2019 Range Rover Evoque Review – Australian First Drive
Peter Anderson’s Australian first drive 2019 Range Rover Evoque Review with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Practicality, Ownership, Safety, Verdict and Score.
In a nutshell: New Evoque boasts a new platform, tweaked exterior and interior design and almost more tech than you could poke a stick at…
2019 Range Rover Evoque Specifications
Price $64,640 – $94,290 (diesel), $62,670 – $93,720 (petrol) (all prices plus onroads) Warranty 3-years, 100,000 kilometres Safety 5-star ANCAP rating Engines 2.0L 4 cyl turbo petrols 147kW-221kW / 320Nm – 400Nm, 2.0L diesel 4 cyl 110kW-177kW, 380Nm-500Nm Transmission 9-speed automatic Drive AWD Dimensions length 4371mm, width 2100mm, height 1649mm, wheelbase 2681mm Turning Circle 11.9m Ground Clearance 212mm (claimed) Angles approach angle 22.2, ramp 20.7, departure 30.6 degrees Wading depth 600mm Max braked towing 1600kg Max towball mass 100kg Fuel Tank 65-67 litres Thirst 8.1-8.2L/100km (petrols), 5.7-6.3L/100km (diesels)
The 2019 Range Rover Evoque is the second-generation of the lifestyle SUV that rebooted and re-formed the British car maker. The original was inspired by the 2009 LRX Concept by Rob Melville (now in charge of McLaren design) and sold by the boatload.
What is the Range Rover Evoque?
A decade ago, the SUV market was a slumbering beast, with just a few agricultural choices and half-baked soft-roaders, with the exception of the big Germans and, of course Land Rover’s catalogue.
Soon to be freed from the shackles of Ford’s incompetent ownership, Land Rover dropped something entirely new, the LRX Concept. Shotguns all over the world clattered to the ground, grouse left un-shot, retriever dogs comforting their masters. The company had gone potty – here was a car that wasn’t built for the muddy boots and dog set but aimed squarely at urban fashionistas (or wannabe fashionistas). Surely it will never happen.
A year later, the Evoque started rolling down the line at Halewood and kicked off a reboot of the Range Rover brand. A production line with a capacity of 80,000 was hurriedly increased to 120,000 such was the car’s massive appeal.
Where did we drive the new Evoque?
We’ve already driven the new Range Rover Evoque overseas and now we’ve finally had the chance to drive it on Australian roads. We set off from Sydney’s Double Bay – Range Rover knows its customer – up through the city and into the northwest, past the new metro trains whizzing overhead and down the twisties to Wiseman’s Ferry. Once across the punt, we set off more twisties to Glenworth Valley.
There we threw the Evoque at deep, chunky wombat holes, negotiated slippery, muddy tracks and casually drove it down a river. Not across it. Down it. While it wasn’t a super-challenging endeavour, it was way past what most people put their Discovery through, let alone a city-friendly, lifestyle SUV.
What makes the Evoque go?
You have six choices. JLR’s Ingenium range sits under the bonnet of all cars, in a choice of 2.0-litre turbodiesel or 2.0-litre turbo petrol. All the diesels and the P300 petrol feature a 48V mild hybrid system. Similar to Audi’s, a belt alternator starter juices up a small 200w/h battery in the floor when you lift, using the kinetic energy to convert the energy to electricity.
When you get back on the throttle, the power can come back in the form of a torque boost of up to 140Nm (!), while reducing fuel consumption by “up to” six percent and saving around 8g/km. As with the 48V Audis, the engine will shut off as you cruise to a stop from 17km/h, the big battery keeping everything working.
- D150: 110kW/380Nm, mild hybrid;
- D180: 132kW/430Nm, mild hybrid; and
- D240: 177kW/500Nm, mild hybrid.
- P200: 147kW/320Nm;
- P250: 183kW/365Nm; and
- P300: 221kW/400Nm, mild hybrid.
The P300 is the only mild hybrid-capable petrol engine in the range as the P200 and P250 mild hybrids are only made with petrol particulate filters, which are incompatible with our cruddy (read cheap) high-sulphur fuel.
