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Range Rover Evoque goes hybrid

Date: 11 December 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

An all-new version of the trendy SUV is turning to electrification in a bid to woo fleets, as Sean Keywood discovered.

The new Range Rover Evoque has been revealed, with a focus on hybrid technology that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) hopes will help it gain ground among fleets.

From launch, most variants of the new second-generation model will come with a 48V mild hybrid system, which allows the engine to shut off at speeds below 11mph when the driver applies the brakes, and assists the engine under acceleration.

A full plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain will then join the range in around 12 months.

According to JLR UK managing director Rawdon Glover, who spoke with BusinessCar at the launch of the Evoque in London, the hybrid systems will be crucial to boosting the firm's fleet performance - in particular the upcoming PHEV.

He said: "I think the new Evoque in its current guise will be a small step forward for us, because the mild hybrid helps from a CO2 perspective, but the gamechanger for us will be in 12 months time when we get the PHEV.

"Particularly for large parts of contract hire and leasing it's really all about
benefit- in-kind (BIK), and the most tax-efficient way for people to drive is through a PHEV, and we will have that."

Discussing how the firm's current performance is stronger in retail than fleet, Glover said the approach to increasing fleet sales would be to understand how the different sections of the market operate, and recognise that in some CO2-focused areas it may not be such a player until a planned full range of hybrids arrives, while other more retail-like areas such as SMEs and affinity schemes might be a better fit.

At launch, the new Evoque's engine range starts with a 2.0-litre, 150hp diesel, with official combined fuel economy of up to 44.9mpg.

Other engine options are 2.0-litre diesels with 180hp (41.3mpg) and 240hp (40.4mpg); and 2.0-litre petrols with 200hp (30.7mpg), 249hp (30.4mpg) and 300hp (30.3mpg). 

CO2 emissions are said to range between 143g/km and 186g/km.

All will come with the mild-hybrid system when specced with automatic transmission, which is standard for all but the entry-level diesel.

According to Glover, diesel is still the right choice for many fleet needs - and he would like to see more support for it from the government.

"Our approach with customers is to try and put them into the vehicle and the powertrain that best suits their needs," he said.

"For many customers diesel will be for at least the medium term the best fuel type for them.

"We're a firm believer with current Euro 6 clean diesels, they are comparable from a particulates point of view, but actually 20% better on CO2

"We've all got our CO2 commitments to meet, and at the moment certainly the way BIK is structured, and VED, it's very negative towards diesel, and we're certainly keen to try and press upon government that there is perhaps a better way through that."

Moving away from powertrains, compared with the outgoing model the new Evoque's wheelbase has been lengthened, meaning more rear legroom.

The boot now measures 591 litres, 10% larger than the previous iteration.

Available trim levels are a base model, S, SE and HSE, with an R-Dynamic package available on top for an extra £1,500, and a First Edition launch model completing the initial line-up.

Entry level prices start at £31,600 for the front-wheel drive 150hp diesel, and increase to £40,350 for the 300hp petrol. 

Prices rise by £3,150 for S grade, £6,650 for SE and £9,650 for HSE.

First Edition prices are £49,550 for a 180hp diesel, and £50,400 for a 249hp petrol.

The new Evoque is available to order now, with the first deliveries expected in spring 2019.

We won't get the chance to take a proper drive until the New Year, but during the launch we did get to tackle a short urban obstacle course, trying out technology such as Land Rover's Terrain Response 2 system, which adjusts the car's set-up depending on the surface it is driven on.

Also available is a Ground View system that shows the driver a 180-degree view under the front of the vehicle, designed to be helpful with low-speed manoeuvring and tackling rough terrain - such as when we were asked to drive along a short section of railway track.

Also impressive was a feature that transforms the rear-view mirror into an HD video screen if the regular mirror view is obscured by rear-seat passengers or luggage.

From our brief, low-speed drive, interior comfort and quality also seemed to be of a high standard - aside from that, a verdict will of course have to wait for a proper road test in 2019.