2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Review

2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - Long on looks and style, Range Rover Evoque delivers a winner for Land Rover.


Vehicle Tested
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
Base Price: $41,145
At-Tested Price: $57,095
Built in United Kingdom.

Prestige Premium Package
Climate Comfort Pack
Sirius Satellite Radio and HD Radio
Special Paint
Style 6 20-inch Sparkle Finish Alloy Wheels

Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmission: Six-Speed Automatic

Drive Wheels: All-Wheel Drive

Land Rover introduced the stylish Evoque as a replacement for the LR2. As the smallest model in the luxury-SUV brand's lineup, the Evoque comes with either two or four doors and seats five. It competes with vehicles like the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Buick Encore, Infiniti EX35 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.

The Evoque comes standard with all-wheel drive and Land Rover's Terrain Response System, which Land Rover suggests automatically adjusts AWD operation to specific off-road conditions. Sole engine is a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It mates to a six-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 4000 pounds.

Three models are offered: Pure, Dynamic and Prestige. All come standard with antilock four-wheel disc brakes with brake assist, stability control with rollover sensor, hill ascent/descent control, trailer stabilization assist, front- and rear-obstacle-detection system, rear-view camera, tire-pressure monitor and dual-front, front-side and curtain side airbags.

Prices start at $43,000 and range up to $52,000 depending on model. The Pure comes standard with air conditioning with dual-zone automatic climate controls, power tilt-telescope leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, cruise control, leather upholstery, front bucket seats, six-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, four-way power passenger seat, memory system (driver seat, mirrors), center console, split-folding rear seat, heated power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, Meridian AM/FM/CD/MP3 player with digital-media player connection and USB port, Bluetooth cell-phone connection, voice recognition, trip computer, rain-sensing variable-intermittent wipers, fixed-glass roof panel, universal garage door opener, automatic day/night rearview mirror, illuminated visor mirrors, cargo cover, power liftgate, rear wiper/washer, automatic headlights, floormats, theft-deterrent system, rear privacy glass. rear spoiler, front and rear fog lights, headlight washers, 235/55R19 tires and alloy wheels.

The Dynamic model adds to the Pure blind-spot alert on the two-door, navigation system, surround-view cameras, keyless access and starting, upgraded Meridian sound system, aluminum interior trim, self-dimming headlights, unique interior and exterior trim, roof rails and steering-linked adaptive HID headlights. The Prestige adds to the Dynamic blind-spot alert on the four-door, eight-way power driver seat and six-way power passenger seat.

Options include dual-screen DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio, rear bucket seats on the two-door, unique interior and exterior trim and 20-inch alloy wheels. The Range Rover Evoque has an $850 destination charge and is built in England.

Get Up and Go  The turbocharged engine provides good acceleration from a stop and above-average passing power. Most magazines quote a 0-60 mph time of about 6.8 seconds. That's quick for the class. Unfortunately, throttle response lags a bit. You really have to stomp the gas to get the transmission to downshift and then power comes on with a bang. The touchy throttle takes some getting used to and grows tiresome in stop-and-go driving.

Thankfully the transmission is buttery smooth when upshifting. Occasionally it shudders when downshifting as drivers slow to a stop, but that's the exception rather than the rule. The AWD system is unobtrusive and Land Rover's Terrain Response System takes the guess-work out of off-road driving. While the Evoque isn't as adept off-road as its larger brothers, it is significantly more capable than every other small SUV or crossover.

EPA ratings of 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway are disappointing but not surprising. Adding to the misery is Land Rover's requirement for premium-grade fuel.  Real-world driving proves out the EPA numbers. Routine commuting in a suburban setting will yield about 22 mpg overall. If you spend a lot of time in gentile highway driving you might see as much as 25 mpg. Straight highway driving at moderate speeds nets as high as 29 mpg.

On the Road  While most Land Rovers favor ride comfort and off-road prowess over on-road handling, the Evoque takes a different path. It's got firm suspension that's tailored for on-road driving and gives the small crossover SUV a dynamic and athletic driving feel. Large bumps are handled with aplomb, but, when equipped with the optional 20-inch wheels, small pavement imperfections can annoy on long trips.

