Race Retro sale includes three examples of the iconic super-saloon
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£47,810 when new
A Range Rover Evoque review. It’s not new, is it? Not wholly, but Land Rover is pretty good at giving its cars frequent updates so that all of its latest tech updates and engine choices don’t have to wait for a big facelift. This is either a good thing (you’re always buying a pretty up-to-date car) or a bad thing (should you hang on a wee bit longer for the next addition of tech or not?). A bit like buying a certain brand of telephone, perhaps. Anyway, this is the Evoque at its most up-to-date. And its most expensive: this is the HSE Dynamic Lux. Available as a Coupe (aka three-door), five-door and Convertible, you can spend as much as £52,000 on one. Before options… Yikes. What do I get for that?
Not a huge amount of power. It’s the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel ‘Ingenium’ engine you’ll find in just about every other current Evoque, in its more potent 180bhp form. You can have a petrol (with a mighty 237bhp), but let’s be honest, very few will. The Evoque’s not a hugely stocky car, though, so performance is handy, if not astounding. The top speed is 121mph and 0-62mph takes 9.0 seconds, while the claimed fuel economy is 55.4mpg. We got 40mpg without even trying, too, so a modicum of care should see you close in on the official number. There may not be abundant power, but what you do get for your cash is equipment. Jaguar Land Rover’s fanciest touchscreen system – the 10.2in InControl Pro – is standard, as is a mighty 825-watt Meridian stereo. And everything inside just feels nice. But then when you’re spending circa-£50k on a small four-cylinder diesel car, nice is probably the minimum you’re after. The Evoque’s been out a little while. Is it getting old? New tech aside, it perhaps feels a touch dated inside, at least in light of younger rivals. It’s a bit small, and the layout a little plain. But plain also means ‘easy to use’, and there’s an awful lot to be said for avoiding complex, overegged interior design. When the Range Rover Evoque launched, it largely had this class of car to itself. That class being a small, premium SUV. So fairly niche. But since then we’ve had the Audi Q3, a new BMW X1 and the Mercedes GLA, as well as alternative competition from lower-spec Porsche Macans and higher-spec VW Tiguans. All of those cars are highly recommendable and in a number of the areas, they have moved the game on from the Evoque. And yet all feel like shrunken versions of larger SUVs, or crossover-ed versions of hatchbacks. While the Evoque apes larger Range Rovers in some of its design features, it still feels like a unique, standalone thing. It’s not my cup of tea, but I can absolutely see why it is plenty of others’. It also remains a highly competent car dynamically, with plenty of grip to rely on and handling traits beyond just managing some body roll. It’s not outright fun like a Macan, but it’s not far off, and it’s very capable. Enough to rouse you from just ambling along admiring the quietness of its diesel engine and the smoothness of its new nine-speed automatic gearbox. (You can have a six-speed manual, but few will.) On quick, bumpy roads, it’s a comfy thing, but this well stocked HSE Dynamic Lux rides on large 20in wheels. As well as giving the Evoque the overstocked-wheelarch look of a Hot Wheels car, they make it a bit harsh over ruts and speed bumps in town. Anything else of note? Um, yes. Something slightly awkward. This specific car gave us two annoying electronic glitches in its short time at the office. For one of us, the gearbox stuck itself in neutral while the car was being driven, though was fixed by simply pulling over, then switching the car off and on again. For another person, the new infotainment system froze completely. Not only did it lock out all functions – stereo, sat nav, parking sensors – but it jammed the volume of the radio. It couldn’t even be fixed by turning the car off, and we had to leave the car locked up, radio blasting, hoping it wouldn’t drain the battery. Thankfully it didn’t. Both are niggles rather than drastic faults, but both are things we’ve experienced separately on other Jaguar Land Rover products we’ve tested. Lots of cars get faults every now and then – their complexity nowadays makes it something of an inevitability – but it’s certainly a pattern worth noting. Because in all other areas, this little Evoque does a remarkably good job of feeling worth its chunky price tag.