New Range Rover Evoque 2019 Review – First Drive
Paul Horrell’s Range Rover Evoque 2019 Review with Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Safety, Verdict and Score.
IN A NUTSHELL Looking better than ever, but this time around squeezes in more space. More refined to drive too, and still surprisingly solid in the rough.
2019 Range Rover Evoque (European spec – Si4 330PS tested)
Price Unknown Warranty three-years, 100,000km Service Intervals 12 months/16,000km (petrol variants) Safety Not tested Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo (with 46.2V lithium-ion battery) Power 221kW at 5500rpm Torque 400Nm from 1500-4000rpm Transmission nine-speed automatic Drive On-Demand all-wheel drive Dimensions 4371mm long, 1649mm high, 2100mm wide (mirrors out), 2681mm wheelbase Ground Clearance 212mm claimed Angles 25.0-degrees approach, 30.6-degrees departure, 20.7-degrees rampover Wading Depth 600mm Turning Circle 11.6m Boot Space 591-1383L Weight Up to 1921kg Towing 1800kg Spare Space Saver Fuel Tank 65-67L depending on variant Thirst Up to 8.1L/100km claimed combined
The mark two Evoque is a pretty much ground-up renewal, but it speaks exactly the same language as before, both in the way it looks and who it’s aimed at. It’s the most design-conscious crossover of all.
The new version has cleaner surfaces, and flush glass and handles, giving it a beautifully reduced look. But the redesign is more than skin deep. The new platform has a longer wheelbase, meaning better cabin space without the body getting longer, so it’s still a handy urban machine.
The powertrains have been upgraded with a mild-hybrid system to save a little fuel. The suspension is rebuilt too, and it’s bolted to a stronger new body.
In the cabin, most of the technologies revolve around new screens, including LR’s double centre screen system, plus a driver’s instrument screen and optional head-up display. Two camera-based systems provide forward and rearward views you can never normally get from the driver’s seat.
Every version in Australia has an automatic transmission and an advanced 4WD system.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
The basic furniture – seats, dash and door trims – follows Range Rover’s usual path, with bold straight lines and soft stitched upholstery. If you object to dead animals sharing your ride, there are leather-free options with wool-blend and even vegan cloth. It all feels rich and distinctive.
The driving position isn’t as elevated as the big Rangies’ but compared with other compact crossovers you’re right up. Vision to the rear is a bit restricted, so you’ll be wanting that camera-based mirror. It takes a bit of getting used to, because the focal distance is on the mirror, not in the far distance, so you have to re-focus your eyes from the road ahead. But in many circumstances its wide view is a boon – the camera is on the tail end of the roof.
A magic front-view system – again optional – shows the view under and ahead of the front bumper, and around the front wheels. It’s billed as something for outback boulder-climbing, but you’ll be glad of it in tight kerbed parking spaces.
The seats are excellent, supportive and comfy, with eight-way manual adjustment as standard and 14-way electric on many models. Go all the way through the tick-boxes and it’s 16-way with heating, cooling and massage.
In the rear two adults can make a home, but there’s no room to stretch, and the thick pillars and shallow glass impart a sense of encroachment.
That short rear overhang might be good for parking but it doesn’t make space for a vast a boot. Still 591 litres isn’t too bad, and at least there’s a space-saver spare under the floor.
Cabin storage is good though. A deep armrest bin lies between the two of you, big enough for a few one-litre bottles. Another useful tray is tucked in around the back of the lower infotainment screen.
What are the infotainment and controls like?
In base-model guise, called S, the Evoque gets decent 10-inch centre screen, plus additional info between the two main instruments. Works well, and is unpretentious, and every car sold in Oz has connected navigation. And, at long last, CarPlay and Android Auto.
Go up a step to SE trim and you net the so-called Touch Pro Duo system, first seen on the Velar. This puts a second centre screen below the first, which handles climate and vehicle settings, and has a pair of useful physical knobs with context-dependent functions. Usefully, you can also use this screen as an entertainment display if you’re using the upper one for navigation. Resolution and graphics are really nice.
Range Rover is good at stereos. The standard one is fine, and the optional Meridian-branded setup a gorgeous thing to listen to. Up to six USBs can be dotted around the cabin, and wifi for eight devices.
What’s the performance like?
So far we’ve tried the P300, the most powerful in the range, with a 221kW petrol prime mover. It’s brisk, but not as fast as you’d hope, taking 6.6 seconds to lunge from 0-100km/h. I blame the vehicle’s weight, which is 1.9 tonnes in the glass-roof trim I drove.
Still, the engine is relatively refined in town, and spins eagerly for overtaking up hills. It’s a transverse four-cylinder though, so don’t come looking for multi-cylinder refinement. It gets buzzy, especially around 4000rpm. But then, the rivals are four-bangers too.
The transmission is a nine-speed automatic. There are times when it seems it can’t make up its mind which among all those ratios to go for. It’ll be reluctant to downshift as you gently open the throttle, then crack down through at least two ratios in a mad hurry. Still, you can usually drive round this unseemliness. And if you can’t, just take the paddles and instruct it yourself.
What’s it like on the road?
It’s not as soft-riding as the Velar or big Range Rover, but in its category this is a smooth thing. It takes most of the harshness out of urban roads or gravel tracks. On bigger bumps you’re moved about, but the motions are well-controlled and damped. It seldom shudders in the way many off-roaders do (because of their soft engine mounts or lack of wheel damping). So it feels expensive and well-engineered.
Motorway cruising is quiet, stable and smooth.
It’s not agile – that’s a job for sister-brand Jaguar’s E-Pace. The Evoque’s steering has a slightly gluey feel, but you can be accurate and controlled with it. It’s relaxing and easy, and doesn’t lose its cool when you paste it along. The test car’s adaptive dampers are so well-calibrated we hardly bothered with the dynamic or comfort modes. The default mode was fine.
Compact dimensions and an upright shape give you lots of confidence in narrow roads and streets, too.
What’s it like off the road?
The drive system normally keeps the rear wheels disconnected to save fuel, but when needed it wakes up so fast and sends power back that you don’t feel the join. The rear wheels are driven by individual clutch-packs rather than a differential, so the car can control torque vectoring.
Wading depth is a pretty solid 600mm, and ground clearance is 212mm. Short overhangs help the angles, which are 25 degrees approach and 30.6 degrees departure.
You can either set the Terrain Response system according to your needs (it alters throttle response, gear strategy and wheelslip and diff settings) or you can leave it to figure out what’s needed.
LR’s All-Terrain Progress Control is an excellent way to creep gently across bumpy terrain, when otherwise you’d be bouncing on the throttle and probably causing loss of grip.
What about safety features?
Six airbags and a deployable pedestrian-cushioning bonnet and pedestrian airbag are standard. The rear seat has two ISOFIX positions.
To avoid that impact, the list includes LED headlights, emergency auto-braking, lane keep assist, a rear camera and an adaptive speed limiter that reacts to the traffic-sign recognition system.
Extra-cost options include blind-spot assistance, high-speed emergency braking, and steering assist on adaptive cruise control. Nothing unusual for the class, and some of it should be standard these days at this price.