LandRover name was originally used by the Rover Company for a boxy four-wheel drive, off road model, first launched in 1948. Overtime, LandRover grew into its own brand, encompassing a consistently growing range of four-wheel drive, off-road capable models. Starting with the much more upmarket 1970 Range Rover and subsequent introduction of the mid-range Discovery and entry-level Freelander as well as Defender.
As the world progressed, urbanization led to congestion of cities, which lead to an unique requirement of compact yet modern and luxurious cars. A new segment was getting created. That’s where LandRover saw as an opportunity and the concept LRX was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show. From Concept LRX, LandRover further improvised and came up with something called as the Evoque, which was compact, modern, suave and luxurious. That was 2011, while today we are in 2020, in 2019 LandRover decided to up the ante, as the SUV was starting to look well, to old. So in 2019, LandRover launched the second generation Evoque, which was more of an evolutionary design rather than revolutionary. Come January 2020, LandRover India took a bold step of getting the SUV in India, and 2020 for LandRover started with a bang. In came the Evoque and evoked emotions in many to put the money then and there on the SUV.
While we were present at the launch and had covered the SUV extensively on the day of the launch, what we didn’t speak then was about the drive experience and other “feel good” factors about the Evoque. Which we intend to cover in this quick first drive review.
While, the exhaustive review of the top end spec SUV is on it’s way, in this review I will be focusing on how is the SUV to live with in day to day life. But before we get there, lets have a close look at the car from the outside. Should We? For this quick first drive, I had the S Variant of the car.
Many people said that the second generation Evoque, now looks identical to the Velar. What many don’t know that Velar infact was inspired from Evoque. Untrained eyes can easily miss this one for Velar now, albeit they may think, when did Velar shrink in size. Or did Honey I Shrunk the Kids?
On the front, now you have slimmer adaptive LED headlights, with LandRover signature DRL’s with integrated turn indicators. On the rear, the slim tail-lights, instantly remind you of the Velar, as it carries similar design theme. What more, it carries the same flush deployable door handles, that fans of Velar are crazy about. Riding on 18 inch wheels in India, the alloy designs in our opinion on both the variants, look pretty plain as compared to the overall vehicle. While the Evoque has the powered tailgate, but is misses on the gesture controlled tail gate. Overall, one thing is for sure, that this Evoque is a fashion icon.
On the interiors, while the top end spec gets Touch Pro Duo, this S Variant that I had for the review, came with a smaller screen and touch controller buttons, as seen on the Jaguar XE to manage the HVAC and the various off-road settings. It also misses on interactive driver display behind the steering wheel and audio duties are managed by LandRover/Jaguar sourced setup. Barring these changes overall the interiors feels a good place to be. The seats are comfortable and will keep you in comfort for long distances. The steering wheel is an absolute delight to hold and it gets feature touch steering wheel controls which can be reconfigured. Soft touch material all around, ensures that the Evoque feels premium from the word go. What I definitely missed in this LandRover Evoque was the rotary dial gear lever, which get replaced by conventional gear knob unit. But what I liked is that fact that there are plenty of spaces around the cabin to keep your personal stuff like phones, wallet or coins.
Moving to the rear, well the size of the SUV is pretty evident here and you realize to thing. One the legroom & headroom on offer, if you are a six footer and above is premium and 5th occupant at all times is a complete no-no. Leaving this two things, the rear for 2 is absolutely comfortable. The SUV will hold you in place, even if your chauffeur is in mood to have some fun. This is because the back support and thigh support is better than the outgoing Evoque. Overall, I would say, Evoque’s interiors are a nice place to be.
Talking about fun, fun now available with BS6 compliant engines both in diesel as well a petrol fuel options. Both petrol and diesel are in 2.0 litre guise. The 2.0 litre Diesel engine produces roughly 180 hp and 430 Nm of torque while the turbo charged petrol 2.0 litre Petrol produces roughly 245 hp and 365 Nm of torque. No prizes here for guessing, which one is going to be more peppier.
Nope, I did not have the petrol for the first drive, but the diesel. LandRover has yet not launched the Petrol Variants, and the petrol Evoque’s are expected to hit the showrooms by mid May 2020. I drove the diesel and one thing that was immediately noticeable was the fact that the insulation levels in this Evoque have gone up my huge margins. The cabin feels absolutely isolated from any sounds from outside, save for some high cross wind sounds sneaking in during those expressway runs. Barring that, Evoque, allows you to enjoy the music that’s playing on your audio system.
The S Variant misses on the phenomenal 14 speaker Meridian Setup, but instead gets 8 speaker setup which, is not that bad either. But had I been in your place, I would pick the R Design Variant only for the way the Meridian System Sounds.
Speaking about the ride quality, the Evoque is stiffly setup, but in general, the ride quality is overall good. The dampers ensures that the passengers aren’t tossed around even on patchy road surfaces. The Evoque ensures that the people are transported from place a to place b in utmost comfort.
Stiffly sprung suspensions and an rigid chassis ensures that the Evoque is agile and handles like one. Steering weighs up nicely as expected from any LandRover SUV and overall the SUV holds its line well, unless you commit a grave mistake. It is pretty fun around the corners. The high speed stability is absolutely decent and the brakes inspire further confidence to go faster as the brake bite is sharper and meatier.
Overall this second generation Evoque, does impress behind the wheel and the new generation Ingenium Engine does not disappoint either. It’s peppy, it’s quick and it’s fuel efficient too.
At the beginning I said, this Evoque, does Evoque Emotions which Entice one to pick the Evoque, like right now. But for whom really is this Evoque? Are you someone who’s constantly going to be at the rear sit and not drive the SUV? Well then, I’m afraid, you will have to look somewhere else. Coz if you have the Evoque, then you have to be behind the wheel to enjoy it. If you have the Evoque, you have to remember and appreciate that price and size in this case does not match and lastly if you have the Evoque, you will arrive at every party that you ever go- In Style.