Sat-nav comes as standard in Prestige and Dynamic models, xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, rear parking camera, each having upgraded but different leather seats, unique exterior styling and the Prestige model stands on 19-inch wheels, with 20 inches standard on Dynamic. Optional plus packs add extra equipment to both models, while both can also be chosen with an entertainment pack.
The Evoque sits lower on its chassis than the Freelander, but Land Rover has also managed to improve its ground clearance over its sibling, so it is actually slightly more capable off road.
Its competence was demonstrated on slippery grass hills in Anglesey, a demanding mountainside track in Snowdonia, and a bumpy and flooded underground tunnel in Liverpool.
No problems were encountered on any of the off-road sections of the route, so the Evoque remains true to its Land Rover badge, but perhaps of greater significance is whether it feels upmarket enough to live up to the Range Rover brand and how it copes where most owners will spend all of their time – on roads used by the rest of us who drive conventional cars.
Its lower stance than the Freelander makes it feel far more agile, while the Evoque takes up barely any more space on the road than a Ford Focus. However, whether choosing the three-door Coupé or the five-door hatchback, its sleek profile hampers rear visibility.
Although it’s already a nimble car with excellent body control and a surprisingly supple ride given the side of the wheels offered, MagneRide adaptive dampers is fitted to Dynamic grade cars for extra poise, although I’d be amazed if most drivers would ever feel the benefit.
We drove TD4 manual, SD4 automatic and Si4 auto variants on the event, although for fleet operators, the TD4 would probably be of greater interest until the front-wheel drive eD4 models arrive in 2012.
The 150bhp 2.2-litre TD4 has CO2 emissions of 149g/km and fuel consumption of 50.4mpg on the combined cycle. This is competitive with the 2.0-litre BMW X3 (although the German car bests the Range Rover for performance with 184bhp), but in relatively exclusive company among SUVs with CO2 emissions below 160g/km.
It might not be the most powerful SUV at this price, but doesn’t feel lacking for performance, with responsive acceleration and an easy six-speed gearchange.
The on-road behavior of the Evoque was as impressive as its off-road performance, and the overall refinement, from the hushed cabin to the high quality of the materials, gives it a true luxury car feel, with an intangible emotional element that is perhaps missing from some of its straight-laced rivals.
Here is the real potential for Evoque to make an impact with user choosers.