Close to two years after the first spy shots of its new-generation surfaced, here it is, the 2019 Range Rover Evoque. The British premium SUV brings with it mild hybrid tech, slightly more space, and Velar-esque looks.
While the 2020 Range Rover Evoque may resemble its bigger stablemate, the Velar, there is more to it than meets the eye. For starters, the architecture is all-new (Premium Transverse Architecture)to accommodate both plug-in and mild hybrid systems. The new chassis uses the stiff body (13 percent stiffer than before) to its advantage to impart the compact SUV the ride comfort and refinement worthy of the nameplate it wears. In fact, Land Rover claims that the new Evoque shares nothing apart from the door hinges with the model it replaces.
No, the second-generation Range Rover Evoque is not bigger, featuring a footprint almost identical to the outgoing one. However, Land Rover’s architecture is again at play here, using a mixed-metal approach that liberates more room for the passengers, especially at the back which gets an extra 20mm of kneeroom. The cargo space is also up slightly to 591 litres, expanding to 1,383 litres with the rear seats folded.
The Velar resemblance is very strong since the new Evoque gets a set of sleek, more rectangular matrix LED headlamps and taillamps. The fastback styling stays on, but makes the previous model’s roof design look like an afterthought with its seamless integration into the overall design. Pronounced shoulders sitting over gaping wheels arches which are themselves filled nicely by 21-inch alloys create a fetching visual appeal.
Inside, the cabin is well-appointed and ergonomically sound. The materials used are top-notch, surfaces are uncluttered, and the design is minimalistic. It feels like a typical Range Rover’s interior, which is less of a cabin and more of a suite that incidentally can also go off-road. Only this time, it is more digital than before.
The Evoque plays to the fancies of the millenials aspiring to own a Range Rover but shying away from the bigger offerings partly because of their pricing and partly because of the SUVs image of a ferry for, er, old people. Nick Rogers, executive director of product engineering at Land Rover, says, “Evoque is now smarter than ever. The software that sits behind our infotainment system has been refined to provide a more intuitive customer experience. On top of that, we’ve added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone integration.” The SUV also analyses driver behavious and patterns to look out for signs of fatigue and distraction, helping keep occupants safe.
Land Rover claims that the new SUV uses more recycled and sustainable materials. The more interesting part is its all-new 48-volt mild-hybrid system hooked to a 246hp four-pot motor, with a plug-in enabled Evoque announced for a launch twelve months from now. The mild hybrid powertrain is a first for Land Rover and harvests energy normally lost during deceleration.
The engine shuts off at speeds below 17kph when the driver applies brakes. When it’s time to throttle again, the stored energy is used to assist the engine. Land Rover says this set up working with a ZF nine-speed gearbox is quieter and more refined than a conventional ICE.
All trims of the Evoque come with all-wheel-drive as standard along with the Terrain Response system which offers six drive modes. Choose between General, Eco, Sand, Grass-Gravel-Snow, Mud-Ruts, and Auto. The last mode enables the vehicle to choose the appropriate settings according to the terrain it senses. The SUV boasts a ground clearance of 212mm with approach and departure angles of up to 25 and 30.6 degrees respectively.
The new Range Rover Evoque also debuts the production version of what Land Rover calls ClearSight Ground View system. It uses cameras in the radiator grille and side mirrors to project what is ahead and under the front of the SUV to the central display which hosts the infotainment system. The cameras are, of course, dirt and water repellant.
So much for the new Evoque. It looks smart, behaves smart, drives responsible, can go anywhere you want, and supposedly has less of an impact on the planet. it remains to be seen how it performs out in the real world. That, only time will tell.