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Review of: 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2dr Conv HSE Dynamic
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible: All-weather runabout meets fashion accessory
By G. R. Whale
Jun. 19, 2017
Convertible SUVs aren’t new: Original “SUVs” were topless and not built for getting around town. Audi thought better of building their 2007 CrossCabriolet showcar, then Nissan revived it in the Murano CrossCabriolet. Now Land Rover enters the arena, but does LR’s ellipse have enough panache for a unique model, something even niche-specialist and previous owner BMW haven’t done yet?
Pros & Cons
- + Exclusivity
- + All-season able
- + Exterior lighting
- - Price
- - Acceleration
- - Limited cargo flexibility
She called it the “cutest Range Rover I’ve ever seen.” He replied, “There is only one Range Rover and this isn’t it.” Such are the polarizing resemblances: a sprinter in the blocks, baby carriage, VW Thing or WWII-vintage military command car, and top down on this white one, a claw-foot bathtub.
Like it or not, expect comments. If nothing else it should light up your social media, and not because few do vehicle lighting better than Land Rover.
It feels no less rigid than the hardtop, though 20-inch wheels are felt either way. Top conversion takes 18-21 seconds at speeds to 50 km/h and has no effect on trunk space, but ducking under the vertical trunklid to load it is awkward; Mini convertible’s drop-down tailgate is a better solution.
Outward visibility improves to the sides with a window joint rather than pillar, direct rear vision is slightly worse than the hardtop’s mail-slot because there’s neither an overhead spoiler nor wipe/wash.
EvoC’s cabin feels very much like other compact European convertibles, except you’re a bit more ensconced, like an Audi TT, and the chairs feel further off the floor. Materials are pleasing to the touch, understated and nicely assembled, though to my eye lux-level appears Discovery more than Range Rover. The only amenity lacking was some sort of hair-dryer for warming your head and neck, and the visors don’t do well for the sides.
Generously stuffed front seat cushions supplement backrest contours blending comfort and retention. Like other convertibles, rear seats are mildly upright but these have good thigh support and headroom for my 191-cm frame; alas there’s little knee or foot space with anyone in front. Better for kids, brief visitors, your skis or mall-haul.
Trunk space is 250 litres, flat floor (temporary spare under) with tie-down points. Think carry-on, not long trip, and did I mention a pain to load?
The wide 10.2-inch InTouch screen has crisp graphics and what I’ll call early-twenty-first-century design and logic. It’s hard-drive backed and a big improvement, with a few menu layers to get through sometimes, but didn’t appear to support either my voice or an iOS phone; that could change during the year. It’s not fast to come to full function either, as teen music at teen volume blared for 6-8 seconds before the volume could be adjusted and cameras switched just as I finished parking.
Standard or not, it offers head-up display, active cruise with mitigation braking, multiple cameras, automatic terrain programming, two USB ports, SIM and HDMI inputs, and the 660-watt upgrade Meridian sound system’s one of the best I’ve heard in sub-six-digit convertibles.
The turbo four shared under hoods everywhere has 2,000 kg to haul here—only 100-250 less than flagship all-wheel drive luxury sedans—and swing 20-inch wheels, so EvoC isn’t fast or frugal. Aggressive throttle response brings considerable urge from stop, so much so the all-wheel drive didn’t feel predictive and smooth takeoffs require care. But I did want sport mode for faster reaction the rest of the time.
Four of the nine gears are overdrive so it shifts frequently but now tuned smoothly and unobstrusive, and low-end torque makes them usable on the highway. The results are 0-100 km/h in low-mid 8.0s, decent altitude passing performance, and consumption of 8.3 L/100km highway and 14.3 L/100km in town. Auto start/stop was quick and smooth, hill-start assist reluctant to let go.
Steering is very quick (just 2.3 turns lock-to-lock) if not full of feel, it’s reasonably maneuverable, ride and handling are firm and composed—again sporty Discovery not Range Rover plush — and the brakes don’t mind the convertible’s extra mass. If you plan on anything not dry and off-tarmac, look at the tires and think twice; yes, it has a Land Rover badge and will go further than the average cute-ute, but this is not an off-road vehicle.
Noise levels are as expected in entry-luxury convertibles, most coming from rear tires in my observation.
The main value is exclusivity. A traditional SUV Wrangler convertible is $26k less; faster, more efficient all-wheel drive cabrios are cheaper A3 ($19,000 less), 230xi (-$16,000), and C 300 (-7,000), and a Range Rover Sport with panoramic moonroof starts just $1,300 more.
Limited practicality, performance and efficiency make EvoC all about being seen, looking good selectivity, and it excels at that. Cue the designer sunglasses and Labradoodle.