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2020 RANGE ROVER EVOQUE

First Drive

VEHICLES

WORDS BY JOSH NEEDS

When you think of Range Rover Evoque, you couldn’t be blamed of thinking designer handbags, inner-city living and perhaps even a former Spice Girl. While you couldn’t be criticised for that, after going along to the Australian launch of the new Range Rover Evoque it’s clear to see that there is more to this vehicle than its looks. Back in 2011 when it first hit our shores, the Evoque was a trailblazer in the small luxury SUV segment, whereas today if you don’t have an SUV in your stable you’re missing out; even renowned supercar brands Lamborghini and Maserati have jumped at it. This means that for the new Evoque to create as much traction as the original it needs to have upped its game to compete against a now crowded market.

Can the smallest Range Rover lead the way off-road, or is it destined for a life of latte-sipping and active wear?

TECHNOLOGY
This will take a bit of explaining, but as you can imagine there is loads to talk about here. Not only do you get three screens, two in the centre and one as your dash, the only non-digital controls you’ll find are three dials. However, these dials aren’t just your standard Corolla spec, but have multiple purposes and change to reflect the setting selected on the touch screen. The dash screen is also adjustable, with the ability to select what information you’d like displayed in front of you from navigation, driver assists, rudimentary gauges and digital-styled speedos. While sitting in a driver’s seat surrounded by screens makes you feel like you’re driving a vehicle of the future, the touch-screen technology brings you back to reality and can at times feel a bit slow compared to what we are used to with phones.

The technological centrepiece of the Evoque are the two ClearSight systems that Land Rover has included: the ClearSight Rear-View Mirror and ClearSight Ground View. The rear-view mirror uses a camera placed in the Evoque’s roof-mounted shark fin, to display a crisp live image of what’s happening behind the car to the rear-view mirror. When we first started using the rear-view mirror as a camera it was quite disorientating, meaning plenty of alternating back and forth to the regular rear-view camera. However, once you adjust to it you understand what a massive improvement it is, providing a lot more vision than you would otherwise get out the rear of modern cars, especially with their stylish curved designs like the Evoque.

Land Rover’s ClearSight Ground View is the other new technological point in the Evoque. The front-facing cameras in the wing mirrors and in the grille provide a virtual image of what ground you are driving over, allowing you to see through your bonnet. The concept of this technology we love, being 4WDers and wanting to know where we are placing our wheels at all time. However, when taking the Evoque for a test drive the image projected wasn’t quite exact when driving over uneven terrain, which would be the case most of the time.

Land Rover has also brought in a mild 48-volt hybrid system, MHEV, and harvests the energy that is usually lost during deceleration. This energy stored is then used to help reduce turbo lag on take-off, making for smoother acceleration. Currently Land Rover only has it fitted to the three diesel engine options and the top 221kW petrol. Land Rover also confirmed a plug-in hybrid version is expected to be released later this year in the UK and for us in the New Year.

ON-ROAD
This is where the Evoque is meant to shine, being nippy and small enough to fit in tight carparks at boutique restaurants while also being refined enough to cope with trips on the motorway up to the family beach house. The course that we were taken on at the launch allowed us to experience both scenarios. We were able to test both petrol and diesel variants of the Evoque, both of which impressed us, however my pick would be the diesel thanks to the inherent low-down torque properties.

All vehicles in the range get a nine-speed automatic that ensures a smooth drive around town without any noticeable ‘clunking’ when running through the gears.
The refined Range Rover’s light and direct steering was also a praise point with the clever electronics meaning it was light for tight detailed manoeuvres around town. However, once we got out of the city and into the winding roads leading out of Wisemans Ferry, it was reassuringly firm with its connection to the road while taking corners at speed; at no point do you feel unsure where your tyres are placed. In a Range Rover you’d expect the cabin to be whisper-quiet while driving, which in the higher specified models they were, however driving the P200 S, the cheapest of the range at $62,670, we found the road noise to be much louder than expected, especially compared to jumping into the HSE, the highest standard spec, afterwards.

