The birth of the new Range Rover Evoque has been a success. A lot is riding on this heir to the old car’s crown.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has had a difficult few years. Its parent company, Tata, has suffered massive losses, while falling diesel sales and demand from China have forced it to make redundancies. As a result, the revamp of the Range Rover Evoque is “understandably seen as one of the most important launches in recent company history”, says Leon Poultney in Wired. “Broadly familiar yet different, the new Evoque stays true to the original’s exterior styling, but introduces an all-new architecture, revised underpinnings and enough new tech that Land Rover hopes will address some of the model’s shortcomings while simultaneously wooing new punters.” It is only very marginally bigger, says Matt Saunders on Autocar. Yet the new Evoque seems like a car that’s “mushroomed in size” – it is a compact SUV that has taken on many of the dynamic traits of a much bigger one.
The new Evoque manages to maintain the old car’s near-hot-hatch levels of agility, B-road poise and ability to fight off understeer when driven progressively, but combines that quality with a decent dose of ride comfort, says Keith Adams in Car magazine. “Most owners are unlikely to fully explore what it will do off piste, but it makes for good bragging rights to know that it will cut the mustard should the Beast from the East make a reappearance.”
The brilliant Terrain Response 2 system is “idiot-proof”: tap the icon that best represents the environment you’re moving through or just go for auto mode and let the car decide. Admittedly, it’s early days for JLR’s vitally important new baby, says Adams. “But on the evidence of the first drive on- and off-road, it has certainly made the dynamic and quality step change needed to continue the old car’s amazing success story.”
Range Rover Evoque P300 R-Dynamic HSE. Price: £51,050. Engine: 2.0-litre 4 cyl turbo petrol. Power: 296bhp. 0-60mph: 6.3 seconds. Top speed: 150mph