Photography by Rosemary De Pear
As some of you know, if given the choice between fashion and function in the automotive world, I’ll nearly always pick function. I’ll take the four-cylinder sub compact car over a V8 coupe in most cases (well, aside from that day in 2015 where I drove through Death Valley in a convertible Mustang.) When I was given a full week in the all-new 2017 Range Rover Evoque convertible, I was happy to put away the functional side and focus on the fashion, happily being surprised that there was a good amount of function included.
It’s easy to spot the convertible and it’s fabric roof and frameless doors from afar because, well, aside from the short-lived Nissan Murano convertible, there’s really nothing quite like this on today’s roads.
With the roof up, the Z-based convertible frame system isn’t reinventing the wheel but it does have a rather unique stance to it. With the roof retracted, it’s an oddity at first glance but will certainly pique the interest of many other motorists and pedestrians alike. As it’s a 3-door model (opposed to what folks are used to seeing with the 5-door model) there’s a bit of a stout look to it with its higher stance (compared to the Mustang or brethren, F-Type) but it’s still eye-candy worthy.
I’ve included a bunch of pictures for you to decide for yourself below.
The familiar 2.0 L turbocharged engine putting out 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft. of torque through a nine-speed auto box is found beneath the convertible’s hood and it does a great job of accelerating quickly upon command. It’s a bit slower on the 0 to 100 km/h sprint by one full second (8.6 seconds for the drop top) but that inflated figure shouldn’t matter to this market all that much.
The handling is typical Evoque where it fares well on curves and corners and the straightaways are quite pleasurable for all those involved, which is four at the most.
Official fuel economy figures are TBD according to the Land Rover site…however, figure in that the tank holds 68.5 of fuel (premium for optimal performance) and with my week of mixed driving over nearly 600km, your combined fuel economy should sit around the 11.0 to 11.5 litres per 100km once you factor in weight and how much power you’re drawing (A/C, in car power sources, windows up/down, etc.)
Keep in mind that the convertible weights about 300 kg more than the fixed top options, so that’ll also affect your fuel figures.
Inside is where things get interesting.
The Evoque convertible legally seats four (thankfully there’s no one stuck in that dreaded middle seat) and there’s surprisingly plenty of room for four adults to be comfortable and have leg/head room that’s generous. And that’s with the convertible top reducing headroom compared to the fixed roof alternative! The four seats are comfortable and road trip worthy, with the front two having a paid option to be heated/cooled. And of course, the front two seats of this luxury convertible are powered in many ways.
The drawback here, as is the case with all convertible options, is that trunk space suffers. You’re given 251 litres of trunk space (with both the roof up and down) to channel your inner Tetris-Master with if you want to maximize space. Two carry-on pieces of luggage should fit or four pliable duffle bags. If it’s a twosome road trip, you’ve got the rear seats to play with. If it’s a foursome, pack light or perhaps buddy-up and share a suitcase with someone.
All in all, comfort doesn’t really suffer in this British luxury vehicle.
The infotainment system starts with a massive horizontal 10.2 inch touchscreen that’s quite responsive and the sound system is crisp and loud for the times you’re cruising at highway speeds and still want to hear great tunes, including Canada’s own The Noble Rogues.
There’s your choice of ambient lighting, everything is well-placed and I’m finally getting used to the cool and gadget-esque rotary rising and collapsing gear shifter.
The roof opens in 18 seconds and closes in 21 seconds and can be done in motion at up to 48 km/h in the event you’re caught in a flash rain storm…well, or snow/sleet if you’re brave enough to go top down in inclement-ish weather.
All in all, this luxury convertible SUV (three words that usually don’t follow each other) is a fun, unique and mostly functional option for those who are looking to drop $65,990 on a vehicle. For $2,300, you can opt for the Driver Assistance Pack, which includes a 360 degree camera, park assist, emergency braking and a few others.
After a week in the Evoque convertible and through about five dozen folks staring, glaring, commenting, waving and connecting via social media, this is certainly a head turner of an SUV.
Functionality works if it’s just myself and Laura and since that’s the case with us, I would happily take one of these if someone handed it over with zero strings attached. Even with a few strings attached, I could see this being a decent daily driver.
Top up or top down, Canada’s luxury convertible SUV is sure to turn heads as you whisk by with your hair in the wind (and hopefully not the rain.)