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OFF-ROAD
The target market specified for the Evoque by Land Rover are young urban individuals between 30-40 years old. However, the Evoque is a Range Rover so of course due to heritage it has to be able to go off-road. Thankfully the Land Rover team agreed, taking us to Glenworth Valley where Land Rover Experience had set up an actual off-road loop to put the Evoque through. 

Land Rover representatives were quick to point out its 600mm wading depth, which is impressive when you consider the Ford Ranger leads the dual cabs at 800mm. Before starting the course we were slightly concerned about damaging the carefully designed front end, considering it only has 150mm of ground clearance. Our fears were misguided, with the Evoque doing its ancestors proud by cruising through the course, which included water crossings, rocky technical sections, and steep gradients, with ease. This was thanks to Land Rover’s clever Terrain Response 2 system fitted to every model as standard, along with hill descent control and the aforementioned Ground View.

STATS YOU WANT TO KNOW
While the Evoque is a slimline compact SUV, its variants and options lists are the opposite. Land Rover’s unfortunately complex range includes 24 variants excluding the limited-release First Edition that offers another two variants. This is made up of six model levels: the S, SE, HSE, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, and R-Dynamic HSE, as well as six different engine options, three diesel, three petrol, which will then be increased once the PHEV is released. Putting the silliness of this aside, Land Rover has confirmed the Evoque has achieved a 5-star ANCAP rating. Furthermore the new Evoque has a greater load area, 20cm wider than the previous model thanks to the fitment of multi-link suspension, and with this eight percent increase in load space, Land Rover claim that you can now fit golf clubs in the boot, which we’re sure will be a consideration for those looking to buy. 


WHY DO WE CARE?
Why would we care about the Range Rover Evoque, traditionally a soft roader that would hardly leave the inner city? 

Because it is an insight into the future of Land Rover, which historically has meant an insight into the future of the industry. With Land Rover placing new technology into the Evoque, it highlights their continual development, particularly in the 4WDing realm in the form of the ClearSight Ground View system. Looking ahead to the end of the year and the greatly anticipated release of the Defender, we’re glad to see that Land Rover, even in its softest form, hasn’t lost sight of its off-road heritage.

2020 RANGE ROVER EVOQUE

WORDS BY JOSH NEEDS

Can the smallest Range Rover lead the way off-road, or is it destined for a life of latte-sipping and active wear?

When you think of Range Rover Evoque, you couldn’t be blamed of thinking designer handbags, inner-city living and perhaps even a former Spice Girl. While you couldn’t be criticised for that, after going along to the Australian launch of the new Range Rover Evoque it’s clear to see that there is more to this vehicle than its looks. Back in 2011 when it first hit our shores, the Evoque was a trailblazer in the small luxury SUV segment, whereas today if you don’t have an SUV in your stable you’re missing out; even renowned supercar brands Lamborghini and Maserati have jumped at it. This means that for the new Evoque to create as much traction as the original it needs to have upped its game to compete against a now crowded market.

TECHNOLOGY
This will take a bit of explaining, but as you can imagine there is loads to talk about here. Not only do you get three screens, two in the centre and one as your dash, the only non-digital controls you’ll find are three dials. However, these dials aren’t just your standard Corolla spec, but have multiple purposes and change to reflect the setting selected on the touch screen. The dash screen is also adjustable, with the ability to select what information you’d like displayed in front of you from navigation, driver assists, rudimentary gauges and digital-styled speedos. While sitting in a driver’s seat surrounded by screens makes you feel like you’re driving a vehicle of the future, the touch-screen technology brings you back to reality and can at times feel a bit slow compared to what we are used to with phones.

The technological centrepiece of the Evoque are the two ClearSight systems that Land Rover has included: the ClearSight Rear-View Mirror and ClearSight Ground View. The rear-view mirror uses a camera placed in the Evoque’s roof-mounted shark fin, to display a crisp live image of what’s happening behind the car to the rear-view mirror. When we first started using the rear-view mirror as a camera it was quite disorientating, meaning plenty of alternating back and forth to the regular rear-view camera. However, once you adjust to it you understand what a massive improvement it is, providing a lot more vision than you would otherwise get out the rear of modern cars, especially with their stylish curved designs like the Evoque.

