When we first saw the Audi Q3, our first thought was one of relief. Relief that it was significantly improved over the first-gen car. Our second thought, though, was one of surprise. That’s because the new Audi Q3 is seriously high-tech and stylish for its segment. Now, it’s obviously not the prettiest crossover we’ve ever seen, nor is it the most high-tech. But when you consider its competition, especially the cars available at the time of its release just a few months ago, it’s packing some really serious technology and cool style, especially inside. And it’s much more impressive than the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40. However, there’s a new entry into the segment and it will likely throw a monkey wrench into the Q3’s plans — the 2019 Range Rover Evoque.
When the Range Rover Evoque first debuted, it was an instant sensation. With its incredibly stylish body and interior combined with its decent off-road capability, Range Rover badge and surprisingly low price, it dominated the segment. Actually, it really revived the segment, as it was previously filled with really bland and boring cars. So the cool and interesting cars we have in that small, premium crossover segment are really all owed to the original Evoque. This new one once again pushes the game forward.
From the outside, Range Rover did the smart thing and kept it true to the original. While that may not sound exciting, you don’t fix what ain’t broke and a seven years on, the original Evoque was still selling very well. So this new car looks like an Evoque that’s been infused with some of the Range Rover Velar’s styling and that’s a very good thing, as the Velar is one of the prettiest SUVs we’ve ever seen. So now the Range Rover Evoque is better looking than ever before and, let’s face it, the best looking car in the segment.
Inside, it’s filled with rich leather, a very stylish cabin and some really impressive technology. While Land Rover/Range Rover’s new infotainment system might not be as slick or intuitive as Audi’s Touch Response MMI system, it’s still very nice and the actual touchscreen itself looks fantastic, tucked into the dashboard like that. It also tilts forward when you start the car, to make it easier to see and use, and then tilts back flush with the dash when you turn the car off. Very cool.
But the best technology in the Evoque has nothing to do with its infotainment system. There are two really great new features that will make the baby Range stand out from its peers. One is the new rear-view camera. A camera at the back of the roof looks behind the car at all times and what it sees is displayed in the full-length of the rear-view mirror, effectively replacing the mirror with a very high-definition screen. This way, nothing inside the car, including the seats, headrests, pillars or occupants, can obscure your view rearward. However, if the camera is somehow blocked or inoperable, you can flip the switch on the mirror and it becomes a traditional rear-view mirror again. Very cool. This tech was actually first debuted on the Cadillac CT6 but it’s nice to see it here.
Another really interesting piece of new tech in the Range Rover Evoque is actually an industry first. While most premium brands have their own “surround-view” camera systems, which use a series of cameras to give a 360-degree view of your car, none do it quite like this. For the first time ever in a production car, the Range Rover Evoque allows you to actually see the ground in front of you, as if the hood didn’t exist. So you can see the ground underneath your feet almost, allowing you to miss a rock you might otherwise snag off road or even just park in a very tight space easier. It’s really impressive to see and we’d love to try it out.
With all of that tech, its stunning looks and fantastic interior, we can’t see customers not loving the new Range Rover Evoque. The new Audi Q3 looks to be a really good car, one that’s affordable, good looking, luxurious and high-tech. But if the two are priced similarly, we have a hard time seeing why someone would choose the Q3 over the Range Rover Evoque.