Range Rover Evoque

Convertible HSE

Dynamic

Range Rover Evoque Convertible, full front action
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, off road
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, rear action
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, side hood up
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, side action
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, hood folding
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, dashboard
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, front seats
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, front action

YOU certainly get some bemused looks cruising round with the hood down on a cold, dank and miserable winter morning.

But then foul conditions are arguably the best in which to test drive a convertible - especially one with the go anywhere, do anything provenance of a Land Rover.

Is the car insulated against the cold, is the wind getting through, are your fingers frozen, and when the heavens open with a vengeance can you have that roof back in place without getting drenched?

Land Rover is heralding the Range Rover Evoque Convertible as its car for all seasons, so I decided to pick a season - winter.

So apologies to those who would rather be seen enjoying the summer sunshine in a soft-top, but for this model at least, that's not the case.

No nation buys into the open-top experience quite like the Brits and there's plenty of choice out there if that's your bag.

So the Evoque needs to be good - and Land Rover has no hesitation as billing it as the world's first luxury compact SUV convertible.

High expectations are understandable. Whereas the Evoque range starts at £30,600, you have to shell out £47,500 for the cheapest rag-top, which happens to be the tested 2.0-litre TD4 diesel in HSE Dynamic trim.

It's a car you can warm to, though not as much as the Evoque five-door or coupe.

For instance it has the longest and widest fabric roof fitted to any vehicle on sale today and its Z-fold mechanism is flush with the rear bodywork for a sleek appearance when lowered.

Up or down - and that's an operation that takes 18 seconds to stow and 21 seconds to raise at speeds up to 30mph - we're talking the cool cabrio.

Everything about the car screams quality and class, from the supportive heated leather seats to the upmarket on-board technology and fit of the lowered roof.

As owners of convertibles tend to want more luxury, it's only the higher trim grades of HSE Dymamic and HSE Dynamic Lux that are up for grabs.

That means kit like a high-res 10.2-inch touchscreen with Jaguar Land Rover's next-generation infotainment set-up - InControl Touch Pro - for smartphone integration, door-to-door navigation, 3G connectivity and a premium sound system.

Safety features include a roll-over protection device with deployable bars, which activate within 90 milliseconds, hidden in the rear bodywork.

On the downside the car is strictly four-seater, tall passengers may wish for better rear legroom and getting in and out of the back can be a challenge, while the boot is barely adequate at 251 litres.

Beneath the bonnet is a choice of four-cylinder engines - the company's 180bhp 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel boasting fuel economy of 49.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km, while there's also the lively 240PS Si4 2.0-litre petrol unit.

The diesel delivers a refined ride, vibration-free steering and concert hall acoustics, though it's not blessed with the sharpest acceleration, the 0-62mph time of 10.3 seconds a consequence of the car's heavier platform.

All-terrain capability is the same as the Evoque five-door and Coupe variants so the likes of four-wheel drive, nine-speed auto transmission, Terrain Response system and Wade Sensing are included.

Of course the majority of Evoque Convertible drivers will never exploit this hardware to the full if at all, but it's comforting to know it's there when the wind whips up and the sky turns black.

FAST FACTS

Range Rover Evoque Convertible HSE Dynamic

Price: £47,500

Mechanical: 180bhp, 1,999cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 121mph

0-62mph: 10.3 seconds

Combined MPG:49.6

Insurance Group: 149g/km

C02 emissions: 29%

Warranty:3yrs/100,000 miles

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