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Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV 2021 Review

The Range Rover Evoque has been a game changer for Land Rover since it was first launched back in 2011. But now there is a plug-in hybrid version that adds cleaner, greener motoring to the mix.

By Maxine Ashford
Feb 16, 2021
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From £43,850 (test car was £51,850 before options)
Pros:
  • Attractive financial savings for business users
  • Dynamic to drive and boasts awesome 4x4 ability
  • Luxuriously designed and packed with technology
Cons:
  • Feels slightly heavier to drive due to battery pack
  • Would need to be charged regularly to see official mpg figures
  • Gets pricey when the options are factored in

Introduction

When Land Rover introduced the Evoque in 2011, nobody could have predicted its overwhelming popularity. It transformed the company’s fortunes and resulted in 24/7 production lines being created to keep up with demand. 

The second generation model was launched in late 2018 and, once again, it proved a major success. Only the door hinges remained from the original car but the Evoque maintained its distinctive sports coupe styling while adding lots of additional kit.

Now Land Rover has raised the bar further with the launch of a plug-in hybrid EV model that can be driven in electric-only mode and introduces attractive tax savings for the business driver. 

On The Road

Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV 2021 Review

Performance

Land Rover has launched its latest Evoque with plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology and it will be very appealing to business drivers and people with short daily commutes.

It’s badged P300e with the 300 referring to the bhp that’s delivered from the 1.5-litre, three cylinder petrol engine and 80kW electric motor powered by a 15kWh lithium-ion battery. With a total power output of 309hp and 540Nm of torque, the car can sprint from 0-62mph in a very respectable 6.4 seconds and tops out at 132mph.

We tested the Evoque PHEV in high-end R-Dynamic HSE specification and it certainly lived up to all the hype. It pulls away in complete silence in EV mode and the three-pot engine cuts in when required.

The acceleration through the slick eight-speed transmission is ultra-smooth and there is a constant stream of power on tap for short bursts of pace to overtake slower vehicles. There are also steering wheel-mounted paddles for extra driver engagement.

The road holding is assured meaning bends can be attacked with confidence and there is very little sign of any body sway. The Evoque cruises on motorways effortlessly eating up the miles and the nicely weighted steering makes light work in busier town centre settings where lots of tighter manoeuvring is necessary.

Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV 2021 Review

Ride Handling

Our test car was sitting on 20-inch alloys which perfectly suited the vehicle. Choosing over-sized wheels may look good but they do have a detrimental effect on the ride quality and fuel economy, so it’s best to stick to standard sizes if possible.

Although it’s pretty unlikely that someone splashing £50k-plus on a car will venture far from the Tarmac, it’s still worth knowing that this Land Rover can take most off-road challenges in its stride. The car features the Terrain Response 2 system with off-road settings for Sand, Grass-Gravel-Snow, and Mud and Ruts, as well as an Auto option that will select the most suitable mode for the conditions and terrain.

But most practical for owners of this plug-in Evoque will be the drive modes that have an impact on the day-to-day running costs. 

These are called Hybrid, EV or Save. The Hybrid mode is the default setting when the car starts up, but the Save function is really handy if you plan on driving through a Congestion Charge low emissions zone as you can keep back some of the EV range.

Despite the extra weight of the hybrid technology, the Evoque still handles beautifully with sharp reactions and dynamic responses. And all that from a three-cylinder engine.

The Evoque PHEV is built on a new Premium Transverse Architecture platform designed by Land Rover specifically for its plug-in and mild hybrid technologies with all the hardware cleverly packaged beneath the cabin floor without compromising interior space at all.

Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV 2021 Review

Refinement

The Evoque always was a head turner with its coupe-like silhouette appearance and the new version has adopted some extra design cues from the flagship Range Rover Velar model. These include door handles that are flush to the body and pop out as you stroll towards the vehicle, along with super-slim Matrix LED headlamps. 

Other eye-catching features on this five-door model are a fixed panoramic roof (£1,120 extra), a tailgate spoiler, privacy glass, chrome treadplates and model-specific badging.

The R-Dynamic HSE car also gains distinctive burnished copper bonnet louvres, side vents and exhaust finishers to help this particular Evoque really stand out from the crowd.

The interior is exquisite in its design and layout with the finest upholstery, soft-touch surfaces and luxurious touches such as heated seats and a heated steering wheel to fend off the winter chill.

The body on the latest generation Evoque is 13 per cent stiffer which, together with rigidly-mounted subframes, reduces the noise and vibration in the cabin.

Land Rover made it very clear that refinement was an area their engineers focused on for the new model and, as a result, it is far more composed and balanced when powering through tight bends.

The cabin is well insulated against road surface, engine or wind noise with the three-cylinder engine only becoming noticeable when the Evoque is being driven particularly enthusiastically. 

In The Car

Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV 2021 Review

Behind the Wheel

Finding the perfect driving position inside the Evoque PHEV is a quick and simple process with 16-way powered seats and ample steering wheel adjustment. 

