THERE is a new Range Rover Evoque on the scene that boasts all the charisma and appeal of the standard car but is kinder to the planet along the way.
That's because the latest Land Rover model is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that cleverly combines a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a 15kWh battery to develop 304hp and 540Nm of torque.
And the car still possesses all the impressive driving dynamics with a 0-62mph sprint time of 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 84mph in electric mode increasing to 132mph with the petrol engine kicking in. It has an EV-only range of up to 40 miles.
The combined fuel figure, like most PHEVs, would very much depend on how much EV-only miles you clock up, but the official figure under WLTP testing is 166.2-201.8mpg with carbon emissions of 32-38g/km.
The plug-in Evoque as tested in R-Dynamic HSE specification, was priced at £51,850, but a number of optional extras saw the price creep up to £56,205.
Eye-catching styling cues include premium LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, chrome treadplates, a tailgate spoiler, privacy glass, a fixed panoramic roof (£1,120 extra), 20-inch alloy wheels, R-Dynamic badging and the neat deployable door handles that are flush to the car.
The R-Dynamic model also features burnished copper bonnet louvres, side vents and exhaust finishers to help this Evoque stand out from the crowd.
Move inside and the Evoque PHEV oozes all the charm, luxury and elegance associated with the Range Rover name with the finest upholstery, a heated steering wheel, plus 16-way powered and heated seats.
And there is a wealth of technology to explore, including full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a pitch perfect Meridian sound system, navigation and lots more besides.
There are two touchscreens both of which have sharp graphics. The top screen is where all the infotainment functions are accessed and the bottom screen is mainly for the climate control although there are some extra options to select Hybrid, EV or Save driving modes.
The Hybrid mode is the default setting, but the Save function is ideal if you plan on driving through a Congestion Charge low emissions zone.
The car starts up and pulls away in complete silence and when the petrol engine is required, it joins in seamlessly. Acceleration is smooth and responsive through the eight-speed automatic gearbox and there is ample power on tap for shorter bursts of pace when overtaking slower moving traffic.
Out on the quieter country lanes the Evoque is well grounded with excellent grip and very little sign of any body sway. And that means it can be driven with confidence into long sweeping bends with steering wheel-mounted paddles for extra driver engagement.
The steering is nicely weighted with ample feedback and all controls are well positioned for ease of use. In addition, the elevated driving position results in excellent all-round visibility which is another plus point for a vehicle that will likely feature on the school run.
You will notice a slight increase in engine noise when the car is driven quite enthusiastically, but generally the highly effective insulation does a worthy job of supressing any wind or road surface sounds making for a refined cabin environment. And the car's suspension set-up smooths out most bumps and dips along the way too.
Comfort levels within the Evoque are high with ample space in the back for two adults to stretch out or three at a bit of a squeeze. The storage options are also impressive with a boot capacity of 472 litres. Drop the 40:20:40 split folding rear seats and that limit increases to 1,383 litres. The powered tailgate is also handy when approaching the car laden down with shopping bags.
And, of course, the four-wheel drive Evoque is equipped with all the Terrain Response settings should you wish to venture away from the Tarmac. While going off road will be an unlikely choice for most owners, the car will keep going in more adverse weather and driving conditions.
Charging the relatively compact battery from zero to 80 per cent from a 7.4kW domestic wallbox takes about 90 minutes or 30 if using a rapid charger at a service station.
Factor in the wealth of safety kit that comes as standard on the Evoque PHEV and this latest addition to the line-up really does seem to have it all. And it will keep the green brigade happy too.