EVOQUE IS STILL AHEAD OF THE FIELD

Land Rover raises its game by re­fin­ing en­gines, up­dat­ing styling and beef­ing up safety fea­tures

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - JONATHAN CROUCH

IF ri­val man­u­fac­tur­ers were hop­ing that the suc­cess of the Range Rover Evoque was about to let up, they’ve been dis­ap­pointed. Land Rover has kept its pre­mium com­pact SUV on top of its game with a whole se­ries of sig­nif­i­cant up­dates — and these have come not so long af­ter a pre­vi­ous se­ries of changes that in­tro­duced the car’s seg­ment-lead­ing nine-speed ZF auto gear­box.

This time around, the Evoque’s look­ing to stay on top of the pile, cour­tesy of some styling up­dates, some fresh en­gines and a range of im­proved safety kit. Is it enough? No­body’s re­ally got to within touch­ing dis­tance of the Evoque in terms of de­sir­abil­ity in its di­vi­sion, so we’re go­ing to go out on a limb and say yes. It’s re­ally not that much of a punt.

Driv­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence

It’s a brave new world at Land Rover right now. The Free­lander’s gone and the Dis­cov­ery Sport has ap­peared, but the big news might well be the devel­op­ment of the In­ge­nium en­gines that look to put the com­pany on a sim­i­lar ef­fi­ciency foot­ing as the best of the Ger­mans and Ja­panese.

The Evoque gets the alu­minium In­ge­nium diesel en­gine, built at the com­pany’s shiny new £500m En­gine Man­u­fac­tur­ing Cen­tre in the West Mid­lands. This TD4 unit is 20-30kg lighter than its pre­de­ces­sor and de­liv­ers low lev­els of vi­bra­tion and noise in­tru­sion.

It’s of­fered to Evoque cus­tomers in two states of tune: 150PS in the econ­omy-ori­ented ed4 front-wheel drive model and 180PS if you pre­fer a bit more poke and can’t do with­out all-wheel drive.

Should you want to go faster still, you can buy the Evoque with the punchy 240PS Si4 petrol en­gine. This pro­pels a three-door car through 62mph in just 7.6 sec­onds and on to a top speed of 135mph.

The nine-speed ZF trans­mis­sion is avail­able and it’s an op­tion you re­ally need to tick. It shifts be­tween gears so quickly that ZF reck­ons it’s “be­low the thresh­old of per­cep­tion”.

An adap­tive shift pro­gramme quickly matches the driv­ing style and in­cludes a mem­ory func­tion. A Torque Vec­tor­ing by Brak­ing fea­ture fur­ther en­hances agility and safety by redi­rect­ing torque to coun­ter­act un­der­steer.

Off-road abil­ity is en­hanced with the fit­ting of All-ter­rain Progress Con­trol. This func­tion main­tains a pre-de­ter­mined speed — se­lected us­ing the cruise con­trol func­tion — in for­ward or re­verse gears be­tween 1.1mph and 19mph, al­low­ing the driver to con­cen­trate on ne­go­ti­at­ing tricky ter­rain.

De­sign and Build

Land Rover needed to keep the Evoque look­ing con­tem­po­rary, with­out di­lut­ing its in­her­ent ap­peal. Evoque’s highly de­sir­able de­sign is a hall­mark of this lux­u­ri­ous com­pact SUV. The lat­est de­sign tweaks help it look even wider and lower thanks to slim­line LED fog lamps and en­larged air in­takes at the front, along with two re­vised grille de­signs.

Full LED head­lights are avail­able as an op­tion and the bon­net vents, pre­vi­ously seen only on the three-door mod­els, are in­tro­duced on five-door HSE Dy­namic and Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy spec­i­fi­ca­tions. A tail­gate spoiler now in­cludes a wider, slim­mer high-level LED rear brake light. The al­loy wheel se­lec­tion has been re­vised, as has the pal­ette of ex­te­rior colours.

The changes con­tinue inside, with up­dated seats and higher-qual­ity soft-touch ma­te­ri­als used for the door cas­ings.

The in­stru­ment bin­na­cle has also been re­designed.

Buy­ers still choose be­tween three and five-door mod­els, the key dif­fer­ence be­tween which is the amount of room in the back of the car. Go for the five-door and the roofline is sub­tly re-pro­filed such that there’s 30mm of ad­di­tional head­room.

The rear row of seats, with seat belts and head re­straints for three pas­sen­gers, have 60/40 fold­ing squabs and are equipped with ISOFIX child seat mounts.

When re­quired, lug­gage ca­pac­ity can be ex­panded to a healthy 1,445-litres. The three-door has a boot that is a lit­tle smaller, mea­sur­ing 550-litres with the seats in place and 1,350 with them folded.

