Range Rover Evoque Road Test, Review
Land Rover’s new Range Rover Evoque Convertible is as handsome as its hard-top siblings, the 5-door, and now defunct 3-door.
Those who loved the 3-door will think the convertible is even more gorgeous. The proportions are just right, and it comes with the same impeccable interior.
Adding to its drop-dead gorgeous looks are a bona fide set of off-road credentials. The aspirational heritage links the mini Range Rovers directly to vehicles that have won wars, and crisscrossed continents.
They’ve discovered new species, and mapped whole countries. That kind of kudos you just can’t fake.
It feels as rigid as the roofed versions.
The local launch on Fraser Island showed the baby Rangie to be as happy off-road as it was on.
The off-road drive modes use the ABS to simulate 4WD capability by electronically locking wheels while the diff shuffles power front and rear in the AWD (please note: AWD is NOT 4WD as such).
Our weather is as predictable as next week’s lotto numbers.
Sydney has endured its hottest summer, and its wettest autumn on record. The winter, though dry, has been cold.
With the roof down, the icy air is kept from whipping the cabin into a frosticle by means of a clever draft-excluder.
It sits behind the front seats and forms a barrier without affecting the open top enjoyment.
Many buyers are put off by the thought of noise permeating a rag roof, but it has several layers and is almost as quiet as its steel-roofed cousins.
The heaviest of rain sounds like muted drops on an umbrella.
The roof itself, apart from being complex, is very clever.
The boot lid is really just a hatch. The front section of the roof is hard, and forms a “lid” covering the softer fabric sections when folded down.
Because there is no cover, the roof goes up and down very fast. The only thing to close are a couple of small covers over the side frame behind the back seats.
Like many open-top cars, Evoque allows the boot space to be fully used when the roof is deployed.
The stowage space in the boot can be pushed upwards which collapses the cover up against the top of the boot cavity. Again, that’s genius.
What that means is you could do a 4-man airport run if the bags were small enough to fit through the cargo opening. The boot is certainly roomy enough to take 5 soft-sided weekend bags.
The roof can be raised or lowered from the key fob.
Someone asked me “why a convertible off roader”, and the answer is simple. There have always been open-to off-roaders.
The first Landies were open top. Jeep Wranglers have a lift-off roof, a soft top, and lift out targa options, and let’s not forget those Suzuki Vitara and Sierra models.
Evoque is probably the closet yet to a perfect cross between sporty open top sports car, with the attributes of an all-wheel drive SUV.
It is one of the few, if not the only electric roof SUV.
If there is one irritation, it is the lack of bins and cubby holes. The door pockets won’t fit bottles, even small ones.
The cup holders can be used at a pinch but the console is too shallow to be useful.
It’s something that should be considered from the moment of conception, but, once in motion is soon forgotten.
The cabin has a simple yet elegant design ethos: It has to be tasteful, it has to be practical, and it has to comfortable. So, apart from the cubby hole situation, the rest is good news.
Every button, knob, and switch feels solid.
The leather is supple and the metal highlights are the real deal. It is a pleasure to spend time in.
The peppy engine, and smooth transmission, are flawless.
The economy is reasonable even when the driver pushes through tight corners keeping the revs up high. A day of mountain passes scarcely makes a dent in spare change jar.
The electric steering has plenty of feel and has just the right amount of assistance.
Although the ride is firm and sporty, it irons out most bumps without complaint. I wouldn’t mind a version geared solely towards comfort, which for me, is far more important.
Going around the occasional corner at light speed is great, but I’d rather be comfortable and would always take ride over extreme handling.
The turbo-petrol Evoque SI4 is packed full of luxury, drives like a Range Rover, and goes where an SUV should go.
It feels sporty in the true sense of the word. It is exactly like the regular roofed version with added sex appeal.
The nine-speed auto is superb.
The infotainment system is the latest version of Jaguar-Land Rover system 10.2” touch screen. It is fast to respond but can be a bit moody. The system can freeze requiring a restart.
On several occasions, it failed to connect with the paired phone and needed to be left locked for a while to sort out the gremlins.
The sound is excellent from the upgraded speakers, and although there is digital radio, there is no Apple Carplay and that is unforgivable.
The auto parking brake a nice touch. When you’ve gotten in to the parking space, all you need do is press the stop button and the system will select park and apply the brake.
I loved the ‘regular’ Evoque, but adore the convertible.
It is perfection despite a few minor gripes. The car retails for 92 grand, but our test car had a family-hatch-worth of extras.
Would I buy one? Yes, despite the price tag, it has X-factor galore.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible
- Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-petrol producing 177kw/340Nm (Si4) or 2.0 litre turbo-diesel producing 132kW/430Nm
- Transmission: Nine-speed auto
- Safety: Not tested
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
- Origin: United Kingdom
- Price: from $84,928