Oakville Drives: 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible

2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible Exterior Front with Roof Down
Oakville Drives: 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible

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R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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The 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible was introduced to the Canadian market in late 2016 as a 2017 model. It is only available in one trim level – the mid level HSE Dynamic – that is sufficiently well equipped for many prospective buyers.

2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible rear view

2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible rear view; Photo Credit: R.G. Beltzner

Of course there are the numerous add-on options for those that wish to customize their ride a bit. The 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible starts at a price of $65,990, some $4,800 higher than the hardtop four-door version. This is definitely a vehicle that attracts the curious – and mostly with a positive reaction. Almost each time I parked the Evoque, someone would approach to gawk at the vehicle.

Much to my surprise, the gawkers were mostly men – who all concluded that this would be a nice “sunny weekend” cruiser to add to their collection. Only two other vehicles that I’ve tested in the past year attracted as much attention – the F-Type Jaguar and the Mustang Shelby GT 350 – both because of their great looks and loud exhaust. The Evoque Convertible is unique – as the only other “crossover” SUV convertible on the market is the Nissan Murano, – that convertible model is not offered by Nissan in Canada.

Handling characteristics of the 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible

All Evoques come equipped with the 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 240 hp (250 lb/ft torque) linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive. For a comprehensive look at the “driving features” of this vehicle, see my last week’s review of the four-door hardtop Evoque HSE Dynamic. Convertibles typically give up some body rigidity as a result of the missing center pillar but not the Evoque. Land Rover has done an excellent job in the design of this vehicle to minimize any loss of rigidity – resulting in a vehicle that feels quite solid regardless of road surface imperfections. I had no serious complaints with how this crossover handles – as long as you don’t dive into corners with the intention of late hard braking and sharp turn in. It is remember – a reasonably heavy and tall vehicle not designed for high speed racetracks.

Range Rover

Model: 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible HSE Dynamic
Engine: 2.0 Litre Turbocharged
Base Price: $65,990 (before HST)
Price as Tested: $72,690 (before HST)

Comfort

2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible Interior

2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible Interior; Photo Credit: R.G. Beltzner

With the top up, the Evoque convertible feels like the regular Evoque with very similar layout and interior features. With the top down, (an 18 second no nonsense activity even at 30 km/hr), visibility increases (a good thing) and wind effect is minimal with the windows up. It’s a great feeling to be slightly higher up from the road when the roof is down. Once the windows are completely down, you get the full enjoyment of the breeze – but take note – you can’t comfortably rest you arms on top of the door the door as the window

2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible Rear Seat

2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible Rear Seat; Photo Credit: R.G. Beltzner

glass does not retract completely. Clearly a major flaw in the design of this convertible – to accompany the other irritating design flaw of a passenger windshield wiper that fails to retract fully, and completely detracts from an otherwise nice view. Needless to say, the Evoque is generally a quite comfortable, well-designed and visually pleasing vehicle for both the driver and front passenger, with the usual limitations for rear seated passengers including larger dogs, due to constrained space and sightlines. The convertible trunk space is adequate for one set of golf clubs.

Safety

Despite all of the standard safety features (alerts, airbags, driver aids, etc.), a convertible generally provides less protection due to the “soft” roof. You also need to be aware with this vehicle, of the reduced visibility to the sides and rear with the roof up. The size of the “blind spot” is greater and visibility can be made even more challenging in poor weather conditions.

Things to consider

This vehicle is a bit of a novelty and it will appeal, especially to those that enjoy a sunny weekend drive through the countryside.

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