The Evoque is pretty much all we hoped it’d be, a crossover to fall for.
The smash-hit baby Rangie. The Evoque is a Range Rover for fashionistas, famously designed with guidance from Victoria Beckham, and how it’s turned out to the posh SUV to be seen in. There’s a coupe-ish three-door or a more practical (and much better selling) five-door, should you have children to deposit at a private school.
It’s recently been facelifted. Honest. Yes, visual changes are minor but there is a welcome boost under the bonnet - JLR’s ace 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel.
The ride and handling people have pulled off something a bit special here. The Evoque might be a Rangie, but there’s nothing wallowy about the way it corners. It attacks windy roads like an excited hot hatch, but still rides with the class of its big brother. This is a very well-rounded machine, and although purists might think it’s some fancy bit of chintz, it’s still a grafter when the road turns brown.
We’ve driven the Evoque to the Scottish Highlands, across an Icelandic glacier and over mammoth dunes in Dubai. And it didn’t slip up once. More recently, we’ve been driving it in 2015 guise, relishing the addition of that 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. It’s a huge step on from the rattly old 2.2, and makes the choice of engine almost a no-brainer. Even so, there’s still a turbocharged petrol for those who fancy going from zero to sixty in 7.1 seconds (and making a lot of fuss in the process).
The bulk of the range is all-wheel drive, but there is a fuel-sipping front-drive eD4 variant too - although most buyers seem to think a manual gearbox in an evoque isn’t the done thing and still go for the 4WD TD4 auto.
You won’t fit a wolfhound in the boot, but that’s not really the point. Importantly, it actually feels Range Rovery inside, from the classy materials and quality build to the muted layout. You sit high with a great view out the front, but rearward visibility is hampered by high sides and shallow glass. Rear space is bigger than it looks – sub-six-footers should be fine back there, even in the three-door – and the back seats come as a sculpted pair or a three-person bench. ‘Dynamic’ trim adds buckety front seats in black or red leather.