Range Rover's Evoque convertible concept.
If you’re looking for a topless crossover, your current options are limited to just one vehicle: the Nissan Murano Cross-Cabriolet. We suppose you could include the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in the mix, but it’s on-road ride quality isn’t something we’d want to endure on a daily basis.
That may soon change, as Land Rover is showing off its Evoque convertible concept at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. As Land Rover explains, the drop-top Evoque is meant to “explore the potential for the world’s first premium convertible SUV,” meaning that Land Rover will be extremely interested in hearing customer feedback on the concept.
The company adopted a similar strategy with the DC100 concepts, which will likely serve as the basis of the next-generation Land Rover Defender. An Evoque convertible fits in with the brand’s strategy of of expanding the Evoque product line beyond the existing range.
In the words of Land Rover's Design Director, Gerry McGovern, "The Evoque lends itself beautifully to the idea of a convertible. This study is not a traditional convertible design execution - instead we have worked with the balance of the Evoque's lines to retain its distinctive shape and create something that is unique and, we believe, highly desirable."
The soft-top convertible will benefit from a Roll Over Protections System (ROPS) for added passenger safety, and it will change to a drop-down tailgate. The Evoque convertible will seat four adults, and from what we can tell, will carry them in comfort across a variety of terrain. Land Rover insists the Evoque convertible is infused with Land Rover DNA, giving it legitimate multi-terrain capabilities.
The convertible maintains the original Evoque's key styling elements, such as its rising belt-line and muscular stance. When folded, the top will retract out of sight behind the rear seats, covered by an aerodynamic finisher.
Both-front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive Evoque convertibles are possible, and the range could include both gasoline and diesel engines (although a diesel alternative isn’t likely to be a short-term option for U.S. customers).
If Land Rover gives the Evoque convertible a green light, don’t expect to see them in dealer showrooms much before the 2016 model year. It’s estimated that the engineering alone could take up to two years, which likely means product three years out.
Want to keep on top of news from Geneva? You'll find our comprehensive Geneva Motor Show coverage here.