Mar­ket and Model

As be­fore, pric­ing starts at around the £30,000 mark and there’s a choice of ei­ther a five-door bodystyle or the three-door ‘Coupe’, both de­riv­a­tives equally priced (though the Coupe of­fers a slimmed-down model range).

As for spec, Land Rover trim lev­els have of­ten chopped and changed with dizzy­ing reg­u­lar­ity, so it’s good to see that the com­pany has at last in­tro­duced some mea­sure of con­sis­tency across mod­els.

Gone are the old Pure, Pres­tige and Dy­namic mod­els and in come some trim lev­els aligned to match those of the Range Rover Sport: SE, SE Tech, HSE Dy­namic, HSE Dy­namic Lux and Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

Even the base trim is well equipped, with the SE fea­tur­ing an eight-inch Incon­trol Touch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. This al­lows users to swipe be­tween screens just like a smart­phone.

If nec­es­sary, the six-speaker stereo sys­tem can be up­graded to in­clude SD card-based satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, with DAB ra­dio fea­tur­ing as stan­dard across the range.

Step up to the HSE Dy­namic or Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy mod­els and you get Incon­trol Touch Plus, which com­prises Hdd-based nav­i­ga­tion, a rear-seat en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem com­plete with a pair of eight-inch video screens and wire­less dig­i­tal head­phones, and an 11 or 17-speaker Merid­ian au­dio sys­tem.

A hands-free tail­gate func­tion of the type where you wave a foot un­der the rear bumper has also been of­fered. Safety fea­tures avail­able in­clude Lane-keep­ing As­sist, which uses a stereo dig­i­tal cam­era, and Au­ton­o­mous Emer­gency Brak­ing (AEB) which pre­vents low-speed rear-en­ders. At­ten­tion As­sist Es­ti­ma­tion sounds au­di­ble alarms and vis­ual warn­ings sig­nal if it thinks the driver is show­ing signs of drowsi­ness.

Cost of Own­er­ship

One of the big­gest driv­ers for this Evoque’s devel­op­ment is to im­prove ef­fi­ciency. The all-alu­minium diesel en­gine de­liv­ers fuel econ­omy of up to 68mpg and low car­bon diox­ide emis­sions from just 109g/ km in front-wheel drive guise.

Even if you choose the more pow­er­ful 180PS unit, it’ll still man­age 59 miles from a gal­lon of derv, with CO2 emis­sions from 125g/ km. The 150PS en­try-level diesel is some 18% more fuel ef­fi­cient than its pre­de­ces­sor. That’s a huge ad­van­tage.

Land Rover has in­cluded vari­able valve tim­ing and a se­ries of low fric­tion tech­nolo­gies.

Se­lec­tive cat­alytic re­duc­tion and low-pres­sure ex­haust gas re­cir­cu­la­tion sys­tem sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce NOX emis­sions. Even the 240PS petrol en­gine doesn’t do too badly on the juice, re­turn­ing 36mpg on the com­bined cy­cle, with emis­sions of 181g/km. That hasn’t changed from the old car though.

The Range Rover Evoque also adopts low CO2 sys­tems such as Elec­tric Power-as­sisted Steer­ing and is built to max­imise end of life re­cy­cla­bil­ity. With such high de­mand and a dis­tinctly fi­nite plant ca­pac­ity at the Hale­wood fac­tory, resid­ual val­ues have re­mained very strong.

It aces the Audi Q5 on resid­u­als to such an ex­tent that a com­pa­ra­ble Audi costs more than 20% more to run over a typ­i­cal three-year own­er­ship ten­ure.

Sum­mary

Land Rover has spent its money wisely with this Evoque. Not a lot re­ally needed do­ing to the styling and the in­te­rior fin­ish and there’s only been a bit of tidy­ing up there — mere nips, tucks and tweaks.

The en­gine range has come in for the lion’s share of the bud­get and it’s an in­vest­ment that ought to keep the Evoque at the top of the class for some time to come.

Rather de­press­ingly for the Evoque’s com­peti­tors, it’s only the start of the roll-out of the In­ge­nium en­gine fam­ily. It’s just go­ing to get bet­ter and bet­ter.

That’s won­der­ful news for Evoque cus­tomers. The car’s just be­come sig­nif­i­cantly more eco­nom­i­cal and ca­pa­ble, both on road and off. Just about the only thing that can re­ally sink this model is for it to go hor­ri­bly out of fash­ion.

That doesn’t look like hap­pen­ing any time soon but, just in case, Land Rover has con­cen­trated on sub­stance over style with this re­vi­sion. In do­ing so, the brand has fu­ture-proofed its big­gest money-spin­ner.

Land Rover has spent its money wisely with the lat­est Evoque mod­els

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