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Whether it’s down to its inherent quality and good looks, or it’s prowess off-road, or simply the kudos associated with its premium nameplate, whatever the reason, the Range Rover Evoque has rapidly established itself as one of Land Rover’s most popular models.
It’s recent reincarnation sees the introduction of a 2.0-litre Ingenium engine, together with a few aesthetic updates, too, albeit minimal and rather subtle ones. There’s some new LED daytime running lights, which use the brand’s now-trademark narrow lines of light, which somehow lends the vehicle a more purposeful and more focused attitude.
The bonnet mounted vents previously only seen on three-door variants have now made their way onto high-end five-door models, whilst the central brake light is now wider and narrower. Inside, anoraks may be sufficiently hawk-eyed to spot the new seats and an upgraded infotainment system featuring a marginally larger screen and updated software rather than an all-new rejig.
But as we said: subtle changes. But then, if it ain’t broke…
There has been criticism in the past of the Evoque’s plasticy, wafer-thin switchgear – and this remains in place in spite of the £900 hitch in asking price. But nobody ever claimed the Evoque was in the same league as, say for instance, the Range Rover Sport. It boasts a significantly lower list price, so one can hardly expect it to be of the same quality finish.
It’s also been previously ribbed for being less than practical, but compared to other fashion accessory mid-size SUVs, the Evoque stands its ground: there’s plenty of room inside for four adults, the 420-litre boot should be more than capable of carting the weekly shop around, and you can squeeze a couple of medium-sized suitcases in there, too. And as it shares most of its underpinnings with the Discovery Sport and its Freelander-badged precursor, there’s no questioning the Evoque’s Land Rover 4x4 credentials. The Evoque is more than happy crossing muddy fields and navigating farm tracks, so that trip to a soggy summer festival or the daily jaunt to the stables won’t present any problems.
The Evoque comes in a choice of three four-cylinder engines from Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium range: two 2.0-litre turbodiesels and a turbocharged petrol that also displaces two litres. And customers will have the choice of petrol or diesel; and the option of two- or four-wheel drive and automatic or manual transmissions. The most efficient is the entry-level 2.0-litre diesel, which claims 148bhp and comes with a six-speed manual transmission, and although it doesn’t have the four-wheel-drive model’s mud-plugging capability, it’ll return up to 67.3mpg when fitted to the three-door Evoque.
When it comes to four-wheel drive, it’s the 177bhp engine to go for: less efficient than the 148bhp engine, but the five-door’s 58.9mpg and 125g/km CO2 emissions are still improvements on the old 2.2-litre engine that used to power the Evoque.
There’s no denying the new engine is a lot more refined. The old 2.2 grumbled and growled but this is so much smoother than its predecessor.
The petrol engine’s main appeal will no doubt be in the performance it delivers – and it’s capable of delivering a lot. Whilst the most powerful diesel can only manage 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds (9.5 with the manual transmission), the 237bhp petrol will complete the sprint in 7.1 seconds.
And when Dynamic mode is engaged it’s quite an enjoyable steer, meatier and firmer than previously.
Even entry-level SE models come with leather upholstery, heated seats, automatic lights and wipers, the 8in colour touchscreen infotainment system and 18in alloys, whilst moving up the range will add a reversing camera and satellite navigation.
All told, the baby Range Rover isn’t going anywhere for some time yet!
For advice on leasing or how to finance your next Range Rover Evoque or any model from the range, call AVC. Allied Vehicle Contracts has access to some of the very best contract hire lease deals for cars, vans and light commercial vehicles and offer you the security of being able to deal directly with a primary level introducer to some of the UK’s foremost leasing providers.
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