The 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque tones down the off-road chops of its older siblings and turns up the design, creating a stylish carlike utility in the process.
The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is easily one of the more attractive entries in the coupe-ish SUV set, beating newcomers like the BMW X4 for sheer beauty, and carrying tidier proportions than Infiniti's QX70.
Th Evoque is more concerned with style than off-road capability and, in that way, it's a refreshingly honest take on the modern crossover, as they're increasingly being purchased as fashion accessories and seldom if ever venture off pavement.
Offered in three-door and five-door variants, the Evoque is one of the best concept-to-production examples in a while. Nearly everything, from the sharp sheetmetal to the stark interior, made the transition from show car to showroom. We applaud Land Rover for having the guts to make such a design statement with this model, and to bring it here in two different body configurations as well.
The Evoque's turbo-four engine makes 240 horsepower and is well-suited to the stylish utility's size and nature. There's plenty of torque, giving the Evoque a peppy, punchy feel. Since the Evoque is relatively small and light, it even manages to come off as nimble, too. The combination makes for a more car-like driving experience than you'll find in the rest of the crossover-coupe world. New for 2015 are two Autobiography special editions; the Autobiography Dynamic brings a 285-hp version of the same engine, as well as exterior and upgrades found on the Autobiography model.
The Evoque got a mechanical upgrade for 2014. A nine-speed automatic transmission replaced the six-speed auto as the only available gearbox, offering smoother shifts and closer ratios. The result was a slight but noticeable improvement in gas mileage, from 20 mpg city, 28 highway, to current ratings of 21 mpg city, 30 highway. In everyday driving, the difference isn't hugely perceptible, though the new transmission does smooth out some of the coarseness we had previously observed in the Evoque's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Also new for 2014 was the Active Driveline system, with active differentials and torque vectoring, which is standard equipment on all models. The system aims to reduce drag on the drivetrain by de-coupling the four-wheel-drive system automatically at speeds above 22 mph, then re-enabling it within 300 milliseconds whenever it's needed. Active Torque Biasing and Torque Vectoring also aim to improve traction and distribution of torque to the optimal wheel in low-grip conditions or in performance driving scenarios.
The Evoque's cabin is compact but well-arranged, making the most of the available space. The front seats are spacious and comfortable, with a wide range of adjustment; the rear seats are a bit tighter, but still suitable for adults. In three-door models, entry to the rear seats can be a bit difficult, but the five-door version remedies that completely. Cargo space is not excessive, but given the Evoque's exterior dimensions, it's reasonable at 24 cubic feet, and the space itself is wide and easy to access.
For 2015, there are once again five variants of the five-door model, including the Pure, Pure Plus, Pure Premium, Prestige, and Dynamic, as well as the Autobiography and Autobiography Dynamic editions. The Evoque Coupe, or three-door, comes in just three of those varieties: Pure Plus, Pure Premium, and Dynamic. The three-door costs $1,000 more than a comparable five-door model in each of its trim levels.