The Range Rover Evoque Convertible: A Little More Flash Than Dash

18 May 2016
The launch of the Evoque was a watershed moment for Land Rover. Its global success has broadened the appeal of the Range Rover brand giving the refined country gent a city slicker for a younger brother.

Evolution is a vital component of survival, but will the launch of a convertible baby Range Rover repeat the runaway success of its older sibling? And would the great grandfather Defender be proud of the latest generation? The Evoque convertible has retained the design cues from the original Evoque. And there is no mistaking it for anything but Range Rover. Its reputation for being refined, stylish and luxurious is intact although there seems to be some compromise on the comfort levels as space in the backseats has been reduced. Range Rover claim the car provides seating for four adults, however, it’s a bit of a squeeze to get into the back, and once there, not everyone is convinced they would want to ride in the back for any length of time. To accommodate the folding roof, the boot space has halved provoking questions about practicality. The roof itself is a high quality canvas which sits pleasingly flush with the deck when it is rolled back. The removal of the roof is complete in 18 seconds and can be done at up to speeds of 30mph. But, this transformation to a convertible has required some significant body and suspension strengthening which has meant that this baby has had a reasonable weight gain and is well on its way to two tonnes. In the cabin you have some new additions to the interior. Leather upholstery, electric memory seats and a new 10.2 inch touchscreen are all new features. Technologically, adaptive cruise and basic lane departure are included but the standard is a bit lacking versus the premium German brands.

So how about the drive? The weight gain hasn’t been offset with a significant power increase, so the acceleration is leisurely. The petrol engine reaches 62mph in 8 seconds while the diesel engine takes 10 seconds.

When driving at speed, the strengthening has reduced the typical vibrations expected of a convertible. The Evoque comfortably eats the miles on motorways allowing passengers to enjoy the extended view.

But on more winding roads, the weight ratio comes into play again and braking and cornering at speed should be done with care to avoid body roll, tyre scrub and oversteer.

Off road, the car retains its heritage themes. It has been designed to crawl up 45 degree slopes and copes well in both sand and mud. By all accounts it’s well equipped to take on its family name. Just remember to put your roof up before you send the mud flying.

Would you want to buy it? The basic original Evoque costs £30,600 and the convertible is a step up from that. You can choose between two engines. The 2.0L TD4 diesel starts at £47,000 which comes with 4WD, automatic transmission and HSE Dynamic.  Alternatively the 2.0L turbocharged petrol starts at £48,000.

There’s no denying the Evoque convertible will command attention on a busy street, a real head turner. That’s what it is all about, which is perfect for some. But remember you need to gloss over some underlying flaws and pay more money for a car that’s heavier, slower and not so comfortable.

Images courtesy of Land Rover MENA (CC BY 2.0)