First appearing in 2011, the Evoque now has seven trim levels, starting with the basic SE and rising to the high-end Autobiography. The Evoque is available as a practical five door and a sleeker three door ‘coupe’. Both will be joined by the Evoque Convertible. Trim levels include SE, SE Tech, HSE Dynamic, HSE Dynamic Lux and Autobiography.
Despite its chic looks, the Evoque performs just as well off-road as it does on city streets, thanks to a clever Terrain Response system that adapts the engine, gearbox, differentials and chassis to suit four types of environments: general driving, grass/gravel/snow, mud and ruts, and finally, sand. There's also a fifth setting, dynamic mode, on some higher-spec Evoque models, which tunes the suspension for sportier handling, as well as an optional off-road cruise-control system. All clever stuff.
Land Rover's Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, Gradient Release Control and Wade Sensing (for driving in water) also come as standard.
For those who don’t go off the beaten track as much, we recommend purchasing the two-wheel-drive as opposed to the more expensive four-wheel-drive Evoque. Stick with a diesel engine to further cut costs: Land Rover's latest lightweight ‘2.0-litre diesel engine is on average 17% more efficient than its predecessors.
The Evoque is available with three or five doors, but given that they’re the same size and price, there's no real justification in choosing the less practical coupe, unless you’re looking for those Hollywood looks.
Rivals for the Evoque – the smallest Range Rover available – include the Audi Q5,BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Lexus NX. Though the Evoque may be the most stylish car in this category, that comes at the expense of some rear visibility, as well as rear seat and boot space, compared to its rivals. Again, the five-door option is better, as its rear seats can be folded to create 1,445 litres of space compared to the 1,350 litres of the three-door.
Also, be aware of the Evoque's higher insurance groups compared to rivals: the mid-range automatic-gearbox HSE Dynamic trim level sits in group 39, for example.
While both Ingenium diesel engines are 2.0-litre, the two-wheel-drive eD4 manual produces 148bhp and the four-wheel-drive TD4 manages 178bhp, as does its nine-speed automatic equivalent. The automatic-only 2.0-litre petrol is much more powerful, at 238bhp, but extremely uneconomical, achieving only 27.4mpg. That's less than half the distance the 148bhp diesel can travel on the same amount of fuel.
Quieter than the old 2.2-litre diesel, the latest Evoque also emits less CO2: the coupe eD4 produces 109g/km and the five-door 113g/km.
In terms of safety, the Evoque achieved the top five-star Euro NCAP rating, but bear in mind it scored a lower percentage that the Audi Q3 and Land Rover's reputation for reliability is patchy.