The new Range Rover Evoque is here. The quintessential small SUV. The style icon that defined the segment. It’s all new, and still a lot of the same. We peer in to see what’s changed, and what’s not!

The Range Rover Evoque is a style icon. But it’s so much more than that. It’s the car that changed Jaguar land Rover’s fortunes when it was launched back in 2011. It defined the small SUV segment. It defined the way people perceived Land Rover’s of the future. It defined the Land Rover of today, and tomorrow. Virtually every Land Rover released since has borrowed from the Evoque in some way or another. Think about it – Discovery, Discovery Sport, Velar, Range Rover, RR Sport. This car is not just a style icon. This car is an icon. Period.

This car is an icon. Period.

Now there’s a whole new car available. Yes, it’s all new. It doesn’t look like it, but it is. First things first, it’s still a looker. The design of the original Evoque was polished over and over again to make the Velar. And now that same polished design get filtered to the baby of the range, the Evoque. I personally think the proportions of this design look spot-on on the Velar. That car is special from a details standpoint. It’s pleasing to the eye like very few other cars are. But the design does look spot-on, on the Evoque too. It’s got swept back LED tail lamps, the same high waist line, and the same slanting roof line. Everything is smoother, more chiselled, more pleasing. Every detail is more coherent.

The design trend continues on the inside too. There’s a large central touch screen. It’s not the highest resolution unit I’ve seen, but it does the job. There is Apple Car Play on offer, but it’s only available through a wired connection. There’s Android Auto too, if that’s what you prefer. There are touch sensitive AC buttons. And a drive selector in the centre console. Overall, the quality of materials is a big upgrade from previous generations. The fit and finish is better too. There’s enough room for two up front and three at the back. The seats offer great support, and I had no complaints. You sit pretty high in a Range Rover. This is unlike SUVs from other manufacturers that prefer to give you a more sedan like driving position. This does feel different, but also does improve the view out. The rear seats fold flat, in case you want to carry large items.There’s also a full length glass roof. I personally loved this feature. I particularly enjoyed driving out of town late at night, and having a clear view of the stars on one of our shoots. There is obviously a blind to cover the roof when you prefer to not have the sun shining into the cabin.

There’s also a full length glass roof. I personally loved this feature. I particularly enjoyed driving out of town late at night, and having a clear view of the stars on one of our shoots.

The steering wheel is nice and chunky, and easy to manoeuvre. The car is powered by a 2.0L diesel that pumps out 178bhp and 430Nm of torque. There’s also a 245bhp petrol on offer, and that’s sure to be more sprightly. But my guess is that the diesel will be the pick of the bunch. There’s enough grunt on offer for day to day driving. The 9 speed auto gearbox is quick too. This car, in this avatar begs to be driven at ease. There isn’t loads of peer on offer, and the gearbox does seem to be working hard to deliver that extra oomph when you push it. But drive it calmly, and the engine is refined, and quiet and smooth. There’s barely any cabin noise, which is a big upgrade from the previous gen Evoque.

The other big upgrade comes in the form of how this car handles and rides. It’s pliant and absorbs bumps with aplomb. There’s a certain suppleness to the ride. You have to hand it to JLR. They know how to do suspensions in a way that the Germans don’t. The ride feels plush, without feeling disconnected or boring. That’s not an easy thing to do. Steering feedback is decent too. You have a commanding view out, and that helps. You can point the car in the right direction, and it’ll traverse more or less over what you planned. It isn’t an exact as say, a BMW X3 or X5. But the ride more than makes up for it. I also think I’d enjoy this car a lot more in a higher trim level with maybe the 2.0L petrol under the hood. There’d be more to work with. As I said before, the car asks to be driven at ease, and when you do that, it’s a fantastically relaxing car. You could cover hundreds of kilometres without breaking a sweat, without feeling tired.

How do I sum up this car?! It’s stylish, it’s good on the inside too, comfortable, effortless..? Effortless is what I’d use to sum it up. And I suppose that would be doubly true for the 2.0L petrol R Dynamic SE variant too. So that’d be the one I’d go for.