The second-generation Range Rover Evoque has arrived, bringing with it the option of hybrid powertrains, a honed design and innovative technology to improve visibility. Land Rover clearly hasn’t wanted to mess with its pioneering small luxury SUV too much, though, as it has racked up more than 770,000 sales and 217 awards. This is a reboot for the Evoque’s devoted fans rather than a new approach, with order books open now, with prices from $39,900 – a modest increase from the current model. It arrives in showrooms in the spring.
SOPHISTICATED EVOQUE EVOLVES INTO HYBRID, SUSTAINABLE SUV
Its silhouette might be similar in shape to before, but there are myriad of detail changes. Matrix LEDs have given designers free rein to make its headlights much slimmer, the Evoque’s indicators now sweep from one side to the other and there are flush door handles – Tesla and Velar-style – for a smooth look. Owners can now specify 21-inch alloy wheels and the R-Dynamic trim level adds burnished copper accents for a distinctive touch. At the rear, a glossy black accent bar spans the tailgate and connects rectangular lights in a clear nod to the handsome Velar.
The biggest changes inside are a new dashboard and 20mm longer wheelbase, allowing the interior to be roomier. More steeply raked than before, the horizontal dashboard closely echoes its Range Rover big brother and gets its Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. This sees upper and lower 10-inch screens stacked vertically, blending both touchscreen and rotary dial inputs with new, faster software, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a 12.3- inch instrument display.
Leg and knee room have both been increased, while a new design for the seat mounting points means there’s more room for passenger’s feet underneath. Land Rover has also boosted cabin storage, adding a large centre console that can swallow handbags, small umbrellas and tablet devices. The doors can manage a 1.5-litre bottle and there’s a discreet storage bin under the lower display for your phone, wallet or keys. Boot space is up 10 per cent to 591 litres, with a wider space and 1,383 litres when the 40:20:40 back seats are folded down. Luxury won’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with leather upholstery in the new Evoque, as its designers herald it as “one of our most progressive vehicles yet”, with up to 33kg of natural and recycled materials in each car. So called ‘Technical textiles’ using recycled plastics include Kvadrat wool blend, Miko Dinamica suedecloth, Eucalyptus textile and Ultrafabrics are all available “as premium alternatives to leather”.
In another move that’s sure to be imitated by rivals, the famed ‘Range Rover command’ driving position now boasts improved visibility thanks to digital technology instead of bigger windows or a raised driving position. A ‘ClearSight rear-view mirror’ can function normally, but then transform into an HD video screen at the flick of a switch. This is said to be useful if rear visibility is compromised by passengers or bulky items, but also provides a wide 50-degree field of view and improved visibility in low light situations. It’ll be joined by ‘Ground View’ technology that makes the bonnet invisible by displaying a 180-degree front view in the upper display to help negotiate car parks and rough terrain.
Mild-hybrid 48-volt (MHEV) technology represents the biggest mechanical change at the Evoque’s launch, with a three-cylinder petrol-engine plug-in hybrid set to arrive after a year. The MHEV will be available with four-cylinder Ingenium engines equipped with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and represents a first for Land Rover, combining a belt-integrated starter generator and battery that boosts acceleration and cuts the engine below 11mph as you coast.
Paired with the 148bhp four-wheel drive diesel, fuel-efficiency is 50.4mpg and emissions are cut to 149g/km, almost matching the 52.3mpg and 143g/km of the front-wheel drive manual. MHEV, a nine-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive are standard if you choose the 178 and 237bhp versions. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes between 10.4 and 7.2 seconds for the automatic models and the Evoque gets Terrain Response 2 as standard (except for the manual) for off-road use.
Costing from $39,900 for the entry-level D150 diesel model, the addition of four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission sees the price increase to $38,990, or $45,999 for the more powerful D180 powerplant. The range-topping D240 engine will start at $48,999 and trim levels will include the standard version, S, SE, HSE and a First Edition. You’ll also be able to add the R-Dynamic kit for an extra £1,500, with upgrades to the alloy wheels and seats.