THE 2016 RANGE ROVER EVOQUE IS ONE OF THE FIRST TO BENEFIT FROM JAGUAR LAND ROVER'S NEW ENGINE RANGE, IT GETS AN ALL-NEW JLR 'INGENIUM' DIESEL.
It’s a better engine than the Ford diesel it replaces, and while the Evoque is still hampered by an indecisive nine-speed auto, the rest of the car remains as good as at launch. But, now that it faces stiffer competition than before, it has to be good.
There’s also a new infotainment screen and software to add to the appeal, plus a front-end refresh – the Evoque still looks as sharp as ever.
Vehicle Style: Premium medium SUV
Price: $66,495 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 132kW/420Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo-diesel | 9spd auto
Fuel Economy claimed: 5.1 l/100km | tested: 8.9 l/100km
The sexy lines of the Range Rover Evoque have been with us for a few years, and while it’s regarded as a nice machine, it has previously relied on Ford-supplied engines.
Those days are over.
The company now has its own range of engines, called Ingenium; in both petrol and diesel configurations. And Land Rover has invested huge sums of money to ensure these powerplants are modern, efficient and clean.
Has it been worth it? Well, this week, we put the Ingenium diesel to the test, as found in the 2016 Range Rover Evoque. First with the new engine, and first to feature full-LED adaptive headlamp technology, there’s plenty to differentiate this new model from previous models.
Time to slide on a seatbelt, crank this oil burner into life, and see what’s what.
Quality: Not much has changed inside the Evoque. Apart from the different centre-screen and its surround, it’s exactly the same as when it first hit our streets.
That’s not a bad thing, in fact it just means it’s familiar territory. The soft, lightly textured dashtop, aluminium trimming and console borders, angled centre stack, and breadbin cupholders – it all looks neat and nice and it doesn’t crack or moan.
Some of the steering wheel buttons can feel a little cheap but overall it’s a high-grade experience.
Comfort: Again, the seats are much the same as before. The bolstering is “just so” and the back comfort is good. You’ll have to up your spec level to HSE before you start getting more adjustment in the seats, but in SE guise there’s little to complain about.
The rear seats have acceptable leg and headroom, but the centre seat’s squab is a bit too short. As a four-seater though, it’s good.
The mirror placement is still not great, especially when negotiating roundabouts or trying to see an island when you’re turning into a T-junction. They’re placed poorly and can block-out approaching traffic.
Equipment: With JLR’s new InControl touch system, the centre stack now looks slightly different, and it’s certainly a faster system than the old infotainment unit. It doesn’t look as nice, however, taking a pared back, Windows-like approach with four main tiles on the home screen.
But in operation, it’s easy to navigate, works with swipe functions and does what it needs to. If only the screen were higher resolution – it gets left behind by its German and Swedish rivals in this respect.
The instruments have also come in for an upgrade, losing the jewelled look of the previous car. It’s a far cleaner and nicer look as a result.
Included as standard is a reversing camera as well as trailer guidance and parking sensors. Also included are rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, dipping wing mirrors, LED headlights, leather seats, electric seats, and gesture tailgate.
There are pages worth of options, however, to pore over. It’s worth noting that only white (a solid colour) carries no cost. Any other colour in the range – they’re all metallics – becomes a $1400-plus option.
Storage: Little extra storage has been liberated in the update, with the standard two cupholders under a bread-bin sliding cover and two more in the rear seat’s centre armrest.
There are slim door-pockets, a small space under the centre console (that’s a bit hard to get to), and a standard sized glovebox.
The boot is decent, at 575 litres with the rear seats up, and a 12V outlet can be found there and in the centre console.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: Under the bonnet of the new Evoque are two versions of the 2.0-litre diesel. The first, the TD4 150, is a 110kW/380Nm motor, while the other, the TD4 180, has 132kW/430Nm.
Our test car was equipped with the higher power motor, though it’s impossible to tell the two models apart externally.
Compared with the old 2.2-litre, the Ingenium is down eight kilowatts, but up 10Nm. Doesn’t sound like much on paper, but what is instantly clear from the moment you put your foot down is how much more torque the Ingenium is supplying at low revs.
Check the spec sheets and peak torque comes in at the same 1750rpm, however, there’s now less lag and more punch. It makes the Evoque a lot easier to drive around town and doesn’t require as much encouragement to get up and go.
But when you want to, it’ll head to 100kmh in nine seconds even.
