WhichCar
Powered by
  • WheelsWheels
  • MOTORMOTOR
  • 4X4 Australia4X4 Australia
  • Street MachineStreet Machine
  • Trade Unique CarsTrade Unique Cars

2019 Range Rover Evoque Review

By Glenn Butler, 01 Apr 2019 Car Reviews

Has Range Rover’s baby Evoque SUV finally grown up?

2019 Range Rover Evoque Review

The 2019 Range Rover Evoque due in Australian showrooms from May 2019 not only features advanced technology designed to enhance the user experience, it’s now more eco-friendly and efficient.

Range Rover focused its development efforts on delivering real-world benefits like greater space and practicality, and improved dynamics, economy and driveability. Range Rover also has introduced a number of new technologies and updated existing systems to improve the Evoque’s capabilities on-road and off-road.

range rover evoque front

Read next: 2019 Range Rover Evoque pricing and features

STANDARD FEATURES

The new Range Rover Evoque goes on sale in Australia from May 2019, with prices starting from $62,670 for petrol models, and $64,640 for diesel models. That’s a price increase of just over $6,000 from the previous starting point, but Range Rover is quick to point out that the new-generation Evoque comes with a lot more for the money.

All Range Rover Evoque models come standard with 10-way electric front seats, cruise control with speed limiter, dual zone climate control, satellite navigation, and a 6 speaker sound system with Bluetooth, Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

range rover evoque splash

Of course, being a Range Rover, the customisations and options are endless. And this, on top of the 26 different specification levels Range Rover offers customers.

All Range Rover Evoque models have one of two basic drivetrains: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and 2.0-litre turbodiesel, drawn from Land Rover’s Ingenium engine family. Both are offered in a variety of power levels and sometimes in combination with an electric motor and battery pack, which Range Rover says improves real-world driveability and stop-star smoothness, and reduces fuel consumption by up to six percent.

All Range Rover Evoque models this time around are five-door wagons with a 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The three-door bodystyle and front-drive options have been dropped. So, too, the controversial convertible version.

Range Rover says there was very little demand – “less than three percent of sales” – for the three-door, and any advantage to fuel economy that the front-drive models offered can now be matched by a clever drivetrain system which effectively disconnects the rear axle when it’s not needed.

This 2019 Range Rover Evoque is a complete overhaul; nothing but the door hinges are carried over from the original Evoque which launched back in 2010.

Read next: Remembering the original Range Rover

The exterior design is similar, no question. But put the 2019 model next to the 2011 original and the differences are obvious. While both share the Evoque’s trademark falling roofline, rising beltline and long wheelbase – three styling elements that define the Evoque, says Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern – the 2019 model is cleaner and more mature. It also inherits Range Rover’s trademark front-end styling first seen on the larger Range Rover Velar, and those cool retracting door handles.

range rover evoque front quarter

The Range Rover Evoque comes with either a 2.0-litre petrol engine or a 2.0-litre turbodiesel, each offered in various states of tune. The Evoque D150, for example, has 110kW and 380Nm, whereas the D180 sports 132kW and 430Nm. Step up to the Evoque D240 and the performance steps up again to 177kW and 500Nm.

Then there’s the petrol range, which kicks off at 147kW and 320Nm in the P200, before stepping up to the P250 (183kW and 365Nm) and the P300 (221kW and 400Nm).

You may also hear talk of a Range Rover’s MHEV system (stands for mild hybrid electric vehicle). All diesel powertrains are paired with a small electric motor that harvests energy normally lost under braking to enhance low-speed acceleration – a traditional weakness of diesel engines – and reduce fuel consumption by up to six percent.

All diesel models are MHEV, but sadly for Australia, only one of the petrol variants – the P300 – gets this technology. And that, says Range Rover, is because our fuel quality is too low and the parts to make this technology work on with our fuel are too costly for the less expensive petrol models to bear.

Read more Range Rover Evoque news

VALUE

Range Rover models don’t often come out on top in an on-paper comparison with rivals, and that’s because part of what you’re paying for is excellent off-road ability – something its rivals rarely have.

You may wonder at the value of off-road ability to end users: Will these Toorak tractors venture beyond the blacktop, and how much of their vaunted all-terrain skills will owners take advantage of? Doesn’t matter, says Range Rover’s owner, Land Rover. What matters is that their cars have the ability to go anywhere, any time. It’s part of the brand’s DNA.

range rover evoque interior

That said, the Evoque still shapes up well on paper compared to its major rivals, the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC. It would be better again if Range Rover offered more than a 3-year/100,000km warranty. Like some of its rivals, Range Rover offers 24/7 roadside assist for the duration of the warranty.

The new Evoque’s suite of smart technologies can add to the car’s potential value, although many of these features are part of option packs, which means they don’t enhance the core value proposition as such.

SIZE & COMFORT

Range Rover was very deliberate about retaining the original Evoque’s external size despite investing in an all-new platform (which could easily have been designed to be bigger), because customers told them the Evoque’s 4.37m length made it easier to manoeuvre and park.

Unusually for ‘all-new’ cars, the 2019 Evoque is actually heavier than the model it replaces, up to 66kg heavier on some models. Range Rover says some of that weight is accounted for by the MHEV system, and that it has combatted any flow-on effect of the extra weight on fuel consumption with drivetrain efficiencies and aerodynamic tweaks (such as more rounded rear corners).

Read next: 2018 Land Rover Discovery, Discovery Sport, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Evoque and Velar recalled

One criticism of the original Evoque was its interior space, or lack of. The fact that the new Evoque is almost exactly the same size as the original – 1mm longer, 4mm wider and 11mm lower, if you must know -- doesn’t bode well for improvement, but that’s not the case. There’s more legroom in the rear and door openings have been reprofiled to allow easier access for passengers. Headspace, too, is more than adequate.

range rover evoque rear bench

Land Rover also spent considerable effort improving the Range Rover Evoque’s practicality. There are more interior storage options for day to day items. The boot, too, is bigger (591 litres), and can now take a full-size golf bag thanks to new rear suspension which reduces wheelarch intrusion.

