British luxury SUV maker Range Rover crossed the channel to launch their sparkling new Evoque and Velar plug-in hybrid models in France’s revered Champagne region.

 “The world is in perpetual motion, and we must invent the things of tomorrow. Act with audacity.” These musings could easily be those of a modern car brand’s CEO. Yet, they were spoken in the 19th century and belong to the world’s first female wine entrepreneur, Madame Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, who transformed a small champagne house into one of the most prominent of her time, and ours. 

The same audacious thinking is evident in the Range Rover Evoque and Velar, both refreshed for 2024 with cleverly minimalist interiors, enhanced designs, and next-generation plug-in hybrid drivetrains.


As the entry point to the Range Rover luxury SUV line-up, the invigorated Evoque boasts a restyled radiator grille and a variety of new colours, several technology upgrades, and a new P300e plug-in hybrid model that we sampled in Autobiography grade during our first drive from Paris to the city of Reims. 

Our drive to the heart of champagne country started in EV-only mode at the Royal Monceau Raffles Hotel near the Arc de Triomphe. Combining a Land Rover-developed 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine, a new 14.9 kWh battery, and an 80 kW electric motor, the Evoque PHEV offers three-mode driving for city or cross-country cruises. 

In EV mode, the company claims a 62-km pure electric (WLTP cycle) range, although a real-world range of around 50 km is more likely when driving briskly. Land Rover claims the battery can be charged to full in under 30 minutes on a fast charger or within two hours using a wallbox. Set it to Hybrid mode (as we did once out of town), and the engine, electric motor, and battery collude as the drive demands, potentially extending the Evoque’s fuel consumption capabilities to a slight 1.4 l/100 km.

While the Evoque’s three-cylinder block tries hard to mask its inherent gruffness at higher revs, its combined system output of 227 kW and 540 Nm makes for effortless highway cruising, while typical Range Rover ride smoothness, and surprisingly agile handling are the plug-in Evoque’s strongest dynamic qualities.

On the technology front, the Evoque enjoys a host of features that go beyond merely justifying its starting price tag. The Pixel LED lighting system is a revelation, and can detect objects up to 1.5 km away, adjusting the beam pattern to avoid blinding leading or oncoming vehicles. Driver comfort is also considered by adjusting beam intensity for reflective road signs.

New sustainable materials, a 14-speaker Meridian sound system (in the Autobiography), and a new voice control system that’s fully integrated with Amazon Alexa augment the cabin experience. Land Rover has also simplified the infotainment system with a single 11.4” curved touchscreen display for intuitive control of all key vehicle functions.


Raising the bar to even more luxurious levels, it was the turn of the Velar Dynamic HSE P400e to impress me on our return journey from the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa. 

Before the serious business of navigating the narrow roads crisscrossing the French countryside could begin, Land Rover allowed us to experience the Velar’s full-time all-wheel-drive Terrain Response 2 system with Dynamic Program. You might wonder how many Velars will ever see off-road action tougher than a gravel road or two, but according to Land Rover UK, which tracks this activity, as many as 80% of Velars will spend at least 30 min, or cover more than 10 km, in Terrain Response mode.

With 297 kW and 640 Nm available from the hybrid Range Rover’s 2.0-litre Ingenium engine, 19.2 kWh battery, and electric motor combo, the Velar is suited to a 5.9-second sprint, and will carry it through to a 209 km/h top speed. It also carries an upgraded battery with a claimed 64 km electric-only drive. Driving the Velar in Save mode (also in the Evoque), as we did for most of the return trip, promises to use as little as 1.6 l/100km of fuel.

Being tangibly larger than the Evoque, the Velar is a better fit in the Range Rover luxury ethos for me, and this is especially obvious in the interior look and feel. Tech add-ons in the updated Velar include a noise cancellation feature that uses the Meridian 3D Surround Sound System to disrupt and mask road and wind noises. 

An 11.4” touchscreen with Pivi Pro is the centrepiece of the car’s infotainment system, although our Zadar Grey launch car also included a host of luxury and safety add-ons, including a forward-facing camera, front and rear parking aid, blind spot, and lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter, rear traffic and rear collision monitor, adaptive cruise control with steering assist, and the Dynamic Handling Pack with striking red brake callipers.

(kW @ r/min)
(Nm @ r/min)
0-100 KM/H
(l/100 km)
Range Rover Evoque Autobiography P300eIn-line 3-cyl; 1,497 cc turbo + electric227 @ 5,500540 @ 2,000-2,5002136.41.4N/A
Range Rover Velar Dynamic HSE P400eIn-line 4-cyl; 1,998 cc turbo + electric297 @ 5,500640 @ 1,500-4,4002095.41.6N/A


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