Later in the year, you’ll be able to buy a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo plug-in hybrid (PHEV). With 227kW/240Nm and an electric motor with 80kW/280Nm, it’s the most powerful Evoque in the range.
What’s the price and what do you get?
This is not a question answered quickly when it comes to Jaguar Land Rover. While the company is promising to slim down the number of combinations, Evoque customers are still spoilt – and probably paralysed – by the choices on offer.
Basically, you have three building blocks to begin with. You start with one of three trim levels – S, SE and HSE. Then you choose from one of up to six engine choices (three diesels, three petrols) and then decide whether to add the R-Dynamic Pack. Then you can start going through the options list that would fit on the ream of paper daggy dads unfurl during wedding speeches when they say they’ll keep it short.
And, being a JLR car, there’s a First Edition, but that won’t trouble buyer’s choices for too long.
Not all engines are available in all specs as JLR Australia has finally talked head office down from telling the local business to take every single permutation, but there is still plenty to think about when you roll in to your local Land Rover dealer.
The Evoque S is the entry level model with four engines available.
- S P200: $62,670+ORCs;
- S D150: $64,640+ORCs;
- S P250: $66,840+ORCs; and
- S D180: $67,040+ORCs.
The S D150 starts you off with a leather interior, 18-inch alloys, electric front seats, aluminium interior trim bits, leather steeereing wheel, auto-dimming rear vision mirror, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, six-speaker sound system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, auto high beam, sat nav, 10-inch touchscreen, analogue dash, various power sockets around and USB ports the place, cruise control, LED headlights, AEB, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition front and rear parking sensors.
The SE is the next step up and has all six engines available.
- SE P200: $68,610+ORCs;
- SE D150: $70,580+ORCs;
- SE P250: $72,780+ORCs;
- SE D180: $72,908+ORCs;
- SE P300: $82,620+ORCs; and
- SE D240: $83,190+ORCs.
You can tell which trim level Land Rover thinks is going to do well here…
The SE steps up to the dual screen Touch Pro duo, which means the exceptionally funky control screen for dynamics, seats and climate is added to the centre console, replacing the analogue dials and switches. It also gets 19-inch alloys, a digital dashboard, clear exit monitor, park assist, 360-degree sensors, rear traffic monitor, electric tailgate, LED headlights with signature DRL,
And finally, the “standard” range finishes with the HSE
- HSE P300: $90,420+ORCs; and
- HSE D240: $90,420+ORCs.
The HSE picks up 20-inch alloys, keyless entry, 10-speaker Meridian sounds system, blind spot monitor, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, power tailgate with gesture control and high-speed AEB.
To each of these you can add an R-Dynamic styling pack for around $1600.
- First Edition P250: $91,300+ORCs; and
- First Edition D180: $91,550+ORCs.
First Edition builds on a mix of the SE and HSE specs with a black roof, fixed panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, powered tailgate, matrix LED headlights, a couple of no-cost option paint colours and one exclusive colour, 20-inch alloys, 14-way heated electric seats, various First Edition bits and pieces, heated and electrically adjustable steering wheel, clear sight HD rear view mirror, the 10-speaker Meridian sound system, head-up display and keyless entry.
Obviously, there’s a truckload of options, including the amazing Windsor leather interior. You can also go with a couple of vegan interior options such as the Eucalyptus textile option. A series of packs lets you roll up things like cold climate options, safety items, driver assist and parking.
The Clear Sight rear vision mirror is brilliant and unsettling. A shark fin-mounted HD camera broadcasts a signal to the actual rear view mirror, giving you an amazing view behind, including nose-picking drivers behind you. Clear Sight ground view uses a series of cameras to make the front of the car “disappear” in the central screen so you can tell if you’re going to scrape the car in narrow spots.
What’s the passenger space like?
It feels bigger, especially in the front, but that’s mostly to do with a slightly more efficient use of space. With the new dash architecture and the nifty new dual screen setup, it feels very high tech and the new doors are better for elbows.
