Land Rover has been tempting us with a sliced version of its best-selling model ever since unveiling a concept back in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show. Now revealed, the production version isn’t the butchest of Land Rovers, but it’s definitely got the fun factor.
Tantalizingly described by Land Rover as a ‘no compromise, all-season convertible’, the soft-top Evoque retains the drivetrain and external dimensions of the existing Coupé. It’ll be available only in HSE Dynamic and HSE Dynamic LUX derivatives, which means either 2.0-litre TD4 Ingenium diesel (178bhp and 317lb ft) or 2.0-litre Si4 petrol (237bhp and 251lb ft), with nine-speed auto box and optional Active Driveline.
This is the first Land Rover with an automatically folding roof, and the first convertible (excluding soft-top Defenders) since the Freelander 1. Like the Freelander, the ragtop Evoque will target a young, leisure market – folk who aspire to an airy weekend cruise through the mountains in style and comfort with the sun on their faces. And who doesn’t?
So what’s new?
Land Rover has designed the longest and widest folding roof of any car currently in production. At the press of a button (no manual grappling required) the lightweight canvas folds into a Z shape and stows flush with the body. To impress your neighbours you can even do this while driving along, so long as you’re doing under 30mph at the time. There’s also a ‘Roll-Over Protection Device’ to protect passengers in the event of the vehicle flipping over. A first for Land Rover, the system will automatically deploy two roll-over bars within 90 milliseconds, create a ‘survival space’ for occupants.
Electro-wizardry: new infotainment and next-gen GPS
With the convertible Evoque comes Jaguar Land Rover’s new InControl Touch Pro system, which appears for the first time on a Land Rover (it debuted on the Jaguar XJ earlier this year). to give a much bigger area than on the current 8in system. Its 10.2in screen in a 21:9 format promises to be as intuitive to use as a smartphone, with swipe, pan, pinch and zoom controls. A new navigation system includes 3D terrain mapping, directions on a head-up display, and guaranteed navigation even in areas of poor satellite coverage. We hope it’s as good as it sounds – satnav usability hasn’t been a JLR strength...
Er, where’s the boot?
Boot space inevitably suffers. There’s a hatch between the fixed rear seats to squeeze in long items such as skis, but the convertible’s boot volume of 251 litres (accessed by a new top-hinged flap) is about half of the Coupé’s 575 litres (with its rear seats in place).
But who cares? If you want a log-lugging mud-plugger, get a Defender!
The convertible Evoque will be built at Halewood and goes on sale in spring 2016, with a starting price of £47,500. We look forward to taking one greenlaning or blatting along a beach. Although we might wear dark glasses and a hat…