By on April 12, 2019

2020 Range Rover Evoque

The script for the first-gen Range Rover Evoque included downsizing the Discovery luxury experience to a compact size and extending the distinct styling and off-road capability the brand is known for. The first-generation Evoque came in two-door and four-door variants, followed by a two-door cabrio version.

The second-gen Evoque follows the original script, but drops the three-door and cabrio versions. Land Rover will offer Evoque in six trim levels: S, SE, First Edition, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, and R-Dynamic HSE. I tested several pilot-production 2020 European-spec SE trimmed Evoques during a media-launch program. In freakin’ Greece, of all places.

Over several days we were able to test the Evoque on-highway, off-road, and even suspended high in the air – more on that shortly. After all that extensive on-road driving and some mild-to-moderate difficulty wet/dry off-road driving, here’s what buyers can expect of the second-generation Evoque.

(Full disclosure: Range Rover provided airfare to Athens, Greece to drive the Evoque. Journalists were afforded food and lodging for four days in upscale hotels and tickets to an attraction.)

All 2020 Evoques launch with a 2.0-liter Ingenium four-cylinder engine providing a modest 246 horsepower. Following a late-spring launch, Land Rover will offer a 296-horsepower mild-hybrid system, but only on higher trim levels. Backing the gas-only engine was a nine-speed ZF transmission with a traditional shift handle and paddle shifters.

2020 Range Rover Evoque

 

For generations, Land Rovers have crawled over the Earth earning a reputation as some of the toughest, capable, and now, technologically advanced on/off-road vehicles on the market. In the standard OEM attempt to emphasize those points Land Rover plotted an on/off road journey for journalists around Athens. The drive started with an on-road shakedown.

Evoque rides on Range Rover’s Transverse Architecture and weighs 65 pounds less than the outgoing model. The suspension delivers control and comfort, and the 20-inch wheels (US models will have 18-, 20-, and 21-inch options) and low-profile Pirelli Scorpion 235/50 tires provide good feedback. The Adaptive Dynamics system pairs continuously variable suspension dampers and intelligent sensors to scan road conditions every 100 milliseconds, adjusting damper settings in conjunction with changing road surfaces.

The acceleration from the base 246-hp engine will not remind you of an Audi Q3 or BMW X3, thanks to a 0 to 60 time of 7.0 seconds. The engine loafs when cruising at a static speed or with very light throttle input. It took longer than I liked to wake up when I stepped on the gas. Thankfully, I discovered that using the Sport mode or paddle shifting the transmission will alleviate the issue. The nine-speed ZF transmission appeared to get confused a few times when quick drive/reverse/drive gear changes were called upon.

2020 Range Rover Evoque

My SE-trimmed Evoque sported a raft of on/off road driver aids, including a torque-on-demand system. This system routes power to the rear axle as needed, meaning Evoque is front-wheel drive until traction loss requires the rear axle to get involved. During off-roading, I tested Terrain Response 2, which has sand-grass, gravel-snow, mud and ruts, general and eco modes. You can also go “full auto” and let the Evoque choose which mode to use based on terrain detection. Land Rover set up a moderately-difficult off-road course where I tested several terrain modes and Gradient Release Control hill holder.

I stopped on a steep 45-degree rutted gravel incline, and after a two-second delay, I released the brake, stayed in place, and then with a slight press of the pedal I was off.  On the way down Hill Descent Control used engine braking to slowly advance me down.

I also tested yet another tech aid – Land Rover’s All Terrain Progress Control. Select your speed and this driving aid functions as low-speed off-road cruise control. But the fun wasn’t over. I took my Evoque down into a winding portion of river (Evoque can handle a depth up to 23.6 inches) that would strand competitors.

Finally, I tested ClearSight Ground View, which is part of the optional 360-Surround Camera system and uses a system of cameras in the grille/door mirrors to virtually see through the hood and under the front end of the vehicle. This feature works well in parking lots.

2020 Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover had a “surprise drive” in store for us. During an on-road drive portion of the program, we took a detour that led us to railroad tracks that we turned onto and straddled till we reached the edge of the famous Corinth Canal of Greece.

2020 Range Rover Evoque

Spanning the canal was a railroad bridge. As a guide motioned us forward, we slowly traversed the one-track bridge, stopping several times to take photos of the water and steep sides of the canal below.

Other than emphasizing Evoque’s 8.3 inches of ground clearance, the railroad bridge didn’t really challenge the Evoque much, but it was a memorable way to cross the canal.

The Evoque can do more than light off-roading, and it’s a very competent and smooth luxury crossover on-road.

2020 Range Rover Evoque

An observer looking at the second-generation version might think that it’s only a mid-cycle refresh. Every body panel on the Evoque is all-new, along with slimmer LED headlights, revised nose, taller beltline, and retractable flush-fitting door handles. Land Rover calls the Evoque “a sophisticated evolution of the original’s distinctive coupe-like silhouette” but despite the marketing speak for “relatively minor changes” the only part that carries over is a single door handle.

2020 Range Rover Evoque

The overall dimensions of the new Evoque grew just 0.8 inches wider in wheelbase. The slight increase in wheelbase and the 2020 model’s shorter overhangs provide second-row rear-seat passengers with a tad more legroom and a 6 percent increase in luggage space.

A great feature is a deep-tint panoramic sunroof. It’s an option and doesn’t open, but it spans the front and slightly behind rear passenger areas, makes the interior seem twice as large, and provides great views.

2020 Range Rover Evoque

Less is now more. Evoque now comes with fewer knobs, switches, and distractions. There is a wider range of materials, including a new leather-like option, called Kvadrat. I did not like this new material as it heated up my backside to the point that my co-driver and I thought the heated seats had been turned on – even though my test vehicle did not come optioned with heated seats. However, a Range Rover representative assured me that heated leather will be available for North America-bound Evoques.

