The Range Rover Evoque's second-generation is very pretty.
The even prettier second-generation Range Rover Evoque is available in four trim-levels with a choice of six engines. The base model S costs a fair bit more than its named competitors but is bigger and prettier than any of them. We spent a week with the Evoque S D180 to see just how base the base model is.
The second-generation Range Rover launched to great acclaim last year. Creating a follow-up to the decade-old original was a job I would not have enjoyed, but that's mostly because I'm a coward who prefers to sit in judgement of these things.
The Evoque's second iteration landed as a larger, more refined and technology-packed SUV. The previous car had been around forever with the only real change being the new 'Ingenium' modular engine range.
The real question, though, is can you get away with a low-spec Evoque (remembering these things are relative) and not feel like you've wasted your money? To find out, I spent a week in the D180 S.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2020: D180 S (132kW)
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 7/10
The Evoque range is still dizzyingly large, with four trim levels and six engines. My Evoque for the week was the base model S teamed with the second of the three diesels, the D180.
My Evoque for the week was the base model S teamed with the second of the three diesels, the D180.
It might be a base model and is often compared to compact SUVs like the BMW X2 or Audi Q3 (it's not that compact), so the $64,640 base price looks a bit stiff.
There is a bit of Range Rover added on to the price, but it's also usefully bigger than its European rivals.
The base price includes 18-inch alloys, LED headlights with auto high beam, electric front seats, leather trim, dual-zone climate control, six-speaker stereo, sat nav, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, power everything, wireless hotspot and a space saver spare.
It also comes with a massive 10-inch central screen running JLR's 'InControl' software which is light years ahead of where it started.
Fronted by a nice tiled interface, you can connect a phone app to it to tell you all sorts of things about the car and it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The sat nav is good-looking but still a bit dim.
If anyone buys an Evoque without any options, have they really bought an Evoque?
Range Rover's local team certainly doesn't think so, with 20-inch wheels ($2120), 14-way heated front seats (also heated rear seats) for $1725, 'Drive Pack' (adaptive cruise, blind spot detection, high-speed AEB, $1340), 'Park Pack' (clear exit detection, rear cross traffic alert, park assist), keyless entry and start ($900), privacy glass ($690), digital dash ($690), 'Touch Pro Duo' (a second screen manages climate control and various functions, $600), 'Smart View' rear mirror ($515), powered tailgate ($480), around view cameras ($410), ambient lighting ($410), digital radio ($400) and paddle shifters ($270).
Our test car had 20-inch wheels ($2120).
Some of this stuff really should be standard, like high-speed AEB, keyless entry and start and reverse cross-traffic alert, but there you are.
You can obviously get away with far fewer options, but the Touch Pro Duo, Drive and Park Packs are sensible buys for a family car and if a dealer doesn't throw in DAB for nothing, dob them in to the cops.
All of this took the price to $76,160. So that was going to make it difficult for me to judge whether this "entry level" Evoque was worth the money, but I'll give a it a lash.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 9/10
The Evoque is extremely pretty and it's difficult to find a person who disagrees with me. Even other designers are a bit jealous of what Gerry McGovern and his team can get done, this time without the interfering publicity of a Spice Girl.
I think this car is much closer to the design of the LRX Concept that kicked off the whole Evoque phenomenon (and, if you're interested, kick-started the career of Rob Melville, now head of design at McLaren).
The Evoque is extremely pretty and it's difficult to find a person who disagrees with me.
The flush surfaces are quite lovely and probably work slightly better here than on the Velar. It just seems to suit this size a bit more. My only complaint is there isn't a three-door version anymore.
It's at its best on big wheels, however. The standard 17s are completely lost in the flared wheelarches, so spend some money on bigger hoops.
The cabin is another triumph. A mix of traditional Range Rover chunkiness and sleek lines, it's a big jump over the old car.
With the Touch Pro Duo it's techy-looking and everything works with everything else as far as graphics go. A consistent look and feel is something you don't notice, but when it isn't done right, it's jarring.
How practical is the space inside? 8/10
The new Evoque feels substantially bigger than the old one. Passenger space is more generous, partly due to a longer wheelbase, so four adults will fit comfortably. A fifth, not so much, but few cars manage that and certainly not in this segment.
The boot is a massive 591 litres, which is unheard of in the compact SUV segment and difficult to find in the next size up, too. The load space is pretty good, with over a metre between the wheelarches, but when you fold the rear seats, they don't go completely flat, which might be a drama.
