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2019 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Review

The 2019 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque still bristles with energetic looks and turbo-4 power, but more refinement and more back-seat room are overdue.

The Range Rover Evoque enters its eighth and final model year in its debut body, and it’s a look that stays on trend while other luxury crossover SUVs refuse to age well.

The Evoque story begins and ends with its pointed, wedge-tastic shape, and could end there, for all we care. It’s essentially Land Rover’s fastback sedan, low to the ground, all-wheel-drive enabled but that talent set on a back burner. It’s about the look, in case you hadn’t noticed.

We also like some of its features and its two-person weekender utility, but it’s compromised in some ways that render it useless for more than three big people.

It’s a 6.4 out of 10 to us, with no safety data to report. 

Contemporary and cool, the 2019 Evoque hasn’t aged a bit, at least from the outside. The crisply pressed panels that looked so transcendent still could stroll a runway in 2019, raising the question of how Land Rover will replace or update the shape when the next Evoque comes in the 2020 model year. There’s a little Range Rover in its lines, a much more stylish hatchback than we’re supposed to recognize. Inside the wood or metallic themes cool it down or warm it up, but the hotter highlighter greens and yellows from its launch phase are long gone.

A 2.0-liter turbo-4 powers all Evoques, but some churn out 237 horsepower, and some spin out 286 hp. With 0-60 mph times in the six-second range for all, no Evoque is slow, and all come with a well-tuned 9-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Bigger wheels and tires mar the Evoque’s ride, even with adaptive dampers—but it can pick its way through mild obstacles off-road thanks to a handful of drive modes, despite its usual street tires. It’s more composed on the road, and far better in the mud, than most of its drivers ever will experience.

Four adults can fit in the Evoque, but the two front passengers get shapely seats with lots of adjustment. Those in back get a cramped space that’s better suited for people under 5 feet tall—or for more luggage, which the Evoque gladly accepts when the rear seatbacks fold down.

Sold in SE, SE Premium, Landmark Edition, HSE, HSE Dynamic, and Autobiography trim levels, the 2019 Evoque comes standard with leather upholstery, an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, and navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto cost $300; automatic emergency braking only is offered on SE Premium and above, and it’s only full-speed at the HSE level and above. Top models have bigger touchscreens, more speakers, massaging seats, a panoramic roof, and a surround-view camera system—and a sticker price of more than $73,000, which warps reason to its shatter point. No, wait, we’re wrong: The Evoque Convertible does that, and it does it hilariously well.

Styling
Land Rover’s stylish stiletto has held up well.

When it was new in 2012, the Range Rover Evoque blew apart the notion of SUV style, even in an age when softly rounded crossovers already were common. Angular, wedgy, and sharp from every angle, the Evoque still reads as radical as something from a 1970s style house.

We give it an 8 out of 10.

With its Bertone-like cuts and creases, the Range Rover Evoque sheds any vestige of sport-utility vehicle, and even out-edges some crisply penned hatchbacks. There’s a whiff of Range Rover at the front end, and some ruggedness in the fender flares and short overhangs that pull its body taut around the wheels at the corners like a fitted sheet. The high-fashion drama comes from contrasting roof colors, the abrupt pinch of its rear windows, and the fast drop of the roofline. No other SUV has this stiletto sensibility, and that’s how the Evoque’s maintained its graceful appearance as it hits eight years on the road.

Subtract about 9/10ths of the Evoque’s styling reason for being, and you get the convertible.

Inside, the Evoque has a fairly swank but simply arranged cockpit. The Range Rover family look shows up in the trimmed-down aesthetic, with round gauges tucked in a binnacle in a way other Range Rovers have ditched in favor of digital displays. Dynamic trims add flourishes of color inside.

Performance
Turbo-4 power moves the Evoque with authority, but it can ride stiffly.

Last year Land Rover fitted two new turbo-4 engines to the Evoque. Performance hardly changed, since the displacement and output were dead ringers for those in the year prior.

The 2019 Evoque still handles more like a firmly sprung passenger car, and its engines are coarser than they need to be. We give it an extra point for all-terrain traction, and end up at a 6 for performance. 

Based on our drives of the same engines in other Land Rover vehicles, the Evoque’s more powerful engine option is there for bragging rights alone. The base engine’s a 2.0-liter turbo-4, and turns in 237 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. It’s just 3 hp shy of the engine the Evoque sported through the 2017 model year, and power curves are similar. Our major complaint with Land Rover’s new turbo-4 comes in noise and vibration: They can sound unrefined under hard acceleration, which is rapid enough, at 6.9 seconds to 60 mph in the base-engine Evoque.

An option on upper trims is a tuned version of the same engine that’s rated at 286 hp and 295 lb-ft. It costs thousands more, and dips 0-60 mph times to just 6.0 seconds—but that’s a difference few drivers will feel more than the sting they feel in their wallets.

The Evoque comes with all-wheel drive, and a 9-speed automatic modulates power from the turbo-4 to the wheels. The transmission’s a no-fuss operator, more kindly programmed than the other ZF 9-speed automatics we’ve sampled, better at smoothing over shifts and deciding which gear should come next.