Land Rover’s ClearSight Ground View is the other new technological point in the Evoque. The front-facing cameras in the wing mirrors and in the grille provide a virtual image of what ground you are driving over, allowing you to see through your bonnet. The concept of this technology we love, being 4WDers and wanting to know where we are placing our wheels at all time. However, when taking the Evoque for a test drive the image projected wasn’t quite exact when driving over uneven terrain, which would be the case most of the time.

Land Rover has also brought in a mild 48-volt hybrid system, MHEV, and harvests the energy that is usually lost during deceleration. This energy stored is then used to help reduce turbo lag on take-off, making for smoother acceleration. Currently Land Rover only has it fitted to the three diesel engine options and the top 221kW petrol. Land Rover also confirmed a plug-in hybrid version is expected to be released later this year in the UK and for us in the New Year.

VEHICLES

First Drive

ON-ROAD
This is where the Evoque is meant to shine, being nippy and small enough to fit in tight carparks at boutique restaurants while also being refined enough to cope with trips on the motorway up to the family beach house. The course that we were taken on at the launch allowed us to experience both scenarios. We were able to test both petrol and diesel variants of the Evoque, both of which impressed us, however my pick would be the diesel thanks to the inherent low-down torque properties.

All vehicles in the range get a nine-speed automatic that ensures a smooth drive around town without any noticeable ‘clunking’ when running through the gears.
The refined Range Rover’s light and direct steering was also a praise point with the clever electronics meaning it was light for tight detailed manoeuvres around town. However, once we got out of the city and into the winding roads leading out of Wisemans Ferry, it was reassuringly firm with its connection to the road while taking corners at speed; at no point do you feel unsure where your tyres are placed. In a Range Rover you’d expect the cabin to be whisper-quiet while driving, which in the higher specified models they were, however driving the P200 S, the cheapest of the range at $62,670, we found the road noise to be much louder than expected, especially compared to jumping into the HSE, the highest standard spec, afterwards.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

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Control the night with brightness control.
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5.5” to 51” sizes available, from $115.00 RRP.

OFF-ROAD
The target market specified for the Evoque by Land Rover are young urban individuals between 30-40 years old. However, the Evoque is a Range Rover so of course due to heritage it has to be able to go off-road. Thankfully the Land Rover team agreed, taking us to Glenworth Valley where Land Rover Experience had set up an actual off-road loop to put the Evoque through. 

Land Rover representatives were quick to point out its 600mm wading depth, which is impressive when you consider the Ford Ranger leads the dual cabs at 800mm. Before starting the course we were slightly concerned about damaging the carefully designed front end, considering it only has 150mm of ground clearance. Our fears were misguided, with the Evoque doing its ancestors proud by cruising through the course, which included water crossings, rocky technical sections, and steep gradients, with ease. This was thanks to Land Rover’s clever Terrain Response 2 system fitted to every model as standard, along with hill descent control and the aforementioned Ground View.

STATS YOU WANT TO KNOW
While the Evoque is a slimline compact SUV, its variants and options lists are the opposite. Land Rover’s unfortunately complex range includes 24 variants excluding the limited-release First Edition that offers another two variants. This is made up of six model levels: the S, SE, HSE, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, and R-Dynamic HSE, as well as six different engine options, three diesel, three petrol, which will then be increased once the PHEV is released. Putting the silliness of this aside, Land Rover has confirmed the Evoque has achieved a 5-star ANCAP rating. Furthermore the new Evoque has a greater load area, 20cm wider than the previous model thanks to the fitment of multi-link suspension, and with this eight percent increase in load space, Land Rover claim that you can now fit golf clubs in the boot, which we’re sure will be a consideration for those looking to buy. 


WHY DO WE CARE?
Why would we care about the Range Rover Evoque, traditionally a soft roader that would hardly leave the inner city? 

Because it is an insight into the future of Land Rover, which historically has meant an insight into the future of the industry. With Land Rover placing new technology into the Evoque, it highlights their continual development, particularly in the 4WDing realm in the form of the ClearSight Ground View system. Looking ahead to the end of the year and the greatly anticipated release of the Defender, we’re glad to see that Land Rover, even in its softest form, hasn’t lost sight of its off-road heritage.