Range Rover Shows off drop top Evoque
Range Rover has finally made good on promise that they made to an audience at the 2012 Geneva motor show, having finished production on their convertible Evoque and will start selling it early next year.
The Evoque Convertible is a curious thing because it stretches requirements together that you normally would not think should or could be connected. For instance the roofless Evoque will only be offered in four-wheel drive meaning it is not being billed as an urban cruiser alone.
It will only come in Dynamic spec meaning buyers will have a choice of either the 132 kW TD4 diesel engine or 177 kW Si4 petrol. Both engines are 2,0-litre models and the diesel unit is part of the newer Ingenium architecture.
Its body shape is also unusual for a convertible because it is essentially a SUV / hatchback, both of which are not known for their long history of quality cabriolets.
The problem is in essence a matter of space, shape and situation.
The space needed to fold away a roof on a coupé is already quite large, but a normal sedan at least has an extended boot space to help with that. An SUV has a larger roof relative to a sedan and it doesn’t have anywhere to fold away to because the roof ends above the rear overhang.
Without a nice cubby for the roof it starts to distort the shape of a hatchback and it ends up looking rear heavy, as with the original and uncomfortable looking A3 hatchback convertible. Lastly the combination of SUV motoring and convertible motoring are on opposite sides of the driving spectrum, which begs the question of when will this car make sense.
Range Rover has supposedly solved these problems though, although some are easier than others. The Evoque does not have a traditional SUV square shape, instead using a sharp drop-off just above the rear passengers. This is not very efficient for luggage and headroom but it does give the roof a pivot point from which it can fold down.
The space requirement is helped out by the Convertible Evoque only being built on the three-door version. That being said we doubt that there will be too much luggage space left after the roof has collapsed into the rear.
Buyers will also have to endure an additional 230kg of weight that has been added to the Evoque to facilitate the mechanics needed to fold the roof and various reinforcements to compensate for the loss of rigidity.
But it is the lifestyle that this Evoque is selling that is the biggest trick that Range Rover plans to pull off. Essentially they are saying that the Crossover is the new countryside commuter because it affords the driver offload capabilities without being too large a car. By adding the convertible aspect they are also saying that there is no reason to chose between the wind in your hair or the mud in your tyres.
Range Rover expects the new model to take up 10% of their current production capacity which means that 1 in 10 Evoques that we see will be a convertible. If that is the case then we are looking at a new era, the era of the Crossover.