Head-turner: All-new Range Rover Evoque puts on the style
The Range Rover Evoque is the company's biggest model. How does the new second-generation car stack up?
Having been a key pioneer of the luxury compact SUV market, the first-generation Range Rover Evoque racked up over 772,000 sales, 20% of which were in the UK.
It went down a storm elsewhere, too, winning more than 217 international awards, with its combination of Range Rover heritage and cutting-edge technology.
The Evoque was, in short, a winning formula. But days have changed since its launch in 2011, and this market is increasingly more sophisticated.
Where Range Rover once almost had the run of the segment, it is now feeling the pressure from the likes of the Porsche Macan at the luxury end and the Golf T-Roc at the more mainstream end.
Now that the second generation Evoque has landed in showrooms, we can see it contains a raft of innovations designed to banish any lingering criticism of the 'baby' 4x4.
Out go the three door models, the all-new Evoque is five-door only, and in comes a roomier cabin and bigger boot.
Also in are new efficient engines, mild hybrid technology, better efficiency, a cleaner design and improved driving dynamics thanks to Jaguar-Land Rover's new manufacturing platform and its all-new 'Premium Transverse Architecture', which is aimed at offering smaller models greater flexibility including electric powerplants.
What does it look like?
The new design is described as an evolution of the distinctive coupe-like silhouette of the original, with its distinctive fast roofline and rising waist.
Its proportions are amplified by pronounced shoulders and powerful wheel arches housing new 21-inch alloys.
Super-slim Matrix LED headlamps have been added, plus flush door handles and weeping directional indicators create a purposeful signature.
What's it like inside?
The cabin gets a significant makeover, with higher quality materials and clean lines combining to give a luxury-yet-minimalist effect, whilst accentuating the digital nature of modern-day driving.
Technical textiles that use recycled plastics are offered as premium alternatives to leather, such as a Kvadrat wool blend and Miko Dinamica suedecloth, as well as Eucalyptus and Ultrafabrics options.
New tech like a twin touchscreen Touch Pro Duo system, 16-way seat controls and cabin air ionisation are offered to give a better cabin experience. The aim seems to be create a premium cabin that offers a "calming sense of wellbeing" with higher quality materials.
A longer wheelbase yields 20mm extra rear kneeroom and an increase in small item stowage - the larger glove box and centre cubby can now fit tablets, handbags and bottles with ease.
Luggage space is 10 per cent larger (591 litres) with space increasing to 1,383 litres when the flexible 40:20:40 second-row seats are folded.
Under the bonnet
The new architecture has been developed for electrification, with a 48-volt mild-hybrid available at launch and a plug-in hybrid model offered towards the end of this year.
The mild hybrid powertrain is a first for Land Rover and works by harvesting energy normally lost during deceleration thanks to the engine-mounted belt-integrated starter generator, storing it in the under-floor battery.
Available across the range (when specified with automatic gearbox) of four-cylinder Ingenium petrol and diesel engines, the mild hybrid delivers CO2 emissions from as low as 149g/km and fuel economy from 50.4mpg (based on the tougher new NEDC Equivalent WLTP test procedure).
If the customer chooses the 150PS diesel engine with front wheel drive, Evoque only emits 143g/km.
The drive is said to be "more charismatic", with agile handling said to be responsive to both tight city streets and off-road terrain with an innovative Terrain Response 2 technology that means the Evoque may be pretty on the eye, but It retains Range Rover's iconic off-roading abilities.
It features All-Wheel Drive, as well as a second-generation Active Driveline with Driveline Disconnect to enhance efficiency and Adaptive Dynamics to deliver the optimum balance of comfort and agility.
Terrain Response 2 - technology first found on full-size Range Rover - automatically detects the surface being driven on and adjusts the set-up accordingly. The new car can now wade through water up to 600mm (previously 500mm).
An all-electric model and a three-cylinder petrol Ingenium engine are also joining the range in 2019.
Tech and safety
Amongst a suite of innovations is Command Visibility - Range Rover says it has deployed the world's first ground view technology that makes the bonnet invisible.
Called Ground View technology, this effectively makes the bonnet invisible by projecting camera imagery onto the upper touchscreen to show the driver a 180-degree view under the front of the vehicle.
This is useful when negotiating difficult parking spaces, navigating high city centre kerbs or tackling rough terrain and is the realisation of the Transparent Bonnet technology previewed by Land Rover in 2014.
The car also has self-learning technology: the Evoque's Smart Settings uses artificial intelligence algorithms to learn driver preferences and get the cabin ready for your journey - this is part of the increasing ability of cars to self-drive (although it will take some time for people, the law and insurance to catch up).
There's a digital rear-view function: a high-definition video screen revolutionises the rear-view mirror to project an image of the road behind you.
This segment-first technology is called 'ClearSight rear-view mirror'. If rear visibility is compromised by passengers or bulky items, the driver flicks a switch on the underside of the mirror and a camera feed from the top of the car displays what is behind the vehicle in HD. The screen provides a wider (50-degree) field of vision and superior visibility in low light.
The car is always connected to the internet with Apple CarPlay for smartphones, in-vehicle 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and InControl Remote to connect you to the vehicle.
The new Evoque is available to order now, with the range priced from £31,600 for the entry-level Evoque, £34,750 for the Evoque S, £41,750 for the SE model and £44,750 for the range-topping Evoque HSE.