RE: Range Rover Evoque P250: Driven

RE: Range Rover Evoque P250: Driven

Wednesday 13th March

Range Rover Evoque P250: Driven

No, your eyes don't deceive you: the Evoque has been entirely remade. For the better, too...



No-one saw the first Evoque coming. Land Rover rocked up to the New York Auto Show in 2008 with the LRX concept and burned a hole in the grass. The Freelander predated it, of course, but it was as frumpy as a commuter train carriage. The LRX looked a million bucks right out of the box. It looked like the future. The viewing public bought into it immediately and by the time it launched as a production model in 2011, Land Rover couldn't miss. It shifted 785,000 examples in seven years. And virtually rewrote the firm's design playbook at the same time.

Impressive for a car that was not, by any stretch of the imagination, faultless. Badging it a Range Rover turned out to be about as canny a marketing card as the firm ever played, but it ruffled a few feathers at the time. No amount of good bone structure could completely cover up the venerable Ford platform underneath, and while it drove adequately well considering, it was a little too rough around the edges for anyone familiar with the imperious lope of a proper Range Rover.


Scratching that seven-year itch was very much at the heart of the model's far-reaching revamp. While alterations to the styling have been kept modest, the underpinnings are all-new. Land Rover's mixed-material (though predominantly high-strength steel) Premium Transverse Architecture now takes pride of place. The footprint is effectively carried over - apparently most buyers didn't want the uniquely proportioned Evoque to get any bigger - but otherwise it's only the door hinges which migrate from old to new. The wheelbase has gone out 20mm, meaning the overhangs shrink a little, and space has been found for a 48-volt mild-hybrid system (not to mention the battery packs that will eventually adorn a forthcoming plug-in version).

It gets the latest range of Ingenium engines, too, and a tick-box heap of new tech (including a clutch-based torque-vectoring Active Driveline, a nine-speed automatic gearbox, Terrain Response 2, Touch Pro Duo infotainment, 'ClearSight' Ground View - which effectively makes the bonnet invisible when manoeuvring - and even an LED screen plumbed into the rearview mirror for 'ClearSight' visibility on what's going on behind you). Treated to a high-spec R-Dynamic model, it smells like the inside of a designer handbag and looks the business. It's even acquired the F-Type's joystick-style gear lever.


But really, for us, it's all about the unseen stuff: like the 13 per cent gain made in bodyshell rigidity compared to the old car and a complete overhaul of the chassis components. The net result is palpable enough to be called transformative. The new Evoque steers and rides beautifully. You can have adaptive dampers if you like, but the P250 version we drove made do with the steel suspension and you should too, because it has been acutely well-tuned for the job it ought to be doing - namely the challenge of staying supple and supportive and silent at all times.

Tellingly - and given the competition, uniquely - the car never appears to be trading off comfort for a sharper handling character; it absorbs secondary challenges with aplomb and manages the trick of being pillowy in its long-wave response without every feeling marshmallowy. It's a righteous and purposeful sort of flow, and on the motorway it's peerless. The steering more than keeps its end up, too: it's said to be marginally quicker in the ratio, but again it's the progressiveness achieved in the tuning of the variable power assistance that takes the biscuit. No other compact SUV will indulge such single-finger stability in the outside lane and then still ably reward a 9 and 3 positioning of the hands once a B-road is reached.


It's all quite lovely and there isn't a control surface or moving part which doesn't seem modulated to work perfectly at around six-tenths. Even at this level of effort the body control is clearly a little more permissive than most, but the Evoque is so flagrantly wide in the tracks that it'll generally sweep through any corner less challenging than a hairpin in fine style. Throw in a well isolated and proficient petrol engine - the mid-level 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot delivers 269lb ft of all-important torque between 1,300 and 4,500rpm - and it's quite possible that you'll think yourself driving the best not-large SUV money can buy.

The problems - or rather, the downsides - crop up if you start dwelling on the fact that the engine also outputs 250hp at 5,500rpm and you really ought to be enjoying the fruits of that labour, too. Sadly, here the Evoque is less about fruit than it is labour, and the reason for that is the not inconsiderable 1,818kg of unladen kerbweight that's been stuffed below the tailored suit. No-one manipulates heftiness better than Land Rover, but there's no magic for its engineers to work in a straight line and occasionally - i.e. when you're overtaking or else really tying one on - the P250 doesn't necessarily feel worth its 7.5 second-to-62mph time.


