MAKING WAVES: Range Rover Evoque Convertible has been revealed and has, as expected, polarised opinion. But if sales are as strong as predicted, it could be joined by other “luxury compact SUV convertibles
MAKING WAVES: Range Rover Evoque Convertible has been revealed and has, as expected, polarised opinion. But if sales are as strong as predicted, it could be joined by other “luxury compact SUV convertibles" in this nichest of niches.

Evoque loses its top

IT'S basically a lidless jar of Vegemite with four wheels added.

In the few short days since its global reveal, Range Rover's new Evoque Convertible has polarised opinion like no other car this year, with lovers and haters getting all emotional on internet forums and social media.

In the negative corner common expressions are "ridiculous" "stupid" "rotten" and "bathtub". A few fence sitters have suggested "niche" and "it's all right" while the happy lot have said "pretty" "stunning" and even "perfect". Other adjectives were a bit too colourful to print, but everyone did agree on one thing: the Evoque Convertible should sell well.

It's not cheap though. Australian pricing has been announced long before its on-sale date in the third quarter in 2016, starting at $84,440 for the Td4-180 SE Dynamic.

That's a huge leap over the entry-level 2WD hard-top Evoque ($51,995), but the specification level in the entry level rag top is far more generous.

So Land Rover is pioneering a new niche within a niche - the world's first luxury compact SUV convertible. It says the four-seat Rangie Evoque Convertible is the most capable all-terrain convertible in the world, as it features its hard-top stablemate's Terrain Response system, Wade Sensing and All-Terrain Progress Control. Whether you'll want to keep that top down during serious off-roading is debatable though.

The lightweight fabric roof stows in only 18 seconds (at speeds up to 50kmh) and Land Rover uses the word "generous" when describing the Evoque Convertible's 251-litres of boot space. For a rag-top maybe, but it's still less than you'll get in a Kia Rio.

Both petrol and diesel engines are offered, Jaguar Land Rover's next-gen infotainment features and the safety conscious will appreciate the deployable roll-over bars hidden in the bodywork which fire within 90 milliseconds in the event of a tumble.

So Land Rover is testing the water here (with the roof down if the pictures are to be believed), and who knows how many rivals it may spawn if it sells as well as the critics predict.

UP FOR A CHALLENGE? Evoque has a decent boot size for a convertible, but still trails the likes of a Kia Rio in litres of room. Good luck shoving that little lot in, Your Ladyship.
UP FOR A CHALLENGE? Evoque has a decent boot size for a convertible, but still trails the likes of a Kia Rio in litres of room. Good luck shoving that little lot in, Your Ladyship.

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