The firm suspension does an excellent job of giving Evoque drivers a sporty feeling behind the wheel. The tires have great on-road grip and body lean is minimal. Steering is sharp and nicely weighted--especially on the highway. The brakes have a meaty feel and offer plenty of stopping power. Overall, the Evoque is one of the best-handling crossovers and that's no surprise given its mission to appeal to urban buyers.

The on-road poise comes at the expense of off-road prowess as the Evoque can't match the off-road moves of its larger stable mates. Still, it has plenty of electronic wizardry that Land Rover is famous for like the Terrain Response System and Hill-Descent Control. That gives the Evoque a leg up when compared to other crossovers.

The Evoque is fairly quiet. Wind and engine noise are subdued, even at extra-legal highway speeds. Unfortunately, the tires kick up a fair amount of ruckus, especially on concrete surfaces.

Behind the Wheel  For the past decade, Land Rover designers have been working overtime to transfer the utilitarian interiors of Rover's past into today's sumptuous yet functional designs. The Evoque's interior is their greatest success to date. The design is at once functional, handsome, and polished. Still it carries over just the right amount of Land Rover's quirky character. Materials are great for the class and the fit and finish is excellent and befitting of a top-level crossover.

Though the interior features a dizzying array of buttons and knobs, most are well-marked, thoughtfully placed and easy to reach. Gauges are easy to read at a glance, radio and climate controls are placed up high on the center console. The Evoque utilizes Jaguar's space-saving rotary-knob transmission-gear selector. It's simple enough to operate, but is oft mistaken as the radio volume knob by unfamiliar passengers.

Front-seat head room and leg room are plentiful. The seats have very firm bolstering, but avoid being uncomfortable on long trips. Still, if you were expecting the cushy seat padding found in the larger Range Rover model, you'll be quite surprised. Rear visibility is poor thanks to thick pillars, large headrests and a sliver-small rear window. Step-in height is better than you'd expect, but still a fair amount higher than competing crossovers.

The biggest difference, other than slope-back styling, between the two-door and four-door Evoque is in rear-seat space. Four-door models offer rear-seat occupants decent leg and head room and getting in and out is easy. Two-doors have a sloping roofline that cuts into head room and also makes getting in and out a duck-and-cover routine. Neither model offers enough room to sit three abreast, though that's not uncommon for the class.

Cargo space is average for the class, meaning quite plentiful. The standard power-opening liftgate is a nice touch, but not unexpected at this price point. The cargo area is deep and wide and offers a flat load floor. Rear seats fold in a snap, effectively doubling cargo space, but they don't sit completely flat. Interior storage is highlighted by lots of open cubbies and a deep center-console bin.

Bottom Line  Evoque is Land Rover's first credible foray into the high-lux compact crossover market. It offers distinctive styling, posh interior, great on- and off-road moves and plenty of features. Interior room is comparable with most competitors and the economical-but-powerful turbo four is a nice plus. Still, it's one of the most-expensive compact luxury crossovers on the market, so buyers should be prepared to pay a little extra for all of that style.

Specifications 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
4-door wagon
Turbocharged four-cylinder
Wheelbase, in.
Size, liters/cu. in.
2.0 / 122
Length, in.
Horsepower240 @ 5500
Width, in.77.4
Torque (lb.-ft.) 250 @ 4000
Height, in.63.2TransmissionSix-Speed Automatic
Weight, lbs.
18city / 28 highway
Cargo Capacity, cu. ft.
Fuel Capacity, gal.
Seating Capacity
4 years / 50,000 miles
Front Head Room, in.
Front Leg Room, in.
6 years / Unlimited miles
Second-Row Head Room, in.
Free Roadside Assistance
4 years / 50,000 miles
Second-Row Leg Room, in.
Free Scheduled Maintenance
1 year / 15,000 miles

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.