Range Rover’s Evoque Goes Topless. What a Chest!
Now that I have your attention let’s talk about the Evoque.
The devilishly handsome convertible looks just like the hot-as-hell concept drawings. Big fat wheels with a wide low-slung body are topped by a proper fabric roof.
The 5 door Evoque feels special READ ABOUT IT HERE
Evoque is flirty and beautiful from every angle. It begs you to touch it, caress it, and covet it.
Those who loved the 3 door will think the convertible is even more gorgeous. There are the same perfect proportions keeping true to the spirit of original Range Rover. It has the off-road bona fides and the aspirational heritage that other brands simply can’t match.
When I first saw the drop-dead-gorgeous drop-top, I felt an inner glow. I was pleased to see how well a booted version looks against the hatch parked nearby. It is a beautiful piece of design.
From the waistline, down, the convertible looks similar to the 3 door. The body has had enough strengthening so the roof doesn’t creak and groan as the car moves.
It feels as rigid as the roofed versions.
The local launch at Queensland’s Fraser Island showed the baby Rangie to be as happy off-road as it was on.
Since most soft-roading SUVs are little more than posh urban cruisers, you probably won’t tackle more than a gassy verge. That doesn’t mean you won’t be tempted into the wilds from time to time. You Tube is awash with laddish slides in mud, and yobbos drifting on sand flats.
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).
Anyone who has ever been on a muddy track in their trusty old Landie with the roof off knows how much schmutz gets on you.
The harder you push, the filthier you get, and not in a fun way. I for one wouldn’t want to chance the luxurious cabin being covered in pond scum and rotting fauna. I know one or two off-roading friends would now be incandescent with rage.
But, risk to life and limb isn’t confined to being off-road, oh no.
Now that the Australian climate has shifted on its axis, and the 1-in-100 event is now the norm.
Our weather is as predictable as next week’s government policy.
Sydney has endured its hottest summer, and its wettest autumn on record. Just as the clocks are about to go back, deceptively deep puddles can be found in places unsuspecting motorists would find inconvenient. On a busy intersection, not too far from home, I encountered one such cathedral-sized puddle.
The drains, blocked with detritus washed into them from frequent deluges, left water axel deep in places. Of course, it doesn’t look bad, but going through it at anything other than snail’s pace will be the cause of an insurance claim when a ton of water lands in your lap.
I pass through the ANZAC Ave intersection often enough to be aware of it but a hapless 2 series in front of me had no such knowledge.
The pretty blonde zoomed around at what he thought was a safe speed towards the edge of the water. Sadly, it was enough that the half a ton of water splashed up at the beginning of the corner, was the to meet the driver at the end of the corner.
I tried not to laugh, but there half a swimming pool in his car and the cabin was completely saturated.
I repeated this several days later, thankfully with the roof up. In my haste to beat the traffic at the “turn anytime with care” lights, I too rushed, and a half a ton of water landed on the car. The roof had not leaked, and didn’t this time either.
In fact, several of the storms which started calmly enough, developed to near cyclonic force. Despite this neither the pillarless windows, nor the complex folding roof, showed any sign of stress. That’s extremely good news.
Many buyers are put off by the thought of noise permeating a rag roof, but it has several layers and is as quiet as a tasteful cocktail lounge.
The heaviest of rain sounds like a muted umbrella sound track and most road noise sounds very distant.
The roof itself, apart from being complex, is very clever. The boot lid is really just a hatch. The roof itself takes most of the upper deck when folded down.
There is no cover so 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. The front section of the roof also acts as a cover when stowed. When deployed, it looks just like the rest of the roof surface.
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.
Someone asked me “why a convertible off roader”, and the answer is simple. There have always been open-top 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 SI4 is packed full of luxury, drives like a Range Rover, goes where an SUV should go, and feels sporty. It feels exactly like the regular roofed version.
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 touchy. The system can freeze and require restarting.
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 DAB, annoyingly there is no Apple Carplay.
The 9speed auto is superb, and the auto parking brake a nice touch. In fact, as you park the car, all you need do is press the stop button and the system will select park and apply the brake. The roof can be raised or lowered from the key fob.
I loved the Evoque 4/5 door, but adore the convertible
. It is perfection despite a few minor foibles. The car retails at 92 grand, but our test car had a family hatch worth of extras. Our rego plate proudly displayed “EVOQUE” as if anyone needed reminding.
Would I buy one? Yes, despite the criminal price tag, it has X-factor galore.
Price as tested: $122,230
Engine: 2.0L Si4 Peteol, 4 Cyl, Turbo, 177kw/340Nm
Econ: 8.6 L/100k