The latest, recently refreshed Range Rover Evoque – seen here in HSE Dynamic Lux trim – is now equipped with the brand’s four-cylinder ‘Ingenium’ engine and is all the better for it. Sexily styled in Firenze Red paint and black 20” alloys the Evoque shows once again that there is substance behind the style. Mrs DriveWrite bonded with it very quickly and required and charged me to, basically, nick it. As you can imagine I was shocked and swiftly counselled against such an action but she is not wrong. It really is a very good car.
Inside & Out
The Ingenium unit replaces the ancient 2.2L diesel of old and is available in two states of tune: 148 or 177bhp. The test car featured the higher-powered version, mated to an absolutely superb nine-speed gearbox straight out of the bigger Range Rover.
You can opt for a six-speed manual to save a bit of money but why would you? The auto comes with a sport mode and paddles but regular drive proved more than adequate for everyday motoring.
The new diesel four-pot engine is part of a wider 2016 facelift. There have also been some subtle changes to the Evoque’s exterior and interior design and it now has bigger brakes and revised suspension.
A new front bumper punctuated by a pair of larger, more-aggressive air intakes and featuring slim, integrated LED fog lamps leads the update, accompanied by two new grille designs. The standard unit has two horizontal bars and a fine mesh pattern, while Evoque Dynamic models get a hexagonal pattern. It’s loaded to the max with features, all of which are listed on the specification below which saves me a lot of typing.
Although some of the options could be deemed unnecessary, the fact is that the Range Rover is better with them even if the total price tops the eye-watering £50k barrier. If I have any reservations it is with the infotainment and navigation system which still seems, well, not dated as such, just not very involving. Maybe it’s just me. It usually is.
Still, it works fine and now comes with the added advantages of premium HDD navigation and the InControl Touch Plus feature. The multi-speaker Meridian sound system is brilliant by the way. Otherwise there are no complaints about the sensibly laid out dashboard with, as ever, the now ubiquitous rising drive selector and the simple variable terrain 4×4 options.
There’s tons of room for the cosseted front seat passengers with big seats fashioned in lovely leather. My rear seat passengers are less happy. Certainly they were comfortable enough but without exception they all said it felt claustrophobic back there.
The view out of the side is, they said, hampered by the rising sill meaning the windows are on the small side. Couple this with the huge front seats and occupants felt hemmed in. None of this bothered me of course sitting as I was in the elevated SUV driving position. I had a lovely view thanks very much, especially with the panoramic sunroof fitted.
On The Road
From the off the Range Rover Evoque pulls with real strength and smoothness, getting this big SUV up the road swiftly and without drama. There’s no need to thrash it, just let the modern diesel’s low-revving power progress you along.
Sport mode adds to the driving experience but, as ever, it comes with a fuel penalty. Even though it was my almost permanently preferred option the chunky Evoque still returned nearly 33 mpg. Not bad and a more abstemious driver will do much better I’m sure.
Overall during my trial the engine worked well with the 9-speed gearbox, standing comparison with the best in class. The combination has certainly enlivened the Evoque experience. Much better than with the clonking diesel of old.
Want One? I Know I Do.
I guess the rivals would be vehicles like the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. Both of these are great cars and offer a similar prestige quality. The closed in effect of the rear seats might be of concern if adults are regularly transported but kids won’t mind. The boot is roomy and a good shape; more than adequate for the family hols. Against the opposition, in my opinion, the Evoque shades it by being such a looker. Sure, it is expensive but it is a Range Rover after all. You get what you pay for.