Range Rover Evoque

Full de­tails of all-new SUV

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - STEVE CRO­P­LEY

A new three-cylin­der, 48V plug-in hy­brid pow­er­train is poised for launch in 2020

Land Rover be­lieves that new tech­nol­ogy and a fo­cus on im­proved qual­ity will en­sure the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion Range Rover Evoque – on sale from to­day with de­liv­er­ies due next spring – can fend off ri­vals such as the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40.

The Bri­tish com­pany has twice scored mar­ket-bust­ing suc­cesses with com­pact SUVS: first the 1997 Freelander that pi­o­neered the genre and be­came Europe’s hottest 4x4 for the next five years; then the 2011 Evoque that took a world­beat­ing con­cept to pro­duc­tion with huge and un­ex­pected suc­cess (800,000 units, seven years) and was still sell­ing out of its skin when pro­duc­tion ended ear­lier this year.

Land Rover’s key in­gre­di­ent for mak­ing a suc­cess of the 2019 Evoque recipe seems to be all-round thor­ough­ness. Although the lat­est edi­tion’s ex­te­rior main­tains an un­der­stand­ably close re­la­tion­ship to the muchloved orig­i­nal, the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion model is prac­ti­cally all-new and bris­tles from stem to stern with bold tech­nol­ogy.

It sits on a new, more space-ef­fi­cient plat­form de­signed from the be­gin­ning for the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion era. New fuel- and Co2-sav­ing hy­brid tech­nol­ogy goes into most mod­els from launch. A new three-cylin­der, 48V plug-in hy­brid pow­er­train is poised for launch in 2020, pi­o­neer­ing wider use of the set-up through­out Jaguar’s and Land Rover’s ranges. Qual­ity and ma­te­ri­als are both ob­vi­ously im­proved and mod­ernised, yet prices are be­ing held close to cur­rent lev­els. Land Rover’s de­pen­dence on Evoque as one of its best money-spin­ners is clear, and it in­tends to fight (against fast-im­prov­ing op­po­si­tion) to keep the model’s pre-em­i­nent po­si­tion.

Although the Evoque look – the big front wheel arches and prom­i­nent rear haunches, rad­i­cally ris­ing waist­line and de­scend­ing roof – is main­tained, there isn’t a com­mon panel be­tween new and out­go­ing mod­els. The 2019 edi­tion gets even slim­mer LED head­lights, and wrap­around side and tail-lights. The Evoque adopts the re­cessed door

han­dles of the pricier Ve­lar. The en­hanced qual­ity is made ob­vi­ous by tighter panel gaps, and the up­mar­ket mod­els now roll on 21in wheels. De­sign boss Gerry Mcgovern re­sists sug­ges­tions that the Evoque has hardly changed, but la­bels the new car as “a smart evo­lu­tion, rather than a rev­o­lu­tion”.

The 2019 Evoque rides on an all-new “mixed-ma­te­rial” plat­form la­belled Pre­mium Trans­verse Ar­chi­tec­ture, a Jaguar Land Rover group de­sign ca­pa­ble of hous­ing the var­i­ous elec­tri­fied pow­er­trains that will come soon to Jaguars and Land Rovers with trans­verse en­gines. The body is 13% stiffer than the cur­rent car, en­gi­neers say, im­prov­ing re­fine­ment and han­dling.

Re­sponses from Evoque own­ers to ex­ten­sive cus­tomer re­search have shown that city-bound mo­torists con­tinue to value the Evoque for its rel­a­tive com­pact­ness. The new model has ex­actly the same 4.37-me­tre length as the orig­i­nal (150mm shorter than an Audi Q3) but the 2019 car has a 20mm longer wheel­base that de­liv­ers its ex­tra space di­rectly to the rear cabin as en­hanced leg room. The rear doors are big­ger, im­prov­ing ac­cess, and there’s 10% more boot space. Rear ac­com­mo­da­tion, prob­lem­atic for some cus­tomers of the orig­i­nal Evoque, is now ac­cept­able if not class-lead­ing. The three-door ‘coupé’, whose sales have dwin­dled for years, is dis­con­tin­ued.

The new Evoque’s Macpherson strut front sus­pen­sion now fea­tures fluid-filled Hy­drobushes for bet­ter road iso­la­tion. At the rear it adopts the Ve­lar’s new In­te­gral Link set-up, which not only sep­a­rates lat­eral and lon­gi­tu­di­nal forces (for im­proved re­fine­ment) but also saves space com­pared with the pre­vi­ous sys­tem, help­ing de­liver the Mk2 ver­sion’s big­ger, wider boot space. Most Evo­ques get adap­tive shock ab­sorbers, whose sen­sors con­tin­u­ously ad­just their damp­ing to suit vary­ing road con­di­tions.

At launch, all new Evo­ques are pow­ered by JLR’S 2.0-litre In­ge­nium en­gines, in both diesel and petrol guises. Nearly all Evo­ques are four-wheel drive; the only two-wheeler is the 148bhp man­ual gear­box D150 diesel start­ing at £31,600. At the other end of the price and per­for­mance scale sits the P300, an all­wheel-drive petrol ver­sion with a 296bhp petrol en­gine driv­ing the fa­mil­iar nine-speed ZF au­to­matic gear­box (which gets a con­ven­tional se­lec­tor lever rather than the twist-se­lec­tor used in Range Rovers).

