2019 Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic D240 SE Review
Isaac Bober’s 2019 Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic D240 SE Review with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Practicality, Ownership, Safety, Verdict and Score.
In a nutshell: New Range Rover Evoque rides on a new platform, is more agile, more premium, but there are the odd misses too.
2020 Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic D240 SE Specifications
Price $87,060+ORCs Price as Tested $101,193+ORCs Warranty three-years, 100,000km Service Intervals 12 months, 26,000km Safety five-star ANCAP Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel Power 177kW at 2400rpm Torque 500Nm from 1500-2500rpm Transmission nine-speed automatic Drive on-demand all-wheel drive Dimensions 4731mm long, 1649mm high, 2100mm wide (mirrors inc), 2681mm wheelbase Angles 22.2-degrees approach, 30.6-degrees departure, 20.7-degrees rampover Ground Clearance 212mm claimed (190mm measured) Boot Space 591-1383 litres Spare space saver Towing 2000kg (braked) Weight 1955kg Fuel Tank 65 litres Thirst 6.3L/100km claimed combined (8.4L/100km tested)
The Range Rover Evqoue has proved to be a huge success for Land Rover and while it might be aimed squarely at inner-city dwellers there’s enough of the brand DNA that it remains at the pointy end when the going gets rough. This latest version sees the Evoque switch to a new, longer, lighter platform and a sleeker exterior look with the Velar’s flush door handles and a bunch of interior technology, like a camera for a rear vision mirror and much more.
More than that, the Evoque’s four-cylinder petrol and diesel range, as well as the big-banger petrol engine are all fitted with 48V mild-hybrid technology with, gasp, a plug-in hybrid joining the line-up next year.
What is the Range Rover Evoque?
Well, it’s a fashion conscious inner-city oriented SUV. And, yet, this new one gets some cool off-road kit that has surely been fitted as toe in the water for the new Defender, like the Ground View camera set-up that allows you to see underneath the front wheels of the car at low speeds. But I digress.
The new Evoque is roughly the same size as the old one but the wheelbase is 20mm longer but thanks to lighter, stronger materials there’s been more room eked out on the inside than that two-centimetres would suggest. And it’s a whole lot more sophisticated looking than the old car, thanks to the numerous hints of Range Rover Velar in the design.
It gets a sophisticated all-wheel drive system and, on the car we tested, Terrain Response and All Terrain Progress Control but with limited ground clearance, limited wheel travel and massive wheels, the Evqoue is more about looking good in the city than clambering across rough ground in the bush…although, as you’ll read later, it’s easily the best in its segment at doing just that.
What’s the price and what do you get?
Pricing for the Evoque, as far as diesel versions go, runs from $64,640 – $94,290+ORCs and, in petrol form, from $$62,670 – $93,720+ORCs. Of course, then there are the cost options and, invariably, a lot of the stuff on the list, depending on the variant, is sometimes standard on vehicles costing $20k. Like, for instance, DAB radio which is a cost option on the vehicle we tested…
Let’s get into this. Our test car was the Evoque R-Dynamic D240 SE which has a base price of $87,060+ORCs. So, it’s not quite the top of the tree but it’s getting close to it. For that, you get things like Terrain Response 2, All Terrain Progress Control (off-road cruise control), an active driveline (meaning on-demand all-wheel drive), powered tailgate, high-beam assist, LED headlights, 20-inch alloys, 14-way power adjust front seats, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, dual screens and digital instrument cluster, autonomous emergency braking, reversing camera, clear exit monitor (so you don’t open the door into a cyclist), 360-surround view monitor, traffic sign recognition and lane-keep assist. To be fair, it’s a pretty comprehensive pack.
But our test car also came with, to showcase the options available, the Responsibly Sourced Pack ($4188) and this replaces the leather with vegan materials and wool, it had a Panoramic Roof ($2040), Metallic Paint ($1480), Drive Pack ($1340) and this includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist and high-speed emergency braking. It had a Meridian Sound System ($1200), keyless entry and start ($900), privacy glass ($690), heated front seats ($560), Smart Rear View Mirror ($515), Surround camera system ($410), DAB radio ($400). And all that added up to a list price of $101,193+ORCs.
What’s the interior like?
The interior is filled with sumptuous materials both to look at and to touch. Looking at the dashboard there are bold straight lines and soft stitching with beautiful contrast finishes that elevate the interior right to the top of the class. This is proper baby Range Rover although it feels more skinny jean than tweed, if you catch my drift.
The dashboard is dominated by the two screens in the centre of the car with dials for the climate controls and stereo volume. Beyond that the controls are all touch screen and unfortunately that isn’t as slick as the system looks. To activate a control, you’ll need to hold your finger directly on it for longer than you think and I suffered a host of issues with the infotainment system which would regularly fail to recognise my connected iPhone and launch Apple CarPlay (in one stint behind the wheel, repeated disconnections and reconnections over the course of an hour, even though the phone was charging, failed to launch CarPlay. Other glitches involved accessing the multiple cameras and on more than one occasion I had to hard restart the vehicle to get it all working again, and when trying to show my children the ambient lighting, well, the system kept saying it was unavailable.
