SUVs

2020 Range Rover Evoque sports shades of Velar, mild hybrid powertrain

The hybrid variant gets a pretty solid boost in output over the regular gas version.

Land Rover

The first-generation Land Rover Range Rover Evoque felt a little cheap. Sure, it was cheap by Range Rover pricing standards, but the general put-togetherness of the compact SUV didn't feel up to typical Range snuff. That appears to change, and drastically so, with the introduction of the 2020 Range Rover Evoque.

A whole lot o' Velar up in here

A quick glance at the 2020 Evoque is all you need to see plenty of inspiration from other, bigger Range Rovers -- namely, the shapely Velar. The resemblance starts up front, where thinner (and standard) LED headlights bring the Evoque's look in line with Range Rover's newest. The rear end is where most of the resemblance lies, although it lacks the protruding tuchus of the Velar in favor of something that looks a bit more abbreviated.

I'm especially a fan of the optional copper accents found on one of the models in the gallery below. Finally, a sport-ute that can match the phone you're totally going to replace in a year when the new one comes out.

While many new vehicles are content to grow in every direction over their forebears, the Evoque didn't. It's nearly the same size as it was before, save for an extra 0.8 inch of wheelbase, which benefits both rear legroom and cargo capacity.

I think the Evoque's rear end might actually look better than the Velar's.

Land Rover

The Velar's new style also improves its off-road capability. Whereas the old Evoque could only wade through 19.7 inches of water, the 2020 Evoque boosts that figure to 23.6 inches.

The Evoque's interior has been given a thorough reworking, as well, making it look nearly every bit as premium as the interiors in larger Ranges. In an animal-friendly touch, the Evoque offers a number of interior materials that aren't leather, including wool, synthetic suede and a eucalyptus-based textile. There are storage options all over the interior, including a clever tray behind the climate control's screen. Fun fact: The door panels can now accommodate 1.5-liter water bottles.

A hybrid that's mild, and maybe a smidge wild

While Europe and other markets will get an Evoque with a diesel engine, it's a gasoline-only affair in the US. That being said, we still get two powertrain choices, one of which is electrified.

The base powertrain is a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 gas engine, good for 246 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, mated to a nine-speed automatic and standard four-wheel drive that can decouple the rear axle to improve efficiency. The mild hybrid uses the same engine and transmission, but output rises to 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Of course, the mild-hybrid setup isn't just about having a bit more power. It can also improve efficiency, in part by shutting off the engine below 11 mph when the driver applies the brakes. Adding just 140 pounds to the car, it should prove more efficient than the gas engine alone. Thankfully, the mild hybrid variant makes no changes to the car's interior capacity, including the cargo area.

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Tech aplenty

The 2020 Evoque has plenty of the garden-variety tech we see in just about every new car these days, but it also has some clever stuff that's worth mentioning first.

There are three interesting pieces of tech unique to the Evoque. It now has a rearview mirror that can turn into a high-definition display at the flick of a switch, letting a driver use the rearview camera to see behind the vehicle in the event the cabin is filled to the roof. There's also a new camera that shows the driver the view directly underneath the front end, which will aid in both urban parking maneuvers (for bumper-bending berms) and off-roading.

It's an attractive place to spend some time, especially when it's decked out in this two-tone getup.

Land Rover

Finally, the new Smart Settings system uses AI algorithms to learn a driver's preferences and ensure the car is set up correctly (e.g. seat position, music, climate controls) when a driver hops in.

In terms of more standard fare, the Evoque can be optioned with Land Rover's InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. This puts two 10-inch screens on the center stack, one to cover traditional infotainment duties and a second, lower screen to cover the climate system. The gauge cluster gets replaced with a 12.3-inch screen, and just above that is a full-color head-up display. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included.

Elsewhere in the cabin, there are rear-seat tablet holders with ports for charging. There's an optional 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices, and six USB ports are scattered about the interior. It's also the first Land Rover to offer wireless software updates.

On the safety front, it's all standard. Land Rover's suite of safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, a driver condition monitor and lane-keep assist.

The 2020 Range Rover Evoque will make its US debut at the Chicago Auto Show in February. Pricing and packaging information will be made available closer to that time.

Range Rover Velar: We really, really dig the Velar. Here's why.

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