Range Rover's Evoque makes a lot of sense in PHEV guise. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Review
If you're set on the smart second generation version of the Range Rover Evoque and you'd like an alternative to diesel power, we'd recommend the PHEV Plug-in P300e model over the conventional petrol variants. This mates a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol unit putting out 197hp with a 107hp electric motor and can offer an electric driving range of up to 41 miles, with CO2 emissions of just 32g/km. As with all plug-ins, there's an inevitable price premium to pay for the extra technology but there are no compromises in passenger space and you get all the same off road ability as with the standard car.
It seems a long time ago now that the Range Rover Evoque rather lagged behind its lifestyle premium SUV rivals when it came to engineering tech. The MK2 model was launched in 2019 with mild hybrid electrification built into most of its four cylinder 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol and diesel engines. And built upon a new 'PTA' ('Premium Transverse Architecture') platform designed to also allow for plug-in hybrid (though curiously, not full-EV) technology.
It's the Plug-in hybrid version of the Evoque we look at here. The Solihull maker's existing Ingenium four cylinder 2.0-litre petrol unit was too old to be converted to a PHEV format, so a completely fresh three cylinder 1.5-litre Ingenium turbo petrol engine had to be created for it. A huge engineering effort's gone in to bring this variant to market. How does it stack up?
Mated to an eight-speed auto gearbox, this model's three cylinder 1.5-litre engine puts out 197bhp, its efforts further aided by a 107bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle which delivers AWD capability and creates a total system output of 296bhp, with 540Nm of torque. The electric motor is powered by a 15kWh lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack. The Evoque PHEV is the quickest variant in the line-up, able to manage 62mph from rest in just 6.1s and reach 84mph on electric power alone. Above this speed, the electric motor is decoupled to reduce drag and the car reverts to front wheel drive. Obviously, if you use this model's reserves of performance too often, you'll very quickly deplete the all-electric driving range, WLTP-rated at 41 miles.
The 1.5-litre engine has been designed with an optimised exhaust gas flow system which improves turbo response and Land Rover claims that there's no refinement downside with the switch to a three cylinder format. Finally, the brand reckons that the PHEV system's seamless control between the front and rear axles makes this plug-in variant even better than a conventional model off the beaten track. Certainly, you'll damage any direct rival if you attempt to take it anywhere near what this little Range Rover can do 'off piste'. That's thanks to 212mm of ground clearance, 600mm of wading depth capability and an evolved 'Terrain Response 2' driving mode system which sets the car up perfectly for the type of ground you're travelling over.
Design and Build
As you'd expect, beyond the badgework there are virtually no visual differences between this PHEV model and the standard Evoque. Often with PHEV models, we're told that there are 'no packaging compromises' but in this case, that really seems to be true. The exhaust, for instance, has been packaged down the side of the car, giving the engineers room to insert all the necessary power electronics without intruding on passenger room or boot space. That also meant that the development team were able to use the whole width of the car for the PHEV battery and the fuel tank - which is why the fuel tank size (57-litres) is unusually large for a plug-in hybrid model.
Another reason why passenger space isn't compromised here is that the rear axle's electric drive unit slots between the integral-link rear suspension and needs no physical propshaft. Basically, everything's under the car, so the overhangs and ground clearance are exactly the same as in a normal Evoque. And it's still possible to have a spare wheel, which is unusual in a PHEV. If you're not familiar with the usual version of this second generation Evoque, though the exterior styling is quite familiar, you'll find the cabin layout very different thanks to the introduction of a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and, on plusher versions, the option of a pair of centre-dash 10-inch 'Touch Pro Duo' screens. There's comfortable room for a couple of adults in the back and the 'wet' boot capacity is rated at 591-litres (floor-to-ceiling) - or 1,383-litres with the rear bench folded.
Market and Model
Prices for this 309hp Evoque PHEV sit in the £44,000 to £50,000 bracket and there's a choice of three core trim levels, 'S', 'SE' and 'HSE', each of which can be upgraded to 'R-Dynamic'-spec for an extra £1,500 more. To give you some range perspective, those figures represent a premium of around £3,000 over the nearest equivalent conventional petrol model, the 300hp P300 variant. If you happen to be looking at the core diesel Evoque model, the mid-range D180 (which has just 180hp but comparable levels of torque to the PHEV), the premium for an upgrade to plug-in motoring would be around £4,000.
All versions get LED auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, alloy wheels of at least 18-inches in size, ambient cabin lighting, dual-zone climate control, and a heated windscreen. Plus perforated leather, electrically adjustable front seats, an infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, auto dimming on the side mirrors and rear-view mirror, and traffic sign recognition with an adaptive speed limiter.
