Rarely do I get excited about a car, not because most cars are awful, but because most cars are reasonably good. The Range Rover Evoque Convertible is very good, very good indeed.
In fact, this is one of my favourite cars, ever.
There are three variants available: Dynamic, SE Dynamic, and range topping HSE Dynamic.
It doesn’t have Range Rover’s adjustable floaty air suspension, but it does have an adjustable roof. It folds completely away in just 18 seconds.
The profile looks masculine.
The chucky body, muscular wheel arches, and stubby tail, work together to give an impression of a very cute topless Sherman Tank, with AWD of course.
The smart entry/start system folds the side mirrors. Just as well, as the Evoque is 2.085m wide. As the mirrors unfold, they project an outline of the Evoque onto the ground at your feet.
Your key can stay secreted about your person, and you lock by caressing a small indentation on the door handle.
Gripping the handle unlocks the system for easy entry.
When you start the car, the seat, radio, air conditioning, and mirrors, move to the position you left them in.
The auto gear selector dial rises from the console, and the LCD screen comes to life. You have to press the screen for further interaction or it takes ages to start.
A single button touch lowers the windows and roof, at up to 48 km/h. That’s handy in traffic when it starts to sprinkle.
The sound is spectacular, no matter where you source your music.
The interior is beautifully fitted.
All Range Rovers have an air of elegance and understated luxury, but this one adds open air ambience.
The heated/cooled front seats are covered in soft leather, and the fabric covering the dash and doors feels remarkably like a diver’s wet suit.
The control centre includes the aforementioned TV screen.
The passenger can watch their favourite program with sound via the wireless headphones, while the driver sees sat-nav or whatever would normally be displayed.
It really is genius.
On the road, the deployable wind deflector really is the business. You fit it as needed, but unless it’s cold, is probably is too much trouble.
The eight-speed auto in the Range Rover Evoque is incredibly smooth, but can feel a bit dim-witted. In order to get near the claimed 8.2l/100km, it changes up as quickly as it can.
As the revs drop, the turbo looses its oomph. When you put your foot down, the gears quickly drop. The turbo takes a little while to spool up again.
Putting the auto in to Sports mode does 0-100 in 8.1 seconds, but Evoque weighs 2,013kg, and you notice this bulk in the corners.
Clever electronics keep the wheels pointing where they should, but there is no hiding from the fact that Evoque is not a sports car.
In that vein, I’d consider the convertible to be more of a GT than a hot-hatch-inspired barn stormer.
Boot space is tight, and the opening fairly small, but certainly spacious enough for a picnic basket, some chairs, and a blanket.
The ride is excellent, with a slightly ethereal detachment to the road. No doubt that’s handy off-road, should you choose to venture away from the asphalt.
Auto parking is handy, and the 360° view camera is invaluable.
There is a bit of James Bond with Range Rover. There are gadgets galore. Sadly, most of the really cool stuff is an optional extra.
One might argue that it means infinite personalisation, others might say “for that price, it should be included”.
For those days when it is too hot, or wet, the roof stays up.
There are several layers which keep the cabin reasonably quiet. Of course, it isn’t as quiet as a roofed model, but you hardly notice the outside world.
Even with the roof down, you can bathe in the gentle wafts of chilled air.
In winter, it feels almost sinful to be warmed as if sitting in front of an open fire.
This is also when the heated steering wheel comes in handy.
An All-Terrain convertible SUV is unique.
No matter what other brands claim, a drop-top always trumps a fixed roof with anyone who has a spirit of adventure, and a pulse.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible
- Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-petrol producing 177kw/340Nm 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