(Mirror) There’s a fabulousness to Range Rovers that render them the finest in automotive couture, with a look and ambience that can credited to one man: Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer for Land Rover.
“There are a lot of luxury products out there, whether it’s watches or furniture, or holidays; all sorts of great luxury things and the reality is that we don’t need any of them,” said McGovern during the launch of the all-new 2020 Range Rover Evoque. “But we desire them, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.”
Not to these eyes.
After all, the smallest of Range Rovers reset the brand’s priorities when it debuted a decade ago, engendering a modern design sensibility that put it at the forefront of the SUV market.
“Our point of difference compared with a lot of the competition is our modernist approach to design,” McGovern said.
That’s certainly true inside. The interior builds on the previous model’s design while integrating design cues from other Range Rovers, with astutely curated materials that create a stunningly sumptuous, yet minimalist digital cabin anchored by twin touchscreens and minimal use of switchgear.
“When it comes to the interior, it is more of a departure from the original. The interior did need to move on,” said McGovern.
That said, the exterior styling is more of an evolution, one that picks up some of its look from its larger siblings, especially the Velar. Nevertheless, it arrives sized about the same as the previous model, but employing Land Rover Premium Transverse Architecture.
Base P250 Evoques use by Land Rover’s Ingenium turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 246 horsepower. Tonier P300 models get the same engine mated to Land Rover’s first mild-hybrid system that makes 296 horsepower.
The mild hybrid version of the new Ingenium engine furnishes good power, even during a test drive among the hills of Greece’s Peloponnese Peninsula, with little turbo lag evident. It was noticeable mostly when off-road and a bit of thrust is called for; that’s when it comes on more forcefully than you’d expect. The eight-speed automatic transmission furnishes smooth shifts, and while it changes gear quickly, it’s not as quick as a dual-clutch transmission. Thankfully, it has manual shift mode that holds the gear without upshifting, unlike many of its competitors.
Impressively quiet, even when off-road, the Evoque’s ride is compliant, and comfortable. The steering feels light, yet retains enough road feel without excess vibration. Body lean is minimal, though noticeable, in corners, although there’s no excess body motions over bumps. And the all-wheel-drive system performs flawlessly.
Best of all, a new option called ‘ClearSight Ground View’ provides a view of the ground under the front end of the vehicle in the upper touchscreen. This helps when the Evoque has to cross a stream; it can wade through 23.5 inches of water.
It adds up to an evocative new Evoque that possesses a fashionable new cabin, the latest in technology and the ability to handle any road condition.
And just how fabulous is that?
Larry Printz is an automotive journalist based in South Florida. He can be reached at .
Base prices: $42,650-$55,800
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Torque: 269 pound-feet
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 20-21/26-27
Cargo capacity: 22 cubic feet