The driver enjoys a fairly elevated driving position so has a great view of the road ahead and out the side windows. The over-the-shoulder vision is a little restricted and the rear view is okay unless there are tall passengers in the back seats. But Land Rover has developed the rather clever ClearSight rearview mirror technology to combat this issue. At the push of a button the rearview mirror changes into an HD display with camera quality vision of what’s going on behind the car without the passengers’ heads getting in the way.

The level of on-board technology is impressive with the main focal point being two centrally-positioned 10-inch touchscreens both of which have sharp graphics and are easy to operate on the move. The top screen is where all the infotainment functions are accessed and the bottom screen is mainly for the climate control or to switch through the drive modes.

On-board kit includes a pitch perfect Meridian sound system, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a navigation system with a guide to charging points along the way and a 12.3-inch interactive driver display.

Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV 2021 Review

Space & Practicality

When Land Rover launched the second generation Evoque, the wheelbase was increased by 20mm and that has made a real difference inside the car. Although legroom in the back is still a tad cramped for adults, it’s perfect for teenagers or children on long journeys.

Storage options are good too with a boot that can swallow up to 472 litres of kit. Drop the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats and that limit rises to 1,383 litres.

And there are numerous handy compartments scattered throughout the car, including a glovebox, deep door pockets that can hold 1.5-litre water bottles, a sunglasses compartment, front and rear cup holders, plus extra storage behind the lower touchscreen.

The powered gestured tailgate, which is standard on R-Dynamic HSE models, is really useful when approaching the car fully laden with shopping and the wide opening rear doors offer easy access to a child seat.

The optional fixed panoramic sunroof costing £1,120 didn’t really impact on head space in the back, but the sporty profile design of the Evoque with its sloping roof means the rear windows are quite small and it can feel a little claustrophobic in the back.

It’s worth noting there is a clever system to help you manoeuvre when visibility is restricted. It’s called ClearSight ‘ground view’ and it stitches images from the lower grille and door mirrors to create one ‘almost live’ image on the screen. This effectively makes the bonnet invisible so you can see ahead and beneath the car when you are approaching a high kerb or when tackling off-road terrain.

Ownership

Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV 2021 Review

Running Costs

Business drivers will be rubbing their hands with glee at the financial savings that the Evoque PHEV introduces. According to official figures under stricter WLTP testing, the Evoque PHEV in R-Dynamic HSE trim can deliver a combined 166.2-201.8mpg with carbon emissions of 32-38g/km. It’s those low emissions that will grab the attention of fleet drivers with great tax savings to be gained with an 11 per cent Benefit in Kind company car tax rating.

And with the average UK commute estimated at less than 19 miles each day, the car could be driven to work and back home again in pure EV mode without needing a recharge. This would push the official 34-mile EV range to its very limit but is achievable if driven carefully while making the most of regenerative braking which is very possible in busy stop, start traffic.

The car is available with a Mode 2 cable allowing owners to fully charge the vehicle from a plug socket in 6 hours, 40 minutes which is ideal for overnight charging. Faster Mode 3 charging is possible via a 7kW domestic wallbox and takes 1 hour 24 minutes to boost the battery from zero to 80 per cent. The quickest charge times are achieved using a 32kW fast charger where 0-80 per cent can be completed in just 30 minutes.

Our test car was priced at £51,850 although a number of extras bumped the final cost up to £56,205. The vehicle is insurance group 40. 

Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV 2021 Review

Quality & Reliability

Land Rover has, throughout the years, had quite a sketchy reputation when it comes to reliability and is often on the receiving end of bad jokes about breaking down. But the company has been working hard to improve its reputation and the Evoque has been a good example of that more recently.

While the powertrain in the PHEV version is all new, the Ingenium engines that are built in-house by Land Rover, are proving more durable.

The Evoque feels sturdy in its build quality and all the switchgear and upholstery looks and feels like it will survive the test of time.

The updated front and rear suspension on the latest model, along with the new architecture, give the Evoque a feeling of stability and strength which is another plus point. 

The Evoque comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty. In addition, the battery is covered by a 60,000-mile, six-year warranty.

Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV 2021 Review

Safety & Security

The latest Range Rover Evoque secured a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and boasts a wealth of driver assist systems and safety features to help protect occupants, pedestrians and other road users alike.

The Evoque PHEV features dynamic stability control, electronic traction control, roll stability control, lane keep assist, cruise control with speed limiter, a driver condition monitor, emergency braking, emergency brake assist, anti-lock brakes and six airbags. 

The R-Dynamic HSE spec also introduces traffic sign recognition with adaptive speed limiter, auto high beam assist, a Park Pack consisting of a clear exit monitor, park assist, 360-degree parking aid and rear traffic monitor. Also included is a Drive Pack introducing blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control and high speed emergency braking.

The Evoque also boasts the impressive Terrain response system with a range of off-road settings to keep you moving in more adverse weather or driving conditions.

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By Maxine Ashford
Feb 16, 2021