Range Rover Evoque

Convertible HSE

Dynamic

Range Rover Evoque Convertible, front, action
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, head on
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, front
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, side, action
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, rear
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, rear, action
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, front, off road
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, rear, off road
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, interior
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, roof folding

THE Range Rover Evoque proved a huge hit - a model that really helped to invigorate the Land Rover brand at a crucial time, while simultaneously reaching out to a whole new customer base.

At the time of its launch I recall someone reckoning it was Land Rover's take on a sports car.

Okay, it might not really be a sports car but you get the idea - in terms of Land Rover moving away from the kind of cars it had made up until that point and quite dramatically too.

It came in two guises, three-door and five-door - the three-door model being the more sporty looking.

If you have a hit on your hands it's always a good idea to expand and diversify the range, so Land Rover came up with the notion of an Evoque Convertible.

Noises had been made before it was officially announced in November 2015 and for a time it was a bit of a ‘will they/won't they' situation.

In the end the car maker decided to take the plunge.

In some ways it represented quite a brave step. SUVs and crossovers do not generally lend themselves well to the prospect of being turned into a drop-top.

The Evoque manages to pull it off though and can also enjoy an enviable claim to fame as the world's only luxury open-topped SUV.

That said the concept is nothing new to Land Rover - its legendary Defender being as comfortable in either a hard or soft top guise.

Like a lot of convertibles the Evoque looks slightly ungainly with the roof up but fold it down (a process that is both easy and swift - it takes 18 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 30mph) and it really comes into its own.

Suddenly it seems perfectly proportioned and oozes character, rather like some slightly quirky beach buggy.

On the inside the Convertible is still very much an Evoque, with a familiar upmarket feel and switchgear and instrumentation that are a sublime blend of the rugged and the luxurious.

There are some key differences, which mainly relate to practicality.

If the standard Evoque is sporty in character then the Convertible is sportier still.

It is a four-seater, with occupants in the rear given real figure-hugging sports style seats that enhance the car's overall character. But if you need to be able to transport five people around then it ain't for you.

Rear seat passengers don't get a huge amount of legroom either and if you're in the front as a driver or passenger you'll need to make allowances for that.

Perhaps its biggest downside is its practicality overall.

The design and the fact the roof needs to fold down into the boot (into a separate compartment) means the actual boot area is pretty minimal.

It's not awful but certainly limited and very different to either the three or five-door models in this regard.

I was fortunate that most of my time behind the wheel was blessed with glorious sunshine for the most part and added to that I had no need to transport anything too bulky.

As such the Evoque really came into its own. The roof was down more than it was up and wherever I went it drew plenty of admiring glances.

Engine-wise there's the opportunity to choose any of Jaguar Land Rover's four-cylinder Ingenium engines, either 150 or 180bhp diesel units, or a 240bhp petrol.

Buyers can opt for a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission and there are four main trim levels with prices ranging between between £30,000 and £53,000.

Only entry models are two-wheel drive, the remainder having four-wheel drive as standard.

I'd imagine some might prefer a petrol engine, in preference to listening to a diesel with the roof down, but Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium diesel is characterised by a note that isn't overly noisy and distinctly un-diesel-like.

It is also smooth, refined and an impressive performer, particularly the higher-powered variant.

To drive the Convertible is decidedly decent and fun. Again, it's not really that different to the standard models which score highly dynamically but having the roof down inevitably brings added thrills.

While two-wheel drive in an Evoque is perfectly capable, from a handling point of view four-wheel drive does bring added reassurance and grip and noticeably ups the fun factor.

On the subject of four-wheel drive the Convertible also offers the selectable range of drive modes spanning all surface types.

Overall this car is great fun - a commendable convertible that has character, individuality and style in abundance.

FAST FACTS

Range Rover Evoque Convertible HSE Dynamic

Price: £47,555

Mechanical: 180hp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 121mph

0-62mph: 9.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 49.6

Insurance Group: 39

C02 emissions: 149g/km

Bik rating: 31%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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