The unconventional Evoque Convertible, has finally be given the once over on the UK roads. It's unorthodoxy is of course contained within its name: this is a three-door Evoque open to the sky, not to mention the slings and arrows of public opinion.
To Land Rover, the formula still makes unquestionable business sense. People like the Evoque; people (particularly Brits) like convertibles – et voilà. Achieving the end result has, unsurprisingly, required a fair degree of compromise and some considerable engineering.
The model is consequently heavier than the standard Evoque, and significantly more expensive, too. We're driving here the Convertible in its most affordable HSE Dynamic trim (with the 177bhp 2.0-litre diesel Ingenium engine), which costs from £47,500 – about the same money that would buy you a decently optioned Porsche Boxster.
A 237bhp, four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol completes the engine line-up. As for trim levels there are two to choose from the entry-level HSE Dynamic trim as fitted to our test car. It equips the Evoque Convertible with parking sensors, xenon headlights, electrically adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, cruise control, lane departure warning, and Land Rover’s 10.2in infotainment system complete with Bluetooth, USB connectivity, sat nav and a rear view camera.
Upgrade to the range-topping HSE Dynamic Lux and you’ll find luxuries such as parking assist, towing assist, a 360-degree camera, keyless entry, traffic sign recognition and blind spot monitoring as standard.
Is the Evoque Convertible a fad or something more?
Naturally, part of Land Rover’s hefty point is that this is obviously not a Boxster. Instead, it's an easy to get in, take anywhere, fashionable to be seen in compact SUV. To some extent, adopting that viewpoint helps mitigate the convertible’s core weakness – that it isn’t as good to drive as a standard Evoque.
This is unsurprising. Making high-sided, high-ground clearance cars feel responsive, agile and well-mannered is already witchcraft, and no-one wields a bigger broom than Gaydon. That the convertible generally toddles about adequately is creditworthy; that it doesn’t ride with particular aplomb nor go round a corner with the regular Evoque's savvy is understandable.
It is also, if you’re locked into the idea of the car’s other charms, broadly acceptable. Put the Z-fold roof down, and the novelty of being up high is normally enough to distract you from the mild scuttle shake and the two-tonne strain being placed on the tyres.