2020 Evoque P300 R-Dynamic HSE Review

With global sales of more than 772,000 and more than 217 international awards, the original Evoque was not only a commercial success, but also an iconic vehicle for the Jaguar Land Rover Brand. It helped to kick start the compact crossover craze in North America, and remained competitive throughout the years. But after seven years of success, the Evoque is now facing some stiff competitions like the Audi Q3, the Volvo XC40, and the BMW X3 in the compact SUV market.

For 2020, the Evoque has been redesigned to feature an all new exterior, latest automotive technologies, and a new hybrid-electric powertrain. Thanks to Land Rover Canada, I had one week to test drive this beauty. Below is unbiased review.

The 2020 Evoque retains a dramatic exterior with a two-toned fastback roof, a rising belt line, and pronounced shoulders. The wheel arches are so beefy that the front one cuts into the hood. The optional 21" black wheels takes full advantage of the exaggerated wheel arches to give the Evoque a rugged, off-road vibe. The door handles only pops out when car is unlocked. Otherwise, the door handles are retracted to provide a flush, clean look.

At the front, the new slim LED headlights look sharp and modern. There are 5 grilles and a large skit plate in the front fascia. The Evoque employs the same design language as its bigger sibling, the Velar. Elemental shapes are utilzied to create a modern, contemporary design. The optional R-Dynamic details add to the vehicle’s unique appeal.

The footprint of the new model is almost identical to that of the previous model. With the new Transverse Architecture, Land Rover engineers manages to increase the wheelbase by 0.8 in. This helps to increase the interior space for the rear passengers, and makes the Evoque look more planted.

Stretching across the rear of the vehicle is a black accent trim that bridges the two slim LED tail lights. The linear design gives the rear profile a sense of width. The LED segments of the taillights create a Tron like effect that is striking. A large decorative skit plate emphasizes the off-road capability of the car.

Overall, the 2020 Evoque looks cleaner and more polished than the previous generation. At the same time, it retains the same sporty off-road appeal that made the original Evoque stand out among the crowd.

Just like its exterior, the interior of the 2020 Evoque looks cleaner and less clustered than its predecessor. The center console is dominated by two 10" touchscreens that replace most of the physical switch gears. The instrument cluster is now digital, and many of the switch gears on the steering wheel have been replaced by touch buttons.

The interior material quality is premium. Most of the surfaces are soft-touched. Land Rover made a point of adapting sumptuous sustainable materials including eucalyptus textile and Kvadrat wool blend as alternatives to leather.

The leather front seats are both heated and cooled. The 16-way power adjustable diver seat is very comfortable and offers a commanding driving position. The steering wheel is heated, but the metal ring located in the middle of the grip remains cold to touch even after the rest of the wheel is warm. That becomes quite annoying during the cold Canadian winter.

The driver side mirror magnifies the view in a way that requires some getting used to. The rear view is limited, especially if there are passengers sitting in the back. Thankfully, Range Rover addressed the poor visibility with a rear-view mirror option that incorporate a backup display. There is a camera mounted at the back of the shark fin style antenna on the roof. It provides an unobstructed rear-view that can be displayed inside the rear-view mirror. Pushing a toggle switch at the bottom of the mirror activates this function.

The rear cabin of the Evoque feels small, that is despite the added 0.8" knee room provided by the longer wheelbase. The rising belt line limits the rear window size, and the tapering roofline reduces rear cabin headroom. Thankfully, the large panoramic sunroof helps to make the rear cabin feel less claustrophobic.

Overall, the interior of the second generation Evoque feels luxurious, high tech, and uncluttered. Due to the limited space in the rear cabin, front passengers will enjoy the interior much more.

The infotainment system of the 2020 Evoque looks impressive. The optional InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, featuring two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens offers great functionality and usability. The top screen display information for vehicle settings, navigation and camera views. The tilt angle of the screen can be adjusted electronically, and the display automatically folds flat when the vehicle powers down. The bottom display with its integrated rotary dials controls cabin climate, seat functions, and drive modes. The functionality of the rotary dials automatically changes depending on which user menu you are in. There is also a volume control dial located in front of the gear shifter.

The infotainment system is not without some issues though. First of all, the both touchscreens lag. If touchscreens are to be used in place physical switchgears, they have to be responsive. The lag is especially noticeable during vehicle start up. It is best to wait a minute before taking the car out of the drive way. Second, the rotary dials located in the lower screen are placed right on top of the gloss black bezel. It is hard to keep the display looking clean as the piano black surface attracts fingerprints. Third, the location of the volume dial is awkward. It is obscured by the gear shifter and hard to reach.

On the positive side, the 12.3" information display in the instrument cluster is very customizable and easy to use. Combined with the full-color head up display, the driver have all the important driving information displayed right in front of the eyes. The redesigned steering wheel controls are sleek looking and intuitive to operate. Unfortunately, they too are slow to respond.

