The new Range Rover Evoque is a sophisticated evolution of the original. Super-slim Matrix LED headlamps provides a more sophisticated front and rear lamp graphic. Picture: Supplied
The new Range Rover Evoque is a sophisticated evolution of the original. Super-slim Matrix LED headlamps provides a more sophisticated front and rear lamp graphic. Picture: Supplied

Just like Victoria Beckham, the celebrity football wife of English football wizard David Beckham, who Jaguar Land Rover used to usher in the first-generation Range Rover Evoque, the SUV has been evolved drastically to become better at everything it is supposed to be good at.

Whereas Victoria is reported to have adopted a strict clean-eating plan that includes drinking “moon water” and cycling through mountains, the Evoque has shed quite a lot and gained much as well.

The new styling is a stunning result in how JLR designers successfully fused strong DNA from the first Evoque while borrowing a lot of design cues from the larger and multiple beauty-awards-winning Velar.

“The Evoque’s fans wouldn’t allow for a total revolution of the shape. It’s internationally recognisable and loved. Thus the design had to incorporate the old car while thrusting it forward into the future,” said JLR SA MD Richard Gouverneur at the vehicle’s local media launch last week.

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The interior, where much of the renaissance has also happened, has a new dash layout combining two 25cm high-definition glass touchscreens, a 30cm driver display behind the steering wheel and a full colour head-up display.

Gone is the sea of buttons and any analogue instrumentation. In place is a fully digital, touch-sensitive system for every conceivable feature. Only three rotary switches remain on the centre console to adjust the the climate control.

The biggest changes in new Evoque can be found inside, including an all-digital dashboard. Picture: Supplied
The biggest changes in new Evoque can be found inside, including an all-digital dashboard. Picture: Supplied

Everything else, including the Terrain Response system, now has a digital interface. This truly jacks up the ambience of the cabin with its galaxy of light diodes, image, app and text-driven interactivity.

What is more, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay, click and go rear-seat tablet holders with charging capability, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices and six USB slots push the fourth industrial revolution theme of the Evoque.

FANS WOULDN’T ALLOW FOR A TOTAL REVOLUTION OF THE SHAPE. IT’S INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISABLE.

There is also a suite of advanced driver assistance systems such as Lane Keep Assist, Driver Condition Monitor and a reversing camera.

A unique new feature is the new ClearSight Ground View,  which uses cameras in the front grille and door mirrors to project a feed on to the central touchscreen to show what is ahead of and underneath the front of the vehicle.

A new smart rear-view mirror transforms into an HD video screen through a rear-facing camera feed. You can adjust the height and screen contrast at the touch of a button and it allows the driver’s view to remain unrestricted by low light, passengers or large items in the back. It also has a wider 50° field of vision using a camera positioned above the rear window. For a dimmer, but more natural, viewpoint you can switch it back to normal glass mirror mode.

Flush-fitted door handles contribute to the Evoque’s sleek look. Picture: Supplied
Flush-fitted door handles contribute to the Evoque’s sleek look. Picture: Supplied

Deep within the new sheet metal is Land Rover’s new mixed-metal Premium Transverse Architecture, which is said to be 13% stiffer with a 21mm longer wheelbase yielded for increased interior room than its predecessor. It is reported to have a reduction in noise and vibration intrusion into the cabin.

The drive experience, whether powered by a D180 132kW diesel motor or P250 183kW petrol engine attached to a new 9-speed automatic, evidences much of the in-drive improvements, the car feeling very stable and composed on straight line speeds and through twisty sections. 

A plug-in hybrid will be added to the range early in 2020.

As expected of any Range Rover, off-road driving is a critical part of the deal. Terrain Response 2 is available as standard with All-Wheel Drive and four modes (Comfort, Sand, Grass-Gravel-Snow, and Mud & Ruts).

A 212mm ground clearance, 25° front and 30.6° rear departure angles and a maximum wading depth of 600mm is ample enough for a certain level of offroad capabilities, as demonstrated when I drove the vehicle at the Land Rover Experience facility in Lonehill.

The latest Evoque is armed with an assortment of assistance system such as Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control and All-Terrain Progress Control — the latter linked to the integrated Adaptive Cruise Control.  The car can now gradually self-throttle itself up steep inclines, the driver only needing to intervene in steering and braking.


New Range Rover Evoque pricing:

Evoque 5-door 2.0 D 132kW D180 — R734,300

Evoque 5-door 2.0 D 132kW D180 S — R784,300

Evoque 5-door 2.0 D 132kW D180 SE — R843,800

Evoque 5-door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R-Dynamic — R813,000

Evoque 5-door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R-Dynamic E — R872,500

Evoque 5-door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R-Dynamic SE — R920,200

Evoque 5-door 2.0 D 132kW D180 First Edition — R945,900

Evoque 5-door 2.0 P 183kW P250 — R776,300

Evoque 5-door 2.0 P 183kW P250 — R826,300

Evoque 5-door 2.0 P 183kW P250 SE — R885,800

Evoque 5-door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R-Dynamic — R855,000

Evoque 5-door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R-Dynamic SE — R914,500

Evoque 5-door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R-Dynamic HSE — R962,300

Evoque 5-door 2.0 P 183kW P250 First Edition — R987,900