However, when it does work, this is easily one of the most feature rich infotainment systems on the planet, although it’s annoying that when you’re using Google Maps for navigating and you have the map display in the digital instrument cluster there’s no syncing between the two. Meaning you’ll be looking at Google Maps on the centre console display and Land Rover’s generic sat-nav on the instrument cluster.
And then there’s the Smart Rear View Mirror ($515). This is one that I’m in two minds about. Projecting a video image onto the rear vision mirror means you’re focussing on the mirror as a screen and thus it gives your eye a false sense of depth. But you get used to that and it gives a nice widescreen picture and the camera works well even at night, but… you can’t rely on it as you can a mirror when you’re reversing or to judge the distance of cars from you when you’re driving and that’s because it’s not giving you the same depth of field you get from a conventional rear vision mirror. And, at night, it’s a pain in the backside. Not the image, because that’s fine but what happens, something you don’t get with a conventional rear vision mirror is a dazzling of the ‘screen’. See, not only do you get the lights from the car following you showing in the video feed but they also reflect off the screen itself, dazzling you if you try and use it. Fortunately, you can turn the whole thing off and use it as a conventional mirror which is great. So, would I recommend it? Maybe, maybe not. Someone described it as a game-changer…it isn’t.
What are the front seats like?
The Evoque doesn’t offer the same high-up driving position as the Range Rover proper but nor does it feel like you’re deep down in the belly of the thing (you can see across the bonnet). And, compared to other medium premium SUVs, the seating is quite high set. The 14-way power adjust seats on our test car were nice and comfortable and the manual adjust steering offered plenty of height and reach movement. There’s good forwards and side vision out of the Evoque and while vision out of the rear windscreen is tight, the reversing camera, sensors and blind-spot monitoring on our test car made manoeuvring it easy.
What are the back seats like?
The extra length in the wheelbase has helped make the back seat a more comfortable place than the old car. And climbing in seems easier too and by that I mean I found I didn’t have to duck my head to get through the doorway. Once in the back there’s decent room for two adults (certainly better than before but legroom still isn’t amazing); you can use the middle seat at the back but it’s more of a perch than a proper seat for an adult-sized human. The thick pillars aren’t as encroaching as you might think.
You’ll easily and comfortably fit three kids in the back, or even two child seats with a child sitting between them. There are directional rear air vents and, if your kids are anything like mine they’ll love the ambient lighting which can be changed from purple, to green, blue, orange, red and various shades in between.
What’s the boot space like?
The Evoque’s bobtail hides 591 litres of storage space (10 percent bigger than the old car) and up to 1383 litres with the back seats folded down but they don’t fold totally flat, but they are 40:20:40 split fold which is the most practical configuration you can get. Our tester had a powered tailgate which when opened offered enough room for me to stand underneath it without bumping my head. The load lip is virtually non-existent which makes loading and unloading easy and the boot’s shape is reasonably square, meaning it’s a faily usable space, although the slope in the back seats means the boot’s shape reduces towards the roof. There was a power outlet in the back and underneath the boot floor is a space saver spare.
What’s the performance like?
Our Evoque D240 SE runs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel making 177kW at 2400rpm and 500Nm of torque from 1500-2500rpm. As mentioned earlier, the new Evoque, also runs a 48V mild-hybrid set-up and it’s a clever set-up. The hybrid system harvests the energy normally lost during deaccleration and stores it in the under-floor battery, indeed from 17km/h and with your foot on the brake, the engine will shut down and use the power in the stored battery to keep the ancillaries running. Similarly, when moving away from a standing start the hybrid system will help the diesel engine out with a power boost.
Overall, the hybrid system works well but it takes a couple of ‘goes’ to get used to the shutdown from 17km/h and that’s mainly because the system doesn’t fire back up when you lift off the brake pedal, rather it waits until you touch the throttle. And the same goes for the stop-start system, and I never did get used to this, which requires you to lift off the brake and apply the throttle before the engine fires up again…this isn’t the optimal set-up as you soon discover when, say, making a right turn in front of traffic.
Beyond the hybrid system, which is something more and more car makers will start to use, the engine is a ripper with an effortlessness to the way it moves the Evoque. You simply put your foot down and the thing picks up speed quickly, cleanly and, dare I say it, with a bit of aggro.
The Evoque has on-demand all-wheel drive but it’s the best darn on-demand system on the planet. Essentially, to save fuel the Evoque will run in front-wheel drive but the clever ‘auto’ Terrain Response 2 and sundry other sensors will tell the system to bring the rear axle into play, which is via clutch packs rather than a centre differential, meaning they could potentially overheat when driving off-road for prolonged periods but I doubt any owner will ever trouble the thing that much.
The transmission is a nine-speed automatic and this has always been one of the dull spots about the Evoque. And that, unfortunately, continues to be the case with this new one. Once you’re up and running at a steady speed the thing, obviously, is fine but it can become confused in corners, or when overtaking, taking an age to decide what gear it needs and then thumping into that gear a moment or two after you’d hoped it would select it. And, some standing starts can feel clumsy with thumpy shifts at low speed. Sure, careful management of the throttle can generally get around the worst of this, or you can always use the paddle shifters. It’s just a shame that driven lazily at around town speeds the transmission is clumsy.
