Think of the Range Rover Evoque convertible as being a kind of insurance policy. On the outside it’s the kind of car you take shopping.
Of course, there’s barely room in the boot for more than a few purchases, but with its rakish lines and distinctive shape, it would look the part swanking around the wealthier parts of town. Yet, on the inside, it’s as pure blooded a 4×4 as Land Rover has ever made. It’s ready for when the zombie invasion comes.
Indeed, although it looks like the kind of car Victoria Beckham might drive around her garden – she was, after all, employed in the promotion of the hard-topped Evoque – it can do all the stuff you’d want it to do if it was being driven by, say, Vin Diesel.
It can happily drive up a 45-degree gradient, which is great for visits to the Highlands branch of Prada. It can tilt to 35 degrees too and wade through half a metre depth of water, perfect if you take a wrong turn during that drive around Portofino.
So the question is, just who is this car for? Land Rover is presumably aiming to plug a gap in its market that even a standard Range Rover – maybe even a standard Evoque – can’t fill: a nifty runaround for those who want to buy into Land Rover’s newfound cool, sunglasses on, without ever wanting to drive where no car has been before.
Designed for Off-Road with Comfort
But if that’s the case, why bother with the 4 x 4 potential unless you feel it’s essential to your brand credibility? If it’s really for those who need Land Rover’s famed off-road capabilities, then show me someone who really needs such comfy seats and a soft-top in hard country.
That makes the Evoque convertible a curiosity. Of course, in a way it’s all the more attractive for being so, and all the more so in an industry in which cars lean ever more towards the cookie-cutter and the ruthlessly rational.
Ultimately, for all its hidden machismo, for all its black satin alloys and exhaust pipe finish, its creamy black leather upholstery and techy tablet-style touchscreen, it feels like it leans more towards its feminine side, as only a car called the ‘Evoque’ – which sounds like a 1950s fashion magazine – perhaps could. In the battle between mountains and Manolos, the heels have it.
Range Rover Evoque Convertible – www.landrover.com
BEST BIT: The reassurance that, should you need to catch some rays while crossing a bog, you’re in the right place.
WORST BIT: It’s not to do with the car per se, but it’s driving me mad just working out what this car is for precisely.
HEAD TURNING QUOTIENT: With its high sides and the roof down, the Range Rover Evoque Convertible has a distinctive profile. Probably the most look-at-me genuine 4×4 since the Willy’s Jeep.
DRIVING EXPERIENCE: It will go anywhere with confidence. Although I’m just assuming that, of course. I wouldn’t want to risk scratching it.