As with the Freelander, the Range Rover Evoque sits on MacPherson struts at the front, with a multi-link variant (a strut with lateral and longitudinal control links) at the rear. There was a very tough compromise to be made here. Any Range Rover is, after all, a Land Rover vehicle and so it must be capable of reaching places that are unusually difficult to drive to.
Yet it is also the smallest, most efficient and road-focused Range Rover yet and will be bought mostly by people whose idea of a green lane is a leafy side street. In the end, this car is for them, and Land Rover admits that the Evoque will not go quite as far off road as others in the line-up, although it will still go further than any rival.
A sell-out? Not at all. A car must be fit for its purpose and the Evoque retains an extremely broad set of parameters; it’s just that the width has shifted at both ends.
Nonetheless, compromises are still evident. Riding on 19-inch wheels and tyres, the Evoque is far from an uncomfortable urban car, but if you expect the kind of ride isolation you’ll find in one of its bigger brethren, you’ll be searching a long while.
The Evoque is coil sprung, with magnetorheological dampers (an option) that, in their Normal mode, are set up to retain good body control in what is still a relatively tall car. That they can adapt, to stiffen and reduce the body’s movement compared with the wheel travel, is what helps keep the body tied down on poorer surfaces or at higher speeds, and this is where the Evoque shows its better side. It outrides a BMW X model, yet finds equivalence in body control and should go further in the rough.