Range Rover Evoque L538 (2011-present): Review, Problems, Specs

The Evoque is the entry ticket into the world of Range Rover luxury and judging from the model's sales success worldwide Land Rover has hit the jackpot with it. Available in three-door and five-door variants with both front-wheel drive (in Europe) and all-wheel drive, the Range Rover Evoque targets urban buyers who are in the market for a posh compact SUV that is also capable off-road. In 2016, the Evoque adds a Convertible version as well. While the Evoque is offered exclusively with a turbocharged gasoline engine in the United States, in Europe it can be had with diesel units too.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Attractive exterior and interior design
  • Competent off-road
  • Good fuel economy
  • Excellent handling
  • Economical diesel engines (in Europe)

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Small engine lineup (U.S.)
  • Below-average interior space
  • Poor rear visibility
  • More expensive than some rivals

Stay Away From
  • Big alloy wheels
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • Land Rover recalled certain 2014 Range Rover Evoques in March 2014 to replace connecting bolts for the right-hand rear suspension link arm that could have been damaged during production.
  • Some 2012-2013 Range Rover Evoques were recalled in July 2014 to update the Restraint Control Module Software for the front seat passenger airbag.
  • Certain 2012 Evoques were recalled in December 2012 to inspect and tighten the rear brake caliper retaining bolts.
Car Details
Powertrain

The Range Rover Evoque offers only one engine in the United States – a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline unit rated at 240 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is all-wheel drive. The engine offers the Evoque hot hatch-like acceleration, but the driver needs to rev it hard to achieve that. In Europe, the powertrain offer also includes two 2.0-liter diesel engines: one with 150 PS and another with 180 PS. Both diesel units deliver more torque than the turbocharged gasoline engine.


Handling

The Range Rover Evoque is part of a rare breed of cars that feel equally at ease on the road as off it. On asphalt, the compact SUV feels very nimble thanks to its sport-tuned chassis and precise steering. It's no secret that Land Rover designed the Evoque to be better on-road than off-road, but that doesn't mean that you should panic when the asphalt ends. In AWD configuration, the Evoque has better than average off-road abilities, thanks in part to the Terrain Response system, which offers selectable settings for various conditions, as well as the standard hill start assist and hill descent control systems.


Safety

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS assessed the Evoque's behavior during crash tests. However, the Euro NCAP did that in 2011 and awarded it the top five-star rating. The Evoque received good scores for adult occupant protection (86%) and child occupant protection (75%), as well as for safety assist systems (86%). Pedestrian protection was rated at 41%. Standard safety features include ABS, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, seven airbags, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.

Comfort

Although the Range Rover Evoque's dampers and springs have a firm setting, the ride is supple – unless you choose the optional 20-inch wheels. As in most SUVs, the driving position is a little high, offering good visibility towards the front – particularly in the five-door Evoque, which has a taller windshield than the three-door. Rear visibility is poor in the Coupé because of the sloping roofline and the extremely shallow rear window. As for the seats, they offer decent levels of back support but are a little flat and don't hug you in corners.


Quality

The Evoque feels premium inside, featuring high-quality metal and wood trim that can also be found in the flagship Range Rover. The interior is well built, and the controls look nice and classy. Overall, the Evoque's cabin makes passengers feel they're in an exquisite vehicle, which is what a premium vehicle should be. Land Rover has given its compact SUV a makeover for the 2016 model year that has improved quality, thanks to the addition of standard full leather upholstery, as well as revised touchscreen and instrument cluster graphics.


Practicality

Practicality is not the Evoque's best aspect, for obvious reasons. The car's shape and compact footprint result in a rather cramped interior, particularly for passengers in the back. Headroom and legroom are tight there for adults, especially in the three-door model, which also makes access to the rear seats harder than it should. There's not much room for cargo either. The 20.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat backs (19.4 cu ft for the 3-door) is comparable to a compact hatchback while the maximum volume of 51 cubic feet (47.6 cu ft for the Coupé) with the rear seats folded puts the Evoque at the bottom of the premium compact crossover segment.


Infotainment

All Range Rover Evoque models get an infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash. The menu interface is not as pleasant to interact with, as it's slower than some of the systems from top rivals. The Evoque is clearly not a segment leader when it comes to infotainment, but the InControl Apps system, which seamlessly integrates Apple and Android smartphones, is one of its best features. The Evoque is also available with remote features such as the ability to unlock and lock doors, start the engine and activate climate control. For 2016, Land Rover has added the InControl safety telematics system as standard.

Efficiency

The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine is EPA-rated at 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city/30 mpg highway) in four-wheel drive configuration, which is better than average for a gasoline-powered AWD small luxury crossover. However, you will find the most economical Evoque models in Europe, where Land Rover offers two diesel powertrains. The most fuel-efficient version is the eD4 equipped with the 150 PS diesel and six-speed manual transmission which averages 4.3 l/100 km and emits 113 g/km CO2.


Equipment

The 2016 Range Rover Sport in five-door body style comes in four trim levels: base SE, SE Premium, HSE, and HSE Dynamic. The Coupé is available in two grades: SE Premium and HSE Dynamic. The entry-level Evoque SE has a comprehensive standard equipment including 18-inch alloy wheels, rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, keyless ignition and entry, eight-way power seats, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control with rear console vents, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and an 11-speaker Meridian sound system, among other things.


Acquisition

The base 2016 Range Rover Evoque SE five-door starts from $41,475 in the United States, which makes it significantly more expensive than rivals such as the Lexus NX 200t ($34,965), Volvo XC60 ($36,600) or BMW X3 ($38,950). All these competitors are more practical than the Evoque and have similar or better build quality, which means one would have to like the British SUV's looks very much to choose it over rivals. The decision to buy a Range Rover Evoque is certainly emotional rather than rational.

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