Emma Jayne Williams

Entry-level Range Rover Evoque gets a major styling, tech update for 2020

Land Rover introduced the Range Rover Evoque compact SUV with its pared-back exterior and clean modern interior in 2011. Now, for 2020, the second generation has a subtly more-aggressive look, new eco-friendly materials, new technology with simpler controls, a new platform, and more.

Starting at $42,650 for the basic S trim with a 246-horsepower engine; $46,600 for the bolder, sportier 300-horsepower R-Dynamic mild hybrid; and up to $56,850 for the limited First Edition model, Evoque is an affordable way to get yourself into a Range Rover – with six trims to choose from.

A sleek new front-end design, larger 21-inch wheels, and flush deployable door handles are exterior changes, while new interior materials include Kvadrat (durable wool blend), Dinamica suede-like fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, and Eucalyptus fiber-based textiles – in all up to 72.8 pounds of recycled and eco-friendly materials in the new Evoque.

The new platform offers more cargo space – 21.5 cubic feet behind the rear seat, and up to 50.5 cubic feet with the 40/20/40 split rear seatback folded down.

New technology includes a speed limiter that won’t allow the vehicle to go more than a few miles per hour over the set speed – set by pressing a button when the desired speed is reached.

Control buttons are kept to a minimum by using two touch screens on the center stack, the In Control Touch Pro Duo with Navigation Pro and Pro Services. Vehicle controls are touchpoints on the lower screen and a pair of innovative dials that change role depending on the function selected.

For example, touch the climate tab at the top of the screen and the dials set temperature and fan speed. Evoque’s In Control is structured to receive wireless updates for the infotainment and vehicle control systems –the first Land Rover vehicle with this capacity.

My Evoque SE ($47,200) was a dazzling Yulong White ($610) beauty with black accents (a thin black stripe on the outer front bumper, along the lower door panels, to the outer rear bumper; black grille, black “spear heads” below the “A” pillar, gloss-black pillars, black liftgate trim), riding on special 21-inch, five split-spoke gloss sliver wheels ($800).

It was powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder (246 horsepower/269foot-pounds of torque) turbocharged gasoline engine (with stop/start technology and smart regenerative charging), paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission (closely spaced ratios, almost imperceptible intelligently adaptable shift schedules).

EPA rated for 20 mpg city/27 highway/23 combined, my Evoque achieved an average of 19 mpg mostly driving in the neighborhood and adjacent back roads.

Instantly recognizable as a Range Rover, Evoque has a dramatic silhouette and stance, a distinctive dipping roofline and rising beltline (from front wheel arch to taillight edge), with pronounced shoulders and powerful wheel arches (rising to meet the hood like a snarling lip).

The design has cleaner surfaces with fewer lines and creases and slimmer signature LED headlights – premium LED headlights with the distinct angular graphic of signature daytime running lights on my Evoque –with animated turn signals.

LED lighting is standard all around, with signature slim taillights wrapped high around the rear quarter and power-gesture liftgate ($100). Keyless Entry ($550) allowed the doors to be unlocked and opened with the fob in a pocket or purse. Smart Settings recalls personal vehicle preferences (seat, mirror, media), identifying each driver using their key and phone. The system also learns habits, past routines, whether to heat the steering wheel or seats, etc.

All-wheel drive along with improved Active Driveline and Electronic Traction Control provided confidence for challenging situations (mud and water at this time of year), supplying traction as needed – up to 100 percent to the necessary axle.

Terrain Response monitors driving conditions and selects the most-suitable terrain setting (manual override available). All Terrain Progress Control maintains a set speed in challenging conditions, between one and 18 mph.

Patented Hill Descent Control maintains a steady speed on difficult slopes, braking each wheel separately, while Hill Launch Assist prevents backward roll when pulling away on an incline.

Gradient Release Control prevents rapid acceleration on a steep incline when the brake is released. Low Traction Launch provides optimum torque control to enhance takeoff in slippery conditions.

Driveline Disconnect allows the vehicle to operate in front-wheel drive when driving at a steady speed, such as on the highway, to conserve energy, reconnecting with impressive response time when needed.

Adaptive Dynamics ($715) analyzes acceleration, steering, throttle and brake-pedal activity to optimize the suspension for the optimum balance of comfort, refinement, and agility. Torque Vectoring by Braking reduces under steer for controlled, responsive cornering. Configurable Dynamics ($355) allows the driver to arrange throttle mapping, shift points, steering settings, and suspension to suit driving needs.

Wade Sensing, a no-cost option, uses an image on the touch screen to alert the driver when water approaches the vehicle’s maximum wading depth of 23.6-inches.

My Range Rover Evoque SE was ready for almost anything I could throw at it, and the Sports Command Driving position put me up where I could enjoy every minute.

The interior was luxurious Deep Garnet and Ebony ($1,700) with quilted perforated Windsor leather seats.

A full extended leather upgrade ($1,920) added Windsor leather to the door top roll, dash and instrument panel hood. Natural Gray Ash veneer ($205) trimmed the center console, the dash and door panels.

The headliner and pillars were Ebony Morzine fabric, made from recycled plastic bottles ($280). The leather steering wheel with Atlas bezel ($300) was electrically adjustable ($510). Heated and cooled electric memory front seats with 16-way adjustment, and heated rear seats added $1,500.

A fixed panoramic roof ($1,280) with tinted glass and a retractable fabric shade allowed a full view of the sky, and privacy glass on the sides and rear kept prying eyes away while protecting the interior and passengers from sun and heat.

Configurable ambient interior lighting with 10 colors set the mood, from laid-back to lively. Information from the touch screen was projected onto the windshield via a Head-Up Display ($900), along with speed, gear position, and navigation directions.

A 360-degree Surround Camera ($800) displayed multiple views of the area around the vehicle, and a Clear Sight Interior Rear-View Mirror ($475), a first for Range Rover, using a camera in the fin antenna, displayed a panoramic view behind the vehicle – especially helpful if the conventional mirror view is obstructed by passengers or cargo.

Drive Pack ($1,700) included blind-spot assist, adaptive cruise control and high-speed emergency braking.

Meridian Surround Sound ($800) had 14 speakers and exclusive Trifield technology, and Sirius XM satellite radio and HD radio ($500) brought a wide selection of stations and entertainment.

Rear passengers had the ability to connect and use a tablet through the Click and Go Integrated Base Unit ($305), and three additional charging outlets in a Power Socket Pack ($155).

The Driver Condition Monitor and Lane Keep Assist were standard, as well a Park Pack with Clear Exit Monitor (for rear passengers exiting on the traffic side), Park Assist (self-parking), 360 Parking Aid, and Rear Traffic Monitor.

By pressing a button on the overhead console or Assistance screen in the In Control Remote smartphone app, a direct call to Land Rover Assistance will allow driver or passenger to access help for minor incidents. For more serious incidents, pressing the SOS emergency button will automatically connect to emergency response teams who notify emergency services to your location.

Premium carpet mats were $305, and destination charges added $995, bringing the delivered price of my roomy, luxurious, very attractive Range Rover Evoque SE to $64,010.

The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williamshave appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at emmajayne1948@gmail.com.

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