Since the Range Rover Evoque’s launch back in 2011 nearly 800 000 units were sold making it the best-selling Range Rover in history. Locally, 76% of Evoque buyers are new to the Range Rover brand and this latest model looks to continue as the stylish entry-point for the luxury carmaker, with improved refinement, the latest technology, greater practicality and stunning new looks, no pressure.
The Evoque’s updated aesthetic now mimics design features from its larger siblings, especially the suave Velar (arguably the best looking SUV on sale). It still offers the glamour of the previous model with a sleek profile and this model fitted with the R-Dynamic package is an even bigger head-turner, specifically in optional Firenze red and (no-cost optional) black 20-inch wheels (pictured below). Proportions are similar to the previous generation Evoque but thanks to the clever packaging of the new PTA (Premium Transverse Architecture) platform its wheelbase has increased by 21 mm. This platform will be used for the upcoming Land Rover Discovery Sport too.
Added length to the wheelbase offers more legroom for rear passengers while bumping the boot space by 10%. The interior is another highlight of the package, the cabin is sumptuous with a variety of eco-friendly materials available and high-level models gain Range Rover’s latest dual-screen infotainment system as standard. The two 10-inch wide high-definition glass touchscreens are as sleek to use as they are to look at. Combined with a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display the interior offers a state-of-the-art ambience. Adding to the slick interior is the ‘ClearSight’ rearview camera which displays a bright high-res image of the surrounds behind in the rearview mirror. It cuts out much of your blind spot and allows passengers a clear view for the road behind too. It takes some time to acclimatize but once your eyes and mind have adjusted the technology makes sense. It comes standard with this HSE model. Look no headrests, rear glass or C-pillars to block your view.
Powering the P250 model is the familiar JLR Ingenium 2.0-litre turbo. It’s tuned to produce a robust 183 kW and 365 Nm and is mated to a slick-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission. Dynamic performance doesn’t rank high on the agenda but the motor is smooth if not a little thirsty for a vehicle of its size but it does have more than enough in reserve to tackle the open road with little fuss. Let’s not forget, that the Evoque comes from a family of serious off-roaders, and with a 600 mm wading-depth capability and the Terrain Response II all-wheel-drive system designed to get the vehicle through some seriously adverse driving conditions, as demonstrated at the local launch during a spot of nighttime 4x4ing at JLR’s new experience centre in Lonehill, Johannesburg, it relishes going off the beaten track. Having taken it to a wet and muddy Cape Town refuse site over it seemed out of place amongst the municipal trucks and bakkies, however, it happily scaled the landfill to offload some scrap building material without breaking a sweat. Needless to say, it’s much more capable than the looks suggest and a slippery hill is no challenge for the Evoque but would you really want to get those alloys dirty?
The Evoque is clearly calibrated for comfort and leisure pursuits rather than sporty driving and rewards the former with its refinement, meaty yet precice steering and cushioned ride. It only feels ordinary from behind the wheel when pushed hard on a winding road. But does this really matter? Probably not, with this flagship a nose hair under R1-million it is a luxury item and indeed feels it. The only thing I’d change is the accelerator pedal, expensive cars should have floor-mounted ones. For the combination of great looks, luxury, true off-road capability and slick technology the Evoque is in a class of one. We feel that the diesel-powered D180 derivatives are the ones to go for tough blending performance and economy with as much refinement at speed. Look forward to seeing a few cruising about the Sea Point pavilion soon.
In a nutshell
Range Rover Evoque P250 HSE R-Dynamic
Plush ride matches its style
Most owners will know its off-road talent
Engine: 1 998 cc, 4-cylinder turbo petrol
Power: 183 kW @ 5 500 rpm, 365 Nm @ 1 300 – 4 500 rpm
Performance: 0-100 km/h in 7.5 sec
Top speed: 230 km/h
Tyres: 21-inch, 245/45
Economy: 8.9 l/100 km (claimed)
Transmission: 9-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
CO2 emissions: 169 g/km
Price: R968 499