Elegant looks should re-ignite love affair with Evoque. Picture: SUPPLIED
Elegant looks should re-ignite love affair with Evoque. Picture: SUPPLIED

As Range Rover’s entry-level model launched in 2010, the Evoque went on to light up the subcompact luxury crossover SUV segment with its eye-catching design, racking up 772,096 in global sales.

Without messing about with the distinctive original blueprint, the newly facelifted Evoque borrows newer styling cues from its larger brethren, but remains instantly recognisable. 

“Underneath the skin is an engineering and technical revolution. The architecture is all new, with only the door hinges remaining unchanged on the body. The chassis has been significantly reworked to make the most of the stiffer body, ensuring the characteristic ride comfort and refinement of a Range Rover,”  says Nick Rogers, executive director of product engineering at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

It has more interior space due to a longer wheelbase that yields 20mm extra rear knee-room and boasts 10% more luggage space of 591l that can be enlarged to 1,383l with the 40:20:40 second-row seats folded down. There’s also been an increase in small item stowage — the larger glove box and centre cubby said to now fit tablets, handbags and bottles with ease.

Clean and flush digital instrumentation. It’s properly business-like in there Picture: SUPPLIED
Clean and flush digital instrumentation. It’s properly business-like in there Picture: SUPPLIED

Inside, JLR says the extensive grade walks are superbly crafted with an orderly décor of minimalistic arrangements, using a variety of premium materials such as wool and suede cloth.

Technologies on offer include a new twin touchscreen Touch Pro Duo system similar to Merc’s MBUX, 16-way electric seat controls, and even cabin air ionization in high-end derivatives. It also comes with smart settings that use artificial intelligence algorithms to learn the driver’s preference and acts as an onboard butler. In addition to seat position, music and climate settings, the Evoque can also control steering column preferences to maximise comfort.

The new Range Rover Evoque makes its debut, turning heads with its modernist design and bringing accessible luxury to the city and beyond. Find out more: http://ow.ly/fyJF30mKnyE

A segment-first ClearSight rear-view mirror that transforms into an HD video screen is also available. If rear visibility is compromised by passengers or bulky items, the driver simply flicks a switch on the bottom of the mirror and a camera feed from the top of the car displays what is behind the vehicle in crisp, high-definition, 50-degree field of vision even in low light situations.

The updated Evoque is also the first vehicle to feature ground view technology. This feature projects camera imagery onto the upper touchscreen to show the driver a 180-degree front view, effectively making the bonnet invisible for better negotiating of difficult parking spaces, kerbs or tackling rough terrain.

But it’s the striking new aesthetics that pull us in. With super-slim Matrix LED headlamps both front and rear, the new Evoque has a look similar to that of the gorgeous Range Rover Velar. Optional R-Dynamic details and burnished copper accents are also on offer.

Slim light cluster benefits rear styling significantly Picture: SUPPLIED
Slim light cluster benefits rear styling significantly Picture: SUPPLIED

There’s an entry-level 2WD model but this one is not planned for SA. The rest of the range features a second-generation all-wheel-drive system equipped with terrain response 2 which automatically detects the surfaces being driven on and adjusts the drive settings accordingly. The new version now wades through water up to 600mm deep, from 500mm previously.

It also uses the new corporate naming strategy for the entire range of universal petrol and diesel four-cylinder Ingenium engines.

JLR South Africa spokesperson Izak Louw confirms that only two Evoque models will be available when the updated range arrives in SA in the first quarter of 2019: the diesel Td4 D180 AWD 9-speed Automatic with outputs of 132kW and 430Nm; and the petrol Si4 P250 AWD 9-speed automatic with 183kW and 365Nm.

The petrol hybrid with 221kW and 400Nm may also be introduced as 2019 unfolds.