$17,180 - $21,010

2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque was new.


Performance: 8.5

The 2012 Range Rover Evoque’s powertrain separates it from the competition. Its 2.0-liter inline turbo four-cylinder engine makes 240 horsepower, which is significantly more than the base Audi Q5’s 211 horsepower. Like the Q5, the Evoque has standard all-wheel drive. The Evoque has one performance feature that separates it from other small luxury SUVs: a standard Terrain Response system that’s typical of Land Rovers. It’s a nice touch, reviewers say, but they doubt many owners will take this expensive vehicle off road.

  • "With far less mass to control than the larger Range Rovers whose composure we've often marveled at, the Evoque tackles crests, dips, bumps and undulations with unflappable poise." -- AutoWeek 
  • "Set the Terrain Response system to Dynamic mode - heightening reaction from the dampers, throttle, and steering as well as changing the gauge hue from white to red - rotate the drive selector over to Sport, and the Evoque morphs into a wannabe rally machine. Never has a Land Rover been this fun and enthralling." -- Motor Trend
  • "As a rule, Range Rover’s driving dynamics are a little slow and cumbersome. Even the Sport feels heavy and in need of a diet in comparison to the Evoque. At 3900 pounds the 5-door is about 1600 pounds lighter than the larger Range Rover Sport, which gives it near car-like driving qualities." -- Road and Track
  • "Think of the Evoque as the product of a marriage between a European sports hatchback such as the Mini Cooper and a compact sports utility such as the BMW X1. It's a great ride, with positive handling, well-controlled body roll and terrific steering." -- Popular Mechanics
  • “It's impressively agile, standing toe-to-toe with other sporting compact SUVs. In true Land Rover tradition, the ride is also superb. All of this is amplified when you specify the Adaptive Dynamics package, which gets you the adjustable suspension for even better ride and handling dynamics depending on the situation or driver's whim.” -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Evoque has a 2.0-liter inline turbo four-cylinder engine. Reviewers say this engine, which is standard across all Evoque trims, has a respectable 240 horsepower, but competitors pack a bigger punch with their standard or optional V6 engines. If you want more power at a comparable price, that’s easy to find. The BMW X3 has a standard 240-horsepower six-cylinder engine, and the Audi Q5 has an optional 270-horsepower V6 engine that is available for $43,000, which is still less than what the base Evoque costs. The EPA says the Evoque averages 19/28 mpg city/highway with standard all-wheel drive.

  • "Given that the Land Rover LR2 packs a six-cylinder under the hood, I'm sure there was some debate over installing a four-banger in a Range Rover. But the direct-injected turbo four was the right call. Objectively, you can't argue with its performance. The all-wheel-drive Evoque does 0 to 60 mph in a credible 7.1 seconds, can tow 4400 pounds, and manages a CAFE-friendly 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway EPA rating." -- Automobile Magazine
  • “Placing a four-cylinder engine in a Range Rover might seem like a recipe for epic slowness, but with 240 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, it's actually quite a punchy engine with a pleasingly sporty rasp. It also has less mass to motivate, as the Evoque weighs a few hundred pounds less than most competitors.” -- Edmunds
  • "Is the edge in performance? With curb weights around 4000 pounds, according to Range Rover, the Evoque is on a par with its rivals, and with 240 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque, its 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo four-cylinder (adapted from Ford’s EcoBoost four) is not an output champ, either." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say the Evoque is more agile than competitors, thanks to its small size and lower weight, which make the Evoque’s handling capabilities superior. While steering is crisp and brakes are strong, some reviewers complain that the Evoque’s ride quality is bumpier than they expected it to be, while others call it comfortable and smooth.

  • "We can say that the Evoque’s new electric rack-and-pinion power-steering system, although quick, could provide more tactile info, especially on-center. On the other hand, braking performance is powerful, with good pedal feel, and ride quality is unlikely to provoke unhappiness, on-road or off." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Evoque's drive is crisper than anything else in its class or on the Land Rover roster." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The ride quality is far from plush, though body motion control seems admirable in the normal on-road setting (my chaperone wouldn't permit me to sample the naughtier Dynamic Program). Steering effort is on the light side, but I could read the road surface texture through the wheel pretty well, and it heavies up fairly naturally as cornering grip builds. Braking effort and pedal travel seemed ideal for a sport-oriented lux-ute. In fact, the overall sensation - from the driving position, cockpit orientation, and dynamic behavior - was more like that of driving a sport wagon or a Subaru Forester turbo with starchier suspenders." -- Motor Trend

Off-Road and All-wheel Drive

The 2012 Evoque comes standard with all-wheel drive, and like the Land Rover LR2, it gets a standard Terrain Response system that allows the driver to change the powertrain and suspension responses based on road conditions. According to Land Rover, the Evoque has a maximum wading depth of 19.7 inches. The front axle clearance is 8.4 inches and rear axle clearance is 9.5 inches. The Evoque is a luxury SUV, but if you do plan to head off the beaten trail, test drivers say that the Evoque is completely capable. After driving through deep water, one driver even jokes that drivers won’t need to worry about getting their Christian Louboutin shoes wet.

  • "After our first Evoque experience, which included substantial episodes of bouncing around in wild Welsh terrain that ranged from rocky trails to deeply rutted mud tracks – all in persistent rain – we readily concede that this small-scale Range Rover would leave its German rivals mired down or high-centered on some lonely moor. However, the Range Rover people recognize that most Evoque owners probably won’t venture farther from pavement than a dirt road or pea-gravel parking lot." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Evoque handily overcame boulders the size of watermelons and divots that could hold more gunk than a wheelbarrow." -- Motor Trend
  • "It really is a no-brainer type of off-road vehicle. Turn the Terrain Response knob to the proper setting, set the hill descent control and simply point the Evoque at an obstacle. Its capabilities far surpass what its expected buyers will ever use it for." -- Road and Track

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