Rory Reid goes for a spin in Land Rover's most bizarre creation in years, the Range Rover Evoque Convertible.
Has Jaguar Land Rover gone insane? One look at the Range Rover Evoque Convertible would suggest it has, but there is method to the madness.
For starters, the Evoque has proven immensely popular among drivers who want off-road prowess without having a car that needs two spaces to park. Not only that, the SUV market is forecast to grow by 20 per cent over the next five years.
Meanwhile the crossover market is going from strength to strength, which means Range Rover is getting a bite at two profit-making pies. In theory, then, it should be a winner.
Two engines are available and both are four-cylinder all-aluminium lumps. Take a pick between diesel and petrol and off you go, with the former able to offer a claimed 55mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km so it's reasonably cheap to run.
Just in case the heavens open, the Evoque Convertible lets you open and close the fabric roof in 21 seconds at speeds up to 30mph, which is great until you realise going roof-less has reduced boot space by 200 litres to 251.
Luckily the inherited limitations of a convertible are somewhat balanced out by the Evoque Convertible's ability to drive on snow, mud, ice and just about any other difficult terrain – even if going topless has added weight and made it a tiny bit more wallowy.
Even so, Range Rover's clever terrain computer system and some structural modifications help make it feel beefy and rugged like other cars in the Range range and that's a good thing.
In short, the Evoque Convertible is the weirdest and most competent mix of showboating and off-road prowess we have seen in years. Look past the lack of practicality and the fact it makes no sense and a fun, luxurious ride is assured.
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