Getting a convertible to review in the month of March is a little like getting an ice cream cone at a picnic in January. You know you love it, but this just isn't the right time. Luckily, we got a couple of rare sunny and almost warm days last week, so I was able to get the top down and really experience the 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible.
Let's start with the obvious question. Why build a convertible SUV? Honestly, because most SUV owners never use the off-road capabilities that are provided, so why not? The world could use a few more 4-passenger convertibles, and after this last winter, I think we're all ready for a little sunshine. Plus, the Evoque convertible still has all of Land Rover's great off-road technology, so when the snow falls again next winter, you'll be ready.
The Evoque convertible looks best with the top down. The top folds neatly and automatically into the area behind the rear seat, and lets you see the bold lines of the vehicle. Trunk space is limited because of the folding top, but there's always the back seat for packages and luggage. When the top's up, it seems like the Evoque might be cramped for taller drivers, but in fact there is plenty of room for four adult passengers.
Under the hood, you get a nice turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, with standard all-wheel-drive and a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine gives you 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, and the Evoque is surprisingly fast, given its chunky 4,525-pound curb weight. That's the 9-speed working for you — it keeps the Evoque in the right gear to use the engine's power. The Evoque comes with Range Rover's signature go-anywhere features like All Terrain Progress Control.
The interior is full Range Rover luxury. The Evoque comes in two trim levels — SE and HSE — and both get full leather upholstery. In the more basic SE trim, heated seats and steering wheel are in one option package, and in the HSE you get the heated wheel in one package and both heated and ventilated "climate" seats in another package. Both trims come with an excellent infotainment system, including the InControl 10.2-inch touch screen interface. In the HSE trim, navigation is standard. Both trims include InControl smart phone integration with apps.
Driving on wet or dry pavement, the Evoque is simply excellent. The heavy curb weight and Range Rover's suspension gives the Evoque a smooth ride, and there's plenty of engine power. If you've been considering a new luxury SUV, but you also want a drop-top, you might find that the Evoque Convertible is the Range Rover that fits your needs.
2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible
Base price: $52,995
Price as tested: $58,695
Type: Compact convertible SUV
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4 (240 hp, 250 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 21/28
Overall length: 172 inches
Curb weight: 4,525 pounds
Final assembly: Liverpool, England