We drove the 240hp SD4 version, too, and an additional 100lb ft of twist between 1,500 and 2,500rpm certainly helps where you'd think it would - although the oil burner is heavier still at 1,880kg. Ultimately the trade-off renders a predictable outcome: driven at eight-tenths, a determined Evoque driver would likely not see which way the equivalent (and considerably lighter) Alfa Romeo Stelvio went. The excuse for all this noticeable mass, beyond the installation of more kit - including the lithium-ion battery that hoovers up energy under braking - is that the Land Rover product retains a very robust level of off-road nous.

Not for it the medium-good performance of a jumped-up hatchback. The Evoque still has to make do without the air springs which would deliver an adjustable ride height, but that aside it remains a proper mud-rut conquering SUV and no mistake. Of course, given that 70 per cent of its buyers are urban-based, you do sometimes wonder what all this latent ability is onboard for - although never when you're blithely driving up the side of an impossibly steep Greek hillside. And, as ever, its maker would argue that's rather the point.


Buying into it helps justify the Evoque's premium - the P250 we drove starts at £37,150, which is absolutely not how much the actual car in question cost - but it is not necessary for a wider appreciation of the car because it is now so palpably good at doing the everyday stuff. It's nicer inside, too, and gently better looking, and the usable boot space has apparently improved by 10 per cent. It's still not the most accommodating SUV in the world for a back seat passenger and even with the (very mild) assistance of a mild hybrid powertrain its overall efficiency is competitive rather than class-leading.

The lasting impression though is the one Land Rover was striving for: the Evoque is no longer a Range Rover in name and look only - it is one to drive now, too. Naturally that won't persuade everyone out of a cheaper, quicker and lighter alternative, but it's going to weave a considerable spell over anyone sitting on the fence or else returning to the dealership with a first generation model to trade in - and that's already a vast proven market. It feels like a surefire hit. And just when its maker needed one.


SPECIFICATION - RANGE ROVER EVOQUE R DYNAMIC S P250

Engine: 1,998cc, turbocharged four-cyl
Transmission: 9-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 250@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 269@1,300-4,500rpm
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Top speed: 143mph
Weight: 1,818kg (DIN)
MPG: 30.4 (WLTP combined)
CO2: 180g/km (NEDC)
Price: From £37,150



















 

Author
Discussion

1974foggy

Original Poster:

159 posts

83 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
Any pictures of the new one?

Zoon

3,645 posts

60 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
1974foggy said:
Any pictures of the new one?
Just look at a Velar, no different.

ChocolateFrog

3,913 posts

112 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
Fingers crossed JLR have a hit on their hands.

The few times I sat in a first gen Evoque it always felt impossibly small relative to its dimensions.

JxJ Jr.

52 posts

9 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
The "all new underpinnings" are not new, other than in name.

Cold

6,343 posts

29 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
JxJ Jr. said:
The "all new underpinnings" are not new, other than in name.
Yes they are.
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David87

5,138 posts

151 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
Cold said:
JxJ Jr. said:
The "all new underpinnings" are not new, other than in name.
Yes they are.
I'd like to know what's actually going with the underpinnings. Land Rover says it's new, but I've seen numerous people say it's not. Clearly it's very different, but if you had a sniffer dog trained to detect old Mondeo bits (niche, I know), I suspect it might take some interest in the new Evoque. I believe the Discovery Sport facelift is going to adopt this 'new' platform too. I can't see how it can be completely new if it's going to be grafted onto an existing car. Happy to be proved wrong though!

As an aside, my parents have ordered one to replace their current Evoque. P300 R-Dynamic HSE, few options, £59K. eek Sure, it'll be a nice car, but £59k is fierce.

Ares

8,031 posts

59 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
1974foggy said:
Any pictures of the new one?
Ignoring the disingenuous nature of your post, if you read the article, it does state that owners/actual prospective purchasers didn't want it to look that different, so they did what every other manufacturer does and evolve the design.

(checks car garage)

You clearly weren't asked.


