There won’t be a lot of people who’ll be able to differentiate between Range Rover’s 2014 Evoque and the original that launched 2 years ago. When I walked into the Land Rover dealership in Malvern to pick up the car I was expecting to see an Evoque with a facelift, however it appears almost identical to its predecessor. I used the word ‘appears’ because the exterior has only received some new badging and alloys, the real updates are hidden below the hood.
I was deeply impressed with the old Evoque after spending a week with it last year. I thought it was a handsome compact SUV with great drivability and character – not to mention a stereo to rival any car in the world. There’s a reason Land Rover has sold over 180,000 units, because it’s a great package. With such a solid foundation to work off the 2014 model was only going to get better and with the existing styling spot on they turned their attention to the mechanics of the vehicle.
The most noted upgraded in the 2014 Evoque is its new nine speed gearbox. The word smooth doesn’t quite do it justice, the gear changes are virtually unnoticeable. The old 6 speed gearbox was replaced to improve efficiency and it’s constantly working to deliver on that promise. The gearbox effortlessly adapts to your driving style, subdued and relaxed when it want’s to be and instantly on call when you put your foot down. Rotate the dial from D to S and you’ve got yourself even more response from the throttle and the gearbox, at no point did I find the Evoque juggling 2 or 3 of its gears. It certainly knows what it’s doing, and more than happy to respond to you (rapidly) via control from the steering wheel paddles.
In addition the gearbox the 2014 model also receives the Active Driveline option, which disconnects the rear axle while cruising and deploys more torque to the rear outer wheel when cornering. As a part of the ‘Intelligence Package’ a host of new safety features have also migrated from the brand’s more expensive cars including a wade depth sensor and lane departure warnings. Inside the car is refined and luxurious, as it always was, and the full length panoramic glass roof is a treat!
I’m yet to drive the Evoque off road so I can’t comment on it’s ability (however I know Land Rover pride themselves on their vehicles off-road usability), but as a compact SUV suited to your typical urban environment this car delivers everything you’ll ever need, and does so in style. Aside from it’s price which will get spicey pretty quickly with additional extras I don’t have any qualms with the Evoque, it’s a car I’d happily drive everyday and it’s only going from strength to strength.
Thanks to ULR Malvern for lending us the car for the weekend!