The ride and handling people have pulled off something a bit special here. The Evoque might be a Rangie, but there’s nothing wallowy about the way it corners. It attacks windy roads like an excited hot hatch, but still rides with the class of its big brother. This is a very well-rounded machine, and although purists might think it’s some fancy bit of chintz, it’s still a grafter when the road turns brown.
We’ve driven the Evoque to the Scottish Highlands, across an Icelandic glacier and over mammoth dunes in Dubai. And it didn’t slip up once. More recently, we’ve been driving it in 2015 guise, relishing the addition of that 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. It’s a huge step on from the rattly old 2.2, and makes the choice of engine almost a no-brainer. Even so, there’s still a turbocharged petrol for those who fancy going from zero to sixty in 7.1 seconds (and making a lot of fuss in the process).
The bulk of the range is all-wheel drive, but there is a fuel-sipping front-drive eD4 variant too – although most buyers seem to think a manual gearbox in an evoque isn’t the done thing and still go for the 4WD TD4 auto.
The Evoque starts at £30,600 for a five-door ‘SE’ model and rises by over £20K for the top end ‘Autobiography’. There’s a spread of options, including gadgets such as surround-view parking cameras and a dual-view screen, so passengers can watch telly while you worry about driving. But if you indulge, you pay for it – the £55K plus Evoque is an easy achievement. At least the excellent new diesel engine is step-on economical. The 2WD eD4 can do over 67mpg, and even the TD4 auto does 58mph, with correspondingly tax-friendly CO2.
It may be a baby crossover for the fashion conscious but it’s all Range Rover at heart.
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