Given the Evoque still looks fresh and modern, they would have been daft to change it just to appease a few bearded car nuts on a website wink

BlackPrince

1,156 posts

108 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
Ares said:
Ignoring the disingenuous nature of your post, if you read the article, it does state that owners/actual prospective purchasers didn't want it to look that different, so they did what every other manufacturer does and evolve the design.

(checks car garage)

You clearly weren't asked.


Given the Evoque still looks fresh and modern, they would have been daft to change it just to appease a few bearded car nuts on a website wink
Seems a bit something to comment on another's car garage while not having that feature enabled on one's own profile doesn't it?

jl34

388 posts

176 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
Factually incorrect to state the old evoque used a Ford platform. That original freelander platform was so heavily revised and engineered for evoque and discovery sport that it didn't bear much resemblance to the original ford chassis.

JxJ Jr.

52 posts

9 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
Cold said:
JxJ Jr. said:
The "all new underpinnings" are not new, other than in name.
Yes they are.
How did they manage to develop a completely new platform so quickly? Why is it so heavy? Why is there no mention of it being designed for fully electric propulsion? Why do Autoexpress describe is as a heavily modified D8?

mrclav

750 posts

162 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
Zoon said:
1974foggy said:
Any pictures of the new one?
Just look at a Velar, no different.
Off to Specsavers, the pair of you! laugh

ruprechtmonkeyboy

367 posts

26 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
JxJ Jr. said:
Cold said:
JxJ Jr. said:
The "all new underpinnings" are not new, other than in name.
Yes they are.
How did they manage to develop a completely new platform so quickly? Why is it so heavy? Why is there no mention of it being designed for fully electric propulsion? Why do Autoexpress describe is as a heavily modified D8?
Why, why, WHY?!

JxJ Jr.

52 posts

9 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
ruprechtmonkeyboy said:
Why, why, WHY?!
They are somewhat rhetorical questions. You may not be intelligent enough to realise that.

300bhp/ton

36,060 posts

129 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
David87 said:
Cold said:
JxJ Jr. said:
The "all new underpinnings" are not new, other than in name.
Yes they are.
I'd like to know what's actually going with the underpinnings. Land Rover says it's new, but I've seen numerous people say it's not. Clearly it's very different, but if you had a sniffer dog trained to detect old Mondeo bits (niche, I know), I suspect it might take some interest in the new Evoque. I believe the Discovery Sport facelift is going to adopt this 'new' platform too. I can't see how it can be completely new if it's going to be grafted onto an existing car. Happy to be proved wrong though!

As an aside, my parents have ordered one to replace their current Evoque. P300 R-Dynamic HSE, few options, £59K. eek Sure, it'll be a nice car, but £59k is fierce.
Looking at the proportions I wonder if it's a variation of the F-Pace platform, which is also under the Velar. So 'new' for the Evoque, but not 100% new.

ruprechtmonkeyboy

367 posts

26 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
JxJ Jr. said:
ruprechtmonkeyboy said:
Why, why, WHY?!
They are somewhat rhetorical questions. You may not be intelligent enough to realise that.
Of course they are. Nice backtracking right there lol

simonrockman

5,738 posts

194 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
1974foggy said:
Any pictures of the new one?
Excellent comment I'll steal that if I may, for absolutely every new iteration of the 911 Porsche launches.

300bhp/ton

36,060 posts

129 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
jl34 said:
Factually incorrect to state the old evoque used a Ford platform. That original freelander platform was so heavily revised and engineered for evoque and discovery sport that it didn't bear much resemblance to the original ford chassis.
Original Freelander platform was not Ford at all, you mean Freelander 2 wink

And it's a difficult one to say when something does or doesn't resemble it's source or origin.

Ares

8,031 posts

59 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
simonrockman said:
1974foggy said:
Any pictures of the new one?
Excellent comment I'll steal that if I may, for absolutely every new iteration of the 911 Porsche launches.
You've been beaten by every commentator about every 911 since the 996. And McLarens. And Audis. And VWs. And BMWs. And Mercs. And......

forester2945

23 posts

96 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
I still don't understand why this is not called the Velar Sport it would fit with the rest of the Land Rover brand:

Range Rover - Range Rover Sport
Discovery - Discovery Sport
Velar - Velar Sport

NJJ

148 posts

19 months

Wednesday 13th March
quotequote all
Anyone else here been on the configurator for this and are disappointed by the lack of colours (external and internal) and trim finishes available?