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Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Land Rover Range Rover Evoque


On the inside

Layout, finish and space

Range Rover does a fine modern-lux environment. It’s a theme of strong minimal rectilinear lines. Cladding the surfaces are smart plush leather options with good colour choices. If you don’t care to park your backside on that of a deceased bovine then go for one of the fabric options. Some of those involve wool, and some are characterised as vegan, which is a nice way of saying petroleum-based. Albeit partly recycled from drink bottles.

The infotainment pixels look good and mostly work well. From mid trim level upwards, it becomes JLR’s Touch Pro Duo system, with two central screens stacked one above the other. The lower one normally runs climate control. Swipe across and it covers car configurating – the comfort/eco/sport modes and terrain response.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are in the system now, which was a notable omission on JLR machinery up to now. It’s well integrated: you can swipe the phone’s music track display down onto the lower screen so you can still use the upper one for the built-in navigation.

Two rotate-and-push knobs set into the lower screen add a welcome tactile aspect. Their function is context-dependent, so the one that’s the heat dial in the climate screen becomes the mode-change dial in the car screen.

Down spec Evoques have a normal set of climate controls in the same position. The driver’s instruments are actual hardware items, where it’s TFT in the trim levels that come with the Touch Pro Duo bundle.

Another display-based bit of magic: the optional Ground View system. Cameras embedded around the front of the car feed the screen with an image of the area down between and forward of the front wheels. Imagine the bonnet and engine bay were glass. As usual Range Rover portrays it as an off-road aid, for avoiding boulders and crevasses. IRL you’ll use it to steer between city width restrictors without kerbing the wheels.

The rear-view mirror can also be camera-linked, showing an image fed from a cam behind the roof aerial. It shows a usefully wide angle (the Evoque’s rear glass is tiny) and lets you see past rear passengers or a boot packed to the roof. But think back to the optics lesson in school physics. This is a real image, meaning your eyes have to re-focus from the road to the rear-view picture close to your eyes. That can be tiring, especially at night. In a real mirror, the focal distance is the same as the road ahead. The new mirror is half-silvered so usefully you can still switch it to the time-honoured type.

A Range Rover’s driving position is meant to be commanding, and this one does feel high without being wobbly or vertiginous. The seats support you snugly. In the back, there’s all the room a grown-up needs but not a nanometre more, and the roof and pillars crowd in a bit.

Accommodation is generous for what cabin-crew insist on calling ‘personal effects’. Under the centre armrest lives a deep bin, and there’s also storage behind the duo screen, and big door bins.

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