Nothing is certain in the world of business. However, if you’re looking for a safe place to cast down your chips, the SUV market wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Recently forecast to grow by 20 per cent globally over the next five years, the smart money in the motoring trade rests well and truly upon the broad wheel arches of the SUV.
Naturally, this is good news for the boys and girls and Land Rover, still undisputed kings of this particular flourishing domain. Of the current Land Rover line-up, it was the Range Rover Evoque that did most to make the historic brand relevant at the dawn of the new decade. Since the premium compact crossover first bounded into showrooms in 2011, the Land Rover marque has gained a discernibly more youthful spring to its step.
It could be ventured, therefore, that the latest release from the British brand completes that process of rejuvenation. Following on from the Evoque five-door and coupé models comes the world’s first drop-top luxury SUV; the Range Rover Evoque Convertible.
As the fifth member of the Range Rover family, and the first ever soft-top, the all-new Evoque convertible lays claim to being no less than the most exclusive and capable convertible car in the world today. Certainly, the facts and figures would seem to present a strong case.
Combining the trademark ruggedness, refinement, and all-round capability that underscores the famous oval badge, the new Evoque convertible now adds another string to the Range Rover bow. The original Evoque, with its tightly cropped and chiselled features, always lent itself to a convertible design. The fully-automated fabric soft-top fits like a glove atop the largely unaltered body design and is in fact the longest and widest currently fitted to any vehicle on sale today. Raised in 21 seconds and stowed in just 18, the roof can be operated on the go at speeds of up to up to 30mph. A layer of acoustic insulation ensures interior comfort remains on a par with that of the five-door variant whilst practicality is by no mean compromised as rear luggage space remains unaltered regardless of whether you’re cruising top-up or top-down.
Inside, an all-new high-resolution 10.2-inch touchscreen with Jaguar Land Rover’s next-generation infotainment system, provides the soundtrack as well as full smartphone integration, door-to-door navigation and 3G connectivity to boot.
Land Rover’s full stable of four-cylinder engines is available on the new Evoque convertible, with the potent 237bhp Si4 leading the petrol charge. Those after some more low down grunt should plump for the Land Rover’s 2.0 litre diesel unit. Each engine channels power to the four-wheel drive Evoque convertible through a nine-speed automatic gearbox. All the usual Land Rover off-road tech is on tap, including Terrain Response, Wade Sensing and All-Terrain Progress Control.
The new Range Rover Evoque convertible will be produced at Land Rover’s Halewood plant in the UK, alongside its five-door and coupé siblings. Sales commence in Spring 2016 with UK prices starting from £47,500.
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