. If you regularly load the boot to the ceiling with stuff, this £450 option is worth it.

At the front, there’s a similar system, Ground View, which uses cameras to relay what’s directly in front of, and underneath, the bonnet. Good for missing high kerbs and bollards around town, which is where 70 per cent of Evoque owners do their driving. Land Rover’s Meridian sound system has brilliant bass levels, and you can also specify a head-up display to project speed onto the windscreen, a Wi-fi hotspot, and adaptive cruise control, which takes care of accelerating and braking when you set the speed.

Comfort

There’s plenty of leg room for four adults (three in the back is a slight squish) and the boot is marginally bigger, with a stowage net mounted to the floor to stop stuff slipping around, and room for a folded pram, or golf clubs. You can specify the boot with an electric button to open and close it, which is handier than you think when your arms are full of kids and shopping. It feels like a relaxed space on the move, with plenty of sound deadening, and the optional panoramic glass roof lets in welcome light.

Power

There’s a range of diesel and petrol engines but, given government and local authority plans to penalise diesel drivers, you’d have to go petrol. Better still, get an order in for the plug-in hybrid version. We’d choose the middle of the range P250 (250 horsepower). The 30mpg fuel economy isn’t great, but it does 0-60mph in 7 seconds, and to see 40mpg you’d have to go diesel… All versions apart from the entry-level diesel are four-wheel drive and come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Price

The Evoque is a winner here. Because the model holds its value so well (i.e. strong residuals), the monthly finance payments are pretty good. For example, with a £7,000 deposit, you’d pay about £400 a month, depending on which version you chose. If you’re one of the very few who pay the price up front, the Evoque starts at £31,600, although expect to cough up £37,000 for a decent petrol Evoque.

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