The Evoque breaks new ground for a Range Rover. It's far lighter than either the Range Rover or Range Rover Sport, with kerbweights starting from 1595kg. The Evoque is also the most fuel-efficient Range Rover, returning 57.6mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 129g/km of carbon dioxide if you choose the two-wheel-drive diesel Coupe.
That model won't be delivered to customers until early next year, but 4x4 Evoques are already rolling out of showrooms as fast as Land Rover can build them, with a waiting list of close to six months.
First impression of the Evoque
We've driven the higher powered 4x4 diesel with both manual and automatic gearboxes, as well as the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol.
The petrol goes like stink and sounds much better than the diesel, but most buyers will be filling up at the black pump. The 187bhp 2.2-litre diesel may not be as swift as the petrol model, but it's no slouch. With 310lb.ft of torque and a kerbweight of at least 1670kg, depending on the exact specification, it should easily cope with any sensibly matched tourer. The manual gearbox has a short and precise action which keen drivers will enjoy, although the auto suits the urbane but sporty character of the car well.
To drive, the Evoque is almost as good as it looks. The ride isn't quite as supple as a big Range Rover's, but it copes with bumps better than rivals from the likes of Audi and BMW. The cars we drove were fitted with Adaptive Drive, which uses clever magnetic dampers to vary the behaviour of the suspension. Choosing the Dynamic setting firms things up nicely, with excellent body control over dips and crests.
For buyers who rarely use the rear seats, the three-door Coupe is even better looking than the five-door, and still has decent boot space. However, the shallow windows leave rear-seat passengers feeling rather hemmed in, even in the five-door.
Unfortunately, the cachet of the Range Rover name means the Evoque is very expensive. Prices start from £27,955, rising to £38,995. That's a lot to pay for a 4x4 of this size, designed with Victoria Beckham's help or not.
There'll be a more detailed review of the new Evoque in the December issue of Practical Caravan. For digital subscriptions go to Zineo