Land Rover Follows In Nissan's Footsteps, Promises Range Rover Evoque Convertible For 2016: Video

March 3, 2015

SUVs are selling like hotcakes, so naturally, automakers want to milk them for all they're worth before the public's hunger subsides. How? By offering new, exciting versions of SUVs for shoppers who've grown tired of garden-variety utes.

Most companies achieve that goal by offering special trim packages -- sporty packages, luxury packages, pet-friendly packages, and so on. But Land Rover is different. Land Rover has just published a video starring a new, convertible version of its compact Range Rover Evoque.

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Yes, you read that correctly: Land Rover will soon sell a convertible SUV.

Apart from the drop-top, though, the automaker hasn't offered many details about this new variant. In the clip above, we see it decked out in full camouflage, navigating the Crossrail tunnels beneath London. It appears to keep most of the Evoque's silhouette, but of course, with the roof and C-pillar lopped off.

Why'd they shoot the Evoque Convertible in a tunnel? Land Rover says that it was done to put the vehicle through its paces. According to Land Rover's Murray Dietsch, "The tunnels are still under construction, so we had a unique opportunity to explore the vehicle's all-terrain ability in unchartered [sic] territory."

Malaprops aside, we think the real reason that Land Rover ran the Evoque Convertible through the Crossrail was to ensure that eager shutterbugs didn't get to it before Land Rover's video and images went live.

Land Rover says that the Evoque Convertible will go on sale in calendar-year 2016. Model-year, styling, and pricing remain to be seen, though we'd expect it to start somewhere north of the Evoque's current base price of $41,000.
 

OUR TAKE

Like horizontal stripes or mixing polka dots with plaid, convertible SUVs are hard to pull off. The Volkswagen 181 (aka the VW Thing) is arguably the most successful to date, and even it wasn't a big seller, lingering in showrooms for just a handful of years in the early 1980s.

More recently, we've had to endure the ungainly, unshapely Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. The nicest thing that you can say about the CrossCabriolet is that it's dead. (Nissan killed it after just four years.) The worst thing you can say is that it was as graceful as an artichoke on wheels.

The problem with convertible SUVs is largely aesthetic. Generally speaking, convertibles are meant to be playful (VW Beetle Convertible), fun (Mazda MX-5 Miata), lithe (Porsche Boxter), or at least elegant (classic, soft-top Cadillac). SUVs, however, are rarely any of those things.

The Range Rover Evoque, in particular, is built like a doorstop. Even though it's smaller than other Land Rover models, it's still large compared to many vehicles on the road, and it rides moderately high. As you can see from the images above, it looks better than the CrossCabriolet ever did, but in the right light, it still suggests the silhouette of a double-decker bus with the top sheared off.

Will the Range Rover Evoque Convertible be miracle or monstrosity? We have our guesses, but we'll keep you posted.

For more on the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, check out our colleagues at Motor Authority.

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