Base pricing for the Range Rover Evoque starts at $$50,950 in Canada, and $46,400 in the US.
Despite the brand’s long history, the small Evoque has a hard time standing out.
Also, stay away from options or move up the product ladder.
Not that long ago in the 1990s, at least for me, family sedans were commonplace in suburban driveways everywhere. By the early 2010s, they were almost entirely replaced by SUVs. And by a stroke of genius, most premium automakers caught on and reached down-market to capitalize on the SUV rush and it’s paid off for most including Range Rover with the Evoque.
Busy segment and more hurts the Evoque
The baby Range Rover broke cover as the segment was in full bloom in 2011. Instantly, it became a global phenomenon for an automaker famous for ultra-premium and capable SUVs. Its affordability and urban size made it a shoo-in for Europe and did well enough early on in North America. But that’s changed somewhat here bigger is always better, at least in North Americans’ opinion.
Moreover, the small premium SUV segment has since grown to become the hottest among luxury vehicle categories and now features roughly 20 nameplates offered by Americans, Germans, Koreans, British, Japanese, and other automakers. And, new entries are being added on a regular basis, and we’re not yet including electric models. Basically, the Range Rover Evoque is drowning in the mix.
Its main issue is competition from within. As tested, my Bronze Edition model with a few options retailed for more than $65,000 or less than $2,000 from the Velar. For $51,000, the base model might be of interest but the Land Rover Discovery Sport, for about $1,000 extra, is far more appealing visually.
Cautiously style but still premium
The 2022 Range Rover Evoque, though unique visually as a Range Rover, has little visual presence compared to its Disco Sport non-identical twin. Its soft and rounded shape does not convey power though there’s no debating that it is a premium vehicle. Parked alongside the Land Rover, an Audi Q5, or even a Lexus NX, it might not project the desired image. Of course, this is entirely subjective.
Objectively, the Evoque is lovely on board. The base version includes a power tailgate, a 10-inch touchscreen, leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and a few other niceties. The Range Rover’s fit and finish are upper-class to be certain and the presentation is the same. My tester included the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and the dual 10-inch displays which handle the vast majority of functions. Again, lovely presentation but the number of maneuvers required to access certain HVAC and comfort menus is arduous at the very least. Thankfully, this Evoque’s displays were responsive, unlike most others I’ve experienced from the brand over the years. As far as interior space is concerned, it delivers enough breathing room in both rows for four adults and a fair amount of trunk volume.
In my video, I basically say that paying big money for a logo is more often than not non-sensical as more high-tech features can be available in a similar vehicle costing at least $15,000 less. Valid a point though this may be, there are advantages to getting a Range Rover.
It’s still a Range Rover
With nearly 8.4 inches of ground clearance and a wading depth capability of just shy of 21 inches, the Evoque can outrun nearly all of its competitors off-road. Thing is, few if any owners will ever dare to explore the small Range Rover’s abilities. I’ll always remember climbing Whistler Mountain in BC in the fall of 2011. In brief, it conquered the mountain.
Powering the Evoque is a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine shared with a few other vehicles in the extended JLR family. The P250 iteration generates a reasonable 246hp and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. A P300 version, offered with the HST trim, puts out 300hp and 295 torques. With the standard 9-speed automatic transmission, the small Rover is brisk.
While there’s nothing harshly negative to report about the drivetrain, the ride quality however generates big disappointments. As configured, the tested Evoque was delivered the 21-inch wheels which include the Dynamic Handling package, and one of the elements featured are adaptive dampers. Immediately upon driving away with the Range Rover, I perceived what I thought was refinement but that lasted mere seconds.
Typically, this type of suspension setup broadens a given vehicle’s on- and off-road abilities. Sadly, the 2022 Range Rover Evoque loses out. My theory is that the dampers are in place with the wheels to offset their weight, but the fact of the matter is that they are poorly calibrated and not up to the task. Bottom line, the Evoque’s ride is constantly disrupted by the slightest road surface irregularity. In all other metrics, say steering and braking, are perfectly adequate.
The Evoque is fine but…
Again, the number of alternatives in the segment cast a big shadow over the Range Rover Evoque. With options such as the BMW X3, X2, and X1, the Mercedes-Benz GLA and GLC, Genesis GV70, Volvo XC40, and Cadillac XT4, to name but a few, the Evoque brings little more to the table than brand heritage.
For my money, I’d explore and chance the BMW X3 or Lexus NX.