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Range Rover Evoque engines, drive and performance

2019 onwards (change model)
Performance rating: 4.3 out of 54.3

Written by Keith Adams Published: 26 May 2022 Updated: 30 March 2023

  • Three petrol engines, three diesels, one PHEV
  • Petrol engine is refined and revvy
  • Diesel engine is punchy and quiet

Petrol engines

Land Rover has ensured there are plenty of choices for aspiring Range Rover Evoque buyers. There are four basic engine setups – the 2.0-litre petrol, 2.0-litre diesel, 1.5-litre plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and the 1.5-litre petrol without the plug-in bits.

All petrol engines are impressive in its refinement and performance. Its acceleration doesn’t feel as quick as the figures would suggest. Unlike the diesel, it needs working harder to get into its stride – you’ll be flooring the throttle far more often to keep up with the flow. But the overriding impression of the petrol Evoque is one of unruffled calm.

The power unit is beautifully isolated and rarely do you hear it – even when you’re driving it hard. On the motorway, it’s settled and refined. The nine-speed automatic gearbox can be confusing at times. When you need a quick burst of acceleration, the transmission is sometimes very lazy to respond, even when you floor the accelerator. Push the accelerator pedal down halfway and it will occasionally drop down two gears.

Gold Range Rover Evoque side profile 2019
Gold Range Rover Evoque side profile 2019

Diesel engines

The diesels deliver decent performance and reasonable economy when driven gently. The entry-level 165hp unit is the most refined of the three, and rarely does it feel slower than the range-topping D200, with 200hp.

Having said that, we can’t help but feel that the D200 unit really suits the Evoque. It’s punchy from low revs, and is impressively quiet compared with other JLR cars powered by this engine (they’ve learned a lot about installing them). Although it doesn’t feel as quick as the performance figures hint at, rarely do you feel this is a heavy SUV.

It’s most responsive in Sport mode, but still can be caught on the hop. If you want to be sure of maximum punch, best change manually using the paddleshifters (Command Shift in Land Rover-speak).

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Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic S rear view
Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic S rear view

Electric and hybrid engines

The Evoque is also available as a plug-in hybrid, badged P300e. This combines a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels with an electric motor propelling the rears. Offering low tax and impressive fuel economy, this one could work for a lot of buyers who are looking to move away from diesel, or mainly cover shorter journeys.

The P300e starts to struggle when the battery has depleted and you have to solely run on the small petrol engine. With 200hp available, this struggles to haul this two-tonne SUV – and that’s with just a driver on board. Downshifts take an age to happen, too, with a long pause between pulling the steering wheel paddle and the gearbox responding.  That said, this appears to be a common trait on other plug-in hybrids we’ve driven.

Thankfully the engine remains smooth and quiet, but it’s slow to rev and feels like hard work getting up to motorway speeds. If you can, limit the use of the petrol engine to cruising on the motorway/dual carriageway, when you can also recharge the battery at the same time in Save mode.

Range Rover Evoque front cornering
Range Rover Evoque front cornering

What’s it like to drive?

  • Impressive roadholding and grip
  • Responsive steering
  • Comfortable on the move

One thing you can say about Land Rover is that it knows how to make an off-roader handle well on the road. It feels nimble, but dig a little deeper and it proves to have traded some of its agility for more of a comfortable and luxurious feel.

In bends, it rolls a little, although the body control is good enough for this not to be an issue as it never feels anything other than composed. And as you’ll read below, the pay-off is worth it, as ride comfort and damping are excellent.

In terms of ride comfort, the Evoque feels every bit like a baby Range Rover should. The low speed ride can be a little firm, but there’s an air of softness to it still, with a great level of isolation and suppleness the old one never had. Refinement is aided by the low levels of noise, too. The engines have been brilliantly isolated from the cabin and are pretty quiet at all times, even when heading towards the redline.

What’s it like off-road?

Thanks to the excellent Terrain Response 2 system, which automatically adjusts how the car behaves based upon what surfaces it detects it’s being driven on, the Evoque is a very capable off-roader only marred by a relative lack of ground clearance (compared with something like a Defender).

If you really want to, you can drive through water up to 600mm deep – that’s a 100mm increase over the old Evoque, but still 300mm less than the Defender or Discovery. The driving position is spot on, and the low-speed throttle response is excellent, exactly what’s needed for trickling around at low speed.

Overall, it’s excellent to drive off-road – both through ample in-built ability and the use of clever systems such as Ground View Technology. It’s tough, comfortable and easy to drive.