In Land Rover’s most luxurious trim level, Autobiography, the Evoque gets softer Oxford leather seats, silver exterior details, special 20in wheels, a 17-speaker Meridian stereo and a panoramic roof as standard. It also gives us the chance to see how the nine-speed ZF auto fares on our route.
Engine: 2179cc SD4 turbodiesel
Power/torque: 187bhp/310lb ft
Transmission: Nine-speed auto
Speed: 121mph/0-60mph: 8sec
Factory combined mpg: 47.1
LRO RWT: 34.6
Price as tested: £55,230
380 MILES TO GET THE FULL LOWDOWN...
Head-up display: good or gimmick?
It takes a while to get used to using both laser HUD (a £1000 option) and normal dials, but you can’t see it at all in bright sunlight and seems more of a distraction to me.
Nine speeds are in their element
In LRO’s flat-land home county, nine speeds feel too many, but on Yorkshire hills they’re invaluable. Where the Freelander 2’s six-speed auto either sets the SD4 screaming in too low a gear or struggling to pull a higher one, this ZF box always has a ratio to suit. It’s best in fully automatic Drive mode; Sport makes the SD4 unnecessarily thrashy, insisting on holding 2500-3500rpm. Manually paddle-shifting helps, but it can be slow to respond.
Handling best served in Dynamic
Adaptive Dynamics is an £800 option, and worth every penny. In Dynamic mode you can really exploit the Evoque’s mesmerising levels of grip, and attack every corner as if you’re on a race track. It has terrific steering and brakes too.
Can you really take it on greenlanes?
It’s satisfying taking the top-spec Evoque greenlaning, although I did think twice about whether I should: its front valance juts out a bit more than normal and looked vulnerable to some of the rockier sections, as did the diamond-turned forged alloys with low-profile 245/45 R20 Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres. But it was more than capable – made a Defender-driving couple smile too!
Don’t look back in anger...
Have you ever tried reversing an Evoque down an unlit country lane at night? I have, and I still don’t know how I didn’t put it in a ditch. Rearward visibility is poor at the best of times, but neither the reversing lights nor rear-facing camera helped – the latter being spattered with muddy water. Why can’t the camera be in the swept part of the rear window instead?
What's the point?
LRO’s Real World Test gives an independent, ‘real world’ fuel economy figure based on a varied and enjoyable 380-mile route, rather than sitting on a dyno.
It’s a big drive to do in one day, so we get up early and start by brimming the fuel tank at a garage on the A1 in Lincolnshire.
By doing the same at the end, it’s easy to get a precise ‘combined mpg’ figure – meaning a blend of motorways, fast A-roads, country roads, a couple of long greenlanes and a rush-hour city crawl. And, we find out more along the way!
Our test route
Bloody Oaks services, Stamford > A1 north Knaresborough > Arncliffe > Kettlewell > Middleham > Bainbridge > Stalling Busk (byway) > Hubberholme > Cam High Road (byway) > Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes > Settle > Silsden > Bradford > M62 east > Ferrybridge > A1 south > Bloody Oaks services, Stamford