What is it? This concept car is a two-door, four-seat, open-top version of Land Rover’s smallest SUV, the Evoque. Power comes from a Ford-sourced turbocharged four-cylinder that got commendable acceleration and fuel economy when we tested it in a production, hardtop Evoque.
What’s new or notable? The roof is a power retractable soft top and there’s a rollover protection system. Land Rover says the concept has about the same torsional rigidity as the hardtop, a boast that’s pretty tough to make good on, in our experience. It will also have Land Rover’s Terrain Response system that allows the driver to dial in settings for various off-road conditions--a system we’ve found works well. A drop-down tailgate accesses the smallish trunk.
CR’s take: Open-top SUVs are rare, but the idea has been tried before: Remember of the old Jeepster? Today, convertible SUV shoppers have little to choose from beyond the Jeep Wrangler or the more refined Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. There is likely a modest market for an upscale model with off-pavement credentials. As a bonus, Evoque visibility is much improved with the top down. However, we’re not confident several of the other criticisms from our testing would be improved in a convertible model, such as ride, noise, and cargo space.