Passenger space is more generous, partly due to a longer wheelbase, so four adults will fit comfortably.
You get two cupholders front and rear and a good size centre console bin which hides the USB ports.
The boot is a massive 591 litres, which is unheard of in the compact SUV segment and difficult to find in the next size up, too.
When you fold the rear seats, they don't go completely flat, which might be a drama.
You get two cupholders front and rear and a good size centre console bin which hides the USB ports. If you plug it in, your phone kind of has to go on the tray under your elbow and, honestly, that's annoying. I really can't work out why it irritates me, but there you have it.
If you do want to take it off-road, the Evoque has 210mm of clearance, a wading depth of 600mm (I've driven one in a river), approach angle of 22.2-degrees, breakover of 20.7 and departure of 30.6. Not startlingly good, but there aren't many cars in this class that can do all that.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission? 8/10
The 2.0-litre Ingenium engine is exactly the same size as every engine offered in the Evoque. There are six of them, of course, because why not? The D180 is the second of three turbo-diesels, winding up for 132kW and a walloping 430Nm.
The 2.0-litre Ingenium engine is exactly the same size as every engine offered in the Evoque.
It's a Range Rover, so it has all-wheel drive with an electronic rear differential and a nine-speed automatic directing power to the wheels.
Range Rover reckons it accelerates from 0-100km/h in 9.3 seconds and says it's rated to tow 2000kg.
Even though it's a diesel, the claimed fuel consumption number for such a chunky boy of 5.8L/100km looks a little optimistic. And it was, but just a little.
Our week with the car (during which it was gently driven because I managed to do something unspeakably painful to my back resulting in a genuine fear of even the tiniest bump or lurch) we got 7.4L/100km. Not bad at all.
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 7/10
The Evoque arrives with six airbags, pedestrian airbag, ABS, stability and traction controls, AEB with pedestrian detection, rollover stability, hill descent control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, speed zone recognition and driver fatigue warning.
As mentioned earlier, you can add various safety features through the Drive Pack and Park Pack.
The Range Rover Evoque scored the maximum five-star ANCAP stars in May, 2019.
There are two ISOFIX anchors and three top-tether points.
Mercedes-Benz recently went to five years, so hopefully the rest of the luxury sector follows. In fact, maybe part of the welcome back to life post-Corona could be just such an announcement.
On the flip-side, the servicing regime is really good. Like BMW, it's condition-based and means you will likely only have to return to the dealer once per year.
If you want to pre-pay your servicing, you can do it for five years and it will cost you $1950, or just under $400 per year. Bargain.
A Mercedes GLA will cost you between $1950 and $2400 for just three years, and five years is a lot more at $3500. A BMW X2 or Audi Q3 will cost you roughly $1700 for five years.
What's it like to drive? 8/10
Up until I drove the D180, I hadn't driven a diesel Evoque, even during the first-generation's lengthy run. The P300 is a belter of a car, but you certainly pay for the privilege.
I can't say I was expecting much in the way of driving enjoyment in the Evoque (which I did drive before injuring myself) but came away quite impressed.
The steering was very light.
Only two things genuinely annoyed me. The first was the too-light steering. While it's beautifully set up for driving around town and keeping effort to a minimum, it took a while to get used to.
The second thing, which is entirely selfish, is that the Evoque's diesel engine isn't as quick as some of its smaller rivals. But that's pretty much it.
Once you're moving, the slow feeling melts away, because a combination of a now much better nine-speed automatic and that huge torque figure means very swift and/or relaxed progress.
Range Rover reckons it accelerates from 0-100km/h in 9.3 seconds.
In the old days, the nine-speeder spent a fair amount of time looking for the right gear. It seems right at home in the turbo-diesel, ensuring it stays in that fat torque band.
It's a terrifically competent car to drive, too. Despite its off-road abilities (no, you can't get too carried away, but it'll do more than most), it has a lovely on-road feel. Not too soft, but with a nice flow in the ride and handling either in the city or out on the highway.
The D180 might be more expensive than the other cars it's compared to. You can thank Land Rover's weird habit of straddling sizes for that. But it does come with a fair bit of carefully chosen gear. It's mildly annoying you need to tick a few boxes to finish the job (at least the packages aren't too stupidly priced), but I guess you know what you're getting yourself into.
The Evoque is a gorgeous car and one that will keep you feeling good about your purchase every time you look at it. Even with the D180 S, you're getting plenty of the good things the Evoque has to offer. It's also a far more substantial car than any of its German rivals with a far greater breadth of capability.