Con­vert­ible SUVs have been a rare sight on our roads but Land Rover is chang­ing that. Paul Acres drives the drop-top Evoque

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kentmotors -

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.

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