More importantly, there’s far less noise; the new Ingenium is a lot quieter, no matter where it is in the rev range.
If only the ZF-sourced nine-speed auto was as pleasant. Unfortunately, it still snatches and jerks in some driving conditions, but smooth as cream in others. If it were predictable, you could drive around it, but there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to its behaviour.
It’s also very indecisive, hanging onto gears when cruising and not changing down when you need to overtake. Again, it’s inconsistent, adding to the confusion.
In speaking with some owners, they’ve reported that it settles down over a few thousand kilometres; we’ll have to take their word for it.
Refinement:The new Ingenium diesel’s lack of vibration and clatter clearly separates it from the previous Ford engine. The diesel Evoque is thus remarkably silent, almost comparable to a petrol.
Aside from the gearbox’s foibles, the rest of the car is quiet, especially on smaller wheels. Opt for the larger 19s or 20s, and road noise becomes quite apparent. If you’re doing a lot of country runs, do yourself a favour and leave it on the standard 17-inch wheels.
Ride and Handling: Our car was supplied with the 18-inch seven-spoke alloys, and while not as dynamic as say, an X3, the Evoque is surefooted and is happy to drive at an increased pace.
Helping here is the sharp steering, which, although light, still gives enough feedback to know what’s happening at the front end. Off-road, its feel is excellent, and through the tiller and brake pedal you can feel the all-wheel-drive system working away underneath.
The ride is well sorted, being firm but not too sharp. It’s comfortable and doesn’t crash over potholes.
Braking: 325mm vented front discs and 317mm solid rears provide a reassuring feel underfoot. Even on slippery surfaces such as grass or gravel, the Evoque feels stable and
though requiring ABS to help, is predictable keeping the driver confident.
ANCAP rating: 4-Stars - This model scored 32.49 out of a possible 37 points.
Safety features: It’s a little behind the pack in terms of ANCAP score, but the Evoque still carries ABS, stability control, brake assist and traction control, courtesy of its Terrain Response system which monitors grip levels at all times, even when on the road.
Additionally, there’s Roll Stability Control (RSC), which senses how much lean the car is on and adjusts braking and torque at each wheel to prevent it tipping over.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Land Rover has a three year, 100,000km warranty in Australia. Roadside assistance is also provided; and worth noting is that this even includes assistance off-road as well.
Service costs: The Evoque’s services have been stretched out to a mammoth two years or 34,000km for each interval. Land Rover recommends if you’re heading off road, perhaps do it more often.
Each Land Rover dealer has a different rate, so consult your local dealership for service costs.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Audi Q5 2.0TDI ($62,600) – Audi’s medium SUV has been a hit for the four-ringed brand, and judging by its interior quality, you can see why. But it’s also smooth, quiet and looks classy.
It doesn’t have anywhere near the capability off road that an Evoque has, but with a better warranty, fractionally more room inside and nicer interior, it offers a good package.
BMW X3 xDrive20d ($65,800) – For anyone who enjoys driving, the X3 is a pearler. With fabulous steering feel and feedback as well as excellent roadholding and rear-biased handling, the X3 is a winner.
The nicest engine in the range is actually the six-cylinder diesel, but the closest to the Evoque is the 2.0-litre four, and the Ingenium is actually a little quieter. But the Evoque’s nine-speed auto is nowhere near as refined as the Bimmer’s eight-speed.
Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d ($69,900) – The newest entrant to this segment, the GLC has the space, grunt, and quality to see off all of these cars. Fractionally more expensive than the Evoque, the amount of included equipment and extra power means it’s more than worth the extra money.
That it looks beautiful and has an off-road pack (if you’re that way inclined) seals the deal. It’s the pick of the current bunch.
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Evoque’s update has been worth the wait - the new engine is a cracker and it still looks beautiful. There’s also plenty of scope for personalising it, with wheel, paint and interior upgrades.
If only Land Rover had fitted it with the eight-speed auto found in its other vehicles, this would be a very convincing package. As it stands, the clunky and indecisive nine-speed might put a few people off.
There’s no doubting the Evoque’s ability when you want to head off the beaten track, but given few buyers in this segment will do that, the selling points have to be elsewhere.
Facing a barrage of excellent machines, the Evoque trades on its chunky styling and good ride. But will that convince buyers? It’s a tough call, and one that will likely come down to personal preference.
It is certainly one of the most stylish contenders, and is a comfortable and enjoyable drive, but has such fierce competition from 'those Germans'. For us, it doesn't quite get there.
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