Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: March 19, 2022
The Range Rover Evoque has always been the fashionable left-field choice in the subcompact, premium SUV market. When lined up against its competitors like the BMW X2 and Mercedes GLA, the Evoque makes them look dated, bloated, and out of style. With a sleek silhouette and a bronze contrasting roof, it commands a great deal of road presence. But as with most Evoques we have tested before, the gorgeous sheetmetal isn’t backed up by much substance, and driving it time after time exposes an underlying foundation that nails the basics of driving dynamics, but does little to engage or involve the driver.
What about the new 2022 Range Rover Evoque then? Well it hasn’t changed much on paper. The base P250 powertrain consists of the carried over 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces the same 249 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Only the most expensive Evoque HST model receives the P300 powertrain. It’s essentially the same turbo-four engine but it’s been paired with a mild hybrid system much like in the BMW X3, which aims to flatten the powertrain’s rough edges with whizzing electrons. The P300’s power output is bumped up to 300 hp and 295 lb-ft too. The 9-speed gearbox is standard fare on both variants, as is all-wheel drive.
We only tested the P250 spec, so we can’t comment if the P300 is worth the upgrade. Acceleration is decent when the turbos have woken up but it’s far from the quickest in its class. In fact, the 0-100 km/h time of 7.6 seconds puts it near the bottom rung of the ladder. But it’s the lack of cohesion and communication within the powertrain that bothers us. The gearbox always seems to be off-rhythm with the engine, resulting in throttle lag as they both try and agree on what gear and how much power to apply. The pedals feel oddly disconnected too, with a rough start stop system and heaps of turbo lag. Our gut tells us that the mild hybrid in the P300 would remedy some of this. Still, we don’t think most Evoque owners will really care or notice unless they’ve experienced more polished powertrains like in the MINI Countryman S or Lexus UX 250.
On the bright side, the ride quality is actually quite good on the 21-inch wheels ($850). The Evoque remains stable and grounded at high speeds on a windy day, and doesn’t wander or jitter around when cruising in the turbulent wake of a lorry in front. The steering is devoid of any front end feedback and the handling isn’t sporty in the slightest, even with the optional Dynamic Handling Pack ($1650), which adds adaptive dampers, configurable modes in the touchscreen, red brake calipers, and satin chrome paddle shifters, the latter of which feel mega by the way. Not only do pulling these paddles feel better than those in the six-figure BMW M5 and Audi RS 6, but they look stunning too. It’s just too bad that the 9-speed gearbox underpinning this Evoque despises being manually rowed, and we found it best to leave the lethargic shifts for the computers to figure out anyways. Overall, the driving experience is heavily overshadowed by its chic outer appearance.
The mild hybrid system should help to address the issue of fuel efficiency, because despite the Evoque’s small engine, it’s a thirsty one. Highway driving alone yielded 10.5 L/100km, while mixed in with city driving netted us 12.3 L/100km. Those are more in line with V6 engines. It also requires 91-octane fuel as well. Granted, I think the Evoque’s packaging and small footprint would be well suited to be an electric vehicle, but we probably won’t see that for another five years.
Like every other Range Rover, the interior design is incredibly upscale and blows the rest of the segment out of the water - it’s here that the Evoque actually feels worth its premium price tag. The leather is buttery soft, the type to normally be reserved for top-trim Range Rover Sport models, and the new steering wheel is lined with perforated leather and a gloss black panel to house the switchgear. We highly recommend the Extended Leather Upgrade ($450), as it makes the entire cabin look a class above the Volvo XC40 and Audi Q3. And we adore the clever center armrest that is split in two, both of which can be independently retracted or pushed forward depending on how you want to rest your arm. It even comes with two different sized cupholders - there are days when a venti size is warranted.
Two large touchscreens handle the majority of cabin functions - the bottom screen manages the climate controls while the top takes care of infotainment. To counteract screen glare and awkward viewing angles, the top screen can actually be tilted up to a certain degree - we love that kind of customization as it allows drivers and passengers of a wider range of body types to be able to see and reach the screen better.
Range Rover were also keen on retaining actual dials for high-traffic features like the audio volume and cabin temperature - we praise them for that. The heated seats are just a dial spin away, and the heated wheel button is conveniently located on the right wheel spoke - a blessing when you compare it to other vehicles that force you to dive into multiple submenus just to turn these creature comforts on.
The rest of the Evoque cabin is decently packaged though a bit cramped. There is a fixed panoramic glass roof available, which lets more light in, but we still prefer the split glass option which can be opened. Headroom isn’t terrible in the back - it’s better than what we found in the Jaguar E-Pace and Mercedes GLA.
The Range Rover Evoque doesn’t provide a very cohesive or polished driving experience but it is comfortable and refined where it counts, and its vices hardly chip away from its vogue appeal. The interior design and quality ranks the best in the segment, as the materials and craftsmanship feel a grade above. Add to that a premium badge, five spacious seats, and a decent sized boot to spare, and you’ve got the complete luxury SUV package that puts style and upscale amenities above all else.
Model: 2022 Range Rover Evoque P250 Bronze Collection
Paint Type: Carpathian Grey
Base Price: $56,400
Price as Tested: $66,480
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,371 / 1,996 / 1,649
Curb weight (kg): 1,787
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Horsepower: 249 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 269 lb-ft @ 1300-4500 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 12.3