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2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic: Luxury and traction

The 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic is powered by 2.0-litre, I-4, turbocharged engine that generates up to 296 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. (Sabrina Giacomini)
The 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic is powered by 2.0-litre, I-4, turbocharged engine that generates up to 296 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. - Sabrina Giacomini

Of all the times I chose to head out to Montreal, it had to be during a snowstorm. If you don’t know this already, highway 401 connecting Toronto to Montreal is notorious for its accidents when there’s bad weather. I personally quite enjoy driving in the snow even more so when I have a vehicle that enjoys snow too.

Even though nothing can replace caution in these conditions, there’s an additional feeling of safety that comes from driving a Land Rover in the snow and, lucky me, I was at the wheel of the 2020 Range Rover Evoque for the trip. Sure enough, the vehicle offered a stellar performance both on dry and snow-covered tarmac. On the way back from Montreal, in clear weather, the vehicle offered nothing but smooth and quiet sailing.

That’s the thing I like about the Land and Range Rovers: they're expensive and luxurious but they haven’t forgotten where they come from and will still gladly tackle a bit of loose gravel or sand (or in this case, snow) with ease.

The model was updated for 2019. At seven years old, the former generation was considered a bit geriatric by today’s industry standards. That being said, the designers have to work too hard to freshen up its looks, the foundations introduced in 2011 were still really solid. No, the more noticeable changes happened on the inside.

The most important changes in the Evoque happened inside the vehicle rather than outside. New for 2019, it received Land Rover's striking double-decker touchscreen, a design first introduced on the Velar two years ago. - Sabrina Giacomini
The most important changes in the Evoque happened inside the vehicle rather than outside. New for 2019, it received Land Rover's striking double-decker touchscreen, a design first introduced on the Velar two years ago. - Sabrina Giacomini

One bone I have to pick with the Evoque's new design is the retractable door handles. I get it: it looks pretty sleek. The handles neatly retract into the body of the vehicle, creating a flat surface all around. It sure looks good. The issue with that, however, is that the mechanism doesn't seem to like the cold. You see where this is going.

We went from 0 to -6°C overnight which we can all agree isn’t the worst the Canadian winter can throw at us. When it came the time to move the vehicle, the door handles were sluggish and once they popped out, they didn't go back in once the vehicle was in motion. I had to pop them back in manually. The concept looks good on paper and likely isn’t an issue in most climates on the planet but in Canada where half of the year is spent below the freezing point, it could become a recurring issue.

I mentioned the most important changes in the Evoque happened inside the vehicle rather than outside. New for 2019, it received Land Rover's striking “double-decker” touchscreen, a design first introduced on the Velar two years ago. In my opinion, it's one of the best-looking systems currently on the market. The one downside is that if you’re a little OCD about fingermarks on your screens, chances are this is going to drive you mad.

Performance-wise, the model I drove is part of the R-Dynamic lineup which uses a 2.0L, turbocharged engine rated at 296 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s plenty to propel the Evoque efficiently. It’s not fast but it also doesn’t feel lazy. There's a responsiveness to the vehicle's behaviour that keeps things interesting without being overkill.

I like the Evoque. It looks like an urban luxury SUV but with the rock crawling and sand drive modes only a touch away, you could be surprised with how far it will go. Even in a snowstorm.

The specs

Model: 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic HSE P300

Engine: 2.0L, I-4, turbocharged, 296 horsepower, 295 lb.-ft. of torque

Transmission: nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

NRCan rating (L/100km city/highway): 11.4/8.9

Length: 4,371 mm

Width: 2,100 mm

Wheelbase: 2,681 mm

Weight: 2,450 kg

Price: base, $47,950, as tested, $72,900 including freight

Competition: Audi Q3, BMW X2, Lexus NX200, Infiniti QX30, Jaguar E-Pace

Standard equipment: voice control, Bluetooth, rain-sensing windshield wipers, all-wheel drive, SOS/assistance call, heated front seats, all-terrain progress control, lane-keep assist, privacy glass, auto high beam assist

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