The Range Rover Evoque still looks amazing, and it’s now available with a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain, offering an electric range of up to 34 miles, 141mpg, and 44g/km CO2 emissions.
As soon as we saw the very first images of the original Range Rover Evoque we knew it would be a sales hit, as it offered the sporty SUV styling that everyone wants. That prediction came true, and now the Evoque has a new sales feature: a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain, which is being introduced at a time when diesel engines have fallen out of favour with car buyers.
An updated Range Rover Evoque was recently launched, with subtle styling tweaks. However the basic successful design recipe remains: an SUV with a coupe-like silhouette. There are now door handles that retract flush into the door for improved aerodynamics. The interior has also been updated, with an improved infotainment system.
The Evoque P300e has a 200hp 3-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol engine combined with a new 8-speed automatic transmission, and a 109hp (80kW) electric motor on the rear axle powered by a 15kWh lithium-ion battery. The battery that powers the Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) is located under the rear seats.
The Range Rover Evoque P300e has a 3-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol engine. It wasn’t that long ago when the engine of choice for a Range Rover was a petrol V8. So does a 3-cylinder engine work? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is yes. Under normal driving, and even on the motorway, progress is fine – helped by the petrol engine being assisted by the electric motor. The Evoque even feels relatively light, presumably due to the 3-cylinder engine sitting over the front wheels rather than a 4-cylinder diesel – even though the Evoque P300e weighs 2,157kg.
The Evoque generally feels very refined – especially in Electric mode, with instantly available torque; it’s mainly during enthusiastic acceleration using the petrol engine when the 3-cylinder unit becomes audible.
You can select D or S using the gear selector, and you can use the steering wheel-mounted paddles to change gear manually.
There’s a clearer solution for the drive modes than in the Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e PHEV; the bottom screen in the central console displays the options of three drive modes: Hybrid, EV and Save.
You can also select options on the Terrain Response system: Eco, Normal, and three off-road settings.
We’ve tested previous Range Rover Evoque models extensively off-road – when they perform impressively – but as this was a first drive, this wasn’t possible, but we hope to find out how the Evoque PHEV performs on a longer test very soon. A key point to note is that the Evoque P300e (and the Discovery Sport) has ‘Electric Rear Wheel Drive’. This means that the electric motor drives the rear axle. So if you’re in EV mode, you can’t have all-wheel drive. And if you want an off-road drive mode, you can’t have electric propulsion. This is in contrast to the Range Rover PHEV and Range Rover Sport PHEV, which have ‘Electric All-Wheel Drive’.
In Hybrid mode, the Evoque PHEV chooses between using electric power (which is prioritised) and using the petrol engine. If all-wheel drive is needed, the car will select both power sources.
At speeds above 84mph the electric motor is decoupled to reduce drag and optimise efficiency.
The Evoque’s ride quality is comfortable, and, for a heavy SUV, handling is good.
The Evoque had a ‘ClearSight’ Rear View Mirror, which gives you the option of seeing rearwards using a camera, or you have the option to flick it to a conventional mirror.
The latest Touch Pro Duo infotainment system appears to be an improvement over earlier systems, and with its two screens in the centre console, the interior feels more upmarket than the Discovery Sport.
The official WLTP combined fuel economy for the Range Rover Evoque P300e plug-in hybrid is 141mpg, with 44g/km CO2 emissions, and an electric range of up to 34 miles. We’ve spent 14 years testing and reporting on the real-life economy of cars – and more recently the electric range of EVs – but, like our off-road testing, this wasn’t possible on this first drive.
The Evoque P300e can be recharged from 0-80 per cent from a 7kW AC domestic wall box in 1 hour 24 minutes. A full charge from a domestic plug socket takes 6 hours 42 minutes. It can also be rapid charged from 0-80 per cent in 30 minutes using a 32KW DC public charger.
The Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV is available from £43,850. It has a 10 percent Benefit in Kind rate in 2020/21.
The Evoque is available in S, SE and HSE specifications.
The Range Rover Evoque looks great, and the latest PHEV model is much more refined to drive than the first-generation Evoque with a diesel engine – especially when driving on electric power, which certainly adds to the ‘premium’ feel. The big selling point now is that you can drive an Evoque with zero tailpipe emissions, up to 34 miles, before the petrol engine kicks in.
Prior to the Evoque P300e PHEV arriving, the split of Evoque sales was around 50% retail and 50% fleet, however it’s expected that the Evoque P300e will enjoy around 75% fleet sales due to its 10 percent Benefit in Kind rate.
It’s also interesting to note the sales ratio between the Evoque and the Discovery Sport, which is likely to be around two-thirds : one-third.
This first drive event format didn’t allow any test of real-life fuel economy or electric range, or off-road ability – we would hope to report back on these areas soon. But in the meantime the Evoque P300e PHEV is a welcome new choice for Range Rover buyers. It may not be a pure EV, but it will hopefully provide a stepping stone for petrol and diesel buyers to try out a part-electric vehicle, and when they find that they prefer driving on electric rather than petrol power, hopefully they’ll be able to opt for a pure electric 4×4 next time they buy a Range Rover.
Our standard advice for plug-in hybrid buyers remains: PHEVs are designed for people who will primarily drive the car on electric power, ie. journeys of around 30 miles or less between charges – with occasional longer journeys. If you drive a two-tonne PHEV SUV up and down the nation’s motorways without charging it, you’re likely to be very disappointed with the fuel economy, and the emissions will be nowhere near the official figure.
The Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV gains a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10.