Nearly a decade after the model made its debut, the 2020 Range Rover Evoque still looks audacious and sleek, especially in the compact SUV class where awkward styling and proportions are depressingly prevalent. According to Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern, the Evoque is the first Land Rover to sell primarily on its styling. So it’s not surprising that for the model’s redo, McGovern’s team wanted to enhance rather than reinvent the look — and that neither the slow-selling two-door coupe nor the oddball Evoque convertible has resurfaced.
All the body panels are new, yet the model is instantly familiar as an Evoque. This despite the opportunity afforded by an all-new platform, Land Rover’s so-called Premium Transverse Architecture, which was spurred by the need to accommodate electrified powertrains including an eventual plug-in hybrid (although we’re told there are no current plans to sell the PHEV in the U.S.). Look closely, and one sees the evolution in the slimmer headlamp and taillamp units and the flush-mounted door handles borrowed from the Range Rover Velar. The characteristic fast-sloping roofline and rising beltline return, but the overall design further reduces unnecessary decorative elements to a bare minimum.\
There are no other physical buttons, knobs, or switches. An available virtual instrument cluster offers an even more screen-based experience. Although sleekly handsome, the minimalism goes a bit too far by banishing the radio tuning knob, and the touch surfaces would benefit from some audible or haptic feedback.
JLR’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Ingenium gasoline engine returns in the same two strengths. The “P250” model makes 246 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, and the “P300” makes 296-hp and 295 lb-ft. The names, by the way, derive from the engines’ metric horsepower ratings.
All Evoques use struts up front and a multilink rear setup, which has been retuned for improved ride comfort, with softer spring rates front and rear. The suspension capably dispatched with the modest potholes we encountered despite 20-inch rolling stock (18-, 20-, and 21-inch wheels are available). Pushing hard through winding corners in the rocky hills of Greece, the Evoque exhibited fairly resolute understeer and modest but not objectionable body roll, and over high-speed dips there were a bit more body motions than we would have liked.
The tab for the 2020 Evoque opens at $43,645 for the P250 S, with the SE at $48,195 SE, and a special First Edition asking $57,845 (all before options). The more powerful P300 commands a nearly $4,000 premium, starting at $47,595 for the R-Dynamic S, climbing to $52,145 for the R-Dynamic SE, and reaching $56,795 for the R-Dynamic HSE.
As ever, a Range Rover is not inexpensive. But the model also hews to the brand character with its unmatched off-road ability, sleekly urbane design, and rich interiors. The Evoque proved that the Range Rover idea can translate to size Small. New tech and a more polished driving experience help the 2020 model do so even better.