2018 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

2018 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Review

A new, more powerful optional engine adds to the appeal of this fashion-forward SUV.
author
by Carlos Lago
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a subcompact and all-wheel-drive premium SUV that packs an option you won't find in any of its competition: a convertible top. While we're sure most people will opt for the more traditional four-door variant and its fixed roof, the availability of a two-door convertible speaks to the Evoque's fashionable intentions.

The emphasis on style brings about a few sacrifices in traditional SUV traits. Its storage space and visibility fall on the smaller side of the spectrum, and its interior is more difficult to climb in and out of — doubly true for the convertible. Still, the Evoque remains a Land Rover, and it comes with the brand's off-road tech, including a low-speed cruise control.

It isn't the design alone that makes the Evoque a unique offering. Though it's the size of a subcompact, the Evoque's price falls closer to that of a bigger luxury SUV, so direct comparisons are tricky. But if you find the look and feel appealing, comparisons against the Evoque won't be necessary.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, the Evoque's biggest updates happen under the hood. The new base engine is slightly less powerful than last year's model, but the Evoque now offers a higher-output, 286-horsepower version as an option on some trim levels. The two-door coupe has been discontinued, though the convertible remains.

We recommend

For starters, you have to choose between having a retractable roof or hardtop. Opting for the convertible comes with many downsides — getting in and out; reduced storage and visibility — but makes for a unique driving experience. We think most shoppers will be happier with the four-door fixed-roof variant. Also, you'll want the more powerful optional engine since last year's base engine left us wanting more oomph. These choices land you in the well-equipped HSE Dynamic, which includes many features you'd want, such as navigation, premium audio and heated front seats.



Trim levels & features

For the four-door Evoque, the base SE comes with a decent set of features, such as navigation, a backup camera and proximity sensors, while the SE Premium adds more flair in the form of xenon headlights and a panoramic roof. The Landmark Edition uses the previous trim as a base and adds an array of visual upgrades. The midgrade HSE gains more standard features, from heated seats to blind-spot monitoring, while the HSE Dynamic upgrade adds aggressive bodywork. The range-topping Autobiography comes loaded with style and comfort features, including massaging front seats. The Convertible is available in two trims — SE Dynamic and HSE Dynamic — that match the four-door's similarly named trims.

The base SE comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder (237 hp, 251 lb-ft of torque) and a nine-speed automatic. Standard exterior equipment includes five-spoke 18-inch wheels, a heated rear windshield, halogen headlights, LED taillights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and heated power side mirrors. Inside you'll find 12-way power-adjusting leather seats, a 60/40-split rear seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and dual-zone climate control. You also get technology features such as an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, an 80-watt stereo with eight speakers, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry, and a rearview camera with trailer hitch guidance. The SE boasts Land Rover's suite of off-road technology features, which includes hill descent control; All-Terrain Progress Control, which acts like a low-speed cruise control; and the Terrain Response system, which adjusts how the vehicle behaves for preset settings (Gravel, Snow, and Mud and Ruts, for example).

One step up is the SE Premium, which adds seven-spoke 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights with LED accents, a panoramic sunroof, hands-free tailgate access, and memory settings for the front seat.

Think of the Landmark Edition as a variant of the SE Premium that prioritizes style. It comes with seven-spoke 19-inch wheels and the more aggressive exterior design from costlier trim levels, along with a different style of interior layout.

You can tell an HSE apart by its 10-spoke 19-inch wheels and other subtle differences in its exterior trimmings. The interior receives a higher grade of leather, heated front seats, configurable mood lighting, an upgraded stereo (380 watts, 11 speakers), and blind-spot monitoring.

The HSE Dynamic comes with aggressive bodywork and seven-spoke 19-inch wheels. Interior changes include a perforated leather steering wheel and illuminated doorsills.

The top-of-the-line Autobiography rolls on 20-inch wheels and boasts adaptive LED headlights and a heated windshield. The 14-way power-adjusting front seats come with massage, heating and ventilation functions. There are other perks like a heated rear seat, heated steering wheel, illuminated doorsills, and another stereo upgrade (825 watts, 17 speakers). The Autobiography also boasts automatic parking (parallel and perpendicular), a surround-view camera, lane keeping assist, and collision mitigation.

A high-output variant of the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four (286 hp, 296 lb-ft) is available only on the four-door HSE Dynamic and Autobiography. Models equipped with this engine gain a different, more aggressive front bumper.

The Convertible's two trim levels mirror those of the four-door's with a few exceptions. The SE Dynamic is largely the same as the four-door SE. Differences include seven-spoke 18-inch wheels, 12-way power-adjusting front seats with memory function, a wind deflector, and a 10.2-inch touchscreen with the 11-speaker stereo system. The HSE Dynamic matches the upgrades fitted to the four-door HSE Dynamic with negligible differences.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 9-speed automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Range Rover Evoque has received some revisions, including a new, less powerful base engine and a more powerful optional engine. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Range Rover Evoque.

