Range Rover Evoque

HSE Dynamic Lux

Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic, front quarter
Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic, controls
Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic, rear quarter
Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic, dynamic
Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic, interior detail
Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic, profile
Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic, interior

HAVING arrived amid a fanfare of publicity six years ago, there is no doubt that the Range Rover Evoque has been an unqualified success.

In excess of 600,000 have now been built, with one rolling off the production line at Halewood in Merseyside every 170 seconds to help meet worldwide demand.

Eighty per cent of those are exported, finding owners in 130 worldwide markets from Monaco to Manila, and helping Jaguar Land Rover to double its sales in the past five years.

But while it may be conquering the world, the Evoque has also become an increasingly ubiquitous sight on Britain's suburban roads and driveways. You can't go anywhere without seeing any number of them.

So it doesn't take a genius to realise that this posh compact SUV has been a huge hit at home too - quickly becoming JLR's biggest-selling model domestically.

The combination of more diminutive dimensions and accessible pricing, coupled with the sheer desirability of the Range Rover name, have proved irresistible - and the range has expanded accordingly.

Currently six versions are on sale which can variously be had with petrol or diesel power, manual or automatic gearboxes and front or all-wheel-drive, with prices starting at just under £31,000.

Higher spec cars are available in three-door coupe and convertible form as well as the more practical five-door, while choice is further enhanced by a plethora of options packs which give buyers plenty of personalisation possibilities.

But while style is crucial to its appeal, the Evoque offers plenty of substance too.

Its compact frame and lightweight construction, coupled with quick and accurate steering, make for the sort of dynamic handling and fuel economy not often found in an SUV.

Allied to the lively performance offered by the punchy but frugal 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine in this car, this makes the Evoque an enjoyable and engaging motor to drive - even with the laid-back nine-speed automatic transmission that was fitted.

A 0-62mph sprint time of nine seconds is pretty nippy and, if anything, acceleration seems sharper from behind the wheel, power coming in promptly and decisively whenever you put your foot down.

The Evoque feels pacy, nimble and responsive, a well-balanced chassis keeping it upright in corners and planted firmly on the tarmac without making the ride so firm that it becomes uncomfortable.

Although few Evoque buyers are likely to tackle anything more challenging than the Waitrose car park, four-wheel-drive versions like the one I drove include a terrain response system, torque vectoring and hill descent control features and boast the sort of off-road capability that Land Rover is renowned for.

Interior quality is what you would expect from a Range Rover. Leather upholstery is standard across the range, while plush, soft-touch surfaces and contrasting veneers elsewhere give the cabin a real feel of luxury.

A wealth of high-tech gadgetry and creature comforts finish off the premium package with my HSE Lux Dynamic car boasting sporty body kit, panoramic glass roof, keyless entry and ignition, touchscreen infotainment system, satnav, electric front seats, a surround view camera system, park assist and lane keep assist.

The only real fault with the Evoque is that space and rear visibility have been slightly compromised in favour of the striking design.

There's plenty of room up front but rear legroom is no better than average and the boot is smaller than you might expect - although it does have a flat load lip and, on higher grade models, an automatic tailgate.

FAST FACTS

Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic Lux

Price: £47,905

Mechanical:180ps, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 121mph

0-62mph: 9.0 seconds

Combined MPG: 55.3

Insurance Group: 37

C02 emissions: 134g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

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