By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is unlike any previous SUV. From the company that brought geometrically boxy and utterly utilitarian vehicles that could slog through a jungle or across a desert, we now have an SUV that’s styled and tailored like a $10,000 Italian leather purse. You might not aim it through the Amazon, but you could take it to the Ritz. Competitors? BMW X3, Audi Q5, maybe others. But the Evoque stands apart, with styling straight out of an art magazine, an interior sleekly enticing. As a stunning 5-door, a rakish coupe or a show-stopper convertible that’s new for 2016, the Evoque has a 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and capabilities that can take you places you never imagined.
There’s no doubt the Land Rover brand cuts a wide swath through upper-crust ‘hoods, and the Range Rover Evoque is about as stylish as that image gets. This is one of those SUVs that nobody really needs, but a certain number – maybe you – just cannot do without.
For a whole lot of very practical rationalities the Range Rover Evoque has trouble making sense. Cramped inside, moderate cargo space and pricey compared to other SUVs of roughly similar capabilities, few are as stylish as the Evoque but many deliver much more function for the money.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016 the biggest Evoque news is the convertible. Based on the coupe, it’s a real eye-grabber with an exceptionally well-thought top that looks good up or down and still allows reasonable trunk space. Other changes include enhanced trim features and the addition of the InControl Touch infotainment system.
Land Rover engineers have spent decades developing well-rounded suspension systems and the 2016 Range Rover Evoque shows the results. On pavement the Evoque rides, drives and handles like a fine...
... sports sedan that just happens to be taller. Ride motions are controlled and smooth, steering is direct, it takes curves with the best of them and the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine can quickly put pavement in the mirror. The 9-speed automatic (remember when there were only three speeds?) finds the optimum gear and contributes to remarkable fuel economy in cruising modes. Leave the pavement and the Evoque maintains Range Rover’s reputation for handling just about anything except, perhaps, blue-water ocean. Mud, rutted back roads, rock obstacles, open fields, slippery slopes; as long as one wheel finds traction this thing is going. It’s not the ultimate off-roader, but try finding something else that, all-around, matches it.
ACTIVE DRIVELINE 4WD
This system uses only the front wheels when cruising at speeds above 22 mph, thus improving efficiency; it automatically activates the rear wheels when it senses extra traction is needed. Torque vectoring redirects engine torque among the four wheels to enhance stability in corners.
HIGHLY CAPABLE SUSPENSION
For years we have marveled at the sheer overall competency of various Land Rover suspension systems, and the 2016 Evoque is no exception. That it deals with smooth highways like a luxury car, with curves like a sports sedan and with off-roading nearly like a goat is indeed astounding.
The Evoque’s interior can be described by the somewhat time-worn expression “simple but elegant.” It’s immediately apparent this is a quality piece of work; materials are first-rate and detailing is fine and careful. Front seats are properly supportive and appropriately comfortable, while the back seat is nice but a little snug and three adults across will not make for happy long trips. Understandably, getting into that back seat is easier with the 5-door than with the coupe or convertible. The fold-down rear seats provide additional cargo space, and the existence of a reasonable trunk on the convertible is commendable.
The 2016 Evoque has an undeniably unique presence. The front end is Land Rover but highly modernized, and the sloping clamshell roof lends distinctive individuality. It’s different, and we like it. The 5-door is more practical, but we’re attracted to the sleek coupe. New this year, the convertible shows what can be done with folding soft-tops if the engineers really put their minds to it. In the up position it closely mimics the coupe’s roofline, and in the down position it’s essentially hidden from view. In addition, it goes up in 21 seconds and down in just 18.
The 2016 Range Rover Evoque’s standard equipment includes Active Driveline 4-wheel drive; at steady cruising above 22 mph it switches from 4-wheel drive to 2-wheel drive (2WD, 4WD), thus enhancing efficiency by reducing driveline friction. Standard equipment also includes Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, with its modes for General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud and Ruts, and Sand; Hill Start Assist; All-Terrain Progress Control, which will maintain a preset speed between 1.1 mph and 19 mph to assist in negotiating difficult terrain; the InControl Touch infotainment system; and a host of comfort and convenience features and driving aids.
Evoque trim levels are SE, SE Premium, HSE, HSE Dynamic and Autobiography for the 5-door; SE Premium for the coupe; and SE Dynamic and HSE Dynamic for the convertible. Upgrades include leather seating and Premium HDD Navigation with the SE Premium; 19-inch wheels, Oxford leather and heated front seats with the HSE; Adaptive Dynamics and Oxford leather steering wheel with the HSE Dynamic; 14-way Oxford leather seats and InControl Touch Plus with 17-speaker Surround Sound with the Autobiography; textured aluminum trim with the SE Dynamic convertible; and front fog lights and 12-way Oxford leather seating with the HSE Dynamic convertible.
All versions of the
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque are powered by a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged 4-cylinder of 240 horsepower with impressive smoothness and virtually none of the throttle lag sometimes associated with turbocharged engines. While somewhat small on the displacement side, it’s a real powerhouse when you step on the gas and it’s been particularly engineered for operation at the kinds of extreme angles encountered while off-roading. The transmission is a 9-speed automatic that includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual control; with nine speeds, it is never going to be in anything less than an optimum ratio for whatever the conditions require. Full-time 4WD is standard on all 2016 Evoques.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
251 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg
The 2016 Land Rove Range Rover Evoque 5-door has Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) ranging from right around $42,500 for the SE to about $62,000 for the Autobiography; the SE Premium coupe is near $48,000, the SE Dynamic convertible about $51,500 and the HSE Dynamic convertible just over $58,000. We prefer the coupe, because of its looks, but for more than two people we’d definitely take the 5-door. We recommend any of the Driver Assistance Packages, ranging from $1,000 to $2,700, for their safety and convenience attributes. Rivals, including the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Audi Q5, start in the mid- to high-$30,000 range, with probably more interior space but less style. To see what others in your area have paid for a 2016 Range Rover Evoque, check the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com. Land Rovers tend to have below-average residual values, though the Evoque's strong desirability could temper that.