Although relatively new in Land Rover’s illustrious line-up of vehicles, the Range Rover Evoque has nonetheless been one of British marque’s most significant models. Not only did it set the design template for the other models in the range including the Range Rover Sport, the Discovery and new ones like the Velar, but it also established a blueprint for a completely new niche segment – the luxury compact SUV. However, for all its design flourish, the first generation Evoque was not much loved in the motoring circles as it was seen as more style and less substance. But clearly, Land Rover had its buyers expertly figured out, as it went on to become the best-selling Range Rover of all time.

The 2019 Evoque, which marks the second generation of the crossover, seeks to build on this phenomenal success by keeping the distinctive coupé-like silhouette intact while adding a bit more refinement, sophistication and performance. Although the footprint is almost identical to the previous model, the stance is more muscular thanks to the pronounced shoulders, beefier wheel arches and the new 21in wheels. The crossover’s presence is accentuated by the new slim Matrix LED headlamps and taillamp graphics. Flush, deployable door handles help give the profile, a smoother, more evenly sculpted appearance.

 

Photos: Stefan Lindeque

The cabin is slightly roomier thanks to a longer wheelbase and Land Rover says the luggage space is 10 per cent larger at 591 litres expanding to 1,383 litres when the flexible 40:20:40 second-row seats are folded. The minimalist, clutter-free dashboard and high quality materials add to the decidedly upmarket interior, which also gets 16-way seat controls and cabin air ionization. The camera-based Clear Sight rear view mirror needs some getting used to, but provides a clear line of sight for normally obstructed views, and is much clearer and brighter at night than a conventional mirror. It also features Ground View technology, which projects camera imagery onto the upper touchscreen to show the driver a 180-degree view under the front of the vehicle, which is helpful when negotiating tight parking spaces with high kerbs.

The 2.0-litre turbo motor is peppy and is mated to a smooth-shifting nine-speed auto box. Power output and performance are enough for a crossover of this size and its urban application, although it is equipped with Terrain Response 2 and can wade through water up to 600mm if you need it to. Adaptive Dynamics does a decent job in delivering a good balance of comfort and agility.

Overall, the second-generation Evoque is a significant improvement over its predecessor. It looks better and adds an aura of luxury that makes it more worthy of the Range Rover nameplate than before.