By Mike Torpey on 2020-12-20 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Range Rover Evoque
A DECADE down the line and the Range Rover Evoque just keeps evolving - and getting better to boot.
That original Evoque from 2010 transformed the compact premium SUV scene with its coupe-like silhouette, upmarket quality, off-road capability and driving dynamics.
Now into its second generation, the car which became the fastest-selling model in Land Rover history has seen no less than £1billion invested into its production.
Electrification is at the Evoque's core. A new P300e plug-in hybrid arrived earlier this year and practically every model now includes an ‘always on' 48-volt mild hybrid system which recoups energy when the driver lifts off the throttle then uses it to lower emissions and provide better fuel efficiency.
Well over 200 global awards, including many in categories seeking the best family SUV, highlight the Evoque's qualities as an all-rounder, let alone for the way it drives, its innovative technologies or all-terrain ability.
And that's largely down to packaging. The vehicle remains pretty much the same size as a Ford Focus but its wheelbase has been extended by 21mm compared to its predecessor.
While that may not sound very much it makes a real difference in terms of improved leg and knee room plus more foot space thanks to new seat mounting points. There's more capacity in the boot too.
Convenience is enhanced by a large centre console that can accommodate bags, folding brollies and tablets and each door can now hold 1.5-litre water bottles.
Refinement and smart technology are also key to the Evoque's appeal. So buyers get a choice of leather or premium textile upholstery, our tested SE R-Dynamic version featuring a dapple grey and ebony wool blend called Kvadrat - stays warm in winter and cool in the summer - while the seats were of a Dinamica microfibre.
Fresh tech sees an initiative called ClearSight Rear View, an interior mirror which when flipped towards you becomes a wide angle screen showing an HD video of what's going on behind the car.
It's really useful in situations when visibility is compromised by rear passengers or bulky items.
There's also ground view technology available, which effectively makes the bonnet invisible by projecting camera imagery onto the upper screen to display a 180-degree view under the front of the vehicle.
Centre stage in the cabin goes to the pair of screens of the car's Touch Pro Duo infotainment system and you also get sat nav, a premium Meridian sound system, WiFi hotspot and smartphone integration.
The list of standard kit in this model may be endless but there's still room for extra cost options - in this case items like 20-inch gloss black alloy wheels at Â£650, 16-way heated and cooled, massage electric memory front seats with heated rear seats for Â£2,045 plus a fixed panoramic glass roof for Â£1,100.
Even some metallic paints, like our striking Kaikoura Stone at Â£640, are extra, so it's both easy and tempting to stump up the bill.
Our tested Evoque was powered by a 240ps turbocharged diesel engine from the company's fuel efficient Ingenium family and though our fuel return over 200 miles of mixed urban and dual carriageway motoring came out below the official average, it was still an acceptable 41 miles per gallon.
It's smooth and well balanced to drive via the nine-speed automatic transmission and has all-wheel drive in addition to the off-road Terrain Response set-up that gives Land Rover models their peerless quality when the going gets tough.
Range Rover Evoque SE R-Dynamic
Mechanical: 240ps, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Combined MPG: 45.6
C02 emissions: 163g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles
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