Land Rover range rover evoque 2020 p300 r-dynamic se (221kw)

2020 Range Rover Evoque review: P300 R-Dynamic SE

The Range Rover Evoque range has been simplified, but it's still broad. Here, we test the P300 R-Dynamic SE, with a starting price close to 90 grand.
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We know the 2020 Range Rover Evoque is a beautifully styled SUV that builds on the fashion-first mantra of the original. This vehicle, and indeed many would say this segment, is as style-focused as any. The new Evoque needs to back its style with substance, though – especially given the increased competition it faces from just about every major manufacturer.

The range and list of engine variants are seemingly endless – even though Land Rover makes much of the fact that it has rationalised and simplified the Evoque buying proposition. On test here we have the P300 R-Dynamic SE.

Still, there are no less than six engines on offer, S, SE and HSE trim grades beyond that, and of course, the R-Dynamic package we have on test here. Regardless of engine choice, you get a nine-speed automatic across all variants along with AWD.

Pricing for the Evoque range starts from $62,670, while the P300 SE with R-Dynamic pack as tested here starts from $86,490 before on-road costs. What you need to do with the Evoque, perhaps more than any other premium SUV in this segment, is very strictly work out what your budget is, and then decide which specification grade fits within that budget.

As always with Land Rover, our test Evoque has options – and plenty of them. They are: panoramic roof ($2040), metallic paint ($2020), suede headlining ($2020), adaptive dynamics ($1950), LED headlights with DRLs ($1600), 21-inch wheels ($1380), Drive Pack ($1340), head-up display ($1300), Meridian surround-sound system ($1200), keyless entry ($900), privacy glass ($690).

There's also 14-way heated electric memory front seats ($560), premium carpet mats ($490), ambient interior lighting ($410), DAB system ($400), Configurable Dynamics ($390), electrically adjustable steering column ($380), front fog lights ($330), and ash grey veneer trim ($160). All those options take the as-tested price to $106,050 plus on-road costs.

The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the P300 makes 221kW at 5500rpm and 400Nm at 1500rpm, while using a claimed 8.2L/100km. It’s no lightweight really, weighing in at 1808kg, so that’s an efficient claim, and on test we used an indicated 10.1L/100km.

Given we did a lot of driving in traffic, that’s a solid number. On our highway runs, we saw that figure drop quickly down into the eights as an average – again an impressive number for a comfortable SUV of this size.

I tested the new-generation Evoque at its international launch in April 2019, and a few things were immediately evident. Mainly, the subtly revised styling, but also the lift in cabin luxury and quality – due in part to the revised infotainment system. I was also keen to drive the new Evoque on our own local roads, because as we know, buttery-smooth road surfaces overseas don’t always reflect our own conditions here.

While the exterior is a measure of minimalist revision, the same can’t be said for the interior, which feels significantly different to the old model. The cabin is a beautifully executed study in design execution and quality.

The quality of the leather, the fit and finish, the insulation and the ergonomics are all excellent. The heated seats are well-sculpted, too, so they are comfortable no matter how long the drive ahead of you.

As always with Land Rover product, you sit high in the cabin with a commanding view fore and aft, and there’s a light and airy feel to the cabin even with the sunroof closed. The steering wheel and seat adjustment mean you can easily find the best possible driving position, and there’s plenty of head room, even for taller drivers and passengers up front.

The driver’s instrument display is excellent, and perhaps even more importantly it has a high-quality appearance. As I noted at the international first drive, the infotainment system is now so far ahead of the old system, it’s barely worth comparing. Bluetooth worked reliably and Apple CarPlay worked faultlessly on test, with the proprietary satellite navigation as good as any, too. The Drive Pack, which brings with it the suite of electronic safety aids, is very much worth adding to the Evoque.

The general display, in terms of graphics and fonts et cetera, is modern enough to compete with the best in the segment, which is something the old Evoque couldn’t do. New for 2020 is the second touchscreen that is used to control the HVAC and vehicle settings. It takes a period of familiarisation and is a little complex first up, but once you work your way through it, it becomes more second nature.

The rear-view camera is excellent, clear and broad, and it makes manoeuvring the Evoque a cinch. I liked the steering wheel controls, too. Despite the fact there’s plenty of functionality, they don’t feel overly complex or overloaded.

The storage space below the centre console is handy, and the flat panel that you can stack on top of the cupholder section is also nifty. It works for larger smartphones and provides safe storage.

The door pockets are useful and also feature storage for water bottles. While the centre console does have two USB inputs and a 12V socket, it is small and won’t take anything much bigger than a phone, wallet or keys.

Into the second row, there’s more than enough room for the family, and a 12V outlet for charging devices. The door pockets are quite small, but the new Evoque certainly feels airier back there than the previous model. The roof doesn’t feel as low, in other words. Certainly not from the second-row seats, anyway, despite what the swooping roof line might look like from the outside.

Luggage space is useful (591L with the seats in use), the second row folds flat and liberates plenty of space (up to 1383L), plus you get lights in that section and two take-away bag hooks. There are four tie-down points for anything you need to strap down, and the space-saver spare is located under the floor.

On the subject of folding seats, you need to do it from the second row at the seat-back specifically, rather than remotely from the rear of the Evoque. The electric tailgate is snappy, and there’s a robust luggage cover to keep things out of sight.

With the aforementioned 221kW and 400Nm on offer, the four-cylinder is plenty punchy and up to the task of daily driving duties. Peak torque is available from just 1500rpm – just off idle, in other words – and it makes the daily grind both effortless and enjoyable.

As we’ve reported before with gearboxes beyond the eight ratio count, the nine-speed does do some hunting – largely erring on the side of efficiency.

You can occasionally sense some lag from the engine and gearbox combination, but that said, you can also work out how to drive around it easily enough. I reckon the stop/start system is a bit harsh, too – especially given how refined the rest of the Evoque is.

The balance between ride and handling is nicely executed. At launch, I remember being able to punt the Evoque enthusiastically along a winding mountain road, and that remains the case here, too.

It feels taut, responsive and sharp – especially for an SUV. Still, it manages to soak up the nastier road surfaces with composure. A

couple of CarAdvice road testers thought the steering was on the light side, but I liked it, and thought that the tune works well with this platform and with the intended buyer in mind.

The Evoque is covered by Land Rover’s three-year/100,000km warranty, and requires a visit to the dealer every 12 months.

The Evoque was always about style first and substance second. Unashamedly so, really. Now, though, especially given the sweeping changes to this new platform, it has more substance than ever before.

It is still at the pointy end of the segment with regard to pricing, but it is very much a premium product, too. The fact that it is more versatile than ever before is a bonus.

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