The new Range Rover Evoque is the first Land Rover model to feature Smart Settings, a system which uses artificial intelligence algorithms to learn the driver’s preferences in order to automate comfort and media settings throughout the drive. In addition to seat position, music and climate settings, the Smart Settings system in the Range Rover Evoque can also adjust steering preferences to maximize comfort.

Safety and Driver Assistance
The new Evoque features some innovative safety features that I have not seen elsewhere.

First, as part of the optional 360 surround camera system, the "ClearSight Ground View" technology offers owners visibility under the front belly of the vehicle. Basically the system compiles the video feed from a ground facing camera located at the front of the vehicle. Once the vehicle passes over the spot, the system then reconstructs the footage to allow the driver to virtually see through the hood by projecting a 180-degree view of the ground onto the vehicle’s upper touchscreen. This is useful when negotiating difficult parking spaces, navigating high city curbs, and tackling rough terrain.

Second, on each of the door handle is a blind spot warning light to alert the passenger of rear approaching objects that can collide with an open door. It is the first time I see the warning light located right on the door handle, and proves to be a very logical choice in practice.

Safety ratings are not available to the 2020 Evoque at the time of writing.

The 2020 Evoque comes with two powertrain options. The P250 version gets a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that provides 246 hp of power. The P300 gets the same turbocharged engine and a 48-volt hybrid (MHEV) system on top. This powertrain comes standard with all of the R-Dynamic models, and delivers 296 hp of power and 295 lb.ft. of torque.

According to Land Rover, the P300 version should accelerate from 0-100km/hr in 6.6 seconds. During our test drive, I find there is a significant delay between stepping on the accelerator pedal and feeling the car taking off from a stand still. The 9-speed automatic transmission also lags at low speed. The Evoque feels the best when in the car is already in motion. The power delivery is immediate with very low turbo lag once the engine RPM passes 2000.

The hybrid system harvests energy normally lost during deceleration via the engine-mounted belt-integrated starter/generator and stores it in the under-floor battery. The stored energy is redeployed to assist acceleration, giving the Evoque more low end torque.

The new Premium Transverse Architecture delivers quieter and smoother rides. The integral multi-link rear suspension is designed to separate lateral and longitudinal forces to enhance body control and agility. It also features All-Wheel Drive and Driveline Disconnect as standard. The Driveline Disconnect seamlessly switch between two- and all-wheel drive on the road. For more adverse conditions, the standard Terrain Response 2 system is designed to automatically detect the surface being driven on and adjust the vehicle’s driving characteristics accordingly.

I don't think most owners of the new Evoque would test its off-road capability fully. But being a Range Rover, the Evoque has to impress in this category nonetheless. The Evoque offers a ground clearance of 8.3-in (212mm), with approach angle of 25 degrees in the front (with the Tow Eye Cover removed) and departure angle of 30.6 degrees in the rear. It can also be submerged in water up to 23.6" high. The wading depth can be monitored with the optional Wade Sensing technology. It uses ultrasonic sensors mounted on the exterior mirrors to measure the depth of the water the car is currently wading. The result of the measurement is displayed on the central touchscreen.

While I think the Evoque can use some refinements on pavement, it proofs to be very capable off-road. It runs through mud and puddles with ease, and the all wheel drive system handles hill climbs in loose sand with no drama.

The P300 Evoque is rated at 11.4 L/100km city, 8.9 L/100km highway, and 10.3 L/100km combined. My one week test ride returns a fuel economy rating of 13 L/100km. The poor fuel economy maybe partially due to the off-road test drive.

Cargo Space & Storage
The luggage space of the new Evoque is 6 percent larger (610L) than that of the previous model. The cargo space is increased to 1430L when the flexible 40:20:40 second-row seats are folded. It is not the most spacious vehicle in the segment, but the luggage space proofs to be practical for daily use. There are mesh pockets in the trunk to hold smaller items in place, preventing them from sliding around when the car is in motion.

Inside the cabin, there is a large center console with twin sliding armrests. The door pockets can now accommodate large 1.5-liter water bottles, and there is a storage deck behind the lower touchscreen to discreetly hold small items such as wallets and cell phones.

In my humble opinion, the new Range Rover Evoque is still the best looking luxurious compact SUV on the market. The designers at Range Rover enhances both the exterior and the interior of the Evoque just enough to keep the it ahead of the pack. With the hybrid drivetrain, the Evoque is also fun to drive and possesses legitimate all-terrain capability.

On the other hand, the 2020 Evoque is not cheap, not particularly fuel efficient, and its cargo capacity is below average. However, the most serious issues of the car are the persistent infotainment lag and its unrefined low speed driving characteristics. If Range Rover can iron out these two issues, I can wholeheartedly recommend the 2020 Evoque despite its other shortcomings.

Test Vehicle
2020 Evoque P300 R-Dynamic HSE
Base $61,500 CAD, As tested $72,900 CAD
Corris Grey


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