The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque's styling is undeniably attractive. But even among compact luxury SUVs, utility is a critical component of desirability. In that regard, the Range Rover Evoque falls a little short. It's a minor blemish on what is an otherwise enjoyable SUV from behind the wheel.
What Is It?
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a compact luxury SUV that's available with either two or four doors, a unique selling point in the segment. Both body styles come standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission is also standard, as is all-wheel drive.
There are five trim levels: Pure, Pure Plus, Pure Premium, Prestige and Dynamic. The Pure and Prestige trim levels are only available on the four-door model.
How Much Does It Cost?
The base price for a four-door Evoque starts at $41,995 for the Pure trim. On top of the typical standard features expected from small luxury SUVs, the Evoque also adds parking sensors, selectable drive modes and partial leather upholstery. Another $3,000 gets you the Pure Plus trim package with 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof and full leather upholstery. The base two-door, offered only in Pure Plus trim, costs $2,000 more.
Higher-end packages add performance-focused items, premium audio, a navigation system, more interior refinement and additional safety features.
The Autobiography Dynamic model, new for the 2015 model year, increases engine output from 240 horsepower to 285. Our test vehicle, a four-door 2014 Evoque Pure Plus with a Climate Control package, navigation and metallic paint stickered at $48,520.
How Is the Evoque Different?
Styling is the Evoque's primary distinguishing feature. The beveled design theme, rearward tapered windows and roof line, broad stance and short overhangs give it athletic proportions. Four years after its introduction, the Evoque still manages to turn heads.
Almost as significant as the Evoque's unique styling is its off-road ability, proving it's more than just a pretty face. The short overhangs give it a relatively steep 25-degree angle of approach and 33-degree departure angle, allowing it to climb terrain that would easily remove body panels from its more city-bound rivals. Ground clearance is a substantial 8.3 inches. And, should you need to ford any rivers on your way to pick up your dry cleaning, it offers a wading depth of 19.7 inches. In other words, there's a lot more capability here than is provided by most SUVs in the segment.
Bolstering the Evoque's off-road credentials is a Terrain Response system that is similar to what's on other Range Rovers. There are driver-selectable modes for grass/gravel/snow, sand, mud/ruts and on some models, a dynamic mode for sportier handling. Selecting one of these modes tailors the engine, transmission, brakes and all-wheel-drive system for better performance in the chosen terrain. It's a way of putting numerous adjustments into one simple dial that any driver can understand and use with confidence.
How Does It Drive?
The 2014 Evoque is one of those rare machines that is at home in both urban confines and the untamed wilderness. More likely than not, owners will stick to paved roads and daily commute duties, and in these conditions it performs much like any other luxury SUV.
When accelerating from a stop, there is a subtle delay in power delivery as the turbocharger awakens and the transmission engages, but not so much that drivers need to plan around it. Shifts from the automatic transmission are smooth, which is good since there are nine forward gears.
When passing slower traffic, the transmission does take a second or two to drop down a few gears to provide the power required, but a solid stomp on the pedal tends to get more immediate results. Wheel-mounted shift paddles allow for manual control and remedy the delay in automatic mode with adequately quick responses and rev-matched downshifts. In Edmunds testing, the Evoque reached 60 mph in 7.2 seconds — about a half-second slower than most other compact luxury SUVs.
An automatic stop-start function shuts off the engine when stopped in an effort to increase fuel economy, but like many rival systems, it adds another delay to a quick getaway. Once brake pressure is reduced at a stop, the engine fires up with a noticeable shudder and it requires a brief pause to get underway. Fortunately, this system can be disabled with one button on the dash.
Braking, on the other hand, requires no special considerations. The pedal is reassuringly firm and very intuitive. In testing, the Evoque came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, which is average for vehicles in this class. In full panic stops it remained composed and controllable, with little nosedive.
The Evoque really begins to shine when the road begins to bend. Handling is more athletic than expected from an SUV, with body roll kept to a minimum. Here the Evoque is better than most of its competitors, delivering a confident sure-footedness that encourages spirited driving.
Normally, we'd expect this sort of sporty handling to come at the expense of ride comfort, but the Evoque doesn't make this sacrifice. Over rough roads, the suspension does an admirable job of soaking up ruts and bumps, and passengers will be just as comfortable in the Evoque as they would be in most other small SUVs. An optional adaptive suspension may further enhance handling and comfort, but without it, our Evoque test vehicle still manages to delicately balance the two.
How Luxurious Is the Interior?
The Evoque's cabin uses excellent materials that are as good or better than its competitors. Forward visibility from the driver seat is excellent, but the tapered roof line and small rear window obscure the rearward view, forcing heavy reliance on the standard rearview camera when backing up.
The front seats are well shaped and appropriately padded for lateral support when cornering as well as long-distance road tripping, though they are on the narrow side. Rear-seat passengers will benefit from plenty of headroom, but legroom is merely adequate for adults and the seat cushions are a bit short and mounted low to the floor.
At highway speeds, wind and road noise is present but not bothersome. More noticeable is the raspy engine note when accelerating. It sounds more like something you hear coming from under the hood of an economy sedan, not a luxury SUV.
Switches, knobs and buttons throughout the interior are well placed and have a premium look and feel. One of the few weak spots in an otherwise excellent execution is the Evoque's infotainment interface. Compared to rival systems, the small touchscreen lacks resolution and is sporadically slow to respond. Streaming Internet radio and in-car apps are not offered.
The Evoque also lacks cargo capacity. There are only 20.3 cubic feet of space available behind the rear seats. Most of the Evoque's German competitors can hold significantly more. The rear seats do fold, but they don't fold flat, which may complicate hauling of bulkier items. In this configuration, cargo capacity is 51 cubic feet, which still trails its rivals.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Does It Get?
The EPA estimates fuel economy for the Range Rover Evoque at 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway). These figures are supported by a 25.1 mpg result on our evaluation loop in mixed driving conditions. Our overall average of 19.1 mpg included more spirited driving, congested city driving and some light off-roading.
What Safety Features Are Offered?
In addition to the typical standard safety features available on most luxury SUVs, the 2014 Evoque comes with front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Optional equipment includes a blind-spot monitor, 360-degree camera system, a frontal collision warning system with automatic braking and an automated parallel and perpendicular parking and departure system. New for 2015 models is the availability of a rear cross-traffic alert system. Trailer sway control is standard.
What Are Its Closest Competitors?
Audi Q5: The Q5's base price starts about $3,000 less than the Evoque's and it offers more space inside for both passengers and cargo. The Audi doesn't have the Range Rover's off road capabilities, but neither do any of the other competitors. Unlike the Evoque, the Q5 offers other engine choices, including a powerful and efficient diesel.
BMW X3: An all-wheel-drive X3 is similarly priced to an Evoque, but more city-bound shoppers have the option of spending $3,000 less for a rear-drive model. The BMW is also more accommodating for passengers and cargo.
Porsche Macan: The Macan starts about $3,000 higher than the Evoque and for the extra cash, buyers get significantly better on-road performance. Fuel economy suffers as a result, though, and interior space is about the same as in the Land Rover.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
You're looking for a unique blend of style and off-road capability in a small SUV. Even if you're only after one of those traits, the Range Rover Evoque is worth considering. And if it's a two-door luxury SUV that you're in the market for, there are no true competitors.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
There's not much cargo room, and the rear passenger space is tight as well. If you're carrying people or stuff on a regular basis, the Evoque won't impress. It's also on the slow side in terms of acceleration, so if straight-line performance is something you value, the Evoque trails its competitors.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.