Range Rover Evoque 2022 keeps up appearances

Aristocrats in Britain often use obscure names like Alice Clare Antonia Opportune Beevor or Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. As that last one premiered in 2012-a year ahead of Prince George but no closer to the throne-heavy expectations accompanied it.

As the newest Range Rover, the Evoque needed to project the cachet associated with its family while keeping its price affordable for all. The original Evoque was a controversial model. Would a transverse-engine crossover be worthy of the Range Rover name?

Would it alienate buyers of the more upmarket models? Was Posh Spice somehow involved in this? A Coupe with two doors was there. We also saw a convertible.

Having sold over 772,000 products in its first generation, the Evoque's second-generation debut in 2020 was so uncontroversial that hardly anyone noticed it. In terms of styling, Rover refined and tweaked the raked-roof shape, but the redesign was not a complete overhaul. Your neighbors may not immediately realize you traded in your 2016 model due to the cleaner lines. Unless it's a convertible.

In the Evoque, the beltline almost meets the roof at its D-pillar, which is about six inches high. Motorized door handles pop out when the car is unlocked—an interesting feature given the more expensive Range Rover Velar has unmotorized flip-out handles.

Its fenders bulge like a rally car, and it might if it gets the P300 HST trim in 2022, which brings back a 296-hp engine and dual-clutch torque-vectoring rear axle that sat out 2021. This year we drove the midrange R-Dynamic S, which has a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with 246 horsepower and brake-based torque vectoring.

Almost every company makes a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder and Land Rover's P250 isn't particularly distinctive. The Evoque can accelerate from a standing start, but the nine-speed ZF automatic transmission always chooses the highest gear when under way.

It can therefore seem laggy if you suddenly want acceleration because it requires both a downshift and time for the turbo to spool up. The dynamic mode helps, holding the turbo in place while it spools up lower If you plan to hit a traffic snarl, shift gears and sharpen throttle response.

The Evoque's pleasant dimensions make it easy to drive on urban roads, but it lacks a performance-oriented all-wheel drive system. A P250-powered Evoque's 22 mpg EPA combined rating barely beats the big Range Rovers.

Is important, given that its 8-speed automatic transmission is automatically engaged in low-speed situations. In spite of its more powerful P300 powertrain, the HST manages 23 mpg combined because it uses a 48-volt mild hybrid.

The Evoque is an entry-luxury crossover with some real off-road credentials. Terrain Response adjusts throttle response and traction control based on trail surface. The long-wheelbase, short-overhang design provides good approach and departure angles.

The Evoque advertises the maximum water-fording depth--23.6 inches-and the optional Wade Sensing system features ultrasonic sensors on the exterior mirrors that detect when you're near that limit.

Another off-road electronic aid, ClearSight Ground View, records footage from the front-facing and exterior mirror cameras and digitally overlays it when it is below the vehicle. It's smart-the Lexus LX600 has a feature called Back Underfloor View.

Even though the Evoque is a new model for 2020, Rover has updated it for the past two years. Last year, it received improved cabin air filtration as well as the Pivi Pro infotainment system, which sleeps when the car is off, thus minimizing the boot-up time.

A signal booster, heated seats, keyless entry, and wireless phone charging are included in the 2022 model. All of those things should've come standard with a Range Rover already, but at least they did.

The interior of the Evoque mirrors the clean design of the exterior, which means most knobs and buttons have been eliminated in favor of touchscreens and capacitive switches.

Like the new Volkswagen GTI, this interior features mostly featureless expanses of glass and plastic, save for the climate-control scroll wheels. Rover boasts that 'most popular features and functions can be accessed in two taps or less' as if navigating touchscreen submenus while driving is a given rather than one that can be avoided.

Many of the Evoque's options are affordable, but there are quite a few. The baby Range Rover's $45,750 base price (the R-Dynamic S starts at $47,350) is almost entirely theoretical since color options are extra. $350 gets you 400-watt, 12-speaker Meridian sound system.

However, spending $800 gets you 650-watt, 14-speaker Meridian system that also boasts 'Meridian Digital Dither Shaping.' (We have no idea what that is.) The leather-free eucalyptus textile and Ultrafabrics upholstery don't cost extra, and faux suede covers the steering wheel. In the options list, an Evoque HST can top $69,000, which is a lot of money for a small Rover.

On the Land Rover side, that kind of cash would get you a nice Defender. It's the Evoque's turn. Despite its looks, it offers legit off-road ability that most owners will never tap into.

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