Driving

The Evoque Convertible offers some off-roading capability, but typical buyers won't be seeking it out for off-path exploration. Instead, this SUV delivers a unique combination of sporty handling dynamics, a commanding road view and top-down freedom.

Comfort

Like many convertibles, you sacrifice some top-up sound insulation for drop-top fun, and the Evoque is no different. The convertible top blocks out wind noise exceptionally well, and there's surprisingly good road comfort to be had, but the squeaks seem to find their way in on bumpier roads.

Seat comfort

The front seats are cushy and offer a good amount of support and adjustability, and are even suitable for more spirited driving. Perforated leather seats provide adequate breathability, even without powered ventilation. The rear seats are less ideal due to space and, oddly, lack outboard armrests.

Ride comfort

The Evoque offers decent ride comfort, even over fairly rough roads, which is impressive considering how well it handles in corners. It's a tricky balance to achieve, especially since its suspension is neither adjustable nor adaptive.

Noise & vibration

On bumpier roads, squeaks between the doorjambs and around the convertible roof seals reveal themselves. This is expected and forgivable to a degree in convertibles, and can be drowned out by the stereo. There is also some road noise that creeps into the cabin, but wind noise is nicely attenuated.

Climate control

The climate features, from the heated seats and heated steering wheel to the air conditioning, all function well and provide nice temperature modulation. The controls are clearly laid out with dual dials for temperature adjustment and buttons for vent control and defrost functions.

Interior

The compact Evoque has more interior space to offer than what appears. Its touchscreen infotainment, while easy to use, requires a bit of a stretch to reach controls closer to the passenger side. And for those who are less limber, getting in and out requires an above-average effort, especially for the back seat.

Ease of use

Remote rotary dials and touchpads have become the preferred interface of navigating an infotainment system, but the Evoque's touchscreen menu is pretty easy and intuitive to use. The location of the touchscreen within the dash can require a bit of a stretch at times, but it isn't a deal-breaker.

Getting in/getting out

The step-over height is a little high and the roofline a little low, which has you maneuvering like a boxer climbing through ring ropes, though to a lesser degree. Squeezing into the back seat is like getting into the third row of a large SUV because of the convertible's two-door design.

Driving position

The steering wheel has ample tilt-and-telescoping adjustability and the 12-way driver seat provides a wide range of adjustability to easily find a comfortable position. It's possible taller drivers may find the upper windshield frame a hair low for visual comfort.

Roominess

There's a good amount of space up front in all dimensions to suit occupants of various sizes. Rear headroom is surprisingly good despite the sloping roofline, and rear kneeroom is livable for average-size passengers but won't be optimal for those trips measured in hours.

Visibility

Rear visibility is hampered by the rear headrests and the roof's wide rear section panels. With the top down, visibility improves tenfold, and the multitude of cameras and blind-spot monitoring — both optional — help in parking and lane change situations. A rearview camera is standard.

Convertible top

The convertible top of the Evoque may not be its most flattering feature when shielding occupants from rain or sun, but it functions exceptionally well to keep out unwanted wind noise. Recorded operation times were decent at 11.8 seconds for top down and 14.6 seconds for top up.

Utility

The Evoque Convertible is a sport-utility vehicle, but only in name. It does the "sport" thing pretty well, but "utility" is a joke. The trunk is more a rear cubby, and not a very accessible one at that. Small-item storage within the cabin is scant.

Small-item storage

Small-item storage is a bit scarce, limited to a modest armrest bin and narrow door pockets. There are a couple of cupholders for the driver and front passenger, plus a small bin concealed behind the center console that isn't really that useful.

Cargo space

The rear trunk of the convertible is laughable. It's a deep cubby with a capacity of 8.8 cubic feet that requires you bend at an awkward level to load and unload items. This could cause some ergonomic strain, especially for people with back issues.

Child safety seat accommodation

LATCH anchors are easily located and accessed under plastic flip covers. But maneuvering a car seat into and out of the back seat is more difficult in the two-door convertible versus the four-door hardtop.

Technology

There are a lot of driving aids, some of which are optional and ones we recommend. If you plan to drive with the top up a fair amount, the 360-degree cameras and blind-spot systems will save a lot of headache. We experienced some issues with the touchscreen, voice controls and phone integration.

Audio & navigation

The Evoque's optional Meridian sound system delivers some amazingly rich sound with multiple modes tailored to the type of music or audio you're listening to. Although the touchscreen is easy to navigate, on occasion the system was nonresponsive to our touch commands.

Smartphone integration

Bluetooth pairing worked as it should, but at times the system wouldn't recognize our smartphone when connecting through the USB cable. We had to disconnect and reconnect to resolve the issue.

Driver aids

Active cruise control works decently in bringing you to a complete stop but is not the best at managing traffic gaps. Lane keeping assist applies mild steering corrections but is ineffective on curved roads. Forward collision warning isn't adjustable but provides just the right amount of warning.

Voice control

There's a voice control button, but it doesn't initiate voice control functions. It only mutes the audio.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.