Driven — 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

User Rating: 5 / 5

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Deck: Personality and Panache, for a Price

Some people don’t like this car. They say it looks squished. But that sort of concept-car-for-the-road look is exactly what Land Rover was going for when designing the edgy Evoque. If it had a high roof, it would look like, well, a little Range Rover, which would look tall and awkward. Rather, it is—pardon me—evoque-ative of its bigger brother in style and premium (for the class) pricing, but it’s far sportier, smaller, and more nimble.

The Evoque is not new, but it did just get a mid-cycle refresh that gave it new head- and tail lamps, a new front bumper and new grilles. With LED running lamps that double as the turn signal blinkers, the Evoque is unmistakable as anything but a Range Rover from the front. And with a “floating” roof treatment and oversized wheels, the Evoque remains unapologetically severe, especially in two-door coupe form. And I for one, love it.

The new bits continue inside, with more of the new soft-touch stuff, cushy new seats and a revised infotainment system that addresses one of the chief shortcomings of Land Rover (and partner Jaguar) products. It’s as snug as you’d expect inside, so I wouldn’t put this on your shopping list if you and/or your partner are particularly tall, but for folks of average height, this is a fine fit, front or back. The cargo area can now be accessed by waving one’s foot under the bumper, but make no mistake, this is no Suburban in terms of space back there. This is a style statement first, utility vehicle second.

…And off-roader third. While the Evoque does feature Land Rover’s trick terrain response system and can do some good stuff off-road, it is not quite as deft as the larger Rovers once the road goes away. (Not many vehicles are, frankly.) It is, however, pretty fantastic on the road, once you get used to the four-cylinder engine’s turbocharged character. The steering is precise, and body motions are more like a sports sedan than an SUV.

For what it’s worth, Land Rover does make something more traditionally Land Rover-y in this size/price class called the Discovery Sport. Even cooler is the new Evoque Convertible, that replaces the Evoque’s roof with a fully-retractable soft top, both of which I hope to review soon. At $42,470 to start and easily topping $60K well optioned, there are definitely cheaper ways to get your cute-ute on, but none that say “Range Rover” across the hood. Make mine Yulong White.

 

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Base Price: $50,475

Power: turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (240 hp, 250 lb-ft of torque)

Transmission: 9-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Fuel Economy, city/hwy mpg (EPA est): 21/30

 

Or you could buy:

Audi Q3

BMW X4

Lexus NX200t F-Sport


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