If you can move further up the range, 'SE'-spec gives you high-beam assist headlights and 'sweeping' LED indicators, plus 20-inch alloys, extra power adjustment and heating for the front seats, an interactive driver display, an electrically powered tailgate and a parking pack that includes a rear traffic monitor. Finally, 'HSE' trim upgrades the leather upholstery and brings a 380W Meridian sound system, the brand's 'ClearSight' rear-view mirror camera, gesture control for the powered tailgate, adaptive cruise control and a different finish of 20-inch alloys.
Cost of Ownership
Let's reaffirm the WLTP cycle stats that may well sell you on the idea of running one of these: 32g/km of CO2, up to 201.8mpg on the combined cycle and a 41 mile all-electric driving range. That emissions figure means a notably low Benefit-in-Kind taxation rating of just 6% for the 2020/2021 year. The charging port for the Samsung-sourced 15kWh battery pack is on the rear wing (on the opposite side to the petrol filler flap) and charging from a 7kW garage AC wallbox can be done from 0-80% in 1 hour and 24 minutes. DC fast-charging (up to 32kW) can reduce this 0-80% fill period to just half an hour. Charge from a domestic 3-pin plug via a Mode 2 cable and the process will take 6 hours and 42 minutes.
The PHEV model's engine is 37kg lighter than the Evoque's conventional 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol unit and works with extremely low levels of internal friction. Incorporated within the PHEV system is a belt-integrated starter-generator, which allows energy regeneration whilst braking or coasting. The Aisin auto gearbox helps out too, saving 5kgs of weight over the ordinary model's ZF-sourced 9-speed auto. As usual with an Evoque, a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty comes as standard, with further extensions available if you want them.
This is more than just an extra Evoque derivative. Everything here represents new technology for the Land Rover brand - mechanicals, software, the lot and it's taken the company around four years to create everything from scratch, then decide how it should optimally function with the vehicle control systems that work in harmony with the front and rear axle in this MK2 model Evoque.
We're extremely impressed by the end result, an uncommonly well developed piece of PHEV engineering. Yes, there's a premium to pay over a conventional 2.0-litre petrol version of this car, but we think it'd be well worth paying. In any case, you'd get most of that extra outlay back over a typical ownership period in terms of running cost and taxation savings, plus stronger end residuals. Whether this P300e model makes more sense than a diesel Evoque might be a harder call to make and will depend on whether you can really make a new-era charging regime work as part of your daily commuting life. If you can and you like the idea of this little Range Rover, this variant is well worth a serious look.
Range Rover's Evoque has demolished all sales records for SUVs in this class. Jonathan Crouch reports on how the latest MK2 model aims to stay in the top spot.
Ten Second Review
How do you right a best seller? That was Land Rover's problem when it came to creating the second generation version of its runaway success story, the Range Rover Evoque, a car that now accounts for a third of the brand's total sales. It's a fashionable, yet capable proposition that has fundamentally changed the premium mid-sized SUV market and rivals now have to contend with an evolved version that features a more efficient range of diesel and petrol engines, including electrified and mild hybrid technology. Plus there's smarter styling, more interior space, extra off road ability and sharper handling thanks to an all-new 'PTA' platform. As a result, if you want an SUV of this kind, this is still the one to beat.
It's getting on for half a century since all-wheel driving was revolutionised by the Range Rover, a car now a class apart in the luxury 4x4 sector. But what would that model look like re-invented in smaller form for very different Millennial times, an age in which fashion and frugality are as important as toughness and traction? Something like this we think, the Range Rover Evoque, here rejuvenated in second generation form.
As before, it sets out to meet a daunting set of challenges, aiming to provide luxurious room for four in a shape shorter than a Ford Focus. Along with handling as satisfying as a sports coupe. And economy that might allow green-minded versions to rival the returns of a citycar. All to be delivered with class-leading off road expertise. In a car right for its times. Quite a build-up. Quite a car? Let's find out.
The Evoque range is primarily focused on Ingenium four-cylinder units. All automatic versions of this model, regardless of whether they're diesel or petrol, will have a 48-volt mild hybrid system equipped with an 8Ah lithium-ion battery. The petrol derivatives produce 200hp (P200), 249hp (P250) and 300 (P300), while the diesels develop 163hp (D165) and 204hp (D200). Your dealer can offer you a manual gearbox available on the entry-level front-driven diesel, but the remainder of the models in the range will come with the brand's latest nine-speed automatic. A less powerful three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo petrol powerplant features in the alternative P300e PHEV petrol model mated to an eight-speed auto gearbox. This plug-in hybrid variant's engine puts out 197bhp, its efforts further aided by a 107bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle which delivers AWD capability and creates a total system output of 296bhp, with 540Nm of torque. The electric motor is powered by a 15kWh lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack.
