11 months ago
There are some gearheads that swear luxury SUV builder Range Rover will never build something as common and proletariat as a hatchback. There are others who see the Evoque and insist they already have.
As for Range Rover’s response to either theory, why should they care? They sell too many Evoque(s) across multiple demographics to worry. And, the 2018 Range Rover Evoque Convertible should serve to continue feeding the automaker’s collection peace of mind.
We can’t blame Range Rover if their Evoque crossover looks a lot like a stately hatchback. That’s the automotive industry trend these days. First, the crossover class is the most hotly competitive market in the business right now. It’s so active that crossovers are the top sellers for many automakers, including Lexus, Nissan, Toyota, Buick and even Range Rover sister company Jaguar with the popular F-Pace. Even companies that swore they’d never look at the SUV or crossover market (like Aston Martin) announced new builds as they realized there’s too much money to be made in the segment to ignore it.
Crossovers are so popular they’re slowly and steadily drawing market share away from sedans and bigger SUVs. So, with more people buying crossovers, automakers want to make more varieties, sizes and classes within the crossover class. The little SUVs are getting smaller and resemble the big sisters that inspired them less and less. Many are becoming pregnant hatchbacks in line and dimension, and the Evoque was Range Rover’s nod to that trend long before it really was an industry trend.
The Evoque first came our way in 2011 and was a hit for Range Rover immediately. The crossover movement was in its early days then, so some cynical auto industry observers looked at the Evoque’s smaller frame and reduced height and called it, for want of a less offensive turn of phrase, “a lady’s Range Rover.” Why such stalwarts of 1950s progressivism thought a woman wouldn’t be interested in a full-size Range Rover was never made clear. It was a moot point at any rate as the Evoque appealed to all drivers looking for a smaller, more urban-friendly vehicle with that Range Rover flare.
It’s the reduced size that makes the machine popular. The outward styling maintains many of the rounded edges and gently sloping panels of any Range Rover, but a shortened and lowered frame makes the Evoque easier to park and maneuver on city streets.
The 2018 convertible model offers all of the internal comforts and luxury flares of any vehicle in the Range Rover line – borrowing its sound system options, infotainment system and other bits from Land Rover interiors.
As for the price, the Evoque Convertible starts at $52,100 and kits out with options and personality well north of $60,000. At first sniff, that is a lot of money to pay for a crossover with comparably sized vehicles available for $20,000 less. But, you don’t get the same build quality and those R-a-n-g-e-R-o-v-e-r letters across your hood without digging deep. Some shoppers would be surprised how the right badges and lettering will push up the cost of a vehicle. They’d also be surprised how the right manufacturer can sweeten the driving experience as much as Range Rover can to warrant the extra doubloons.
The driver has a choice of two trim levels – SE Dynamic and HSE Dynamic. Each trim offers the same powertrain – a 2.0 liter, 237 horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A four-cylinder push might strike some as small for a crossover with the off-roading aspirations any Range Rover must have. But, In this era of high-compression and efficient turbocharging, that four-cylinder engine is more than adequate as the vehicle accelerates smoothly and cruises along nicely on excellent Range Rover four-wheel independent suspension.
As everything Range Rover makes, the Evoque can also handle the off-road. It takes on dirt, mud, snow or sand with confidence thanks to its All-Terrain Progress Control system – essentially a computer’s way of getting you rolling in the right direction.
The power Z-Folding Roof of the convertible Evoque is controlled by a simple internal cabin switch and can open or close if the car is moving less than 30 mph.
The overall driving experience provides all of the reassuring capability of a Range Rover in a more compact, lighter and sleeker package. Whether you choose to call it a crossover or a big hatch, the Evoque should remain a fixture in the company’s line for years to come.