Range Rover Evoque Convertible

All-terrain convertible SUV for all seasons

"Although the whole world has gone SUV-mad, does the convertible SUV have high demand?"

"Can Land Rover get to the top where Nissan failed miserably with the Murano CrossCabriolet?"

"Despite chopping its roof, the Evoque hasn't lost any of its off-road potential," said Khaled.

"It is no doubt the world's first luxury convertible SUV."

"It isn't as dynamic as its coupe sibling, but it's a pretty suitable four-seat convertible!"

Is an SUV still an SUV if you chop off its roof and turn it into a convertible? Don't ask "why", just "why not". We still recall the CrossCabriolet Nissan Murano, which was built exclusively for the North American market. But Land Rover had a different perception: an all-season compact SUV. If we look back about ten years ago when BMW initiated the SAV segment (which means Sport Activity Vehicle) with the X6, the whole car industry followed them. Nevertheless, we landed on one of the most famous ski resorts in Courchevel, France, to test drive the new Range Rover Evoque Convertible.

Exterior
Land Rover designers have retained Evoque's bold and progressive exterior design with the convertible roof system either open or closed. A sophisticated fabric roof with tension-bow architecture creates a crisply defined silhouette that remains faithful to the original design, while the Z-fold mechanism folds flush with the rear bodywork for a sleek, uncluttered appearance. New frameless doors have been developed to ensure a clean profile when lowered.

Despite appearing identical to the Evoque coupe below the glasshouse, the bodywork behind the front doors has been substantially re-engineered to accommodate the stowed roof mechanism. The upper portions of the rear fenders have been carefully redesigned to seamlessly integrate with Evoque Convertible's packaging requirements, while an all-new tailgate and spoiler have been designed. The rear spoiler houses the LED stoplight and optimizes aerodynamics to improve handling. The innovative hinge mechanism allows for a larger tailgate aperture, providing exceptional versatility.

Soft roof top fabric and mechanism
Land Rover's designers carefully evaluated all possible convertible roof systems before opting for a sophisticated Z-fold fabric roof from Webasto, the world leaders in automotive convertible roof systems.
Featuring tension bow architecture to complement Evoque's crisply defined proportions, a flush-fitting heated glass rear window complements the luxurious acoustic insulation for maximum refinement. Evoque Convertible's roof system lowers in just 18 seconds and rises in 21 seconds when the roof button on the center console is pressed. It also allows all four windows to be simultaneously raised or lowered for maximum convenience.

In addition, a rear wind deflector can be quickly installed between the rear three quarter trim panels, enhancing refinement when the roof is stowed.

Advantages of the fabric roof design when compared with folding hardtop solutions include reduced weight and improved center of gravity, and the ability to raise or lower the roof at speeds of up to 48 km/h.

Once the roof is lowered, discreet hinged panels located at the rear of the interior fold flush to conceal the mechanism, ensuring Evoque's contemporary lines retain a clean and uncluttered appearance. A Roll-over Protection Device (RPD) features deployable roll-over bars hidden in the rear quarter panel. The RPD automatically deploys two aluminum bars in 90 milliseconds in the unlikely event of a roll-over situation, to create a safety space for occupants.

Interior
The Range Rover Evoque Convertible features a spacious and contemporary four-seat interior defined by luxury materials and soft-touch surfaces. The strikingly minimalist dashboard architecture juxtaposes the bold horizontal sweep of the instrument panel with the dynamic vertical rake of the center console.

All Range Rover Evoque Convertible models feature fixed twin rear seats, with a central bolster, and revised quarter trim speakers. Interior volumes are among the very best when compared with conventional convertibles. Evoque Convertible's large luggage compartment provides 251 liters of storage space whether the roof is open or closed. A ski hatch can be specified to accommodate through-loading of larger items for enhanced versatility.

In line with the 2016 Model Year Evoque portfolio, revised seats retain their outstanding comfort and support while introducing a sportier, more technical aesthetic. The door casings reinforce this clean, contemporary feel, with revised contour lines, extra feature stitch lines and reprofiled, more deeply padded armrests for exceptional comfort and visual refinement. A new locking glove box function is automatically activated with the central locking system for additional security, even when the roof is stowed.

InControl Touch Pro exclusive to Evoque Convertible
InControl Touch Pro offers state-of-the-art 3G connectivity (optional), and is available with a largest-in-class 10.2-inch capacitive touchscreen featuring a 21:9 super-wide format and 1280 x 542 pixel resolution. This equates to an 80 percent increase over Evoque's standard eight-inch touchscreen system, providing graphics with unrivalled definition and smoothness.

With no ‘hard' buttons on this system, InControl Touch Pro's home screen presents the four most commonly required infotainment functions in one easily accessible window: Audio, Climate, Telephone and Satellite Navigation. These can also be accessed via steering wheel-mounted controls. Capacitive technology gives users swipe, pan, and pinch ‘n' zoom controls to navigate between sub-menus, just as they would on a smartphone or tablet.

These functions include WiFi hotspot, parking cameras, Eco Data and Wade Sensing. Steps between functions are reduced for enhanced convenience, and the interface is optimized for an intuitive user experience. Solid State Disk (SSD) technology creates up to 60 GB of information storage (up to 16,000 songs) with significantly faster response times than SD-card or HDD-based systems.

The advanced satellite navigation (listed as InControl Touch Pro Navigation) includes:
• Dead reckoning - guaranteeing operation in areas of marginal satellite coverage
• Onboard regional maps
• 3D terrain, junctions and building graphics
• Customer prompts for parking and coffee stops
• Connected navigation, data including historical traffic, dynamic routing and real-time traffic updates
• Navigation instructions in both the instrument cluster and heads-up display

Drivetrain
The Range Rover Evoque Convertible has been engineered to meet the very highest standards for which Land Rover is world-renowned. Safety, all-terrain capability, and Range Rover's exceptionally high levels of refinement have all been thoroughly proven with a rigorous development regime conducted on public roads and test facilities throughout the world.

