Convertible SUVs have been a rare sight on our roads but Land Rover is changing that. Paul Acres drives the drop-top Evoque
with someone who wasn’t me.
You sit deeper in the car than you would normally expect in a drop-top and the windscreen extends a fair way back over the front seat passengers’ heads. Consequently the deep sides and glass provide a reasonably effective sound barrier.
Raise the roof, should the weather require it, and you’ll enjoy levels of refinement comparable with its fixed roof siblings.
The extra weight the four cylinder 180hp diesel is required to haul – the additional strengthening required to compensate for the loss of its roof adds 277kg – does blunt performance but though you’ll find the ninespeed automatic transmission slipping through the gears frequently on tight and twisty roads it does so with little fuss.
There’s some flex over poorer surfaces but body roll is very well controlled so it is entirely possible, though not recommended, to hustle the Convertible along quite briskly. However, this is a car that’s best enjoyed at a more leisurely pace.
The cabin is both luxurious and robust. You get doublestitched leather, soft touch plastics and excellent ergonomics all beautifully bolted together.
The Convertible debuted Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with a 10.2in touchscreen. It’s a competent system with 3G access that allows you to connect with the car vis your smartphone using the firm’s suite of InControl apps.
The Evoque Convertible’s Achilles heel is, perhaps, its boot. While the hard-top can boast a reasonable 420 litres of luggage capacity, in order to accommodate the fabric roof, the soft-top will only swallow 251 litres and you’re additionally hampered by the small opening.
This is not a cheap car, but it is a rare proposition and, maybe, that exclusivity justifies a price premium. Dynamically it’s not as sharp as the fixed-roof versions so this isn’t the car for the keen driver. However, for roof-down, very-little-wind-in-your-hair cruising, it’s hard to argue against it.