The Evoque was a real trendsetter right from the outset. The fashionable straight cut roof, contrasting greenhouse paint, compact dimensions and intricate styling details were true to the sensational LRX concept which shook up the automotive design world with its bold ambitions. The Evoque presented itself as an inimitable fashion statement. Unlike the coupe shaped SUVs which have spawned by the dozen of late, and end up looking more ungainly than stylish, the Evoque looks distinctive and properly in vogue even after being around for almost six years.
We had the stylish machine with us for a few days, albeit with the 2.2 litre diesel engine. The 2017 version gets the new Ingenium 2.0 litre diesel motor, making the Evoque the first Land Rover to get the powerplant. Nonetheless, the 2.2 litre engine powered model, according to the Land Rover India sources is still on sale as we write this story. And while we intend to get you an update on the Ingenium engine powered model soon, in this review we will analyze the 2.2 turbo diesel powered variant.
Does it look and feel special in the real world?
It sure does! The Evoque made its debut in mid 2011 and was a runaway success from the very outset. It was such a strong, and so well differentiated a product that Land Rover didn’t have to bother much with the mid-life facelifts, and the 2016 MY car we drove gets some very small changes over the original, including some visual tweaks, some new features and better refinement.
Land Rover has acted wise and not tried to fix what’s not broken. The company has its hands full catering to the global demand for the Evoque (more than 400,000 have been sold), and they don’t have to overhaul a product that looks and works so well for what it’s meant to do. So for LR’s fastest selling model ever, the changes for the facelift were minimal, and included slightly refreshed front and rear bumpers, along with two restyled grille options and a new design for headlights along with an option for three new alloy wheel designs. Buyers also have the option of choosing from a selection of new colours and materials
Another prominent change is the introduction of the bonnet vents on the five door version which were previously available only on the coupé variant. Those sporty bits are now available on the HSE Dynamic and Autobiography versions.
The tailgate spoiler is restyled too and now incorporates a wider but slimmer high-level LED rear brake light.
What has changed inside?
Inside, the seats have been given new upholstery and the dashboard and other panels also see new materials. Our sunburst orange test car was appointed with sporty orange back leather which looked fabulous. The instrument binnacle and the infotainment system inside are new as well. The infotainment system, in particular is accessed via a large eight-inch touchscreen.
If you wish, Land Rover would be happy to outfit the front seats with massagers as an option along with 14-way electric adjustment as an option. Beautiful drive selctor knob that raises itself upon turning the ignition on with all its theatrics is still very much there, making the cabin feel like a special place. Ambient lighting can be tuned in as many as nine colours to suit the mood and occasion.
The dimensions inside remain the same as before and the leg, head and shoulder room on all seats is unaltered. Sure, the Evoque isn’t the most capacious of Land Rover SUVs, but can seat four in supreme comfort. Anybody who tell you otherwise is lying.
Tell me about the engine and performance
As we mentioned before, Land Rover has equipped the Evoque with its latest 2.0 litre Ingenium engine, making it the first Land Rover to get the power plant. Our test car, however, came equipped with 2.2 litre (2,179cc) four cylinder turbo diesel engine. Peak power on the motor is rated at 190PS at 3,500 rpm, while the peak torque of 420Nm comes in at 1,750 clicks.
The 2.2 litre diesel engine comes mated to a new nine speed ZF sourced transmission aimed at more efficient driving with quicker, smoother acceleration. The drive select system is presented in the form of the rotary gearshift we mentioned before along with steering wheel mounted paddle controls. The new transmission is 7.5 kg lighter than its predecessor, and offers better control and economy along with better traction in low-grip conditions, especially in the first gear at slow speeds.
The engine is quite punchy for a 2.2 litre motor and definitely feels a cut above the run of the mill two litre powerplants. The added spunk is clearly perceptible and the nine speed transmission also plays its part in hustling this smart looking urban SUV faster to the ton mark.
Another impressive aspect is the linearity of the engine, which, in conjunction with the nine-speed transmission makes the car literally pull from a little above the idling engine speeds if you so wish. The engine revs freely with its redline marked at 4200 revs and the limiter cutting in at 4500 rpm.
Progress is quick and steady to some serious speeds and you will notice some struggle in acceleration only as the Evoque gets somewhat closer to hitting the double ton.
