Never before has a car so successfully combined urbane, modern, chic styling with such fabulous on-road manners and such surprising off-road ability than the Range Rover Evoque.
We say surprisingly good off-road, but it’s only surprising if you judge the Evoque by its urban-chic looks. Like all of Land Rover’s products, it comes equipped with a suite of technology (well, the four-wheel-drive versions do, anyway) to help it perform astonishingly well when the going gets rough. It’s unlikely that many Evoque owners will venture much further off road than a slightly muddy car park, but it’s nice to know it can do more if you want it to.
If you know you’re not going to be using the four-wheel-drive Evoque’s prodigious mud-plugging ability, then you might consider going for the two-wheel-drive version. True, you won’t be able to climb any mountain ranges in it, but it’ll save you quite a lot of money both in terms of purchase price and running costs.
Speaking of running costs, if you want these to be as low as possible, then you’ll need the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is only available with two-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. This means you’ll get about 65mpg and CO2 emissions of 113g/km, which equates to a road-tax bill of just £20 a year.
The other 2.0-litre diesel – which manages 178bhp – is only available with four-wheel drive, yet will still manage around 58mpg, while CO2 emissions of 125g/km for £110 road tax aren’t too bad, either. Go for the nine-speed automatic gearbox with this engine and you’ll get about 55mpg on average, while CO2 emissions jump to 134g/km, for £130-a-year tax.
There’s only one petrol engine offered: a 237bhp turbocharged four-cylinder, which is only available with four-wheel drive and the nine-speed automatic gearbox. Unsurprisingly, this will be the most expensive model in the range to run, returning just 36.2mpg (on a good day), while CO2 emissions of 181g/km mean an annual tax bill of £230.
The Evoque is available with either three or five doors (and now as a convertible, too) but you’d have to really want the more stylish looks of the three-door compared to the five-door, as they’re the same size and price, but the five-door is a lot more practical.
Neither version has great rear visibility, as the small rear window and large rear roof pillars impair your view out the back, especially compared to rivals like the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Lexus NX.
The Evoque’s boot isn’t enormous, either, with both the three-door ‘coupe’ (as Land Rover insists on calling it) offering 550 litres of space, while the five-door model boasts 575. This increases to 1,350 and 1,445 in the coupe and five-door models respectively if you fold the rear seats down.
There are five trim levels in all: SE, SE Tech, HSE, HSE Dynamic, HSE Dynamic Lux and Autobiography. All models are pretty well equipped, with cruise control, Bluetooth, DAB radio, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery and 18-inch alloy wheels all coming as standard.
You’re pretty well catered for when it comes to safety, too. As well as electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and the plethora of airbags, you also get tyre-pressure monitoring, as well as lane-departure warning with automatic emergency braking. All of this contributes to the Evoque’s five-star Euro NCAP rating.
In terms of reliability, the news is less good. The Evoque was rated as the 89th-best car to own (out of 150) in our 2016 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, which isn’t fantastic, but actually represents a jump of 25 places compared to 2015’s result. Looking at reliability specifically, the news gets worse. Out of the 150 cars we surveyed, it came in 114th place, while Land Rover’s overall reputation for reliability isn’t the best, either.