Smart and chic

K SHIVRAJ
Saturday, 16 June 2018

A premium SUV rather than a sports car, the Range Rover Evoque Convertible looks a class apart and is engaging to drive 

The Evoque is one of the most stylish premium luxury SUVs to come out of the Land Rover stables. A Range Rover brand that makes use of superior materials, the convertible version of the Evoque has been introduced in India. Aimed at those who are looking at a distinct offering in SUVs, the Evoque Convertible stands out. 

Two-door entry
The front, identical to that of the Evoque, spells finesse and sophistication. The design departure between the Evoque and the convertible starts at the A-pillar, which is shorter and steeply raked. Flaunting two doors (albeit longer and substantial looking therefore) instead of Evoque’s four, to allow entry to the rear seats as well, the convertible SUV accounts for a high rear deck. Compared to a conventional convertible, the rear of this vehicle looks high. The soft top folds down in between the rear seats and the deck. It seizes some space of the boot to rest.  

Dash is similar  to Evoque’s  
A stylish premium SUV rather than a sports car, the Evoque Convertible flaunts good proportions, courtesy the positioning of the rear wheels. The rear looks identical to that of the Evoque minus the rear pillars and the glass, courtesy the wraparound lamps that seem to share a symmetry with those at the front. Available in India in the HSE Dynamic trim, the vehicle comes in soft leather upholstery with tasteful contrast stitching. There’s a good use of brushed aluminium elements, but the dash is uncannily similar to that of the Evoque. 

A 251-litre boot
The power-adjustable front seats (with memory) are comfy. The rear seats, unlike in many car-based convertibles, are supported by a good amount of space. Two medium-sized adults can sit comfortably. After making space for the folding roof, the All-Wheel Drive (AWD) mechanicals and a space-saver spare tyre, the Convertible offers a 251-litre boot. 

Auto LED headlamps
At speeds up to 48kmph, the soft fabric roof quickly and quietly folds down. With the roof up, rear visibility is almost nil. In terms of equipment, the Evoque Convertible sports auto LED headlamps and auto wipers, among others. Inside, the convertible features a 660-watts 12-speaker Meridian hi-fi, parking assist, and head-up display. The 10.0-inch InControl Pro touchscreen works well, but feels dated when compared to the newer version on the Velar. There’s no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. 

A strong flow of power
The new 240bhp 2-litre Ingenium petrol engine powers this convertible, and is mounted transversely at the front. Routing power through a nine-speed auto to all the wheels, it exerts a strong mid-range pull. City driving is made easy by the ability to supply a strong flow of power through the auto tranny and an AWD system. Opt for an amount of aggressive driving, and the gearbox seems to be a little slow. It serves to manually over-ride by using the paddles. On the highway, the new engine results in the Evoque Convertible quickly climbing into the three-digit territory. The use of paddles makes it more enjoyable to drive and overtake. 

Agility, not its  high point    
Agility, or the ability to change direction quickly, is not the top point of this vehicle even though the AWD system ensures that power is put down in the most efficient and safe manner. The AWD system has the convertible SUV exerting a strong grip through corners, but the steering does not seem to weigh up as much, or as nicely, especially at speeds. There’s a stiff edge to the ride at low speeds. Good approach and departure angle, apart from high ground clearance, make the Evoque Convertible capable of venturing off-road. In addition to the AWD system, the Terrain Response and All Surface Progress Control electronics package also help. 

Verdict
The Evoque Convertible is not a sports convertible for certain, but quite engaging to drive. Priced at Rs 70 lakhs approximately, the convertible SUV is distinct indeed. 

Pros: Distinct, practical 
Cons: Gearbox feels a bit slow

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