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The Range Rover Evoque may have been seen as a wild card when first introduced, but several years later it’s one of the smartest moves Land Rover has made—giving it a distinctly different “urban rugged” entry that perfectly counters the brand’s more traditionally styled products, like the Range Rover, as well as the new (and closely related) Land Rover Discovery Sport.
The Evoque stands on its own aesthetic and functional merits against the BMW X4 and Infiniti QX50, among others, but it’s more concerned with off-road capability than other stylish urban crossovers. Offered in three-door and five-door variants, the Evoque continues to make a strong design statement, yet Land Rover has given it a light refresh for 2016, with a new grille, some new finishes inside and out, and a few new features inside—including new infotainment systems.
All 2016 Evoque models are powered by a 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that provides plenty of pep and punch for tasks ranging from trails to backroads and high-speed passing. Since the Evoque is relatively small and light, it even manages to come off as nimble, too. It’s definitely a more carlike driving experience—and at an EPA-rated 21 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined—than you’ll find in most other crossover models.
An Active Driveline system, with active differentials and torque vectoring, is standard equipment on all models. It’s one of the keys to that impressive fuel economy, as it decouples the rear wheels above 22 mph, re-enabling it within 300 milliseconds whenever it’s needed. Active Torque Biasing and Torque Vectoring also aim to improve traction and distribution of torque to the optimal wheel in low-grip conditions, and for 2016 there’s a new All-Terrain Progress Control that has the vehicle crawl at a determined speed when negotiating tricky terrain, allowing the driver to focus on the steering.
Put bluntly, the Evoque doesn’t skimp on what’s inside. It’s all richly detailed, just on a smaller scale. The front seats are spacious and comfortable, with a wide range of adjustment; the rear seats are a bit tighter, but still suitable for adults. In three-door models, entry to the rear seats can be a bit difficult, but the five-door version remedies that completely. Cargo space is not excessive, but given the Evoque’s exterior dimensions, it’s reasonable at 24 cubic feet, and the space itself is wide and easy to access.
Pricing for the Evoque, offered in SE, SE Premium, HSE, and HSE Dynamic models, can blow way past $60,000 when optional extras are added. But top HSE offer more than ever, with Oxford leather seats, a fixed panoramic glass sunroof, a universal garage-door opener, blind spot monitoring, and Reverse Traffic Detection. The HSE Dynamic model includes a special Dynamic Mode for the Adaptive Dynamics system, illuminated treadplates, bright exhaust finishers, a rear aero spoiler, and a perforated leather steering wheel, while a surround camera system and passive entry remain optional. Massage seats are a new option, and the Evoque’s infotainment systems are all-new this year, with a cleaner interface.
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