When the Evoque first came into being back in 2011, it arrived as more of a fashion statement. It was a petit and plush SUV that raised sartorial capital but also performed capably off-road was an untested market for all makers, not just JLR.
As the cliché goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and looking at the 2020 Range Rover Evoque, it appears Jaguar Land Rover have been indulging in a serious session of self-love.
So pleased was it with the near-800,000 sales of the game-changing first-gen compact luxury SUV that first arrived almost nine years ago, the long-awaited second generation appears uncannily similar to its predecessor.
But look beyond those familiar exterior curves and you’ll find a newfound maturity, updated architecture and wealth of innovation that's ready to take the Evoque into the next decade.
An entry-level Evoque back in 2011 was a light lunch short of $50k, but the 2020 Evoque starts at $62,670 and maxes out at $96,090. There are 26 variants on offer, including a series of diesel 48-volt mild hybrid (MHEV) and petrol engines, while a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is on its way for 2020.
Keep in mind, though, that base price is what you get before you even take a glimpse at the extensive options list. $400 for a DAB radio? $180 for a 2-pack power socket? $480 for a powered tailgate? $1,300 for a head-up display? Or how about the $1,340 drive pack which includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and high-speed emergency braking or a $2,040 panoramic sunroof? You can tick the box for them all.
JLR prides itself on giving its customers a choice in what they do and don’t need in a car. So what might be a confusing hindrance for some is power in curation and choice for others.
Read more: What is a mild hybrid?
The size, versatility and price range of the Evoque puts it in an interesting space, especially when it comes down to options, intention and purpose - not every owner is going to be comfortable flexing their Evoque’s adventure capabilities.
With many would-be owners graduating from more affordable but less powerful small SUVs like the Audi Q3 (starting from $43,400) and Volvo XC40 (from $46,990), the main competition comes from Audi Q5 (from $66,700) and Volvo XC60 (from $61,990); the BMW X3 ($66,900) and the Porsche Macan (from $81,400).
In terms of economy, the official claimed combined fuel consumption figure for the P200S is 8.1L/100km. Our reading was 10.1L/100km after a day of highway, inner-city and light off-roading.
Servicing is capped at $1,500 for five years/130,000km and Land Rover’s warranty cover is three years/100,000km.
As concepts, 'luxury' and 'standard' don’t share too much in common, but the Evoque must still live up to a wedge of its purported glamour at the affordable end of the range – the problem is, there’s a lot of gear here that the average person would expect, but that doesn’t come as standard.
The base P200 S arrives with 18-inch rims, LED headlights, auto-dimming heated folding mirrors, 10-way electric front seats, leather seats, leather steering wheel, 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment system with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and Range Rover’s InControl Apps and WiFi hotspot.
Sadly, entry-level owners will have to make-do with analogue dials unless you want to drop $650 on the very cool digital Interactive Driver Display.
Our P200 S had $15,000 worth of options boxes ticked, including the $1,340 Drive Pack which added adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist and high-speed emergency braking. We also had the Park Pack ticked ($1,010) which added on clear exit monitoring, reverse traffic detection,360-degree parking aid and park assist.).
Some of the other things worth pointing out in the Evoque is the high-level of tech. For one, it can learn habits and receive updates over the air. Then there is the revolutionary ClearSight Ground View, an under-bonnet camera that adds extra vision and recreates the front-axle of the car, projecting the road below and where you’re placing the wheels.
Also, taking on the common complaint of the Evoque’s tiny rear window is the new ClearSight mirror camera technology. This is a camera that is mounted on the rear of the roof that transforms the mirror itself into a wide-angle screen.
The Evoque is underpinned by Land Rover’s brand new Premium Traverse Architecture, a platform developed for electrification (as seen in the MHEV diesel and incoming PHEV). This new platform adds 20mm of length to the wheelbase, which in turn gives 20mm of rear knee room in the rear – although leggy adults probably won’t feel much of a difference from the previous model.
The door openings have been reprofiled to allow easier access for passengers, the interior architecture has been re-designed for increased headroom, and thanks to a new multi-link suspension, the Evoque’s boot capacity has increased from 575L to 591L, offers 20cm more width and reduces wheel arch intrusion.
The entry-level Evoque has six airbags, emergency braking, rear camera, driving condition monitor, traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist and an adaptive speed limiter as standard. There are more active safety and semi-autonomous options available in the Drive Assist pack ($2,840), which includes a 360-degree camera, blind spot assist, high-speed emergency braking and more.
The Range Rover Evoque has just been awarded a maximum five-star ANCAP rating.
Right off the bat, the Evoque is incredibly comfortable. The ride is supple and well-attenuated, with the cabin noise reduced to a bare minimum, even on windy highways and off-road.
Range Rover is also offering a number of non-animal, ethically sourced textiles made from soybeans, recycled plastics and eucalyptus for those seeking a more sustainably-minded interior.
This includes the Kvadrat cloth as seen in the Velar (a $4188 option) and Dinamica suede cloth, which is made from 53 recycled plastic bottles.
This mightn’t sound like a very luxurious option, but in fact, it’s the opposite, with both materials offering sufficient bolstering, comfort and durability.
ON THE ROAD
The P200 S is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a nine-speed transmission, producing 147kW of power and 320Nm of torque, and a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 8.5. All this proved to be more than sufficient for cruising around Sydney’s inner suburbs, on the open highway and into rural, twisting roads.
The steering is nicely weighted and very direct, and gear shifts through the nine-speed transmission are crisp with minimal lag.
Off-road, the Evoque proved just as fun. It has the ability to wade through water up to 600mm (100mm more than previous generations) and has 212mm of ground clearance, with approach and departure angles at 25 degrees in the front and 30.6 degrees in the rear. Even off-road, the cabin’s noise attenuation is spectacularly effective.
Our model rode on 20-inch wheels and used Range Rover's standard passive suspension (adaptive suspension costs an extra $1,950).
The new Evoque is more mature than ever, but it still possesses the youthful attitude we came to love almost nine years ago.
This time around, it has tech and sustainability in front of mind, the 'can do' attitude of a Land Rover and an options list to make it your own.
Model: P200 S
Engine: 1,997cc, turbocharged 4-cyl petrol
Max power: 147kW @ 5,500rpm
Max torque: 320Nm @1,200-4,500rpm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Weight: From 1,813kg
0-100km/h: 8.5 seconds
Economy: 8.1/100km (claimed)
Price: From $62,670
On sale: Now