Significant chassis bracings support the unique load casings of a convertible model and ensure comparable torsional rigidity versus the coupe model. This ensures an on-road driving experience comparable with the hard top model and a vehicle that is every bit as capable as existing Evoque derivatives.

Evoque Convertible is available with Land Rover's full suite of lightweight all-aluminum four-cylinder engines. The powerful and efficient Si4 four-cylinder petrol engine offers 240 horsepower performance with outstanding levels of efficiency and refinement. A state-of-the-art ZF nine-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive drivetrain forms part of Evoque Convertible's standard specification.

Off-road capabilities
Evoque Convertible has been tested in the same off-road environments and to the same high standards as all Land Rover vehicles. Punishing tests included loading the Evoque Convertible to its maximum gross vehicle weight and negotiating the toughest terrain designed to subject the chassis to immense twisting forces. Evoque Convertible passed all procedures and, as a result, achieves similarly outstanding off-road performance to existing Evoque Dynamic derivatives.

Approach, breakover and departure angles of 19, 18.9 and 31.0 degrees respectively provide outstanding all-terrain performance. Evoque Convertible can also scale extremely steep 45-degree gradients, safely tilt to an incredible 35 degrees, and wade through water up to 500 mm deep. Evoque Convertible is equipped with Evoque's full suite of off-road technologies, including Terrain Response and All-Terrain Progress Control - an all-new feature for the 2016 Model Year.

Driver Assistance technologies
To make driving as relaxing and safe as possible, Evoque Convertible can be specified with an extensive range of advanced driver-assistance systems.

360 degree Parking Aid
Exclusive to the Evoque Convertible, 360 degree Park Distance Controls provide the driver with virtual object tracking along the sides of the car, giving confidence in confined situations, like multi-story car parks, at speeds up to 16 km/h.

Autonomous Emergency Braking avoids or minimizes the impact of collisions
Autonomous Emergency Braking helps to avoid accidents when the vehicle is traveling at speeds below 35 km/h (21 mph), and greatly reduces the severity of any impacts between 50-80 km/h.

The system uses an innovative stereo camera mounted next to the rearview mirror to monitor objects that pose a risk of collision, such as queuing traffic. If a collision is likely, the system will alert the driver with both a visual and audible warning. If no avoiding action is taken, an additional driver warning is triggered while the system applies maximum braking pressure to bring the vehicle to a controlled stop.

Autonomous Emergency Braking is available when either Lane-Keeping Assist or Lane-Departure Warning systems are specified.

Lane-Keeping Assist for maximum safety
Making driving more relaxed and safer, Lane-Keeping Assist is also available. Complementing Lane-Departure Warning, which warns the driver if they are drifting out of their lane by vibrating the steering wheel, Lane-Keeping Assist actively helps the driver to stay in the correct lane by adding any necessary steering correction.

The technology works by combining input from the forward-facing stereo camera to monitor road markings, as well as the electric power-assisted steering system.

Should Lane-Keeping Assist sense that the driver is unintentionally changing lanes, it initiates a gentle steering input to return the vehicle to its intended position. Lane-Keeping Assist is designed to be completely unobtrusive: it is not active if the indicators are activated, the driver can easily steer against it, and the system can be entirely disengaged if desired.

Driver Condition Monitor: The early warning system for driver fatigue
Driver fatigue is a major cause of road accidents. Driver Condition Monitor reviews driver steering inputs to guard against a driver falling asleep at the wheel. Should this advanced technology detect the jerky, non-linear movements typical of a driver suffering the symptoms of fatigue, it automatically triggers both an audible warning and a visual warning in the instrument cluster.

Driver Condition Monitor perfectly complements Lane-Keeping Assist and Emergency Autonomous Braking, with all technologies combining to make driving as safe and relaxing as possible.

Luxury technologies familiar to the Evoque nameplate
The Range Rover Evoque Convertible also features a number of technologies that have appeared on the Evoque nameplate since 2011. Traffic Sign Recognition scans the road ahead for certain road signs and, if detected, will display the information to the driver via the driver binnacle or heads-up display.

Manufacturing
Designed and engineered at Land Rover's development center in the UK, the Evoque Convertible will be built alongside the five-door and coupe derivatives at the company's multi-award-winning Halewood manufacturing plant, supported by the UK Regional Growth Fund. It goes on sale in the second half of 2016 in over 170 markets worldwide.

Verdict
The Evoque has been a good bargain since its inception in 2012. It is a good compact SUV for 365 days of driving, whatever the weather or terrain. You might have it now with a soft top, and off-road adventures won't be a problem. The reactions of the people around us were superbly positive once they knew we were in France to test the Evoque Convertible. Simply the reason you are testing it is because it's going into production. It's looking very probable that other big automakers will follow with convertible designs of their own. Mercedes-Benz might come next!

Pros: Comfortable seats, fancy exterior look, premium interior feel and excellent off-road capabilities
Cons: 21 seconds is slow to close the roof top, small boot
Rivals: None to date, but expect one soon!
4 stars
One word: chopped

Specs
2.0 L turbocharged, inline 4-cylinder, 240 hp @ 5800 rpm, 340 Nm @ 1750 rpm
AWD, 9-speed automatic
0-100 km/h: 8.6 sec, top speed: 210 km/h, fuel consumption: 8.6 L/100 km 
Weight: 1,936 kg

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