The Range Rover Evoque retains its recognisable silhouette, but now sports numerous features that will appeal to tech-savvy and outdoorsy drivers
Range Rover's evolutionary Evoque The Range Rover Evoque sports a heavily modified strut front suspension and an integral-link rear suspension, resulting in an agile and comfortable ride. PHOTO: JAGUAR LAND ROVER

The new Range Rover Evoque is heading to Singapore soon and the good news for aficionados of the compact luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) is that they will find the new model comfortingly familiar.

After all, why fool around with the design that has won the hearts of so many?

Since its introduction in 2011, the car has seen more than 770,000 units sold.

Hence, the new model's styling is more of a "refresh" than a "redo". The body looks smoother, with fewer lines and protrusions.

But the coupe-like shape and rising beltline are still there. A noteworthy addition is the quartet of flushed door handles.

Unlike the previous Evoque, which was also available as a three-door "coupe" and two-door convertible, the new model is available only as a five-door SUV.

The Evoque is full of cutting-edge technologies.

One such highlight is the all-new Premium Transverse Architecture platform, which can accommodate internal combustion engines, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicle drivetrains.

Two Evoque variants were available during our drive across Greece: the P250 petrol and D240 diesel.

When the Evoque goes on sale, many variants will be fitted with a new 48-volt mild hybrid system, which is like the EQ Boost found in newer models from Mercedes-Benz.

An Evoque with a 3-cylinder PHEV system will be rolled out next year.

The P250 I drove was very hushed at low speeds and its power delivery is linear. The throttle response is sluggish, though.

With 246hp and 365Nm on tap, the SUV dispatches the zero to 100kmh dash in 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 230kmh.

Interestingly, it does not feel that swift due to its unruffled nature.

The only evidence that it is covering asphalt at a fast pace is the increasingly loud "whooshing" noise coming from the side mirrors, especially beyond 100kmh.

Equipped with all-wheel-drive that controls torque distribution between the front and rear axles to maximise traction on all four wheels, the new Evoque sports a heavily modified strut front suspension and an integral-link rear suspension, which is derived from the one in the Velar.

As a result, the car retains its predecessor's agility without compromising ride comfort.

Land Rover's brilliant Terrain Response 2 system, which is accessed via the glossy touchscreens of the Touch Pro Duo system (also from the Velar), is very easy to use.

You can tap the icon that best represents the ground conditions or leave it in "Auto" and let the electronic wizards take over.

At one off-road section on an almost dried-out riverbed, the "Mud and Ruts" mode enabled the Evoque to overcome rocks, stones and holes of varying shapes and sizes with ease.

On another trail section with a steep downslope, I selected Hill Descent Control and adjusted the target speed to its slowest setting.

After that, all I had to do was release the brake pedal and steer. The Evoque did the rest.

If you need a good view of the road immediately ahead and underneath, you will like the ClearSight Ground View system.

Employing a combined feed from cameras mounted in the front and sides, it brings up a digital field of vision on the central touchscreen and makes it possible to "see through" the bonnet.

Inside, you will find that the cabin quality has been dialled up a few notches over the previous model.

Like the exterior, the cockpit is clean and tidy. However, the scarcity of knobs, levers and buttons may take some getting used to for the less tech-inclined.

There are more Velar-inspired touches, such as the pair of 10-inch touchscreens and some exquisite trim and materials.

Said materials offered include faux suede, a new eucalyptusderived textile and Kvadrat textile which is a wool-blend premium fabric.

Another new tech gadget is the ClearSight Rear View Mirror. At the touch of a button, the rear-view mirror turns into a display screen and shows the feed for the camera mounted at the back of the SUV.

An optional 12-inch digital display is also available in place of the conventional driver's instrumentation cluster.

The new Evoque's wheelbase has grown by 21cm and this increase has resulted in 20cm more knee room for occupants at the rear. Storage-wise, the boot is approximately 10 per cent larger and there are numerous compartments for personal effects, including a "hidden" one directly behind the touchscreens.

After a two-day trip covering 560km of highways, mountain passes and off-road tracks, I can say that Land Rover has made the right moves where quality, driving dynamics and technology are concerned.

And with three petrol variants - R-Dynamic SE P200, First Edition P250 and R-Dynamic HSE P300 - coming to Singapore some time in the middle of this year, fans of Land Rover's baby SUV will be spoilt for choice.