Autos

the highly distinguished plug-in hybrid SUV

After having declined plug-in hybrid engines on the big Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, Land Rover now declines the formula on their little brother, the Range Rover Evoque. A new engine which should prove beneficial for a model so far affected by significant penalties.


How far are the days when the first Range Rover Evoque was the darling of the beautiful neighborhoods. Because if this very chic compact SUV has lost none of its presence, it suffers the full brunt of murderous taxation. Despite the launch of a second generation in spring 2019, with engines adopting mild hybridization, the Evoque has not managed to sufficiently reduce its CO2 emissions. Because it remains excessively heavy for the compact SUV category. Blame it on a platform presented as new, but which is in fact only an adaptation of the previous generation. At a time when all rivals are adapting, the British had to do the same, by adopting on the one hand engines compatible with ethanol, but also and above all a highly anticipated plug-in hybrid version.

Range Rover Evoque P300e: What changes

In the category, the rule is discretion: no question of showing outrageously that the engine is plug-in hybrid. In this, the Range Rover Evoque P300e follows the trend of the BMW X1 xDrive25e, Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge and Mercedes-Benz GLA 250e. Impossible to detect the presence of a second electric motor or almost: only a second charging hatch, symmetrical to the gas hatch, betrays the novelty.

Always the most chic

Launched two years ago, the second generation of Range Rover Evoque took up the main lines of the style that made the success of the first version. Now only available in a five-door body (the three-door version called “coupe” and the convertible have not been renewed for lack of sufficient sales), it is above all recognizable by its recessed door handles, taken from its big brother the Velar. . The template remains compact, with a length contained at 4.37 m, and it is still possible to choose a roof in a contrasting color. In the category, the Evoque still plays the role of executioner of hearts.

Inside, the refined atmosphere is strongly inspired by that of big brother Velar. As on the latter, the high-end finishes adopt a triple screen. One for the instrument cluster, one in the center (which straightens up at start-up to avoid glare), for the infotainment system, and a third which acts as the center console. It is on the latter that it is possible to choose the driving modes, as well as to activate the “Save” function, which maintains the charge level in the battery. On the other hand, it is on the upper floor that we can monitor the energy flows in real time. This is all a bit complex, but ultimately turns out to be relatively logical in use.

The technique

Land Rover has a reputation to uphold when it comes to off-road capability. There is therefore no question of deviating from all-wheel drive. As on the BMW X1 xDrive25e and Jeep Compass 4Xe, it is an electric motor (109 hp) placed on the rear wheels which provides all-wheel drive without a mechanical link. The manufacturer announces an all-electric range of 55 km, thanks to a 15 kWh battery.

Installed under the floor in the rear seat, this battery can be recharged with alternating current with a maximum power of 7 kW. Rarer, and this is a feature shared with the Mercedes-Benz GLA 350e, it is also possible to connect this hybrid to a fast terminal with a CCS Combo port, which allows up to 32 kW.

On the thermal side, the Evoque obviously uses an engine from the Ingenium family, developed by Jaguar – Land Rover. It is in this case a three-cylinder petrol 1.5 liter, hitherto unknown to us even if it is offered in other markets. On board the Evoque plug-in hybrid, it develops 200 hp, for a total cumulative power with the electric motor of 309 hp. It is mated to an Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission. An alternator-starter ensures all-wheel drive, sending current to the rear axle, even when the battery is empty. A fairly classic configuration.

Behind the wheel of the Range Rover Evoque P300e

As with Jeep, the rear electric motor has been optimized to offer the best traction at low speed, in order to ensure a certain serenity in difficult conditions. And it works pretty well! The flip side is that it runs out of steam quickly. Above 60 km / h, the times become soft in electric mode, a phenomenon to which the large mass (2,082 kg) is not unrelated. Another consequence: autonomy in electric mode runs out very quickly. It is difficult to hope to travel more than 30 km without waking up the three-cylinder, something which is only possible up to a speed of 135 km / h.

As the electric motor does not take advantage of a gearbox, it also seems not very present at road and motorway looks in hybrid mode. Fortunately, the three-cylinder shows good health for such a small engine. But, in any case, one has the impression of relaunching in line with the 309 hp claimed by the technical sheet. A 3008 HYbrid4 is much more vigorous (provided you have charged the battery). To have the boost at all times, the Evoque P300e always maintains a charge buffer, even when the on-board computer displays a range of 0 km. But, when climbing a pass, for example, it is possible to exhaust the last resources.

Consumption appears disappointing: 11 l / 100 km on the motorway and more than 13 l / 100 km during our route, admittedly very hilly, in the north of the Alps. This is unfortunately in line with what we see on other versions of this model.

The times are hardly impressive, and the gearbox sometimes struggles to downshift when overtaking or out of a pin. It will be understood that despite a reasonably agile chassis, the Evoque P300e is not designed for rally stages. In quiet driving, it reveals on the other hand a beautiful softness, and a remarkable silence. Too bad, the rear axle suffers from perfectible damping and the controlled suspension of the gasoline and diesel Evoque is unavailable on the plug-in hybrid.

To conclude

With its distinctive look and refinement above the rest, the Range Rover Evoque stands out in the compact SUV category. Its hybridization saves honor, by eliminating penalties and TVS, while ensuring decent services out of the asphalt. For real sobriety on the other hand, we will come back.

Priced from € 52,550, the Evoque P300e doesn’t seem that excessive at first glance. But the bill goes up very, very quickly with the play of options and finishes.

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