Range Rover Evoque Might Get a Convertible Variant After All
UK Magazine Captures Camo’d Vehicle on Camera
The concept of a convertible SUV is hardly new, with soft-top utility vehicles available since the 1940s. Land Rover’s entry into the game is the Defender, but that off-roader might get a more luxurious little brother in the way of the Range Rover Evoque soft-top.
United Kingdom–based Autocar received photos from an eagle-eyed reader who saw an Evoque with a fabric roof dressed in swirl camouflage. The magazine says the somewhat undisguised test mule suggests that an Evoque cabriolet could be less than 12 months away. The car isn’t a total surprise, given that it was shown in show-car form almost three years ago, but there’s been no official word on production potential for the concept.
First seen at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the Evoque Convertible Concept used the Evoque Coupe as a starting point. From there, Land Rover engineers lopped off the tintop and fitted a folding fabric roof in its place. At the time, Range Rover Brand Director John Edwards said the company was seriously considering production of the convertible and response from the public was overwhelmingly positive. However, since then, there’s been obvious radio silence from the company about the Evoque variant.
If Range Rover went ahead with an Evoque convertible, it would probably compete in a class of one. Luxury SUV convertibles are all but nonexistent, with the only options being aftermarket conversions or the lame-duck (and ugly-duckling) Murano CrossCabriolet, slated to be discontinued after this year with no plans for replacement.
With the goofy Nissan’s absence, the Evoque cabrio’s closest competition body-wise would be the rugged Jeep Wrangler. However, given most Evoque buyers use their vehicles on-road, we’d bet it’d be cross-shopped against the relaxed Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet, the sporty BMW 4-Series convertible, and the stylish Audi A5/S5 Cabriolet instead.
According to Autocar, the Evoque cabrio’s introduction could coincide with its midcycle refresh. That face-lift could also entail replacing the 2.0L I-4 (closely related to Ford’s EcoBoost 2.0L) with one of Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium engines of the same displacement.