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VW reboots its Cabriolet heritage... with a soft-top SUV

Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet (20 on)
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PROS

  • Traditional SUV attributes with wind-in-the-hair fun
  • Marks a return of convertibles to VW’s line-up
  • It certainly makes a statement...

CONS

  • Less practical than the five-door T-Roc SUV
  • Cabriolet likely to be pricier, too

PROS

  • Traditional SUV attributes with wind-in-the-hair fun
  • Marks a return of convertibles to VW’s line-up
  • It certainly makes a statement...

CONS

  • Less practical than the five-door T-Roc SUV
  • Cabriolet likely to be pricier, too

Details are so far fairly scant, but we now have more information and the first official photos of Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet, set to reach a showroom near you before the end of 2020.

Hang on – a soft-top version of the VW T-Roc SUV?

Yes, exactly that. Volkswagen’s had convertibles in its range for almost as long as the firm’s been in existence, with both the Beetle Cabriolet and the original Mk1 Golf Cabriolet having affectionate places in the hearts of many VW loyalists.

White 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet side elevation roof down

In more recent times, convertibles have fallen out of favour with the buying public: VW didn’t replace its Eos hard-top convertible, while the last generation of Golf Cabriolet has been effectively replaced by this T-Roc, in a similar manner to which the five-door T-Roc SUV took the Scirocco coupe's place in the range.

White 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet interior

With the ever-growing popularity of SUVs – Volkswagen expects 40% of its output will be crossovers by 2020 – there’s scope to expand on the variety of high-rise bodystyles on offer. Don't expect this to be VW's last crossover niche model.

What competition will it face?

This is such a small niche that – right now, at least – the VW has no direct competition, although that situation may well be showing signs of changing by the time the T-Roc Cabriolet arrives in the UK. That said, the nearest competition for the T-Roc Cabriolet is the now-discontinued Range Rover Evoque Convertible, a model that isn't looking likely to be replaced. It wouldn't be a surprise that if at least one of the Volkswagen Group's other brands offered something similar in the near future, such as a soft-top version of the Audi Q2.

Savvy competitor brands will doubtless be watching with interest, with feasibility studies ongoing to determine how easily their SUVs could be turned into convertibles.

How practical will it be?

That remains to be seen, but judging by what's confirmed in the photos, the Cabriolet will be less family friendly than the SUV version, with just four seats in its more snug cabin. Clearly it’s been conceived to appeal more to the heart than the head.

Most obviously, the T-Roc Cabriolet only has two side doors, meaning getting into the back will be more awkward than on its conventional sibling, but otherwise the dashboard looks the same, which means lots of technology such as the Active Info Display digital dials and online connectivity, combined with the disappointingly hard plasic mouldings.

White 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet boot

Boot access will inevitably be inferior to the SUV alternative thanks to a stubby bootlid rather than a full-height tailgate. But, because the roof is fabric-based, it should require less stowage space when retracted than a folding hard-top.

What engines does it have?

So far VW has only shown this near-production version of the T-Roc Cabriolet, but don't expect anything of great significance to alter before it goes on sale. Engine-wise two petrol powerplants have been mentioned so far: the 115hp 1.0-litre TSI fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, as well as the punchier 150hp 1.5-litre TSI, featuring the same gearbox or an optional seven-speed DSG automatic. Don't expect any official word on performance, efficiency or emisisons figures until early 2020.

White 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet interior

That no TDI diesel engine has been mentioned doesn't mean that one won't be offered - it's more to do with VW's diesel motors being due for an overhaul that will coincide with the introduction of the next-generation Golf to the UK, also early in 2020, so it will save its publicity for then.

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version is also a possibility down the line, but given Volkswagen is spinning-off all of its electric models under its ID sub-brand, don't expect a battery-powered T-Roc Cabriolet.

How much will it cost?

Again, don't expect this to be confirmed until spring 2020 at the earliest, but given VW's more recent forays into the soft-top market, expect to pay 10-15% more than the equivalent five-door T-Roc when order books open.

White 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet side elevation roof up

Bookmark this page for further news and reviews of the Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet.

Also read

>> How good is the regular T-Roc SUV? Find out with our full review

>> A soft-top T-Roc likely to be too pricey? Discover the Beetle Dune Cabriolet

>> Is the Range Rover Evoque Convertible worth a look?

White 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet rear three-quarter roof up

Other Volkswagen T-Roc models: