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2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/4/2017

Con: Less cargo and rear-passenger room than rivals; lackluster engine with no available upgrade (Autobiography Dynamic aside); rigid ride, especially with larger wheels; dismal rear visibility.

Interior: High style doesn't stop with the 2015 Range Rover Evoque's sheet metal -- the design of this compact crossover's cabin clearly received plenty of attention, too. The integration of the large, 8-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash is superb, and the uncluttered, steeply angled center stack is effective and eye-pleasing. Add to that the daily delight in watching the transmission selector's rotary knob rise from the center console (a Jaguar/Land Rover signature) and the rich seat and dashboard material combinations, and you've got an interior that's a visual and tactile delight.

Less delightful is the touchscreen's menu interface, which is sometimes slower on the uptake than top rival systems. On the bright side, 2015 marks the introduction of Land Rover's InControl Apps system, which integrates Apple and Android smartphones in such a way that certain apps look the same on the touchscreen as they do on your device. The Evoque still isn't an infotainment leader in this segment, but native smartphone compatibility goes a long way toward balancing the scales.

Front seat comfort in the Evoque is quite good, but the sloped roof makes rear headroom tight for adults, and the pinched side windows and rear hatch glass don't permit much light to enter. The two-door Evoque is even worse, as it makes a challenge of simply entering and exiting the rear seat. As you might expect, the Evoque's shape and comparatively compact footprint don't leave much room for cargo. There's a hatchback-grade 20.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seatbacks (19.4 cubes for the Coupe), and the maximum volume of 51 cubic feet (47.6 for the Coupe) with the rear seats folded is at the segment's bottom. Even the tightly packaged, performance-focused Porsche Macan offers 53 cubes.

Body: The 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a small luxury crossover SUV available in two-door (Coupe) and four-door body styles. There are five main trim levels: Pure, Pure Plus, Pure Premium, Prestige and Dynamic. Note that the Pure and Prestige are offered only on the four-door Evoque. The special Autobiography and Autobiography Dynamic trim levels are offered in either two- or four-door form.

The Pure comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, heated exterior mirrors with puddle lights, a rearview camera, a rear spoiler, front and rear parking sensors, a cargo cover, rear privacy glass, push-button ignition, driver-selectable drive modes, adjustable ambient interior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear console vents, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, partial leather upholstery, power front seats (eight-way driver, six-way passenger) with driver power lumbar, driver memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen electronics interface, a rearview camera and an 11-speaker Meridian sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and two USB ports.

The Pure Plus adds 19-inch wheels, headlight washers, foglights, a power liftgate, full leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof.

The Pure Premium adds adaptive xenon headlights, a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, a 360-degree parking camera system, keyless entry and ignition, a navigation system with voice controls and a 17-speaker surround-sound audio system with a 10-CD changer.

The Prestige adds slightly different exterior trim, upgraded leather upholstery, wood and aluminum interior accents, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, satellite radio and HD radio. Also included is an automated parking system capable of both parallel and perpendicular parking.

The Dynamic largely mirrors the Prestige (without the ventilated front seats), but has a sportier character, including 20-inch wheels, a sport exhaust, a black grille, black mirror caps, red rear badging, adaptive suspension dampers and a rear skid plate.

At the top of the line are the Autobiography and Autobiography Dynamic trim levels. The former is essentially an appearance package on top of the Prestige trim, adding flourishes like special 20-inch wheels, silver exterior accents, a black contrast roof, a unique front fascia and "crystal" headlights and taillights. The Autobiography Dynamic, meanwhile, substitutes black exterior accents, tinted headlights, clear taillights, dark aluminum interior inlays and performance upgrades that include extra power and torque, more responsive transmission programming, a sport-tuned suspension and larger front brakes.

Some of these higher-end items are available on lower trims via a handful of options packages. Adaptive cruise control (with a forward collision mitigation system) is a stand-alone option on higher trims. New for 2015, the Black Dynamic package (offered only on the Dynamic trim level) provides clear taillight lenses and all of the following with a black finish or tint: unique 20-inch wheels, front and rear skid plates, fender vents, exhaust tips, exterior lettering, headlight lenses, foglight bezels and a rear spoiler (with an extended aero lip).

Driving: The 2015 Evoque provides a pleasantly elevated driving perch, but there's not much in the way of rear visibility. The optional 360-degree parking camera system is well worth the investment, and the blind spot monitor helps, too. Pitch the Evoque around a turn and you'll find that it's quite nimble for a high-riding crossover, though there's still some disconcerting initial body roll that makes it feel somewhat ponderous. The 240-hp turbo-4 produces adequate acceleration by the numbers, but it doesn't pour on the power in a smooth, linear fashion like BMW's identically rated 2.0-liter turbo, and it sounds raucous, too. Note that your choice of wheels and tires can have a big effect on ride quality, so if a comfortable, serene ride is important to you, we'd advise against the Dynamic's optional 20-inch wheels.

Off-road capability typically isn't a priority for most shoppers in this segment, but for the record, the Evoque has above-average capability in off-pavement driving. A host of high-tech electronics and a capable all-wheel-drive system ensure that's the case.

What’s New: The 2015 Evoque's optional self-parking system adds perpendicular parking to its repertoire, and the blind spot monitor now comes with rear cross-path alert. A Convenience package (Pure and Pure Plus trims) bundles the navigation system with keyless entry and ignition, while a Black Dynamic package includes various black exterior details. There's also a new mobile app interface (InControl Apps) and two pricey Autobiography models debut (late availability), with the Dynamic variant offering a power bump and other performance upgrades.

All 2015 Range Rover Evoques except the Autobiography Dynamic come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 240 hp and 250 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is all-wheel drive. All Evoques come with Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which provides selectable settings for specific road and trail conditions. Also included are hill start assist and hill descent control systems.

The EPA rates both two- and four-door Evoques at 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway), a praise-worthy result for a gasoline-powered crossover in this class.

The Autobiography Dynamic is also powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, but it's rated at 285 hp and 295 lb-ft, and the nine-speed automatic is tuned for sportier responses.

Safety: Standard safety features on all 2015 Range Rover Evoques include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard are front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.

Optional safety equipment includes blind spot monitoring, a 360-degree parking camera and an adaptive cruise control system bundled with a frontal collision warning system that can apply the brakes if it detects an imminent collision.

In Edmunds brake testing, an Evoque Coupe with 20-inch wheels and summer performance tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 117 feet, an average-minus showing among comparable crossovers.

Pro: Fashion-forward styling; plenty of standard features; compact dimensions enhance maneuverability; impressive fuel economy; available two-door body style.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque has personality in spades. But plenty of other luxury crossovers are also stylish while also being much more pleasant to drive and own.

Introduction: Being on the most fundamental level "utility" vehicles, crossover SUVs -- even luxury models -- typically aren't notable for their jaw-dropping styling. But the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque turns that idea on its ear. Land Rover deserves praise for bringing concept-car styling directly to the showroom: whether in two-door or four-door form, the Evoque gives you exterior design that, a few years into its life cycle, still has the ability to stop onlookers in their tracks. As for the utility bit, well, with the exception of the Evoque's surprising off-roading chops, that's generally what the other Land Rovers (e.g., the upcoming Discovery Sport) are meant to deliver.

Yes, there's a price to be paid for the Range Rover Evoque's dramatic roof line and bulldog stance: Interior space is at a premium, even by compact-crossover standards. Front passengers will be just fine, but those in back are left with stingy head- and legroom, as well as awkward ingress and egress in the two-door model. Also, the squashed windows mean it's fairly dark back there. The similarly compromised cargo area is on par with that of the VW Golf hatchback, falling short of most rival crossovers.

But the Evoque's also small on the outside, and that makes it a nice fit for space-constrained urban lifestyles. Fuel economy usually isn't a Land Rover strength, but the Evoque impresses here, too, with its respectable 24 mpg combined rating. On the other hand, the turbocharged 240-horsepower engine's power delivery isn't as linear or refined as we expect in this segment, and if you want the massaged 285-hp version in the new-for-2015 Autobiography Dynamic, you'll pay dearly for the privilege. Furthermore, the Evoque rides quite firmly, and that's decidedly not an asset on rutted city streets.

The littlest Land Rover faces a long list of distinguished competitors, starting with the roomier 2015 Audi Q5, which boasts pretty snazzy styling of its own, along with a diverse engine lineup that includes a satisfying diesel and a swift supercharged V6 (SQ5 variant). Much the same is true of the 2015 BMW X3, which is likewise larger inside than the Evoque and offers superior handling and powertrains.

A few smaller models -- the turbocharged 2015 Audi Q3, 2015 Lexus NX 200t and 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class -- are new to the market and certainly worth considering if the Evoque's size appeals. For shoppers looking at higher-end Evoque models, the chic 2015 Porsche Macan overlaps them on price and delivers astounding on- and off-road performance.

If you're smitten by the 2015 Evoque's stunning looks, we understand. Otherwise, though, it's tough to recommend this Brit over its talented international rivals.

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