Is the 2021 Range Rover Evoque cut out for your driveway?

Shivaum Punjabi test drives the new Range Rover Evoque to find out.

Time to say hello to the new 2021 Range Rover Evoque from Land Rover’s stable. The Range Rover Evoque is a winning formula that did wonders for the brand. When the first generation was shown at the Dubai Autoshow, I stood in a queue to check out the new baby offering from Range Rover and came away impressed.

So what is new about this one?

Why mess with a good recipe? The Evoque is an excellent recipe that needs to be handed down to the next generations who can take care of it and nurture it. LR has chosen to make sure that the formula is fine-tuned and tweaked to meet current requirements. You may not be able to tell, but the 2021 Evoque is a brand-new car.

Everything is new. All of it is new from the design, styling, and interiors while retaining the previous one’s familiarity, minimalism, and modernity. Think of it this way, the Evoque is not a car. It is a piece of jewellery that adorns your driveway. Unlike other brands out there, the Evoque is distinctive looking and can be easily identified for what it is.

The overall look is clean, crisp and minimalist with no extra drama or fuss. The door handles and lights are neatly flushed into the body panelling. The entire look is sleek, and the bodywork looks taut and well-fitted to the chassis. I particularly love the burnished copper accents on the exterior. The wheelbase is also longer, opening up space for passengers inside the car. I feel that the optional 20-inch rims look way too big for this car.

It looks premium on the outside, but what about the interior?

Following up on the exterior treatment of the car, the design department has done a complete overhaul of the interiors too. The build quality is on par with the competitors.

It is minimal, luxurious and modern at the same time. You have multiple materials to choose from, like wool, fabric or leather, some even made from recycled plastic bottles.

All the infotainment is managed and controlled by two centre screens. One of the most significant changes is LR adding their new PIVI infotainment. The top screen controls all the features and can have a three-way vertical split with the options of your choice, while the bottom screen controls the HVAC, the Terrain Response 2 system and driving modes. It also has Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Regardless of the upgrade, the PIVI system takes some getting used to. The top screen can also reflect a lot of glare but is motorized, and the angle is adjustable to avoid glare.

The Evoque gets a brand new steering wheel with touch buttons. It also gets the new Clearsight rearview system which I love. The gear lever is chunky, solid and is standalone, following the minimalist design language.

The new 3D navigation looks crisp and detailed. The car can track fixed speed radars and display their location on the map, which is pretty cool.

The front two seats are excellent, and you can find a comfy seating position almost immediately. You sit high and upright, much as you would in the Evoque’s bigger siblings, giving you that sensation of being in a bigger car. The test car I had came with the optional 14-way adjustable seats.

One of the most significant issues that the previous Evoque had was rear passenger space. With a new longer wheelbase, this has now become better but not entirely resolved. Back passengers can feel a bit cramped and claustrophobic, especially if the interior trim is darker.

The Meridian sound system is excellent and a joy to hear your favourite music. All in all, the interiors does feel expensive, plush, luxurious and upmarket.

How does it drive?

Does it matter is what I want to ask you? A car such as this is used around town. It is used to go to the mall or for coffee at the local speciality coffee shop. You will not be dragging this car on the boulevard.

The Evoque is a cruiser designed to take you from point A to B in style and comfort, and it does that effortlessly. The car I drove is the P250 with an inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine with mild-hybrid capabilities. It produces 250 HP and is mated to a 9-speed gearbox. The Evoque does 0-100 kph in 7.6 seconds a time which is decent for a car of this size, category and weight.

When cruising around the highway or town, the gearbox works smoothly. Floor the pedal, and it becomes hesitant, refusing to give you the correct ratio. This is one car that you would want to use the pedal shifters to make sure you have the right gear engaged during spirited driving.

The drive is pliable and comfortable. The steering provides you with weight and decent feedback for city driving. It is not particularly engaging, but customers of the Evoque do not want engagement. They way refinement, smoothness, and comfort. This is one car that is best left in auto mode and let the car figure out what it needs to do.

Being a Land Rover product, it has to have off-road capabilities but seriously, who will take this off-road? The only off-roading the Evoque will see in its lifetime is when it has to park on the grass at the annual family picnic. Still, if you decide to take the Evoque off-roading, it is noteworthy that it is the best off-roader in its class.

Depending on which part of the world you are in, you can buy the Evoque with the following engine options called D165 and D200 for the diesel variants. The petrol options are P200, P250 and P300 and a plug-in P300e.

Should you buy it?

The test car which I had was priced at AED 343,875 or USD 93,000. My test car has the R-Dynamic pack with the HSE trim and pretty much all the options you can think of. I found the pricing for this model exceptionally high. At this price point, you can get entry-level cars from a bigger segment. The P200 starts at AED 183,000/ USD 49,000. The P200 R-Dynamic HSE starts at AED 253,000/ USD 69,000.

My suggestion is to be smart and spec the car correctly as per your requirements. You can find the sweet spot depending on the list of options you have chosen. The P200 or P250 engine options should be perfect for any of your daily commutes.

Text and images by Shivaum Punjabi, follow him on YouTube, DriveTribe and, Instagram for more cool content.

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