CAN YOU BELIEVE it has been over six years since the first production version of the Evoque broke cover. It is as desirable as it ever was and even looks more contemporary than other compact SUVs in its segment. It then, is truly worthy of the Range Rover badge for its desirability and longevity in what otherwise is a very competitive segment. This is why Range Rover has been able to command a premium for it over its German rivals.
The design received an update last year but 2017 is more significant. That’s because the Evoque now gets JLR’s Ingenium 2-litre turbodiesel engine, to replace the 2.2-litre Duratorq mill that was made by Ford. The Ingenium diesel makes 177bhp of power and 430Nm of torque, comes mated to the 9-speed ZF sourced automatic (this car was the first of this gearbox application to come to India) and obviously gets 4WD. That gearbox is a gem, with short ratios for the lower gears letting you quickly off the block and tall ratios for the higher gears, making the SUV more efficient when cruising on the highway. It worked well with the earlier Duratorq motor and works even better with the cutting edge Ingenium mill despite being about 10-horsepower down on power. These SUVs aren’t about 0-100kmph times anyway.
The refinement at idle and as you go through the gears is noticeable. The all-aluminium construction has shaved off almost 80kg from the older mill, making the front end of the Evoque considerably lighter and that should translate to a lot more agility than before. It has been years since I sampled the earlier Evoque though and I can’t recollect how pointy it was, but the new one for an SUV has good turn in and aided by the 4WD system in these wet conditions, is very surefooted. The predictability and confidence aside, the cabin is a calm place even with the tacho north of 3000rpm but it’s best to avoid red-lining to the next gear as it is more of a bottom and mid-range mill. Besides a new motor, you get the new lnControl touch pro infotainment system that is 10 Inches wide and the touch interface is one of the best in the business. There are fewer buttons too with most of the functions now directly accessible on the touchscreen.