The Range Rover Evoque is one of the company’s best selling models ever – but the latest has just become even better.

Not wanting to rest on its laurels, the Solihull-based car maker has added a new nine-speed automatic gearbox to improve performance, flexibility and fuel consumption.

The new transmission is among the world’s first nine-speed units to be fitted to a passenger car and helps put the Evoque a big leap ahead of its rivals.

And even though nine gears might sound complex the system is so efficient you don‘t even notice, the gears slipping in and out seamlessly.

What it does do is ensure the car is always operating superbly smoothly at any given time. With nine gears to select from and a wide spread of ratios, the new Evoque can always find the perfect one for any given situation.

Best of all the system has an adaptive shift programme so it quickly matches the owner’s driving style.

Also new for this year is the introduction of Park Exit, which automatically gets the car out of parallel parking bays and Perpendicular Park to ensure the car is parked centrally in parking spaces.

The Evoque also offers wade sensing, which tells you how deep the water is when your off-roading takes you across streams or rivers – not that too many Evoque owners are likely to take their pride and joy through deep water.

In fact the super sleek lines of the Evoque – particularly the coupe or three-door model – are normally only seen on the highway or the school run. It might have the ability to tackle the toughest of off-road work but it’s plain most are sold for their looks rather than their four-wheel-drive capabilities.

With its dramatic clamshell bonnet and tinted side windows that taper dramatically towards the rear of the car, the Evoque is certainly an eye catcher.

And inside too there are a number of features which set it apart. The metal trim on the centre tunnel, doors and dashboard of my test car for example were etched with leaves while rear seat passengers as well as those in the front had the benefit of heated and cooled seats, an optional extra at a reasonable £280. For an additional £180 you can get a heated steering wheel. Well it saves on the cost of gloves.

Range Rover Evoque.
Range Rover Evoque.
 

Certainly with stylish leather seats, a panoramic glass sunroof and televisions front and back the Evoque can become one of the most lavishly 4x4s on the market.

On the road it’s a car which drives like an up-market hatchback rather than a 4x4, which is probably why it is so popular with a wide sector of the buying public.

Its height gives you good all round visibility and with 190bhp under the bonnet mid range acceleration is impressively quick. Because of its weight, however, don’t expect to beat any sports cars away from the traffic lights.

The cabin is pleasantly spacious but unless you are particularly agile you might be better to opt for five doors rather than three, as exiting through the front doors is a bit of an art form for rear seat passengers.

There is no doubt, however, the 2014 Evoque is a class act and the extra features – not to mention additional optional extras available – will ensure that it’s success will continue both at home and overseas.

Fast Facts

Model: Range Rover Evoque Coupe (Prestige)

Price: £45,655

Mechanical: 2,179cc, 4 cyl, 190bhp diesel engine driving all wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox.

Max Speed: 121 mph

0-60 mph: 8.5 secs

Combined MPG: 48.7

CO2 Emissions: 153g/km

Insurance Group: 34

Warranty: 3 years unlimited mileage