There are two cupholders and a deep central bin under the armrest. There isn’t, sadly, somewhere to sling your phone as you step in, there’s just no space. On top of the dash is what Range Rover calls “discreet” storage, which is a space under the lower screen (or manual controls where that isn’t fitted). Yes, you can put your phone there and yes you will forget it every time.
Rear seat space is better, with all 20mm in the wheelbase given over to more legroom. It’s not really a three-seater in the back, at least not for long journeys.
What’s the boot space like?
The boot is 10% bigger at a claimed 591 litres, but I reckon that’s to the ceiling rather than the parcel shelf. Seats down it will swallow 1383 litres but as you can see below, the seats don’t fold down flat.
The lip is a little on the high side for easily tossing stuff in but if you go for the gesture control it will be slightly less cumbersome. The floor is flush with the bumper, though. With the seats folded it’s not quite flat but you can still load in a fair amount of gear. Flat packs ahoy.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
Pretty good, especially with the dual screen arrangement. I’m assuming the manual controls are straight out of the Discovery Sport I drove recently, which are also fine, but considerably less funky.
Everything is easy to find and in sensible places, so you won’t need to dive into the manual too often.
The InControl media system continues to improve but is a bit less colourful than past iterations, something easily fixed if you use CarPlay or Android Auto. The sat nav is still a bit dim and slow to react to inputs.
What’s it like to drive?
Good. Very good. The driving position feels very similar to the older car, which means high-but-not-too-high, feels like a “normal car” (even though SUVs are the new normal) but also cosy. You sit a bit lower under the window sill in the Evoque, which gives it a sportier vibe than even the Velar.
The P250 and P300 engines are both superb, but we already knew this from other JLR product. Both have strong pick-up and spin very happily to the redline if you plant it, but you don’t often have to – they both have a ton of torque.
On the freeway the Evoque is exceptionally quiet, the Ingenium a distant hum. The P300 with its mild hybrid effect is very good but takes a little getting used to. As you’re heading for a stop, it cuts out at 17km/h which is obviously going to feel very early, but everything keeps going thanks to the 48-volt power system.
It’s a bigger car – a fair bit longer – and has a 20mm longer wheelbase. Not only does that liberate more rear seat room and deliver a bigger boot, but those extra few millimetres help with the ride. The rejigged Evoque platform is stiffer, too, meaning the engineers have less flex to deal with.
The cars I drove all had passive suspension, meaning that I can’t tell you about adaptive damping. But I can tell that both on and off road, passive suspension is very impressive. I was quite taken with how well the Evoque handled the middling difficulty of the short off-road course – a few big holes, plenty of mud, tight turns up steep slippery hills and a spot of wading down a river. The Evoque shrugged it off as though it was all in a day’s work.
In the bends you can feel its weight but it never feels less than well under control. I quite like the steering, too, which is reasonably direct on the road without sacrificing off-road control.
None of the Evoques are particularly slow, but both the P250 and P300 have a good mix of off-the-line performance as well as a properly impressive torque band for overtaking. The more powerful PHEV should be interesting…
What about ownership?
Land Rover offers a three year/100,000km warranty, which is starting to look a bit lean in the context of the overall market but still on a par with its German rivals. The roadside assist package on the Land and Range Rovers is quite solid, including coming and digging you out of trouble if you get bogged. Service intervals are set at 12 months/26,000km for petrols and 12 months/20,000km and you can purchase five years of servicing for a very reasonable $1500.
What safety equipment does it have?
Again, a complicated question, but the basic fitment of six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, two ISOFIX and three top-tether points, lane keep assist and low-speed AEB add up to a minty-fresh ANCAP rating of five stars. Blind spot monitoring and high-speed AEB come as options or standard on higher grades.
Which one should I buy?
The new Evoque is an impressive machine, car of style and substance. Range Rover seems to have put the brakes on some of its worst options list excesses while also starting to reduce the complexity of the range.
I certainly think it’s worth spending the extra money to move to the SE trim level. It’s the cheapest way to up-spec things and you’ll also have the choice of all of the engines. They’re all smooth and powerful and I can tell you for a fact that the transmission is very effective with the petrol engine. I didn’t get nearly enough time in a diesel to get a good feel for it.
I haven’t made your choice much easier but at least I tried…