Meet the Golf convertible for the SUV generation. It’s the Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet and it should be in the shops next spring following a debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
The soft-top version of the ubiquitous VW hatchback, so popular through the 1980s and ‘90s, was killed off with the arrival of the Mk VII Golf in 2012. With both Beetle convertible and Eos coupe-cabriolet also no more, VW has lacked the fresh-air option that has traditionally been a part of its range.
Enter the rag-top T-Roc. With its two doors, small boot, fabric top and four seats it reprises the spirit of the Golf convertible in a compact SUV-sized and shaped package. With the hood up it even looks a bit like the old Golf convertible, albeit one on stilts.
VW says it is the first crossover convertible in the compact segment. With the demise of the more luxury-oriented Range Rover Evoque Cabrio, it is also the only SUV soft-top in what has always been the most niche of niche markets. But if anyone can breathe life into it, it will be Volkswagen.
The T-Roc Cabrio may be neither off-roader, luxury car nor sports car, but it’s loaded up with… lifestyle. There will be two trim levels, Style and the sportier R-Line, each with different design cues. And there are two engine choices: a 1.0-litre three-pot with 114bhp and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 148bhp. Transmission is six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch auto; unlike tin-top T-Rocs which are available with 4Motion all-wheel-drive the Cabrio is front-drive only.
Reinforcing its lifestyle appeal is an optionally available integrated eSIM with always-on internet access. It works with the (optional) latest-gen infotainment system as part of the car’s digital cockpit with its impressive widescreen display.
There’s no price yet but it’s possible the T-Roc Cabrio will come in at around half what the near-£50k Land Rover Evoque soft-top cost. Regular T-Rocs after all start at just under £20,000.
Will it be tempting enough to kickstart yet another SUV boom market? Yesterday’s Golf convertible is tomorrow’s T-Roc Cabrio…