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The Range Rover Evoque has had a facelift

It may be only a baby SUV, but the new model has everything fans desire, says David Green

The Times

Launched more than 12 years ago to a public that was somewhat sceptical about a baby Range Rover, the Evoque is now an important part of the Land Rover landscape. It’s the entry point to Range Rover ownership and is followed by the Velar, then the Range Rover Sport, right up to the heady heights and brandy-butter excess of the “big” Range Rover. The second-generation Evoque has been around for five years and, along with the Velar, spearheaded Gerry McGovern’s “reductive” design that can be seen now on all Range Rovers. The philosophy suits this elegant small SUV, which plies its trade mainly in city centres rather than muddy fields.

Land Rover has gone with the “if it ain’t broke …” adage for the latest facelift, with a tinker round the edges. It nails the Range Rover look and luxury, which has significant appeal for buyers, and even the entry-level “S” model has most of the usual creature comforts. The new model retains the trademark floating roof design and has Corinthian Bronze and Tribeca Blue launch colours, which suit the car well. Pixel LED headlights are sleek — but more importantly they are impressive tech, with matrix dimming to avoid dazzling the driver ahead and oncoming cars while still illuminating the the road.

But it is the interior that has had the biggest upgrade. Gone from the centre console are the dials for the heater and gone are the twin screens, the latter replaced by a single curved-glass touchscreen with Land Rover’s impressive Pivi Pro infotainment system. Some will miss the haptic, physical dials — I am a big fan of an old-school volume dial as opposed to sliding my finger across a screen — and people may balk at this race to house every command within the touchscreen, but that’s the direction of travel for Land Rover and many other brands. The lack of analogue switches at least frees up room for a cubbyhole that houses a wireless charging pad for mobile phones.

The driver’s instrument cluster is digital across all models and there is also a digital rear view. It takes a bit of getting used to but it gives a wider field of vision than an old-school mirror, unimpeded by passengers or luggage. This is particularly beneficial in the Evoque, where the tapering roof results in a narrow rear window. And the car has Land Rover’s clever ClearSight Ground View, which gives you an image of the road just in front of the car and beneath the bonnet. Developed for off-road boulder and rut detection, in the Evoque it will be more usefully employed checking for obstructions in the Waitrose car park.

The leather alternative for the seats is a fabric from the sustainable manufacturer Kvadrat. But of course, traditional cowhide is available. An invisible upgrade to the cabin is an enhanced filtration system. Cabin Air Purification Plus filters out harmful pathogens and allergens while also controlling CO2 levels in the car. You can monitor this and the outside air quality via the central screen (of course).


Drivers get that imperious, high position loved by Range Rover-owners. The drive is refined and brisk when needed, especially in the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model, which disguises its not inconsiderable weight well. It does the trick of feeling bigger than its size; smooth and solid on dual carriageways and motorways yet nimble and agile on city streets. It’s a noticeable step up from the older Evoque and keeps the infant Range Rover snapping at the heels of its siblings, if not quite achieving the supple refinement of the larger cars. The Evoque also adopts fly-by-wire braking, although most drivers will not notice this as different from the old system and may prefer not to think about the fact that there is no physical connection between the brake pedal and the brakes other than electric wiring.

The PHEV version theoretically offers sky-high fuel economy, but as with all such cars you must tightly manage charging to achieve this. If you have a convenient charging point and a short commute you may achieve close to the suggested 190+mpg, but you won’t if your charging opportunities are limited. More average SUV fuel-consumption levels will be the norm.

The changes may not be dramatic enough to send people who have recently bought Evoques dashing back to the dealership, but for fans of the brand and the model, the upgraded Evoque will not disappoint. From £49,900, landrover.com

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