When Land Rover launch the MK 2 Evoque in 2019, it was following on from the first models success – 800,000 Evoque’s sold in 116 countries – The new Evoque improved the original in every way with fresh styling, better on-board tech, higher quality finishes & most importantly a range of more fuel efficient mild-hybrid engines to it’s baby, with the added flexibility down the line for the new platform to take an Evoque EV. Fast forward to June 2021 & we finally got our hands on the first electrified Evoque, the P300e plug-in-hybrid, which thanks to it’s stunningly low BIK of 11%, is set to make the smallest Range Rover, a serious company car proposition.
Residing in north Cheshire, I like to think that I am in the heartland of Range Rover country & it would be no surprise to readers that my immediate neighbour runs an Evoque. He told me that he had viewed the new model when his current car was in for service & that it looked exactly the same as the one. I was able to put him right on a few things, including letting him know that everything, save for the door hinges on the new Evoque is actually brand new & of course, so is the plug-in version.
We’ll begin with the power train, because this IS the key to the PHEV’s low BIK & emissions. The plug-in features a three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, plus an electric motor that’s located in the rear axle. This gives the Evoque a pure electric range of 34 miles. Whilst the 1.5 petrol engine offers a decent 200PS, it’s the extra 109PS courtesy of the 15kWh battery that really makes the difference, offering 540Nm of torque, enabling the 150kg heavier plug-in, to feel nimble. Indeed, it’s no slouch hitting 60mph in just 6.1 seconds with a top speed of 132mph.
Model range & equipment
The plug-in Evoque is offered in three specs; R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE or R-Design Dynamic HSE. S features a rear camera, cruise control & speed limiter, Lane Keep Assist, front & rear parking aid, LED headlights, 18″ alloys, DuoLeather seats, 12-way heated electric front seats, AppleCar Play & Android Auto, Pivi Pro with Connected Navigation & 10” touchscreen & a Smart phone pack.
SE adds 20″ alloys, a power tailgate, a Blind Spot Assist Pack consisting of Blind Spot Assist, Clear Exit Monitor & Rear Traffic Monitor & a 10″ Deployable Touchscreen with 10″ Lower Touchscreen.
Range topping HSE is further enhanced with the addition of Matrix LED headlights with signature DRL, front & rear animated directional indicators , keyless entry, an enhanced Driver Assist Pack featuring Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Collision Monitor & Rear Traffic Monitor, perforated Windsor leather seats & a Meridian sound system.
Exterior & interior
Sidle up to the new Evoque & it’s easier to pick up on the differences over the original. Slimmer LED headlights, recessed door handles, a more bulbous rear end & sweeping direction indicators, all take their cue from the larger Velar, with R-Dynamic models adding black & burnished copper detailing plus a body-coloured front bumper.
Climb aboard & the interior smacks of quality. Unsurprisingly, there’s lot’s of scope for personalisation. ‘Kvadrat’ textile upholstery is standard, available in two shades & complemented by faux-suede Dinamica elements, whilst quilted leather in four colour ways is a £1,650 upgrade. And it doesn’t stop with the seats, you can choose from numerous headlining options, wood or aluminium trim, configurable ambient lighting & illuminated tread plates.
We were testing the P300 e SE R-Dynamic 9-speed automatic, which costs from £52,480 OTR. This model also comes with features that will take your Evoque off-road; Terrain Response, All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC), Low Traction Launch, Hill Descent Control (HDC), Torque Vectoring by Braking, Passive suspension & Hill Launch Assist. This is a proper off-roader too.
Interior space & practicality
The cabin is a joy to be in & is much improved over it’s predecessor. There’s some useful storage on offer, with four storage bins, a cubby under the centre armrest, a rubberised tray on the centre console with two cup holders revealed underneath, decent door pockets & a glove box. The Evoque’s extra 21mm, is most noticeable in the rear where there is more leg room than in the Mk1. Headroom is still a little compromised by the sloping roof & in our case the panoramic glass roof.
Luggage capacity in the plug-in Evoque is unchanged from that of the mild-hybrid versions, at 472 litres. That increases to a maximum of 1,383 litres when you fold the rear seats down. There’s a handy flat boot floor, underneath which, there’s room for the two charging cable bags; 13 Amp & 7.2kWh cables come with the plug-in Evoque.
BIK & charging
With just 11% BIK on emissions of 44g/km, compared to 37% BIK on the next lowest emitting 4WD mild hybrid, this IS the Evoque to choose if your in the fleet sector.
The plug-in Evoque’s 15kWh battery takes approximately 2 hours 15 minutes to charge from empty on a standard home 7.2kWh charger, although this can be done in under 30 minutes, using a more powerful fast charger.
There are three operation modes. Eco which sets the engine & response slightly lower in petrol mode. Hybrid allows the car to decide whether to run on battery power alone or mix electric & petrol power. Whilst EV allows you to drive on battery power alone, perfect in stop-start city traffic. On the touchscreen, you can select ‘Save’ so you can utilise battery power in slow moving traffic, rather than it running out quickly if you drive on the motorway, which is really useful.
When your actually driving the plug-in, you’ll notice a meter on the digital instrument panel, that keeps you informed of the cars electric range level. Otherwise, it looks & feels just like a normal petrol Evoque. You get the same smooth automatic gear change & excellent levels of comfort. This is a satisfying car to be in whether driving, or as a passenger.
On board tech
The on-board tech works well. I connected my iPhone to Apple CarPlay & had a play around with the touch screen system when stationary, as there’s an awful lot in there; Vehicle Dimensions, Weather, Park & Pay & Valet mode anyone ? Some of course are more useful than others including ECO & EV, which give you a hands-on view of how you’re driving & 4X4 for those off-road adventures.
Out & about
On the motorway, there’s plenty of power on offer enabling you to overtake slower moving traffic & the Evoque sits happily at motorway speeds utilising Adaptive Cruise Control. The cabin is very quiet with little wind or road noise noticeable. On a journey along the winding roads around Beeston Castle, the small Evoque handled exceptionally well & after a couple of hours behind the wheel, I really couldn’t fault it.
We were visiting a gastro-pub that is located right next to the Land Rover Experience at Peckforton, where coincidentally, two years previously, we had driven the Evoque on a series of challenging tasks, all of which it coped with, to great aplomb. Most customers won’t ever put their Evoque through such a tough environment, but it’s good to know, that if you buy one, the option is there for you to attend one of these UK wide specialist Land Rover off-road centres, to see just what your Range Rover or Land Rover really is capable of.
Where to start. 11% BIK, fabulous cabin, quiet & comfortable interior, very well equipped, brilliant off-road. premium image.
To buy outright, all of the plug-in variants are expensive compared to the standard petrol or diesel versions, with our range topping P300e HSE R-Dynamic setting you back £52,480. The plug-in version makes most sense as a company car, leasing monthly. As we found out, the rear seats will fit 3 adults on them, but actual rear space is tight.
For SME fleet customers who are lucky enough to be in the market for a premium SUV, then we cannot recommend the plug-in Evoque highly enough. We would put the new Evoque at the top of the class for SUV’s in it’s sector, until or if, a pure EV Range Rover Evoque is offered, with proper 4X4 capabilities. That day may never come but until it does, the plug-in will do nicely thank you very much.