The new Range Rover Evoque maintains the model's compact-SUV crown

In a world riddled with companies trying to break into the rarified sphere of road-going luxury, this creation stands its ground as the benchmark for nimble city-dwellers

Believe it or not, it's been 16 years since Land Rover's LRX concept took the motoring world by storm. In all its shiny, sparkling glory on the stand at the North American International Auto Show, the car was a preview of a new baby Range Rover with squat proportions and clean surfaces – a creation that would prove to become one of the marque's greatest hits: the Range Rover Evoque.

Building on the well-established Range Rover formula of luxury meets go-anywhere ability, the Evoque boiled all of that down into a slick and compact package that was as comfortable on city streets as it was on country lanes. Both outside and in, the Evoque was undeniably Range Rover, only it was a fraction of the size. Now, the new Evoque sees Land Rover's latest technology and engineering make a welcome appearance in the smallest member of the Range Rover family.

Under the watchful eye of Jaguar Land Rover's Chief Creative Officer, Professor Gerry McGovern OBE, the Evoque retains its exterior elegance, with its pure and clean surfaces ensuring it slots seamlessly into the Range Rover line-up. “The Evoque's unique personality has put its indelible mark on the automotive landscape,” says McGovern. “Its sophisticated design and timeless sense of modernity continues to strike that all-important emotional chord.”

Though the new grille and super-slim Pixel LED headlights are the most obvious exterior updates, it's on the inside where the new Evoque sets itself apart from its predecessor. Notably, a neat and clearly laid out centre console features a tactile new gear shifter for automatic models, meanwhile Land Rover's intuitive Pivi Pro 2 infotainment system is accessed via a new, floating 11.4-inch curved glass touchscreen. Less is more when it comes to the Evoque's interior, with the screen controlling everything from the entertainment and media to the navigation, temperature and comfort levels. It also comes equipped with Land Rover's latest air purification technology, ensuring its occupants breathe cleanly.

Allowing in more light with the option for a glass panoramic roof, the Evoque sports sustainable materials in the cabin, such as Kvadrat, a tactile alternative to leather, made from a wool blend. Taking inspiration from the material masters on Savile Row, the wool blends are 58 per cent lighter than leather and have been durability tested to the hills, going through no fewer than 60,000 cycles of abrasion tests in Range Rover's own materials lab. That's the equivalent of ten-years'-worth of use, in case you were wondering, so don't fret about letting the children or the chocolate labrador loose on it.

Under the signature clamshell bonnet, there's room for a range of engine possibilities, from a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder option, offered alongside a plug-in hybrid (with up to 39 miles of electric range), to 2.0-litre, four-cylinder units. The D165 and D200 are the diesel choices, meanwhile the P200, P250 and P300e make up the range of petrol-powered options (the number denotes the power output – and that ‘e’ marks the plug-in hybrid model, naturally).

With the majority of the lineup blessed with Land Rover's legendary four-wheel-drive system, the Evoque also features the marque's Terrain Response 2 tech, enabling it to take on everything from grass, gravel, snow, mud ruts and sand when the going gets tough. For more civilised driving environments, there's an eco- and dynamic-driving mode, showcasing the Evoque's penchant for both efficiency and performance, depending on what the situation calls for.

“The original compact luxury Range Rover for the city is even smarter and more sophisticated than its predecessor,” says Geraldine Ingham, Managing Director of the Range Rover family. Priced from £40,000, Land Rover's latest take ensures its most compact Range Rover remains one of the best-looking and most-refined SUVs on the market. In a world riddled with brands trying to break into the rarefied sphere of road-going luxury, the Evoque stands its ground as the benchmark for nimble, city-dwelling SUVs. From the waft-worthy heights of its bigger models to the compact charm of the Evoque, few marques can rival the majesty of a Range Rover.

Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque

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