2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Pure 4dr SUV (2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo AWD 9-speed Automatic)
Driven On 10/21/2014
The Range Rover Evoque 4-door is attractive, desirable and a remarkably good handler, especially considering its unique off-road capabilities. It has numerous standard/optional features and comfort is decent, but the Evoque's high cost, limited luggage space and less-than-smooth power delivery keep it from earning an A rating.
PerformanceWith confident steering, handling, braking and uncommon off-road ability, the only real demerit the Evoque earns is related to its lackluster drivetrain. Modest acceleration, surging turbo power delivery and poor transmission logic plague the driveability of an otherwise good performer.
The addition of a smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission has made the 240-hp turbo 4-cylinder slightly quicker to 60 mph (7.2 sec). Disappointingly, the noticeable lack of power from a stop and surging power remain as flaws.
The medium-firm brake pedal is easy to predict in traffic and panic situations alike. On stops from 60 mph in our testing, the Evoque and its all-season tires stopped in a segment-average 121 feet with good stability and little nosedive.
One of the Evoque's better qualities is its direct and precise steering. It's a pleasure to point the SUV around corners, but those same quick responses can make the Evoque feel a little nervous at speed on a straight highway.
Combined with good steering, the Evoque is a surprisingly capable handler, with better grip, agility and composure than most compact SUVs. It's equally happy in steady corners or quick switchbacks. The stability control system is lenient.
The new transmission is often caught on its heels in Drive, extra pressure on the gas pedal causing a big pause, a downshift and then surging acceleration. Auto stop/start isn't smooth. Cruise control can't maintain downhill speed.
Up to 3,500 lbs when properly equipped, but this is about average for the segment. The Evoque also has electronic trailer-stability assist and hill-start assist which reduce some towing anxiety.
Top of its class off-road, and the Evoque can tackle much rougher terrain than you'd guess. Smart, selectable Terrain Response modes (mud/snow/sand), hill-descent program and specialized hardware maintain Range Rover standards.
ComfortIf you're the right size, the firm seats will offer good support and comfort. Dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents and opt. heated front/rear seats are appreciated. Ride is sporty and well managed, but the engine noise during hard acceleration is noticeable.
Front seats have narrow bottoms and won't fit some, but offer above average support and comfort. Rear seats are similarly firm, narrow and supportive. Standard: dual-zone climate w/rear vents. Optional: heated leather front/rear seats.
The Evoque's standard, non-adjustable sport suspension offers a firm but only occasionally busy ride. As such, it adeptly walks that fine line between composed and sporty, dare we say BMW-like. Optional: adaptive dampers.
Good isolation from wind and road noise, but the rather raspy four-cylinder engine note is evident during acceleration, and not in a way we like.
InteriorDespite its compact dimensions, the Evoque offers generous space for passengers, yet it lacks the cargo capacity of its competitors. It also has limited small-item storage. Outward vision is challenging, but a standard rearview camera and parking sensors help mitigate that liability.
Only a couple years in, and the Evoque's infotainment system looks/feels/performs aged. Slow/unresponsive touchscreen requires too many attempts. Otherwise, rotary gear selector and suitably large, well-labeled buttons and switches abound.
A low seating position for an SUV makes access easy up front. Unlike the two-door Coupe version of the Evoque, access to the four-door's similarly low rear seat is a snap, possibly explaining the lack of roof-mounted grab handles.
Despite a low roofline and narrow windows, it doesn't feel claustrophobic. Head, shoulder and legroom are good up front. Lots of rear headroom, only adequate legroom. Fixed, panoramic roof (optional) helps improve perceived open space.
Forget about visibility via the rear window, you'll have to rely on the standard rearview camera and parking sensors. Surround cameras, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise and forward collision warning systems are optional.
A compact SUV, the Evoque is merely adequate here: glovebox has a giant door but small volume, diminutive center bin, small door pockets. Cargo space is cramped compared to rivals: 20 to 51 cu-ft with rear seats raised/lowered.
ValueThe Evoque's high build quality and competitive features are overshadowed by its comparatively high $41,995 price and mediocre warranty terms. Adding a few options like a cold-weather package, navigation and the Pure Plus pkg raised the price to $48,520, which is a lot for a compact SUV.
Build Quality (vs. $)
In terms of overall quality, the Evoque delivers solidity and refinement that meet or beat expectations among luxury-branded SUVs in this price range. Attention to materials and fit and finish are obvious. The chic design is unique.
At $41,995, the Evoque Pure has typical standard features for its price (Bluetooth, touchscreen, dual-zone climate, push-button start, auto headlamps and wipers) plus unexpected ones (multi-mode 4x4, rearview camera, parking sensors).
The Evoque's cost is higher than direct competitors from Audi and BMW, but lower than Porsche. Some of this is due to its unique 4x4 capability, the rest is just brand cache. There should be an optional engine upgrade.
With EPA estimates at 24 mpg Combined (21 City/30 Highway), we achieved an admirable 25 mpg on our varied evaluation loop. These figures are competitive, or slightly better, than its compact, luxury SUV peers with all-wheel drive.
Both the basic and drivetrain warranties last for 4 years/50,000 miles, just like competing luxury SUVs. There is also a 6-year/unlimited-miles corrosion warranty. Competitive, but not benchmark.
The first scheduled maintenance visit is included in the price. Roadside assistance lasts for 4 years/50,000 miles.
Fun To DriveIf you avoid Drive tranny mode and select S, or better yet, use the manual-shift paddles for improved driveline responses, the sportiness built into the Evoque's chassis makes it uncharacteristically thrilling to drive. That it looks so sophisticated and chic adds to its flavor.
Thanks to the sporty feeling behind the wheel, you might never guess the Evoque maintains Range Rover's off-road reputation. You'll experience strong dynamic responses (except from the engine), good manners and a sophisticated ride.
There's no denying the Evoque looks unlike any other compact SUV, due to the sleek roof, wide stance and Range Rover heritage cues. It manages to stand out effectively (in a good way), even on the trendy East/West coasts.