Range Rover Evoque Convertible vs Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet
Range Rover's Evoque meets the Mercedes C-Class in a battle of 2016's coolest cabrios
Soft-top SUVs aren't exactly common, but in creating the new Range Rover Evoque Convertible, Land Rover hopes to follow the regular car's meteoric sales by adding an extra dimension to the experience.
With summer in full swing, it's time to see if this niche model makes sense. After all, aside from some utilitarian 4x4s, it's the UK's first convertible SUV, and has caused controversy as Land Rover tries to satisfy buyers' growing demands.
It doesn't have any direct rivals, but with prices from £47,500, it sits in the firing line of another new open-top four-seater, the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet. While this is a traditional drop-top based on a coupe, Mercedes offers it with 4WD. Factor in diesel power, and it's closer to the Evoque than initial impressions would suggest.
So is the Evoque Convertible a pioneer? Or is this a niche too far for Land Rover?
Head to head
The roofs of the Evoque and C-Class open with the touch of a single button, and the process can be carried out at speeds of up to 30mph in the Range Rover and 37mph in the Mercedes.
Land Rover offers a wind deflector to go over the back seats, but you don't really need it. Mercedes' effective Aircap system is fitted as standard.
Both these cars are genuine four-seaters, but passengers in the back of the C-Class will suffer from less wind buffeting thanks to the Aircap system that diverts airflow over the cockpit. Mercedes fits its Airscarf as standard, too; this blows warm air on to the necks of occupants sitting up front.
The Evoque can be upgraded with the £2,075 Black styling pack, while Mercedes offers brown, red or blue roof colours - depending on the body colour - at no extra cost. You can also add 19-inch multispoke wheels with run-flat tyres for £595.
First place: Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet
In the end, the C-Class Cabriolet makes a far more convincing drop-top than the Evoque Convertible. While neither car sets the world on fire for performance or handling, they deliver refined roof-down luxury, and the Mercedes offers a more upmarket feel than the Range Rover while costing less. Add in lower everyday running costs and a more practical cabin, and it wins here.
Second place: Range Rover Evoque Convertible
It was a brave move to chop the top off the Evoque, but the overall result is pretty successful. The car's cabin is quiet and refined with the roof down, and there's enough room for four inside. The Evoque comes second here on account of its higher list price and running costs, plus its less practical interior. However, we're convinced it will still sell by the bucketload.
New: BMW 435d xDrive Convertible M Sport
More reviews for Evoque Convertible
Car group tests
The 4 Series Convertible forgoes a cloth roof for a complex folding metal top. This adds weight, but looks dramatic in operation, while the most powerful diesel in M Sport spec has more than enough power to compensate for the extra kilos it's carrying.
Used: Bentley Continental GTC
If you want to cruise in style and make an impact, a 2007 Continental GTC with fewer than 30,000 miles on the clock is a similar price to these two. You still get 4WD, but there's an engine with 200mph potential - plus steep running costs to go with it.
Facts and figures
|Mercedes C 220d Cabriolet 4MATIC AMG Line Prem Plus||Range Rover Evoque Convertible 2.0 TD4 HSE Dynamic|
|On the road price/total as tested||£44,600/£50,060||£47,500/£55,955|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£20,070/45.0%||£24,558/51.7%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£2,310/£4,619||£2,743/£5,487|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,753/£2,921||£1,723/£2,872|
|Ins. group/road tax band/cost||34 (est)/E/£130||39/F/£145|
|Servicing costs||£35p/m (3yrs)||£499 (5yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/2,143cc||4cyl in-line/1,999cc|
|Peak power/revs||168/3,000 bhp/rpm||178/4,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||400/1,400 Nm/rpm||430/1,750 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||9-spd auto/4WD||9-spd auto/4WD|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||66 litres/repair kit||54 litres/£160|
|Boot capacity/turning circle||360 litres/11.5m||251 litres/11.3m|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs||3yrs (unltd)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable/147||21k miles (2yrs)/130|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||12th/20th||22nd/25th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||92/84/77/5 (2014)||86/75/41/5 (2011)|
|0-60/30-70mph||7.9/7.5 secs||10.2/10.6 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||3.2/4.4 secs||3.7/4.0 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th||6.5/8.1/9.8s/N/A||6.2/7.8/9.1/14.3 s|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||140mph/1,350rpm||121mph/1,550rpm|
|Roof time up/down||20.8/18.3 secs||18.3/15.0 secs|
|Noise (roof up) out/idle/30/70mph||68/47/62/70dB||72/48/62/70dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||34.7/7.6/504 miles||35.3/7.8/419 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||218/134g/km/26%||214/149g/km/29%|
|Airbags/Isofix/park assist/360 cam||Seven/yes/yes/£335||Seven/y/£935/£645|
|Auto box/stability/adaptive cruise ctrl||Yes/yes/£1,695||Yes/yes/£1,220|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/£795/yes||Yes/yes/yes|
|Met paint/LED headlights/keyless go||£645/yes/yes||Yes/£1,035/yes|