MT Reviews: Range Rover Evoque

The Range Rover Evoque successfully gives a modern twist to a design classic, but get the V8, says Sathnam Sanghera.

by Sathnam Sanghera
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

I don't own a car, but if I had to buy one, I would get a second-hand, diesel-powered Range-Rover. It's the best engine in the world in the best car in the world and, with a price tag of £30,000 to £50,000 for a car that is one or two years old, it's worth every penny.

But, hold on, what's this? The Range Rover Evoque. 'The smallest, lightest, most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever produced.' And it starts at £29,195, the same price as a used Range Rover. I was on the phone straight away.

Judging by the fact that three examples appeared on my street in north London before I even got a test drive, I was not alone in my excitement. And I wasn't disappointed when it arrived. The Evoque is a beautiful thing. Like Paul Smith shirts, the design is classic with a modern twist.

The car continued to impress as I opened the driver's door. The interior displays come to life with a choreographed start-up sequence reminiscent of Jaguars and Aston Martins. Meanwhile, the 10 square metres of leather upholstery, which seemed excessive on paper, felt like a sensible move. Those three cows died for a noble cause.

However, once I got in, the disappointments began. One of the great pleasures of the Range Rover is the imperious driving position, but in the Evoque you are so low down that you may as well be in a saloon car. The technology is very easy to use, and the dual-view front screen that lets the driver see the sat-nav while the passenger watches Embarrassing Bodies impresses. But the graphics feel dated.

Then, the biggest disappointment of all: the engine. The twin-turbo V8 diesel in the Range Rover is a thing of beauty. But the SD4 2.2 litre diesel in my Evoque was anaemic. A Range Rover without torque and power is like a phone without a line connection.

I suspect other versions of this car, such as the coupe or those with a more powerful petrol engine, are better. I also suspect it comes in worse versions, with even weaker engines and with front-wheel drive. But I'm afraid my test model felt more like an upgraded Freelander than an affordable premium Range Rover.  

3 STARS OUT OF 5

SPECIFICATION - Range Rover Evoque sd4 dynamic 5 door

Pounds: 39,000
Engine: 2,200, 4-cyl, turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 44.1 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 emissions: 174 g/km
Power: 190 bhp @ 3,500 rpm
Torque: 309 lb/ft @ 1,750 rpm
0-60 mph: 8 seconds
Top speed: 121 mph

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