In terms of driveability, the engine can cruise at 110-120 kmph at under 1500 revs in top gear. Which means the fuel efficiency is fantastic for such a large, near 2-tonne machine. Whether you are cruising or blazing through the highway, the Evoque delivers fuel efficiency which is really impressive. We received a figure of about 10 kmpl during our 500 km trip to the lush valleys of Bhimashankar from Mumbai and back.
In all, it’s a punchy motor which does sometimes make you think that it’s bigger and more powerful than it actually is – thanks to the light aluminium construction of the car, relatively compact dimensions and the capable nine-speed transmission, which is both smooth and appreciably quick.
How well does it handle?
Pretty darned well for an SUV actually. The Evoque is tuned sportily in terms of suspension. This does have some bearings on the ride quality, though, which is slightly on the firmer side – trait pretty apparent on rough patches at slower speeds. However, show this one an open stretch of roads, or a set of fast bends, and it impresses with its sure-footed poise. The Evoque feels light and nimble to goad around bends. The steering is somewhat dead around the straight on position, and also feels quite light and overly assisted with its all-electric setup. It’s not the most precise or the most feelsome units out there, but still manages to inspire confidence at speed owing to a well engineered monocoque construction which is very car like and offers fantastic resistance to body roll when pushed hard.
The 18 inch wheels with a relatively low profile tyres also helped the handling bit somewhat, albeit with some negative impact on the cushioning capabilities.
Overall, the relatively light and monocoque chassis based Evoque is a joy to drive fast. It isn’t the softest sprung of the lot but for those looking at those qualities can opt from a whole gamut of SUVs from LR that have comfort as their more important brief. This one here is targeted at the young, who value agility and pep more than cushioning for their behinds.
Can it off road?
Well, technically, yes, as it features an active all wheel drive system and also comes equipped with Land Rover’s Terrain response system which features Mud-Ruts, Sand and Grass Gravel modes for various low traction scenarios. So in terms of the software and the hardware under the hood, the Evoque has the capability to find its way out on a moderately challenging course.
It does have its limitations with the front overhang and the relatively low slung nose, though, which restricts its approach angles drastically. Even the modern monocoque chassis which is great for on-road manners, isn’t the best suited for hardcore off-roading.
The brief for the Evoque engineers was always to make it a magnet for the urban dweller, and so it can get away with a relative lack of inclination to get its feet dirty. Having said that, it can off road a fair bit, as evident from the images here.
What else do I need to know?
The Evoque is an extremely well equipped car and comes loaded with features and tech, a list of which along with a visual tour of the cool stuff that makes it special is provided below.
Nine colour ambient lighting can be controlled through the central touchscreen
Unlike what many think, looking at the relatively compact size of the Evoque, it feels pretty capacious and comfortable on the inside. The backseat offers plenty of leg and headroom and even long journeys are properly comfortable.
The top of the line variants come loaded with an army of cameras, which in addition to providing the front and rear visuals, also offer a myriad of views including top view, proximity views, kerb view, junction view and rear junction view
The meridian speaker system sounds fab.
Our test car came pre-loaded with navigation
And with the optional entertainment screens for the backseats
The panoramic sunroof on the Evoque is of the most amazing variety you will find anywhere with a single glass piece spanning the length and breadth of the entire top, allowing for great light inside the cabin along with a unique, stylish feel
Engine start / stop is standard
Adjustable sliding front armrest has some space underneath to accommodate a wallet or a cellphone
The central instrument cluster is information and feature rich, though we wish the menus and the graphics were better designed and laid out for easier navigation and legibility.
Summing it up
The Evoque’s character is driven more by the desire to announce one’s arrival than to answer a practical need. It turns heads wherever it goes, and stands out as something totally unrivalled to date in a world where almost every unique automotive design concept has been replicated and flogged to death by rival premium manufacturers. It’s not a machine for someone who will associate value with extra cabin space or a bigger size. For someone with a calculative mind, there may be some options out there, offering more in quantifiable terms. But this one here is for the romantic, for the one who is driven more by the heart than the brain. It’s a proper rockstar ride, and if you really are one, you wouldn’t look at the price tag.
Price : INR 50-70 lakh
Here’s a detailed spec sheet of the MY16 Land Rover Evoque, followed by an image gallery