On paper there were questions. Firstly, Evoque sounds more like a fragrance promoted by Derek Zoolander than a pint-sized spin-off of the world’s favourite off-roader. Then there’s the fact Victoria Beckham was a ‘design consultant’, doing little to dispel the underlying fear that this is a car aimed not just at women - but WAGs. Drive it, however, and it all makes a lot more sense.
The moon-buggy looks might be consciously quirky but the ‘fresh and modern’ message comes through loud and clear. The aim is to pull in new clientele and the Evoque has the swagger - and more importantly the substance - to do it.
It feels like a Range Rover - no mean feat when it takes up the same space as a Ford Focus. The cabin is spacious, refined and tech-friendly, with enough gadgets and interior options to leave you needing a lie down. Neatest is the dual-screen display, which lets the driver see the satnav while the passenger can watch DVDs.
Importantly, the seat position offers enough height to look down on pedestrians and most motorists - a big draw for Range Rover fans - while still feeling sporty. The full-length panoramic roof means you’re now encouraged to look up, too.
It drives like a Range Rover as well; better in some instances. The engine is quiet when you want it to be and kicks in powerfully on demand. It responds well on twisty roads, and is a more relaxing motorway cruiser.
Off-road it is astonishing, eating up all manner of terrain with no complaint. Its Hill Descent Control feature helps to bring it down vertigo-inducing slopes. Impressive, even when the closest many will come to all-terrain is the gravel on their driveway.
Throw in 50mpg for the 2.2 diesel (which will make up 90 per cent of UK sales) and it’s a true all-rounder, well-equipped for the road (or lack of) ahead, and British to boot. It’s a Range Rover, but not as we know it.
Range Rover Evoque, from £28,000, landrover.com/Evoque