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LIVE24SEVEN // Motoring, Sport & Entertainment


Land Rover Evoque Cabriolet


Confident, Capable and Convertible


The Evoque Cabriolet is being touted as the “world’s first luxury convertible SUV” by Land Rover and it certainly plays to the public’s insatiable demand for SUVs and crossovers. If I were to put it bluntly, they have chopped the top off the company’s fastest selling model ever, but more respectfully and descriptively, they have created an unbelievably stylish and still very capable vehicle that turns an incredible amount of heads when the top is down.


Land Rover’s pioneering drop-top SUV fits perfectly into what is an image-led class and takes full advantage of its brand values whilst exploiting its good looks. Before reviewing the vehicle, one Range Rover Sport SVR owner told me it would be a wealthy hairdresser’s car, however when I showed him the vehicle, hood down, he changed his mind: “That’s a seriously stylish set of wheels, Katie”. It could ‘convert’ even the most hardened four-wheel drive enthusiast, if you don’t mind the pun.


Talking practically, before I get carried away by the sheer volume of compliments the vehicle drew, there are some compromises to be made, one of which is the boot space which shrinks from 420 litres in the hard-top to 251 litres in the convertible to make space for the folding fabric roof, but it’s well worth it for the sleek lines and camera-ready pose delivered when it’s hidden away. It takes just 18 seconds to drop the hood at speeds of up to 30mph and 21 seconds to raise it, all via a button on the centre console. The boot then becomes more a letter box style opening at the rear, but still generous enough for shopping, golf clubs and more space than you’d have in any other convertible.


The well-placed wind defector puts paid to any whiplash from the elements and is one of the best wind defectors I’ve ever encountered, the compromise being that the four- seater becomes a two-seater with the wind defector, without it (easy to remove and best stow at home) four passengers do feel the elements at speed, but then, hey it’s a convertible right?


On the move and with the roof in place, you really would have trouble telling the convertible apart from the hard-top Evoque; all those luxurious touches and LR refinements are in abundance and surprisingly, or not so, there’s no heat loss and minimal noise thanks to the five-layer hood made from polyacrylic fabric. For those taking the back seat, there is a good amount of leg room, although tall people on a long journey may want to get out and stretch their legs at some point.


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The body of the vehicle is obviously heavier thanks to strengthening around the A-pillars and the underbody bracing, which equates to adding in the weight of several other passengers. As a result, some may notice a slight difference in performance, although the engine I test drove was fast, confident and very responsive. I put the nine-speed automatic gear box through its paces and this fabulous vehicle more than delivered with ease, racing through the gears at the right moment. It’s quick off the mark and at speeds on the motorway and although the diesel engine probably isn’t the sexiest of sounds with the hood down, I’m not sure I ever really heard it, as I was too busy taking in the admiring glances and envious glares the vehicle chalked up. The great sound system also diverted attention from any engine noise.


E WILL YOU BE CONVERTED OFF-ROAD?


Don’t be fooled by the drop-top hood, this vehicle delivers off-road with minimal fuss thanks to standard four-wheel drive and Land Rover’s Terrain Response system which tunes the car’s characteristics to suit whatever terrain you find yourself on. It has a wading depth of 500mm, which might be required if our British summertime is anything to go by and can scale 45 degree gradients, which means this convertible can go where others can’t – perfect for those ski trips and off-roading in the sun!


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