New Vary Rover Evoque experience evaluation
The all-new Evoque lives as much as that billing as a result of whereas its chassis is, in idea, associated to the D8 platform that underpinned the first-generation automotive, it has gone by main adjustments to permit for electrification.
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All automatic-transmission Evoques (in impact, every little thing however the entry-level mannequin) may have 48V mild-hybrid expertise as a end result – and there’s a plug-in model that’s able to “important pure-electric operating” due in 2020. It’s sufficient of a shift for the platform to get a brand new title: Premium Transverse Structure (PTA).
There are six engines within the line-up: three petrols, with 197bhp, 247bhp and 296bhp, and a trio of diesels with 148bhp, 178bhp or 237bhp. Our automotive for the afternoon with Cross is a range-topping P300 Dynamic HSE petrol, in Yulong White with a distinction black roof. Its record value is simply over £51,000, which sounds excessive till you realise that 4 fifths of Evoque consumers have historically gone for HSE or above anyway.
Take a look at the brand new SUV, in daylight for the primary time as a substitute of underneath studio lights, and there’s little doubt that Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern and his staff have nailed the temporary of constructing the automotive look “unmistakably Evoque and unmistakably new Evoque”.
There are cues from the bigger Velar, for certain – notably the ultra-slim headlights and flush door handles – however there’s a lot higher sophistication than earlier than alongside the flanks. The advanced aspect panels have been calmed down right into a single, rising belt line and refined, clear surfacing. You gained’t mistake it for a Velar, however you gained’t mistake it for an outdated Evoque, both.
The Evoque’s MHEV system makes use of a belt-integrated starter generator to chop the engine off utterly beneath 11mph when the automotive is coming to a halt, and to assist it get transferring once more from relaxation. It’s mentioned to ship between 20Nm and 30Nm of torque in most situations (though it may well provide as much as 100Nm), and in addition to enhancing effectivity, saving as much as 8g/km in CO2 emissions, it helps to scale back turbo lag.
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As we head into the hills close to Welshpool, a few issues are nearly instantly evident. Firstly, there’s a appreciable step up in cabin high quality, with our HSE’s Kvadrat wool-blend upholstery matched by acres of double-stitched, padded materials throughout the dashboard and within the door liners.
The dual-screen infotainment and automotive management system will probably be a quantum leap for Evoque house owners, too, with a crisper decision than earlier than and faster responses, to not point out added performance and the likes of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The second factor that springs to thoughts is how quiet it’s. This can be a petrol version, true, and the nine-speed field appears eager to shift up as early as doable, lengthy earlier than the Ingenium will get thrashy, however the engine’s relative calm isn’t being spoiled by wind noise from across the aspect mirrors or A-pillars, and even from any low-frequency hum beneath the HSE’s 20-inch wheels.
After we counsel that even from the passenger seat, this already feels extra like a real child Vary Rover than the outdated Evoque ever did, Cross smiles knowingly. “That was one in every of our actual objectives,” he reveals.
“It’s getting tougher and tougher to drive shortly, and it’s turning into much less and fewer socially acceptable anyway. So what we expect clients needed with this automotive was extra luxurious, extra consolation, extra connectivity. We labored as onerous on wind-noise isolation as we did on powertrain refinement.” That’s an indirect reference to the Audi Q5, which insiders counsel was the principle benchmark, forward of the BMW X3 and Porsche Macan.
Cross explains our automotive has constantly variable dampers – an choice throughout the vary, except you go for the biggest 21-inch rims, at which level they develop into obligatory. Besides, there’s compliance over rippled and damaged surfaces. We’d most likely accept the look of 19-inch wheels in return for a teeny bit extra tolerance over large potholes, however image-focused Evoque consumers will probably be gifted extra consolation on the bigger alloys than they’ve skilled beforehand.
The roads get quieter as we head into the wilds of Wales and Cross begins to point out off the Evoque’s functionality when the speeds rise. This automotive has Lively Driveline – an analogous system to that supplied on the Jaguar E-Tempo and Ford Focus RS, which makes use of a rear-mounted double-clutch to supply torque vectoring on the rear axle, serving to turn-in.
However with Cross on the wheel, and even on sinuous Welsh B-roads, there’s no drama; progress is speedy, however serene. And that’s the identical in Dynamic mode, which delivers added punch in throttle responses, pushing extra torque in the direction of the rear and tightening up physique management. Nevertheless it by no means comes shut to creating Cross appear like he’s hustling alongside a sizzling hatch.
Would it not be honest, we ask, to say an E-Tempo could be dancing round a bit extra alongside the identical route? “In all probability a bit of,” Cross replies. “Once more, that’s a personality factor; a Vary Rover ought to be about consolation and luxurious, in addition to off-road skill, whereas a Jaguar ought to have that further little bit of agility.”
It’s genuinely onerous to really feel the mild-hybrid tech doing its work from the passenger seat, and Cross says it’s not rather more evident from behind the wheel. Even so, that is removed from the cleanest new Evoque. You’ll want a diesel instance (“Attempt the mid-spec one; it’s a lot fast sufficient,” Cross suggests) if you wish to dip underneath 150g/km of CO2 emissions.
Market forces and probably laws will decide if Land Rover’s engineers have succeeded in making the Evoque extra environmentally acceptable, whereas retaining off-road functionality that’s genuine, even when it’s hardly ever used. However on the idea of this quick publicity to the Mk2 Evoque, this already appears like a automotive that delivers the place it counts.