The Evoque’s all-wheel-drive system transforms the SUV into something more than a fashion accessory, which it absolutely is. A terrain-management system dials up programs for sand, snow, and mud and moves power around to compensate for slick surfaces. A sort of cruise control for low-speed off-roading lets the Evoque crawl over obstacles more dire than Saks speed bumps, and though we wonder why it must, it simply does. It can ford some deep water, and can manage to hike trails that would make many of its drivers wince.

We’d critique it more in the on-road direction. When it’s shod with the massive wheel-and-tire combinations on spendy versions, the Evoque can ride stiffly, even with the help of adaptive dampers. The base suspension and tires give better compliance.

Comfort & Quality
The Range Rover Evoque snuggles up with front passengers; everyone else, breathe in.

You’d never guess from their profiles, but the 2019 Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport are related under the skin. The Disco Sport looks bigger and more spacious; the Evoque looks as tight-fitting as a Lycra catsuit, not that we’d know.

It’s versatile when it comes to cargo, and fits our forms in its front seats, but the 2019 Evoque’s back bench is for wee folk, those with 99th-percentile flexibility, and the extremely patient.

The front seats work for us. With 12-way power adjustment, the shapes snug in where they should, and leave just enough headroom under the optional panoramic roof (it’s standard on mid-grade models and above). Spend more and the Evoque wears better leather and gets more adjustment, as well as massage functions, heating, and cooling.

The back seat isn’t for us, and probably won’t work for anyone taller than 5 feet. With its scalloped outboard seats, the Evoque’s a four-seater, for all intents and purposes. Leg room is iffy for medium-sized adults, and taller people will make contact with the headliner or sunroof. Buy a convertible, and it’s even difficult getting into the second row, if you’re unlucky enough to get sent back there.

Fold down the rear seats and the Evoque can handle all your things, with 51 cubic feet of space. Fold up the back seats, and it still offers up 20 cubic feet for cargo or pets.

Safety
There's no crash-test data for the latest Evoque.

The 2019 Evoque hasn’t been crash-tested, and with a new model due for the next model year, it likely won’t be. We abstain from rating it here.

If we did give it a rating, based on data, we’d take it to task for withholding some of the good stuff. Blind-spot monitors cost more, and so does automatic emergency braking—on most of the models where it’s even available (it’s optional on SE Premium and above, but standard on Autobiography). All-wheel drive is standard, of course.

Outward vision is good to the front and sides, but the Evoque’s jacked-up rear end and minuscule glass in back give it poor rearward vision, something the surround-view camera system helps—but it’s not available across the lineup.

Features
A wide range of options and big-screen infotainment are among the 2019 Range Rover Evoque’s best features.

Land Rover sells the Evoque in six different trim levels that cost anywhere from about $43,000 to nearly $67,000. In the past two years, the Evoque’s deleted its three-door body style, added a convertible model, and swapped in two new powertrains.

Of all the versions—SE, HSE, HSE Dynamic, Autobiography—one or two Evoque models make better sense than the rest. We’ll tell you which ones, right after we tell you the Evoque earns a 7 out of 10 for features. 

The Range Rover Evoque SE misses out on a few items we consider necessary in luxury vehicles. It gets 12-way power front seats, parking sensors, 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation. The infotainment system works well enough, though the newer systems on the Discovery and Range Rover Velar are smoother and more intuitive. The Evoque SE doesn’t get automatic emergency braking, though, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are a $300 upcharge. The SE Premium gains memory control for the seats, interior accent lights, and a handsfree tailgate.

The Evoque Landmark Edition carries over this year with a contrasting roof color, 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, and special colors.

We like the HSE Evoque, mostly because it can be configured with automatic emergency braking. Nicer Oxford leather is standard on heated front seats, and it has a panoramic sunroof, too, as well as blind-spot monitors and a better Meridian audio system, controlled by a larger 10-inch touchscreen. HSE Dynamic editions get a rear spoiler, aluminum trim, and a Dynamic drive mode, hence the name—but you’ll still pay more for the higher-output turbo-4.

Cost no object, the Evoque Autobiography piles on the gear—as it should, considering its sticker price. It gets softer leather, cooled and heated and massaging front seats, 20-inch wheels, the best Meridian audio of the Evoque family, a heated steering wheel, standard automatic emergency braking, and a surround-view camera system.

Fuel Economy
Gas mileage is average in the latest Range Rover Evoque.

Last year’s new powertrains gave the Range Rover Evoque slightly improved fuel economy in some models.

Though the EPA hasn’t confirmed 2019 ratings yet, the previous figures should carry over, and those merit a 5 on our scale. 

The lower-output turbo-4 in the Evoque is the more popular choice. The EPA says it’s good for 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 25 combined.

On top-end Evoques, a higher-output engine dips in the gas-mileage ratings—to 21/29/24 mpg. Convertible Evoques have the same fuel economy.

Gas mileage may improve with the new Evoque, which should emerge in the 2020 model year, but it’s unknown if a plug-in hybrid or electrified model will be among the new variants.



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