SAFETY

The 2019 MY Range Rover Evoque has not been independently crash tested at the time of writing. The previous generation earned five stars back in 2011, but the 2018 model only earned four stars when tested to tougher standards, due to chest protection concerns with frontal offset testing.

The 2019MY Evoque is an all-new model built on an entirely new structure, so Range Rover is confident it will achieve five stars when tested.

Standard safety features include a full complement of airbags, auto emergency braking, stability control and lane keep assist.

range rover evoque boot

COMFORT

There’s no denying the new Evoque’s cabin is a very comfortable place to be. The interior and almost all materials exude quality and comfort. There are a couple of areas where plastics have been used instead of more premium materials (seat-base sides for example), but they don’t take much away from the cabin’s ambience overall.

Range Rover has made full use of Evoque’s two big touchscreens to minimise button clutter, which in turn adds to the cabin’s sense of calm. The screens’ adaptive controls did take a bit of getting used to during our first meeting. Owners will quickly adapt.

range rover evoque sunset

The front seats are supple yet supportive, and remain very comfortable even after many hours. The back seats are not as spacious as some rivals but there is noticeably more legroom than the previous model. Putting six footers in the back will mean compromising front seat legroom, but bear in mind this is a compact SUV after all.

More Land Rover news

ON THE ROAD

WhichCar spent a lot of time in the Evoque D240 at the international launch in Greece in March 2019, and we were really impressed with how Range Rover’s baby has grown up. Where the 2011 original ‘mostly’ felt like a Range Rover, there were elements of the car that didn’t quite live up to premium expectations. In short, it felt at times like style over substance.

The new-generation Range Rover Evoque is equal parts Style and Substance. The new design is more mature, more restrained and more convincing. So, too, the Evoque’s real-world capabilities.

The interior is more comfortable and practical. The driving position has massive bandwidth (10-way adjustable seat, tilt and telescoping steering column) to accommodate all kinds of humans. The back seats are more spacious – though you should never forget that this is a ‘compact’ SUV and therefore has limits – and the boot is bigger and squarer.

range rover evoque rear

Range Rover’s 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine works harmoniously with the mild-hybrid motor to deliver a more rounded and more responsive drive experience. It is noticeably stronger off the mark, has plenty of urge in the mid-range, and was never lacking for punch even on some of the hillier sections of our test route.

We also found little to dislike about the Evoque’s ride, even on variants fitted with large 20inch wheels and tyres. It copes equally well with sharp ruts and road joins, so too with bumps and undulations, doing a decent job isolation occupants and remaining stable. When pushed towards the sportier end of driving, the Evoque’s quicker steering rack gives this compact SUV real agility and enthusiasm. Not to mention taking some of the work out of parking and manoeuvring.

The brake pedal lacks bite initially, although it’s there if you push harder. We suspect this may be something to do with the hybrid system harvesting energy under brakes.

Read next: 2019 Range Rover Evoque price and features revealed

One area the new Evoque excels is in refinement: this is one seriously quiet cabin, even at highway speeds. In fact it was only when we pushed beyond 140km/h that wind noise was apparent, and that speed won’t be a problem in Australia.

range rover evoque front

As for the Range Rover Evoque’s offroad capabilities; well, we tested them far more than any owner is ever likely to, and the Evoque just kept on keeping on. We drove in and along rivers, up goat tracks, through mud, down mountainsides and over rocks. The Evoque’s all-wheel drive and Terrain Response system was simply unbeatable.

We even drove over a disused railway bridge with a 100m drop into the canal below – not sure what that proved but it was fun.

TECHNOLOGY

The Evoque’s interior party tricks are many. Two that really stood out to me are the rear-view mirror, which looks utterly conventional, and works exactly like a mirror…until you flick the dimmer switch. Then it transforms from a mirror into a high-definition TV screen, hooked up to a camera mounted inside the shark-fin on the roof. This may initially sound gimmicky, but it means back seat passengers or large luggage loads no longer block the driver’s rearward view. Effectively, you see right through them to whatever is behind the car, just like X-ray vision.

This is a competitive edge for Range Rover that no other Evoque rival can match.

The second party trick is also a significant real-world safety feature, and was originally devised to make offroading easier.

Cameras mounted under the front of the car project the scene immediately in front of the vehicle onto one of the dashboard screens, effectively rendering the bonnet invisible. This will come in handy when parking in tight spaces, manoeuvring around gutters or obstacles, or in any situation where up to now the bonnet has blocked vision.

Cameras down the side and one at the rear provide similar views of objects to the car, effectively giving the driver full 360-degree awareness. 

Read next: Jaguar Land Rover applies for Road Rover trademark

The new Evoque also pushes further into sustainable, eco-friendly technologies, in obvious ways and not so obvious. One of the latter is the Kvadrat seat upholstery which is made from recycled water bottles – 53 per cabin - combined with wool fibres to deliver a convincingly premium interior trim. There’s also a Eucalyptus upholstery option produced from natural fibres, for those who don’t want to sit on water bottles or animal by-products.

range rover evoque side

In all, Range Rover claims up to 33kg of natural and recycled materials are used in each Evoque, taken from post-consumer and post-industrial sources.

VERDICT

The Range Rover Evoque has finally grown up. This all-new model is a generational improvement that comprehensively addresses the dynamic and practical shortcomings of the first generation without sacrificing the style that made the original a worldwide success.