Range Rover Evoque

D240 HSE

Range Rover Evoque, 2019, front, action
Range Rover Evoque, front
Range Rover Evoque, 2019, side, action
Range Rover Evoque, rear
Range Rover Evoque, side
Range Rover Evoque, 2019, rear, action
Range Rover Evoque, interior
Range Rover Evoque, 2019, interior

IT'S an over-cooked cliche, particularly in the car business, and a word that needs cautious use.

So it's with some trepidation that I describe the Evoque as iconic. But, after some consideration, I reckon the pocket Range Rover which has now been with us for nine years merits the adjective which puts it on a similar level to the original full-cream edition which broke the mould of luxury cars back in the early Seventies.

Yes, there are other compact SUVs that offer an amalgam of luxury, practicality and handling finesse - chiefly from German manufacturers - but none that manages to present it with the same degree of style and panache.

What's more, despite its image of delicate daintiness, the Evoque is willing and capable of beating a path through the most rugged country thanks to a brilliant four wheel drive system.

Renewed last year, the second generation model may look largely similar but beneath the highly fashioned coachwork it is all new and proves to be more frugal, more refined and a much nicer car to drive.

In fact, it feels more like a car now than a high-riding SUV. The version we selected for review is D240 HSE, with high spec, and turbo diesel power that puts a definite spring in its step. With 240bhp on hand it falls into the sub-eight second to 62mph bracket, making it one of the quicker compact crossovers.

Despite being almost the same length as the original, a 20mm longer wheelbase has allowed more rear legroom and a 10 per cent boost in boot space - so you can now fit in your golf clubs.

It's still not exactly spacious for backseat occupants though, but legroom is definitely better than before.

All four-wheel-drive Evoques are mild hybrids boosting acceleration and reducing fuel consumption - the first time such a system has been adopted by Land Rover.

Built on a new platform which is 13 per cent stiffer than the earlier model, handling and refinement is a step above the rest. Travel is remarkably hushed with little wind noise and even less mechanical intrusion. When pushed through the gears, however, a bit of diesel gruffness starts to creep in.

The nine-speed automatic gearbox is a treat with smooth, creamy changes and well chosen ratios. Cruising is relaxed and vibration-free.

The new cabin borrows a number of cues from the larger Velar with a 10-inch centrally positioned touchscreen that moves forward to make it easier to read after the car is started. A number of apps allow the owner to check fuel levels remotely or heat it before getting in.

Some of the controls, however, are a bit fiddly such as the heated seats which require several touches of the screen to activate.

Most people love the slick door handles which pop out when the car is unlocked and retract when it's locked or on the move - but surely it's a giveaway to potential thieves who are effectively tipped off when the car isn't secure.

Most owners will manage to squeeze close to 40 miles out of a gallon, as we did on the test.

FAST FACTS

Range Rover Evoque D240 HSE

Price: £47,800

Mechanical:240bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 140mph

0-62mph: 7.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 40.4

Insurance Group: 35

C02 emissions: 163g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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