As before, all but the most basic Evoques will come with 4WD but their transmission features a 'driveline disconnect' feature which will see the car default to a front-driven configuration unless a loss of traction dictates otherwise. An 'Active Driveline' system will be optionally available, which uses a rear-mounted double-clutch which offers torque vectoring on the rear axle to aid corner turn-in. Off-road ability is enhanced with the fitment of 'Terrain Response 2' tech from the larger range Rover that analyses the road surface and adjusts the transmission to suit. Wading depth is up 100mm to 600mm too.
Design and Build
Land Rover needed to keep the Evoque looking contemporary without diluting its inherent appeal. This time round, the range is focused on the five-door body style that the majority of buyers of the earlier MK1 model chose. The Evoque's highly desirable design is a hallmark of this luxurious mid-sized SUV. For that reason, certain key elements, like the way that the clamshell bonnet is interrupted by bulging front wheel arches, and the ultra-slim rear glass area, have been retained. From the side though, there's a much cleaner look, with flush door handles borrowed from the Velar and smoother surfacing on the doors. Of course, what's more important is the stuff you can't see: Land Rover says that 90% of the body components are new, partly because this second generation Evoque was the first Jaguar Land Rover group model to be based upon the company's completely new 'Premium Transverse Architecture'.
Inside, the cabin has been influenced by the brand's larger Velar, hence the introduction of a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and, on plusher versions, the option of a pair of centre-dash 10-inch 'Touch Pro Duo' screens. The new 'PTA' platform has extended the Evoque's wheelbase, so though the new model is actually a few millimetres shorter than its predecessor, it has better cabin packaging. You should notice this on the rear seat. Plus in the boot, where capacity has risen 10% to 591-litres - enough, Land Rover reckons, for a full set of golf clubs or a folded pram. With the second row folded down, there's 1,383-litres on offer.
Market and Model
Pricing isn't much different, starting from around £32,000. There are four main trim levels - standard Evoque, 'S', 'SE' and 'HSE', all with sportier 'R-Dynamic' sub-derivatives available for an extra £1,500. It all means that it's now possible to pay up to £50,000 for an Evoque. You can specify a Head-up display. Plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring at last make an appearance.
All variants get LED auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels, ambient cabin lighting, dual-zone climate control, and a heated windscreen. Upgrade yourself from standard 'Evoque' trim to 'S'-spec and you get perforated leather, electrically adjustable front seats, an improved infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, auto dimming on the side mirrors and rear-view mirror, and traffic sign recognition with an adaptive speed limiter.
If you can move further up the range, 'SE'-spec gives you high-beam assist headlights and 'sweeping' LED indicators, plus 20in alloys, extra power adjustment and heating for the front seats, an interactive driver display, an electrically powered tailgate and a parking pack that includes a rear traffic monitor. Finally, 'HSE' trim upgrades the leather upholstery and brings a 380W Meridian sound system, the ClearSight rear-view mirror camera, gesture control for the powered tailgate, adaptive cruise control and a different finish of 20-inch alloys.
Cost of Ownership
This MK2 Evoque's new 'Premium Transverse Architecture' platform allows Jaguar land Rover's smaller models to become more technologically sophisticated, particularly in terms of powertrain electrification. We'll see the fruit of that when the plug-in three-cylinder turbo petrol powerplant is introduced to the range. For the time being, Land Rover reckons that a front-driven 165PS diesel manual model will put out 160g/km of CO2 and manage 46.3mpg on the combined cycle. the brand claims that that the cleanest mild-hybrid auto diesel will put out 169g/km and deliver 43.7mpg on the combined cycle. All these figures are compiled from the WLTP cycle. The P300e PHEV petrol plug-in model can offer an electric driving range of up to 41 miles, with CO2 emissions of just 32g/km and up to 201.8mpg on the combined cycle. Charging from a 7kW garage AC wallbox can be done from 0-80% in 1 hour and 24 minutes.
A three-year, unlimited mileage warranty comes with this model, with further extensions available if you want them. There's also an 'InControl Protect' service that allows you to monitor vital stats on your car from your smartphone and will guide the breakdown services to your Evoque should it ever have a problem. Also included is European cover and a promise to get you on your way as soon as possible in your own car or in a loan vehicle if the required repair will take longer than four hours.
Land Rover has spent its money wisely with this second generation Evoque. This 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 MK2 model. In doing so, the brand has future-proofed its biggest money-spinner.
In summary then, the Evoque is now even easier to recommend than it was before. It's the only car in the premium compact SUV segment with a conceivable appeal to lifestyle buyers not necessarily searching for a premium mid-sized SUV - and that says a lot. If you are in the market for something of this kind, can stretch to the asking price and can afford not to place too much of a premium on practicality, then you won't be disappointed. This is, quite simply, the class of the field.