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One of my favorite things about the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SE is a whimsical little feature called the puddle light — a small circle of light projected near the driver's side door like a puddle.
There's a design stenciled into the light in the shape of the Evoque. The effect is like a black and white line drawing of the vehicle, and it's the kind of conversation starter that luxury car buyers appreciate.
And that's a good metaphor for the Evoque: It's a fiesty compact luxury SUV that packs a lot of value and stirs a lot of appreciation. Our tester, a Yulong White model provided for a one-week test drive by the manufacturer, rings up at $48,195 which is at the lower end of the Range Rover Evoque price range.
Model: 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SE
Exterior color: Yulong White
Interior color: Garnet and Ebony
Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 27 mpg highway, 20 mpg city
Local dealer: Land Rover Chattanooga, 7648 Lee Highway
Price (as tested): $48,195
Yet, for the money, you get a genuinely striking crossover with many upgrades for the 2020 model year. The Evoque, introduced in 2012, has always been one of the more handsome small SUVs on the market, in our view. With a dramatic roof line that tapers downward into a rounded rear hatch, the Evoque has delightful lines that create visual interest. Meanwhile, its unique pop-out door handles provide a futuristic look.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoques are available locally at Land Rover of Chattanooga at 7648 Lee Highway. The dealership had five Evoques in digital inventory late this week, including three 2020 models.
WHAT IS IT?
The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SE is a compact luxury SUV with all-wheel-drive and seating for five. The Range Rover Evoque SE features a 246 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. A 296-horsepower hybrid version is also available.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Our tester has a base price of $47,200. An added destination fee is $995.
WHAT WE LIKED
Our log-book reflects a host of "likes" including the puddle lamp, burgundy-colored leather interior, brisk mid-range power, clean body lines and abundant touch screens that declutter the dash and center stack.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The pop-out door handles, while cool, signal to others that the doors are unlocked. So, don't forget to lock your Evoque at the mall. The start-stop function, which saves a few sips of gas per tankful, can cause an off-the-mark hesitation that's bothersome when trying to accelerate into fast-moving traffic.
An array of touch screens and the Garnet leather seats give the interior a more modern vibe than previous Range Rover Evoque models. The Evoque is unquestionably fun to drive, with seemingly limitless reserves of smooth power.
If you want the cache of owning a Land Rover product but don't need a lot of interior space, the Range Rover Evoque is a jewel in a small package.
Online: In the market for a new vehicle? To access hundreds of Mark Kennedy's Chattanooga Test Drive columns visit www.timesfreepress.com/testdrive.
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