One of the most fashionable cars on the road, the Range Rover Evoque compact SUV is currently the smallest Range Rover you can buy. It's sold very well since it first appeared in 2011, helped by a comparatively affordable starting price of £30,000. Chief rivals for the Evoque are the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Lexus NX.
The Evoque was refreshed considerably in August 2015, with the major upgrade being a new 150bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine that Land Rover calls Ingenium. It promises much better fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures than the old 2.2-litre diesel engine, with road tax coming down to just £20 a year as a result. A more powerful 180bhp Ingenium diesel is also offered, along with a 237bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine and the option of an advanced nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Inside, the Evoque boasts the latest safety technology, a large display screen for its InControl infotainment setup and a clever off-road cruise control system that scans the terrain ahead and keeps the car moving over rough ground at a slow, steady pace.
When buying an Evoque, you have a choice of sporty three-door Coupe or more practical five-door bodystyles. Front-wheel drive is offered on the cheapest models, making them the most economical in the range, while the more expensive versions get four-wheel drive. The Evoque isn’t the car to go for if you’re planning to tackle seriously rough ground – for that, you’re better off with the bigger and more expensive Range Rover or the Land Rover Discovery.
For this reason, we’d recommend most Evoque buyers go with a two-wheel-drive diesel version. On the road, it's a comfortable and entertaining car to drive, handling and gripping as well as many conventional hatchbacks.
Trim levels are SE, SE Tech, HSE Dynamic, HSE Dynamic Lux and Autobiography. All models get cruise control, a leather steering wheel, heated front seats, parking sensors and rain-sensing windscreen wipers, with a heated windscreen and sat nav being the only major omission from the entry-level SE. The higher-spec models add things like a bodykit, upgraded stereo and sat-nav systems a panoramic sunroof and parking assistance.
The one fly in the ointment for the Evoque is the brand's poor reliability record – although a reasonable 20th-place rating in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey for the Range Rover Sport gives cause for optimism, even if the marque itself came 29th out of 32 in the manufacturer rankings.