2020 Range Rover Evoque First Drive: More here than meets the eye

The 2020 starts with the latest evolution of Land Rover’s Transverse Architecture platform, which appeared with the Freelander back in the late 1990s. The new platform was driven by electrification and the need to accommodate large batteries, according to chief program manager Pete Bingham, even though batteries in U.S.-spec Evoques won’t initially be all that large. The only carryover parts, stampings or castings in the new Evoque unibody are the door hinges. There’s more aluminum throughout, and particularly around the strut towers and attachment points, including those for new hard-mounted sub-frames. The objective beyond potential for electric powertrains was straightforward, Bingham says: bringing overall refinement in the Evoque to levels on par with larger Range Rovers without making it bigger. A unibody that starts out 13 percent stiffer than its predecessor provides a good foundation for reducing noise and vibration throughout.The new Evoque has not gotten bigger, unless you consider a 0.1-inch increase in width and overall length bigger. That means the smallest Range Rover more closely aligns by size with the smallest SUV/crossover offerings from Range Rover’s European competitors, including the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA, rather than compacts like the Q5, X3 and GLC. The only significant dimensional change in this Evoque? Its wheelbase increases nearly an inch compared to the old, so its overhangs are shorter and its interior volume is slightly reapportioned, helping create 10 percent more cargo and cubby space.