(Pocket-lint) - When Land Rover first unleashed the Range Rover Evoque it was met with baffled responses. It was totally new, an attractive compact SUV, the likes of which hadn't been seen before. Since it has become hugely popular and, some might argue, started the compact SUV revolution every other manufacturer is now joining.
The Range Rover Evoque 2016 has arrived and it's not resting on its laurels. The exterior of the car has had a redesign, while the interior and off-road capabilities have been upgraded over the original.
However, there's plenty of competition out there now in the BMW X1, Audi Q3, Porsche Macan and more besides. So does the 2016 Evoque continue to set the trend? Following our first drive in December 2015, we've also been enjoying the 2016 Evoque Autobiography Dynamic 3 Door Coupe to get a real feel of living with the Range.
Range Rover Evoque 2016 review: Design and build
Land Rover would really have to make some huge changes and big errors to make the Range Rover Evoque look bad. What it has actually done is somehow improve on a car that's already strong.
For Evoque fans the exterior changes will be obvious immediately: there's now a new front bumper with wider air intakes that look a bit more aggressive. Vents have been added to the bonnet for the first time to back up this sporty exterior. Coupled with the new grille, the front now looks more off-road-ready than the previous generation.
The lights have had an overhaul, too, with full-LED adaptive headlights added, making this the first Land Rover to feature them. There's also now an integrated high-level stop light in the rear spoiler for greater visibility and seamless design.
Another new exterior feature are the rear connectivity fins. These two protrusions cater for a Wi-Fi hotspot in the car that can connect to its own network via a dedicated 3G antenna. The result is seamless 3G Wi-Fi for everyone in the car, even in areas of lower signal.
Inside the Evoque there's the usual blend of high-end kit and traditional Range Rover design. There are plenty of options and what you get included comes down to what model within the range you opt to choose. The trim, regardless of model you opt for, is very Range Rover and the build quality excellent - only some shortcomings seem to have creeped in, such as the flimsy foam under the boot space, for examplem but on the whole this is a car that says luxury through and through.
The top-of-the-range, um, Range features all the bells and whistles you can imagine. Rear headset monitors for passengers in the back complete with individual Bluetooth headsets and a remote control, through to a leather heated steering wheel for the driver. Our review came fitted with 20-inch alloy "Sparkle Silver" wheels too.
Range Rover Evoque 2016 review: Handling and performance
The Range Rover Evoque was never pitched as the all-terrain equivalent of its elder brother, the hardy Land Rover Discovery. But its popularity has extended so far beyond the city that its capabilities have been enhanced to suit more needs. It's now more off-road capable than ever before.
There are two-wheel or four-wheel drive options; if you opt for the all-wheel-drive model then you'll be ready for far more than just a few fields on your way to a festival. The new Evoque can wade in water up to half a metre, head up an approach of 25-degrees, down at 33-degrees, with Hill Decent Control doing the work, and lean on its side right up to 22-degrees.
The new All-Terrain Progress Control system intelligently monitors the vehicle, wheels and terrain for the ultimate performance. Not that, in our suburban situation, we've been scooting around farms and water-soaked gullies.
In our first drive we drove a 2.0-litre Ingenium Diesel engine model with 180bhp and all-wheel-drive. It was powerful enough to feel a push in the seat when floored in low gears and there was still plenty of punch progressing all the way up to and beyond the higher speed limits. Even when cornering at high speed that sway some SUVs can deliver was offset well - largely thanks to Adaptive Dynamics, an £830 extra. This feature controls roll and dampening in real-time, for a more reactive on-the-road drive.
For our week-long test, we drove a 2.0-litre TD4 Diesel Automatic 9-speed. Weighing 1,690kg its 0-62mph is a (rather average) 8.5 seconds. However there is more than enough poke to get you moving when needed. The biggest take-away is how comfortable the experience is: doing 70mph down the motorway in a full hail storm felt like a leisurely summer village drive.
Range Rover Evoque 2016 review: Infotainment and smart extras
While the Range Rover Evoque 2016 doesn't feature the company's latest InControl Touch Pro system it does have a smart setup.
The InControl Touch Plus system we tried is equipped with an 825W Meridian Sound System with 17-speakers. It's astounding too, producing some of the most well-defined sounds we've ever heard in a car. It's like hearing every instrument with its own amp; voices are crystal clear too.
Sound aside, the central 8-inch display in the Evoque is clear and can be used for satnav, entertainment control and app access. If a smartphone is connected via a cable the apps on it can be mirrored in the car - great for things like Spotify on the go. It's a shame this doesn't appear to work over the Bluetooth connection. This screen can also be used for displaying the rear and side cameras and offers dual view if the passenger wants to see something else - our Autobiography Dynamic had a TV tuner for catching-up on CBeebies, for example.
On-the-road smart driving aids include lane departure assist, autonomous emergency braking and attention assist. It's not a self-driving car but it's safe thanks to being smart enough to keep you on the road and out of the back-end of other cars.
Other extras include an automatic tailgate that lifts when you gesture under it, which works well, a fixed panoramic roof with powered blind, keyless entry, a surround camera system, tyre pressure readouts in the digital head unit, configurable interior mood lighting, and a head-up display (HUD) for seeing your speed, the speed limit, and any directions from the built-in sat nav.
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The Range Rover Evoque 2016 takes an already great car and makes it even better. Externally the new Evoque is more aggressive looking, yet more attractive than ever, while inside it offers a good blend between heritage and up-to-date comfort.
The 3-door coupe feels big, yet is delivered in a surprisingly small package - something rear passengers will notice. That smaller size also means you do lose on the boot space too - it's more a weekend away rather than two weeks to France.
The off-road capabilities of the 2016 Evoque have been enhanced, too, making it more appealing to those wanting more than just the ability to get across a field on your next National Trust house visit or school fete.
The Range Rover Evoque starts at around £30,000. However to get all the toys, expect to pay around double that. Our 2016 Evoque Autobiography Dynamic 3 Door Coupe, which has really gone to town with extras, costs £57,000. It's a lot of money, but then it's also a lot of car.