Convertible cars are great in the summer months, but don't get a lot of use once winter rolls around. Not the Range Rover Evoque.

Land Rover calls it the first truly capable convertible, one that doesn't go into the garage in October and hibernate until Spring.

The Evoque is good for 365 days of driving, whatever the weather or terrain. It might have a soft top now, but off-road adventures won't be a problem.

To prove that the Evoque is up for anything you can throw at it, we trekked to the French Alps to see how it copes when the going gets tough - or rather when the snow starts falling.

Even back in 2012 when it was just a concept, the Evoque convertible demanded attention, and that's still true now that you can get behind the wheel of the real thing.

Whether you've got the ebony black folding roof up or down, the convertible is unmistakable as an evolution of the standard Evoque. Land Rover hasn't made any compromise in terms of styling.

That means you get the same high waistline, same eye-catching profile and same aggressive details as the hard top. It's been put through the same rigorous off-road tests too, meaning you can scale 45-degree gradients, tilt to 35 degrees, and wade through water that's up to 500mm deep.

Orange is the new black

Whether you opt for the 2-litre petrol or 2-litre diesel engine, the Evoque Convertible isn't a quick car. The petrol hits 60mph in 8.6sec, while the diesel takes 10.3. Instead, this is a car to be seen in, rather than for getting somewhere quickly. 

Land Rover had been running the media launch for two weeks when I showed up, but we still managed to turn heads on our trips up and through the mountains.

The vibrant orange paint makes sure no-one's going to miss you when you're on the road. It's definitely going to split opinions, but you'll never lose it in a car park, either.

I preferred the orange exterior, but the slightly more subtle grey model had a gorgeous red and black split leather interior. There's plenty of room for driver and passenger, but this is a 2+2 car so don't expect masses of legroom in the back.

Stop, drop and roll

Land Rover hasn't had to make many compromises to fit the soft top, meaning you get the same 251 litre luggage spacity whether you've got it up or down,

It takes 18 seconds to drop, and 21 to go back on. You can go to and from top down when you're on the move, too, as long as you stick below 30mph.

With the rear wind deflector raised in the back seats, you barely notice you’ve got the roof down when you’re cruising at motorway speeds. It does put the back seats out of action when it’s fitted though - sorry kids.


Put the roof back up, though, and almost all exterior noise gets cancelled out, even if it does make the cabin feel a little dark.

Land Rovers are renowned for being practical cars, and happily the Evoque convertible follows suit. You can fit a set of skis using the boot access panel, and I had no trouble fitting two sets of luggage in the boot.

Rock solid

Normally, lopping the top off a car and turning it into a convertible means you lose a lot of strength from the chassis, but that's certainly not the case here.

The Evoque Convertible is just as sturdy as the standard model, and had to go through the same battery of off-road tests to prove it was worthy of the Land Rover badge. 

I took it on an assault course comprised of 35-degree camber curves, steep descents and offset obstacles, but it didn't break a sweat.

Being perched on three wheels with both doors open showed just how much cross-bracing had been added under the car to keep it rigid. I could even drop the roof.

Moving onto an agility course cut into the snow, the All-Terrain Progress Control system made short work of some impressively steep inclines, despite the lack of traction.

Switching the terrain response settings from tarmac to snow made a big difference to handling and kept the tyres from spinning on flat snow, but you're still able to disengage it and put the power down when you need to take on bigger climbs.

Brain box

The Evoque is capable when it comes to tech, too. Land Rover is using it as the launchpad for its InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, which was previously exclusive to the Jaguar XF. 

That means you get a 10.2in, 21:9 format touchscreen, powered by a quad-core CPU and running off an SSD. Essentially, it's super-fast, and built-in 3G means it's always connected, too.

Up to eight different devices can hook in to the connection, so you only need to rinse one data plan when you're out on a road trip. You can flash live weather reports onto the touchscreen (appropriate for a convertible) and use multi-touch gestures to zoom in and out of the navigation system.

It supports smartphone apps too, so you can plan a route on your phone and have it synced to your car when you next get in, so you don't have to tap in your destination manually.

Safety features like automatic emergency braking for avoiding low-speed colissions, lane departure warnings and traffic sign recognition are all welcome additions, but it's the 360-degree parking camera that proved more useful.

The Evoque isn't a huge car, and with the top down you've got an excellent view of the road around you, but having an onscreen view of the sides and rear of the car, complete with visual and audible warnings when you get too close help you avoid any unwanted sratches or scrapes.

The best bit, though? The heads-up display that puts your speed and any upcoming sat-nav directions onto the windscreen.

Range Rover Evoque convertible initial verdict

A luxury droptop SUV is anything but ordinary, and the Evoque convertible embodies that philosophy with distinct styling, unmissable orange paint and a capable but hardly fast engine that ensures you're going to get noticed when you drive one.

Despite blowing its top, though, the Evoque hasn't lost any of its off-road potential. That makes it ideal for all-weather, all-terrain adventures, as well as the school run. It's packed with gadgets inside, and has the boot space to make it fairly practical - as much as a bright orange convertible SUV can be considered practical, anyway.

Land Rover reckons the UK will be one of the car's biggest markets when it goes on sale in June, and it's looking very likely that other big-name brands will follow suit with convertible designs of their own.

The Evoque was the first, though, and right now it's impossible to ignore.

Tech Specs 
2.0l 16v common rail diesel
9-speed automatic
180ps @ 4000rpm
430Nm @ 1750rpm
10.3 sec
Top speed
49.6mpg (combined)

Where to buy Range Rover Evoque Convertible first drive: