VW Golf Cabriolet: Rain doesn't halt play

  • Typical British 'summer' keeps the lid on things
  • Golf's fuel economy and tank range impress
  • Performance and handling still deliver fun in wet weather

My childhood holidays hold many pleasant memories. Take lying in a tent and hearing the gentle fall of rain on canvas – the sound would lull me to sleep. The memory has been jogged by the summer we are currently ‘enjoying’ where rain has been constantly pelting the Golf's fabric roof. Luckily there have been some breaks in the storm clouds where I can get the top down.

Seizing these rare moments is helped by the electrically powered roof mechanism that takes less than 10 seconds to peel back and fold the fabric covering. The fact the top can also be raised at speeds of up to 18mph means any sudden outbursts of rain don't have to result in slammed brakes and skidding halts as I rush to get the roof up.

In the past fabric-roofed convertibles were seen as a security risk because anyone could break in with a few slashes of a Stanley knife, but security has been vastly improved thanks to the standard-fit alarm and immobiliser that work whether the roof is open or closed. There’s also effective sound-proofing which means noise levels are not intrusive at motorway speeds.

Because it has a fabric roof that requires less storage space than a folding hard-top, there is a decent sized boot, though at 250 litres it is slightly smaller than the Audi A3’s boot, which also has a fabric roof. The only downside is that the boot has a letterbox-style opening so I can’t just drop things in there. Instead, I have to bend down to push bags into the boot. It’s just a bit awkward, especially if you have your hands full.

To make up for the restricted boot size the convertible version comes with 50/50 spilt rear seats for more flexible loading but access to the main cabin is so restricted that you don't get the full benefit of the seats folding down. It means some jiggery pokery is required to get big boxes into the boot and up on to the backs of the rear seats.

With the rear seats up, there is good space for two adults and getting in is pretty easy – transporting long-legged nephews and nieces has never been a problem. The front seats fold and slide forward smoothly to allow people easy access into the rear, but as soon as the back of the seat clicks back in place the whole seat won’t slide back. It means you have to get in, sit down and use the adjuster under the seat base to slide the seat back. It's a minor irritation but if you regularly carry passengers it can get wearing.

The position of the seatbelt isn't particularly well-placed: it's so far back that you have to seriously contort your body to get hold of the attachment on the middle pillar. I think the addition of electric seatbelt 'butlers' that move the seatbelt forward as you get into the car would be extremely useful.

These are minor gripes though. The truth is the vast majority of the time this car puts a smile on my face – roof up or down - and it's cheap to run too.

The 2.0-litre diesel with BlueMotion technology is extremely efficient and, as a result, I’m regularly getting more than 600 miles to a tank. It's not short of grunt either: the engine delivers strong pulling power and completes the 0-62mph sprint in a very respectable 9.5 seconds. With agile handling and quick steering, the Golf is one fun car to hustle along country lanes. If only there was a touch more sun so I could get the roof down too.

If you own a convertible let everyone know how you are getting on with it by leaving an owner's review. Your opinion counts and helps potential car buyers know what the car is like to live with.

VW Golf Cabriolet boot space

Boot opening means awkward access even with folding spilt rear seats 

Current mileage: 6,127 miles

Average mpg: 50.3 mpg