If the concept of the ‘first convertible crossover in the compact class’ seems hard to get your head around, it’s really pretty simple. Volkswagen has form when it comes to designing appealing Cabriolets – think Golf and new Beetle – and the dynamic, versatile T-Roc was the ideal next candidate for the roof-off treatment. Result is a chunky, practical SUV with the typical raised driving position of its type plus the chance to enjoy open-top motoring when the weather permits.
All T-Rocs get VW’s front assist system as standard, which lets you know if it detects a possible collision with audible as well as visual warnings. If you don’t react in time, City Emergency Braking slows the car to reduce impact speed or even avoid a collision. Lane Assist and Pre-Crash Occupant Protection are other standard features. Special features of the T-Roc Cabriolet include rollover protection hoops that spring upwards from behind the rear seats in a fraction of a second in the event of an accident, while the entire car’s structure has been strengthened to cope with the absence of a roof.
Below the waistline the new T-Roc Cabriolet is just like its hardtop siblings, albeit in two-door form. The wide front end, well defined lines and tight proportions are both distinctive and chic. Above that, in place of the T-Roc’s metal roof there’s a soft-top that can open and close in a mere 9 seconds at speeds of up to 19 miles an hour. It’s a well-engineered roof and Volkswagen claim excellent standards of interior refinement as well as year-round insulation from the elements.
Owners of the new T-Roc Cabrio can be permanently online if they choose the optional MIB3 next-generation Infotainment system with its integrated eSIM card. Another option, the 11.7in digital instrument cluster, puts the sat-nav map and other information directly in front of you. Two trim levels were announced at the T-Roc Cabriolet launch, Style and R-Line. The former offers four different décor options, 17-inch Mayfield alloy wheels, the Composition infotainment system and WeConnect online services. R-Line has a sportier ambience with sports suspension, quicker steering and R-Line branded sports seats in fabric and leatherette.
The new T-Roc Cabriolet comes with a choice of two petrol turbo engines. The smaller of the two is a three-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine with an output of 115PS and a six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels. Alternatively, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine develops 150PS and can be specified with either the manual box or a seven-speed dual clutch auto.
The customer can choose between the ‘Style’ and ‘R-Line’ equipment lines. The Style specification package embodies a focus on design and individual flair. The R-Line specification package is resolutely sports-oriented and incorporates the contents of the R-Line exterior and interior packages, which are offered as options for the T-Roc, as fixed elements. Sporty character is further emphasised by such features as standard fog lights, sports-tuned running gear and the progressive steering with speed-dependent steering control.
Verdict: Cabriolet compact SUV may seem like a niche category, but the appeal of the T-Roc Convertible is universal. It’s a practical, sporty SUV with four seats and excellent fuel efficiency, yet it can also provide moments of top-down magic at the touch of a button. It’s due in the UK showrooms in 2020.