2020 Range Rover Evoque

Less complication does not mean low-tech. Land Rover’s simplification program results in a new two-screen center stack dubbed InControl Touch Pro Duo. A lower 10-inch screen molded into the console contains vehicle functions via touchpoints on the screen and a pair of dials below that alternate functions based on the screen selection. According to Land Rover, after you spend some time behind the wheel “Smart Settings” that use artificial intelligence algorithms will start to learn your preferences and automate comfort and media settings. The “self-learning” technology recognizes the driver from their key fob and phone.

If you want to get into an entry Evoque (basic S trimmed version), price of admission is $42,650 with the 246-hp engine, and the SE with the same engine is $47,200. The R-Dynamic (S) with the 296-hp hybrid drivetrain is $46,600 and goes up to $55,800 for the R-Dynamic (HSE) with everything. All trims add a $995 destination fee.

Fuel economy is listed at 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway/23 combined for the base motor and 21/26/23 for the hybrid.

2020 Range Rover Evoque

With the new 2020 Range Rover Evoque, there is more than meets the eye. Range Rover has stepped it up with added driving safety and comfort tech that surpasses virtually all competitors in the class, but the experience is marred by the lower trims lacking a peppier engine. However, Evoque is more capable than anything in its class as a double threat: a luxurious compact crossover that can get really dirty.

[Images © 2019 Jeff Taylo/TTAC]

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17 Comments on “2020 Range Rover Evoque First Drive – Familiar yet New...”


  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I had ’19 Evoque as a loaner for a day. It was fairly fun to drive , especially as it road on 18s rather than the larger optional wheels. For such a short wheelbase it was a more comfortable ride than the Disco Sport. The interior was nicer too, especially the front seats (but it is a pricier Range Rover). This probably has more to do with the loaner not having ventilated seats.I noticed all JLR with vented seats are fairly hard.
    The transmission , as in my 17 responds better to paddle requests than matting the pedal. It’s not great, but better programmed than some newer 8spds,out there, like the current Toyotas.
    I’m still glad I went with the Disco Sport for cost and space reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I sampled a 2019 Discovery Sport. It definitely stands up to its nameplate, because it is the Swiss Army Knife of compact premium crossovers. Land Rover managed to cram an impressive amount of space and utility into it.

      Those that want something more on the luxury and style side can opt for the Range Rover Evoque.

      I think they’re smart to have both cars.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Greece, eh? Nice work if you can get it.

    Heck, I’ll go test a car in Nebraska if it’s nice enough.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    There is a reason people like Land Rover, and this ain’t it.

    I predict coupe-like sales for this coupe-like crossover.

    “Land Rover: Don’t Look Back – Because you Couldn’t Even if You Wanted To”

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’m sorry Land Rover you may be the most elegant SUV on the planet, but if I need a “real” off-road SUV I’m going over to Jeep, but gosh, you are pretty :)

    • 0 avatar
      Tstag

      Just on that the new Defender will be arriving soon and looking at the spy shots of the interior it’s looking much more utilitarian. I think it will certainly steal some Jeep sales

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Unless they changed their minds the new Defender was going to be unibody, unibody is not capable of offroading alongside a BoF setup. Might steal sales from the fake secretary Jeeps but not the off-road oriented one( which looks like it may finally get another off-road oriented offering on the lot beside it after all this time).

  • avatar
    redapple

    I leased a LR3 10 years ago. New car mind you. In the shop 3 times in the first year. So, I d think long and hard before getting another Land Rover Product.

    Also, I am not a fan of the squishy blob styling. This evoque is all new and it looks like the old REV? I dont get it.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to be the theme here. The old model certainly had distinctive and popular styling when it debuted for 2012, but started to get seriously outmatched versus competitors by 2019 or so. The new one combines evolutionary styling with increased refinement, space, and tech features: a win.

    The old one was also quite a bit more capable than other transverse-engined soft-roaders, so it’s good to see they preserved those aspects, too.

    Also, check out the I6 MHEV system JLR developed. It combines a new Ingenium-based I6 engine with a turbocharger and an electrically-driven supercharger running on a 48-volt system. It’s very similar to what Mercedes-Benz has in the new AMG 53-series cars (AMG CLS 53, AMG E 53, etc…). Anyway, JLR’s MHEV system quietly snuck into the Range Rover Sport for the latter part of the 2019 model year, replacing the base 3.0-liter supercharged V6 on that model. None of the other vehicles have it, but I suspect it will eventually supplant the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 in all of their products.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Weird that the optional hybrid powertrain yields no discernible gain in combined MPG (gains one MPG in the city, loses one MPG on the highway) but gains you 50 horespower. So basically, it’s a) the performance option and b) a way to make stop-start not suck. Huh.

    These beasties are damn good-looking. There’s nothing off-road practical about a vehicle with no rain gutters, electrically operated pop-out door handles, low-profile tires, etc. But it’s certainly the prettiest box on wheels around.

  • avatar
    Igloo

    That bright shinny thing in the last picture is the touch screen I take it. Interesting rake angle. Should be fun on sunny days. I wonder if the reviewer had any issues with it.

  • avatar
    ldallison74

    Flush door handles when the car is off that electrically extend when you enter…hmm. More than once I’ve had to chip my way into an ice-encrusted car in the cold season. Even power retractable running boards (with much stronger motors) suffer here. Aside from all of the electrical gremlins LR/RR is historically known for, this will be a problem. I’ll pass, thank you.


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