2024 Range Rover Evoque Review: Fashion for the city, skills for the country

2024 Range Rover Evoque Review: Fashion for the city, skills for the country

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EPERNAY, France – When Land Rover introduced its smallest SUV for 2012, the en vogue Range Rover Evoque aspired more to the citified, reservations-at-eight lifestyle than any traditional “Landie” ethos. Today, the rest of the Range Rover brand has effectively followed its lead, as JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) creative director Gerry McGovern has sidelined the “Land Rover” name altogether in favor of a “House of Brands” strategy that will more clearly differentiate the SUVs named Defender, Discovery and Range Rover.

Now in its second generation, the Evoque is revised for 2024 (along with the 2024 Velar, which we’ll review separately), and it offers some welcome clarity as to what we can expect from the Range Rover wing of this House of Brands. The “Range Rover” script still runs across the Evoque’s unblemished brow, offering assurances of status despite shrink-wrapped proportions. The Land Rover badge has been removed from its tail. And with Evoque sales gone soft in the face of stronger small-SUV competition – from a U.S. high of about 14,600 units in 2015, to 6,022 last year – designers used the mid-cycle upgrade to home in on the Evoque’s best qualities: inimitable Range Rover design, refinement and off-road ability, whether mud actually splatters the fenders or not.


The Evoque has always been a handy mobile Rorschach test, eliciting one of two reactions: First, “That’s way too small for an SUV. Who would buy one?” Secondly, “That’s the sweetest SUV I’ve ever seen. Where can I get one”?

To answer the first group and explain the second, “Design, style and brand image top the list of purchase drivers” among all Evoque buyers, said Land Rover communications manager Joe Staubel. He continued that the Evoque is notably popular among women, who consist of 62% of total buyers, versus the luxury car average of 41%. The Evoque also draws a robust mix of ethnicities, including 12% Black buyers and 16% Latin American.

Because of those unapologetic good looks (and the condescending men who view “popular with women” as a damnable offense), a common misconception is that the smallest Rover is some dilettante or toy. In fact, the Evoque is far more capable off-road than any of its subcompact kin from Europe or America, closer in spirit and skill to a Jeep Cherokee than a typical crossover softie. The fact that few owners will test those capabilities is no reason to dismiss them outright, in part because chassis solidity and versatile suspension tuning also pay on-road dividends. There’s a healthy 8.3 inches of ground clearance, nearly matching the 8.7 of a Cherokee Trailhawk or Subaru Outback. There are useful approach-and-departure angles and a surprisingly robust, on-demand AWD system. An available magnetic suspension monitors the roadway, and adjusts shocks near-instantaneously on any surface.

The Terrain Response 2 system offers a full range of off-road settings, including Grass/Gravel/Snow and Mud/Ruts, abetted by Hill Descent Control and All-Terrain Progress Control. Consider the latter an adaptive cruise control for the rougher stuff. And the Evoque can ford 23.6 inches of water, as thigh-deep as a Land Rover Discovery.