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Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
The Top Gear car review:Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
What is it like on the road?
It’s a Range Rover, and there’s no pretence of being sporty. But there’s satisfaction to be had from the way it responds to your demands with considered precision. Bad conditions or long trips won’t take it out of you.
Similar to BMW and Volvo, the whole engine range is 2.0-litre four-cylinder. Because it’s a Land Rover and cross-country ability matters – the Evoque can wade 60cm depth – almost every model is 4WD. Diesels are called D150, D180 and D240; petrols are P200, P250 and P300. You can guess their power.
The first one we’ve had a go in is a P300. Around town it’s pretty silent and willing. The mild hybrid system can shut the engine early as you move to a halt, and then re-start instantly. It’s not a system that gives any extra peak power or torque, but it does help fill in the brief troughs of turbo lag.
Out on the open road, performance is effective enough, if a bit buzzy in the mid-ranges. But it never quite feels its 300 horsepower. Mind you, with this car’s equipment you’re knocking on 1,900kg plus driver.
The nine-speed automatic gearbox is far better calibrated than when it first turned up in the last Evoque. Even so, it still acts like a little bunny – hesitant then startled. It’ll hold on to a gear too long when you gently open the throttle, then bang down through several ratios. At least it plays co-operatively when you use the paddleshifters.
In corners, you just steer, and the Evoque obligingly sorts things out. There’s some roll, but that helps you gauge what’s going on in the near-complete absence of steering feel. Mid-corner bumps don’t bother it, which is a big plus in most of Britain. The good view out and comparatively narrow body are both blessings on country B-roads, just as in cities.
Little commotion or shudder makes its way through the body or steering column – the extra strength and isolation here are a credit to the new suspension and platform.
The ride isn’t soft like a big Range Rover’s or Discovery’s, but it’s pliable and takes away most of the harshness. Switching between damper modes makes only a subtle difference, and in fact auto mode is the best calibrated. Comfort mode doesn’t help much because it loses wheel control so you feel extra juddering. The suspension is quiet so your ears aren’t alerting you to the bumps, only your body. Tyre noise is properly smothered away too.
Off-road, Land Rover always provides decent clearance and articulation versus rivals, and some handy off-road traction electronics to keep you trucking along.