I recently had the chance to drive the all-new 2020 Range Rover Evoque, which really is all-new even though it doesn’t look much like it. The Evoque’s design has been freshened, rather than totally changed, but it definitely looks a bit more modern than the old one — and, plus, the old one was such a design success that it didn’t need thorough changes.
Under the hood, the new Evoque hasn’t seen many changes, either: it’s still powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, now up to 246 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque — a slight bump over last year’s 240 horses and 250 lb-ft. More impressive in terms of powertrain is the upcoming Evoque R-Dynamic, which will use a plug-in hybrid drivetrain to get 300 horses and 300 lb-ft, both of which should turn the Evoque into a truly sporty SUV.
But with similar styling to last year’s model and a similar powertrain, at least in base-level Evoque models, you might be wondering: what exactly has changed to earn this Evoque the title of “all-new”? Well, it’s all in the interior.
The biggest upgrade to the new Evoque, undoubtedly, is the impressive technology it now gains. It gets the giant center double-screen feature from the larger Range Rover models (and from a few Jaguar models, most notably the I-Pace), and that means the latest Evoque has one of the latest and most impressive infotainment systems on the market, with decidedly configurable center controls and a lot of screen surface area. My only gripe with this system is that I wish it were a bit quicker to respond to touch, like the systems in many rivals — I’ve recently been in vehicles from Volvo, Ram, Cadillac and others that were all a bit quicker, nearly like a smartphone, and Land Rover’s system just isn’t quite on that level.
But the Evoque’s technology upgrades go well beyond the center screen. One of the biggest complaints about the Evoque has always been rear visibility, as Land Rover sacrificed easy sight lines in favor of styling — and owners paid the price, especially in back, as the tiny, pinched rear window makes for very difficult rear visibility. The latest Evoque addresses that issue with a rearview mirror that’s also an impressive camera system, much like a similar feature that Cadillac debuted a few years ago. The result is that you now get an expansive view behind you with the rearview mirror, negating issues with the Evoque’s extra-large blind spots. Same deal with the overall camera system, which offers an excessive number of angles to help counteract any visibility issues inherent to the car.
Another new camera feature of the Evoque is a disappearing hood. Yes, you read that right: in the new Evoque, you can effectively make the hood become transparent. A front camera system stitches together views from directly in front of the driver’s seat, showing precisely what’s under the car — good for off-roading (to see if you’re going to roll over that boulder or just miss it), and also good for parking curbs, to see exactly how close you are to reaching them. Not a bad idea.
As for the driving experience, the latest Evoque feels a lot like the old one — and that’s generally a good thing. The driving position is a bit more upright than in other luxury crossovers, which I like, as it feels like a true SUV — something you come to expect from a Land Rover. You also get reasonably secure steering and handling and a nice, comfortable ride. My only gripe about the Evoque is and continues to be the powertrain: it has enough power for all situations, but it doesn’t come on very smoothly, instead reacting poorly at first touch of the throttle and only later bringing more power. I wish it was a bit more responsive across the entire power band.
But, ultimately, that’s a relatively small gripe, as the Evoque is otherwise an excellent crossover with great styling, great technology and a great brand name. The new Evoque starts from $43,600 with shipping, though the one I drive was close to $60,000 with all the tech, so expect to pay a lot to get a lot — but as long as the Evoque fits into your budget, it should definitely be on your compact luxury crossover shopping list. Find a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque for sale