Other Evoque en­gines of­fered are 178bhp and 237bhp turbo diesels, and 197bhp, 246bhp and 296bhp turbo petrol units, all made at JLR’S Wolver­hamp­ton fac­tory.

Per­for­mance is de­cent: the cheapest two-wheeldrive D150 can run a 9.9sec 0-60mph time and hit 125mph, while the 296bhp P300 can post a 6.3sec 0-60mph time and reach 150mph.

Ev­ery 4x4 Evoque, bar­ring the cheapest D150, is now a 48V mild hy­brid – the first time such a sys­tem has been used in a Land Rover. From launch, all Evo­ques get a belt-driven in­te­grated starter-gen­er­a­tor

that col­lects en­ergy as the car de­cel­er­ates, stor­ing it in a bat­tery be­fore de­ploy­ing it when the car starts or ac­cel­er­ates. The sys­tem adds up to 6% to ef­fi­ciency, says Land Rover, and is one of the rea­sons why the most fru­gal mild-hy­brid 4x4 Evoque now emits only 149g/km and can de­liver 50.4mpg on the new WLTP test cy­cle.

Land Rover has con­tin­ued to de­velop its all-wheel-drive sys­tem, now con­trolled by the four-po­si­tion and au­to­matic Ter­rain Re­sponse 2 (first used in the full-fat Range Rover), so it bris­tles with all the lat­est adap­tive sta­bil­ity and trac­tion-keep­ing tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing Driv­e­line Dis­con­nect, which re­duces driv­e­line drag in full trac­tion con­di­tions and thus saves fuel. Among other re­fine­ments, the Evoque can now wade through 600mm of wa­ter rather than 500mm at present.

A year af­ter the first 2019 Evo­ques hit the mar­ket, Land Rover will launch a plug-in hy­brid ver­sion. It will link a new 1.5-litre three-cylin­der petrol en­gine, mak­ing 197bhp, to an elec­tric mo­tor of un­spec­i­fied out­put. The elec­tric-only range is yet to be re­vealed, but CO2 emis­sions are just 45g/ km. De­tails re­main sketchy, but there is spec­u­la­tion that the en­gine, from the same mod­u­lar fam­ily as 2.0-litre Wolver­hamp­ton fours (and a

The body is 13% stiffer than the cur­rent car, en­gi­neers say, im­prov­ing re­fine­ment and han­dling

The cabin is more modern, fea­tur­ing the con­sid­ered, sim­pli­fied de­sign of the pricier Ve­lar

forth­com­ing straight six), will be im­ported from JLR’S sim­i­lar en­gine plant in China.

The new Evoque is markedly more lux­u­ri­ous than the out­go­ing model, which was still a mar­ket leader when pro­duc­tion ended. The cabin is more modern, fea­tur­ing the con­sid­ered, sim­pli­fied de­sign of the pricier Ve­lar. It uses imag­i­na­tive new colours and tex­tures, in­clud­ing a durable and lux­u­ri­ous wool-blend tex­tile called Kvadrat de­signed to ap­peal to buy­ers who pre­fer non-leather trim ma­te­ri­als. Land Rover prides it­self on pro­gres­sive de­sign, says Amy Fras­cella, chief de­signer, colour and ma­te­ri­als, and will con­tinue to make a fea­ture of it.

There is a large cen­tral touch­screen that moves gen­tly for­ward to pro­vide bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity as you start the car. From the lux­u­ri­ous driver’s bucket seat, the in­stru­ments ahead are car­ried on an­other screen, con­fig­urable in a va­ri­ety of de­signs. Ev­ery­thing feels (and is) high-tech: the sat-nav and in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem are both now up­date­able via wi-fi, and an ex­ten­sive se­lec­tion of In­con­trol apps are avail­able al­low­ing an owner to con­nect re­motely from phone to car to check things like fuel level and range, to heat the car re­motely or to lock and un­lock it.

As with the Ve­lar, there is an­other screen lower down on the con­sole. It han­dles se­condary func­tions such as ven­ti­la­tion, and has two ro­tary con­trol knobs for hard func­tions, rather than re­quir­ing driv­ers to op­er­ate a touch­screen so far from the nat­u­ral eye­line. Big stor­age pock­ets abound – in the doors, in the large cen­tre con­sole and be­hind the lower screen.

Although the 2019 Evoque’s lin­eage is un­mis­tak­able, the com­pre­hen­sive re-en­gi­neer­ing is re­fresh­ingly ob­vi­ous, es­pe­cially in the cabin. JLR has just started mak­ing the new Evoque and says it had more than 5000 ex­pres­sions of se­ri­ous in­ter­est in the lat­est model, even be­fore any po­ten­tial buyer had seen a pic­ture. Fur­ther suc­cess – much needed if JLR is to cor­rect its re­cent malaise – is on the cards.

OF­FI­CIAL PIC­TURES

Panoramic sun­roof en­hances sense of in­te­rior space

It re­mains a 4.4m car but longer wheel­base boosts rear leg room

Slick-look­ing dis­play pan­els in­clude a large tilt­ing touch­screen

Slim­mer LED head­lights sharpen front-end styling

Own­ers can con­nect with the car via In­con­trol apps

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