Land Rover’s current purple patch started with the LRX concept penned by Rob Melville, head of McLaren design. Then, as now, Land Rover’s design team is run by Gerry McGovern, the kind of fellow who knows a good thing when he sees it.
After what seems like a hundred years on sale, the car that kicked off the renaissance and introduced the world mud-plugging to Victoria Beckham, has been replaced. The Range Rover Evoque second generation is here and it’s…well it’s pretty similar.
And that’s not a bad thing. The new car is quite stunning and a lovely evolution of the first car. It was such a distinctive thing to start with so messing about with it was only going to lead to Bad Things Happening. The car was still selling strongly and the whole time this new car was in development, it was obvious buyers still loved it.
No pressure, then.
What’s new on Evoque 2?
The new Evoque rolls on the company’s new Premium Transverse Architecture which used to be known as D8. The updated platform can accommodate a new 48-volt mild-hybrid setup (a bit like the new A7’s) and later a plug-in hybrid. It’s still made from steel, though, which probably means the Evoque, like the recent E-Pace, is going to be super-chubby for another generation yet. You can trace it back to former parent Ford it’s so old. Interesting choice to keep it going but the fact E-Pace landed on it meant it’s got years in it yet.
Evoque 2 is the same length as the old one but the wheelbase is 20mm longer to deliver more desperately-needed rear kneeroom. Not much more legroom, though, but hey, every millimetre matters.
The door handles are flush like the Velar’s and there’s a nifty set of new LED headlights that look the business.
All the engines are Ingenium 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbos. The plug-in hybrid will arrive in 2020 and will have a new 147kW 1.5-litre three-cylinder.
The 48V mild hybrid system juices up a battery stored under the car. An integrated starter generator harvests energy on lift-off and braking to charge the battery. The system means the engine can shut off at higher speeds under braking. When you’re heading to a stop, the engine cuts out at 17km/h (a bit over 10mph). That recovered power is then redeployed under acceleration with up to 140Nm of torque, but probably not for very long. At the moment it’s available on the diesels and the 221kW/300PS petrol.
Despite a fairly (un)healthy disregard by many off-roader owners, the Evoque isn’t bad in the rough stuff, with a new version of Terrain Control 2 and it can now wade in up to 600mm of water, which is quite a bit.
Interior and tech
The cabin scores a much-needed upgrade. The old car was looking really old and the InControl screen was tiny by today’s standards. The new screen also handles two new visual aids – a forward camera makes the bonnet “disappear” and a rear facing camera eliminates rearward blind spots.
Like the new Range Rover, there are two stacked displays in the dash, one running InControl and the other the climate system, seats and driveline modes. Jaguar Land Rover has made a big investment to bridge the technology gap to the Germans and there’s even an Apple Watch app.
The new car will go on sale soon and we’ll make a beeline for the quickest one – the 300PS petrol.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.