Cars > Driven

Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic SE D200: All about the style statement

The Land Rover for those who don’t plan to go hardcore

So pretty you won't want to dirty it off-road. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

We have no shortage of good SUVs these days. Whether you’re shopping in the “entry-level” P1-million class, or nearly six times that with the European marques, we’re spoilt for choice these days. And all the latest driver aids and mod-cons are easily taken for granted.

Take, for example, this Range Rover Evoque with the “R-Dynamic” package. Many of its fancy features can already be found in SUVs for less than half its sticker price. Like the dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking aids and cameras, adaptive speed limiter, and whatnot.

The deep blue paint turns purplish as the light changes, but we swear this looks similar to a certain SUV. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Ah, but it’s in the details where it counts. The price alone guarantees that you’ll rarely ever see another Evoque sharing the same road with you unless you’re in a club ride (if there actually is one).

Style-wise, even among premium SUVs, the Evoque’s low and squat profile with its broad shoulders and tapered greenhouse sets it apart from the usual BMW or Mercedes-Benz SUV, although to be honest its silhouette bears a passing resemblance to a Ford Territory.

Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery anyway.

A cockpit to behold. No crumbs on the seats, please! PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Stepping inside an Evoque for the first time is an object lesson in how the rich are different from peasants like me.

The leather is soft, pliant, and fragrant. I imagine it was lovingly cut, sewn, and tanned (and whatever it is they do with premium leather) in some artisan’s workshop in England and not some sweatshop in Asia. All of the touchpoints are soothing and speak of high quality—not a hint of cheap plastic or mouse fur anywhere in the cabin.

Even the dash is wrapped in leather, which, by the way, is this cool gray color that must be a pain to keep clean if you have greasy hands. The cockpit is the type of environment that’s so beautiful and comfortable that you won’t really mind being stuck in it for hours. Especially if you’ve got a good playlist for the Meridian audio system to belt out.

The instrument panel is a marriage of old-school elegance and modern tech. Plus, you can adjust the angle of the touchscreen. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

I particularly liked the detailing of the instrument panel. Traditional analog gauges flanking a TFT info display in the center. None of that fancy, overly techy LED stuff that has taken over most instrument panels these days. The center console is a thing of beauty, too.

A touchscreen display for climate control, and a 10-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The dials for the climate control are dual-purpose: tap the middle of the dial to switch between blower and temp settings. You can even adjust the angle of the infotainment screen, for crying out loud.

Lots of small details, like a dual-purpose climate knob and a wireless charger behind the center panel. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

There is a mild hybrid model, but this test unit had the 2.0-liter turbodiesel. It makes 196hp and a truckload of torque—430Nm between 1,750rpm and 2,500rpm. With the nine-speed auto working quickly and smoothly, acceleration is brisk and mostly silent.

You really need to press deep on the accelerator to get the engine to rev past 4,000rpm and hear just a faint hint of a roar, but it makes so much torque that you rarely ever need to. It’s a real pleasure to use, and doesn’t drink that much fuel, too. I got around 11km/L in the city. Top speed is a shade over 200km/h, so it’s no slouch.

This small diesel packs a punch. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

The all-wheel drive system has an automatic terrain selection program, so there’s no real need to press any buttons when going off-road. Anyway, an SUV that looks this good and costs this much will only be taken on dirt roads and light trails (if at all).

Our short test drive didn’t afford us any opportunities to try its off-road prowess, so we’ll just trust that it’s as capable as any other AWD system today, if not better. I’ll even bet good money it can climb Baguio all the way up.  In reverse. On icy roads, even, because that’s the reputation that Range Rover is banking on.

You don't really need retracting door handles, but they're very cool nonetheless. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Another advantage of the Evoque’s fairly compact dimensions is how it handles. Body roll is modest when cornering even though the suspension is on the soft side, while braking and steering are precise and linear. None of the boat-like characteristics of larger SUVs.

There’s some harshness to the 20-inch tires, though, and they’re so pretty that few owners would dare to scratch them off-roading. A maximum wading depth of 530mm will give owners enough clearance to go through floods, but you’ll want to skip the serious river crossing.

The rear seat is comfy, but headroom is limited. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

If you plan on being chauffeured around in a Range Rover, the Evoque is not for you. The rear seat has a long bench and is comfortable (as it should be in a luxury SUV), but the tapered roof cuts down on headroom. Anyone over 6’ may feel claustrophobic. Get the bigger Discovery or Range Rover Sport if you really need to carry big people around.

Enough space for a couple of suitcases. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

There’s also nothing fancy with the seat-folding options. The rear seat backs only fold flat, but don’t tumble forward. Still, you get decent cargo room, with an area measuring 1,053mm wide and 798mm long.

It has a maximum dry volume of 1,172L behind the first row, and a respectable 472L behind the second row. That’s enough for a bunch of suitcases, but again, if you’re planning regular trips to the hardware store, the Evoque is the wrong SUV for you.

If, however, you can’t help but fall in love with the avant-garde styling and want a responsive and fairly compact SUV to use as a daily driver and occasional road tripper, the Evoque fits the bill. It’s quite a big bill, but it comes with considerable cachet even among the premium marques. And it comes with a lot of engineering refinement and class to set you apart from the riffraff.


Engine2.0-liter in-line-four turbodiesel
Transmission9-speed automatic
Power196hp @ 3,750rpm
Torque430Nm @ 1,750-2,500rpm
Dimensions4,371mm x 2,100mm x 1,649mm
Drive layoutAWD
UpsideAvant-garde styling, sporty driving dynamics, a first-class cockpit.
DownsideCramped rear-seat headroom. Probably not the Range Rover you’ll bring for serious off-roading.

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our motorcycle editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.