When Jaguar Land Rover introduced the smallest member of its exclusive Range Rover family, the 2012 Evoque, it was an immediate visual standout married to lavish features and a seemingly unstoppable all-wheel-drive system. The 2020 model from the British automaker follows the same formula. And despite the fact that there’s not a single, carryover body panel wed to its all-new “architecture,” the SUV is instantly recognizable as an Evoque.
For 2020, the two-door version is gone, along with the quirky Evoque convertible that made more sense as a fantasy-in-chrome show car than a production vehicle. Few will notice. It’s the four-door Evoque that generated annual sales of more than 100,000 vehicles. And it’s here that some welcome improvements have been made. While the new model retains a footprint that makes it as easy to navigate urban streets as off-road trails, the wheelbase has been stretched by nearly an inch. We’ll save the technical explanation, but that translates into a roomier interior with additional head and legroom, even for rear-seat passengers.
The well-appointed interior features the currently requisite assortment of high-tech goodies, including a mirror that uses a camera to give you a better rear view. The improved infotainment system can be ordered with the unique “transparent hood.” No, it’s not made of glass or acrylic. Rather low-mounted cameras display an image on Evoque’s big touch-screen of what’s directly in front of the wheels. It proves useful while negotiating rocky, off-road courses as well as when parking.
What’s actually under the hood is JLR’s turbocharged, 2.0-liter Ingenium engine, available in two configurations, the base making a solid 246 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The upgrade punches that up to 296 hp and 295 lb-ft. That version, known as the P300, is Land Rover’s first mild hybrid. It uses a 48-volt battery that adds a bit of off-the-line boost to performance while also smoothing out the stop/start system designed to save gas by briefly shutting the engine off, rather than idling. Both versions of the Ingenium are mated to a silky new nine-speed automatic.
The 2020 Range Rover Evoque smoothly connects the world of off-road and on-road driving. It is a vehicle that seems comfortable in any environment and we can only imagine that potential buyers will find the new version even more appealing than the original.