3.5 out of 5 3.5
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

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

Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet Review Video
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At a glance

New price £27,410 - £34,365
Lease from new From £289 p/m View lease deals
Used price £20,645 - £27,830
Used monthly cost £515 - £695
Fuel Economy 40.3 - 44.8 mpg
Road tax cost £150
Insurance group 14 - 21 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

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

CONS

  • Less practical than the five-door T-Roc SUV
  • Cabriolet quite a bit pricier, too
  • Reduced engine range with no diesel
  • Handling becomes a bit wobbly

Written by Anthony ffrench-Constant on

Volkswagen's well-sorted, appealing T-Roc is understandably popular. So it's easy to see why, in the absence of a Beetle Cabriolet and with no plans to reinstate the soft-topped Golf, VW has decided to use the T-Roc as the donor for maintaining the company's 70-year old wind-in-the-hair heritage.

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.

Not only is the T-Roc Cabriolet the brand's only open-top model but, in the absence of the now defunct Range Rover Evoque Convertible, it also has the distinction of being the only proper four-seat convertible available in the crossover/SUV marketplace.

What competition does 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.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet is a fair chunk pricier, and both the MINI and BMW 2 Series soft-top offerings struggle to accommodate all but the very small astern.

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

How practical is it?

Though managing to remain just about as handsome - both with the lid up and down - as any crossover with the top sawn off can be, the Cabriolet has undergone more significant changes to the standard T-Roc than are apparent at first glance.

2020 VW T-Roc Cabriolet interior

Less welcome is the addition of almost 200kg in weight courtesy of rigorous strengthening measures, and a price tag hike of about £3,750 over the equivalent tin-topped model.

The Cabriolet is 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 is 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.

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

What engines does it have?

Two petrol powerplants make up the range here - 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.

We've driven the more powerful auto so far and find it a pleasing combination, with the lowered powered car both ponderously slow and less satisfying due to it's lack of auto 'box.

That no TDI diesel engine has been mentioned so far and 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.

Read on for our full review 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?


Other Volkswagen T-Roc models: