Land Rover has released what could be the coolest bad idea ever: a fully convertible all terrain vehicle. Although Land Rover announced this during their press event as a world’s first, the Evoque Convertible is not the first convertible SUV. The 2011 Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet was the actual first. But it was shuttered after 2014 due to its low popularity and nearly non existent sales figures.
The Evoque Convertible premiered as a concept car premiered during the Geneva Auto Show in 2012. It was well received and received plenty of attention. Land Rover is known for building soft-top, off-road vehicles, and the public liked the idea of this convertible. The concept model was approved for development and production soon after the show.
What makes this all terrain vehicle unique compared to other open air 4x4s like the Jeep Wrangler editions is that the Evoque will be a full convertible and not a removable top model.
Official details are still limited, but a spokesperson for Land Rover confirmed that the model will be “the most capable convertible in the world.” It will join the lineup of Land Rover’s other best-selling Evoque models, currently available in five-door and coupe.
Land Rover has been testing the convertible secretly in tunnels under London. They were given exclusive access to a 26 mile long network of subway tunnels that run beneath the streets of London. In this environment, designers and engineers were able to test the model and put it through its paces. Engineers drove the top-secret convertible 4×4 up and down curved walls, puddles, and other obstacles away from prying eyes and cameras. A video was released by Land Rover of the underground testing, accompanied by the announcement of the convertible’s 2016 release.
So does Land Rover have a chance to succeed at such a small niche market? Most likely. Unlike its predecessor, the Murano, its odds of success are far better. First, it’s a Land Rover; it will benefit from the company’s well respected all-wheel drive engineering and manufacturing. The Evoque Convertible will be luxuriously appointed to fit perfectly in both city driving and off-road conditions. And the model will be attainable at a base price of $55,000.
But who will be the Evoque Convertible customer? It’s too soon to see who this model will appeal to. After all, will true off-roaders really put the top down during an off road drive and ruin their supple, buttery leather interior? Or is this really a vehicle for urban dwellers looking for a nice drive with the top down on a sunny day?
Regardless of who the Evoque Convertible customer is, it’s likely that those who go for a ride in this capable, all terrain vehicle will have a great ride. The vehicle is built to take on any obstacle in its way. The interior is comfortable and well designed for the most discriminating of tastes.
Land Rover is putting money on the off road convertible niche. And they may be on to something.