What’s it like on the road?
Don’t get in expecting Range Rover levels of comfort; the Evoque runs a conventional suspension system rather than its bigger sibling’s airbags. That doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable, not at all, it’ll swallow lumps and bumps nicely (even on 20-inch alloys) without a hint of thump through into the cabin. And even if you do hit something a bit gnarly on the road, the body movement is well controlled and the suspension stays quiet.
So, while you wouldn’t call the ride, plush, there’s no denying this is one of the more comfortable vehicles in its segment. You can get adaptive dampers on the Evoque but, for me, the ride is just fine without them.
The Evoque’s chassis has plenty of agility to it and the grip from the all-wheel drive system is excellent but stodgy steering means you’re never really encouraged to push the Evoque as hard as it’s capable of going. But, driven, as an owner would, at about seven-tenths, the Evqoue is excellent with great body control through corners and a sure footedness that, for me, is more real-world quick then some of the Evoque’s more highly-strung rivals, like, say, BMW X3 and Audi Q5.
Some reviews, including one of our own first drives of the Evoque, make mention of the Evqoue’s weight but I don’t at all agree with the notion this thing feels heavy through corners. The Practical Motoring road loop has some very tasty twists and turns that show up a vehicle’s body control quick smart and the Evoque felt lovely through the bends.
What’s it like off the road?
The Evoque is not aimed at those wanting to spend their weekends in the bush but, being a Land Rover, means a certain amount of rough road ability is expected of it. And it doesn’t disappoint, but…
…Unlike even the Discovery Sport, the Evoque doesn’t have a lot of wheel travel, nor does it have a lot of ground clearance (around 190mm and not the 212mm claimed) and, our tester road on 20-inch alloys. So, looking at it parked on a dirt road you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a street-wear trainer rather than a rugged walking shoe.
Our regular off-road loop would have been far too gnarly for the Evoque but we do have one we use for SUVs and I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting the Evoque to manage the track as easily as it did. And when I say easy, I mean, I almost didn’t notice when the thing lifted a wheel nearly two-feet off the ground. It just didn’t stop.
Indeed, I ended up driving the Evoque across a section of track I normally only drive more robust 4x4s on and some of them sit there with wheels spinning in the air while their traction control systems work out what to do, but not the Evoque; it just drove across the lumps and bumps without a single moment’s hesitation.
As you can see from the pictures, everything on the Evoque is tucked up and out of the way although this is as much to do with aerodynamics and reducing fuel consumption as it is about keeping the underbody out of harm’s way when off road. The snub-nose and tail afford an approach angle of 22.2-degrees, departure of 30.6-degrees and a rampover of 20.7-degrees.
Possibly the All Terrain Progress Control (think of it as rough-road cruise control), the fact the Evoque can now wade through up to 600mm of water (up from 500mm) and even the genius Terrain Response 2 is overkill for this urban-oriented SUV but I guess it’s nice to know it’s easily the most capable SUV in its segment.
Before we move away, let’s look at the Ground View camera system. This was previewed by the Land Rover’s Transparent Bonnet system in 2014 and this will most definitely be on the new Defender. It’s a clever idea but you’ll likely only use it when nosing in to a tight parking spot because using it off-road isn’t super useful, because while it’ll show holes beneath you the display doesn’t allow for an indication of the depth of the hole or size of the obstacle you’re trying to clear/avoid.
Can you tow with it?
According to the specs, you can tow up to 2000kg with the Evoque (and thew engine is certainly up to the job) with a maximum towball mass of 150kg. Land Rover calls it the Gross Train Weight which means the maximum the vehicle and trailer can weigh as a combination and this is 4510kg. The kerb weight of our tester is 1955kg which accounts for a 75kg driver, 90 percent filled fuel tank and all sundry other fluid tanks filled. Minus the kerb weight of the vehicle and you’re left with 2555kg, meaning the payload ends up at 600kg. However, the maximum specified Gross Vehicle Weight is 2510kg. That said, Land Rover, as it should, gives you some wriggle room because the maximum front and rear axle loads are 1370kg and 1250kg, respectively (2620kg) if you’re counting.
What about ownership?
Land Rover’s three-year, 100,000km warranty is way off the pace in this day and age of five-year warranties but it lines up with the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, so…(they’re all bad). It comes with roadside assistance for that three years and you can purchase a five-year service package for an upfront $1500. Service intervals are 12 months or 26,000km.
What safety features does it get?
The new Evoque gets a five-star ANCAP rating and realised a 94 percent rating for adult occupant protection, 89 percent for child occupant protection, 72 percent for vulnerable road user protection and 73 percent for its safety assist systems. The basic safety package is good, as ANCAP recognised, and there are six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, all-wheel drive, lane-keep assist, and a low-speed autonomous emergency braking system (5-85km/h) which scored well for both day and night performance. Our tester added blind-spot monitoring, and high-speed autonomous emergency braking. The of course there was the video feed rear vision mirror/screen, surround camera system and the ground view system.