Volkswagen’s pocket crossover T-Roc goes topless. Developed primarily for the European market, the high-slung roof fills the void left by the demise of the ragtop variants of the Golf and Beetle, while breathing new life into the affordable convertible segment.
The German company’s latest convertible looks a lot like the sub-Tiguan crossover it’s based on when viewed from the front, but it has a model-specific two-door body and a fabric soft top that opens and closes at the touch of a button. Think of it as a cheap alternative to the Range Rover Evoque convertible that Land Rover is sure to bring back for a second generation. For now, it’s in class one, which will either leave you confused or grateful.
Customers can choose the next generation of Volkswagen’s infotainment system. Called MIB3, but probably not related to Men in Black movies, is displayed on an 8.0-inch touchscreen and is permanently connected to the Internet if drivers so choose. An 11.7-inch digital instrument panel is also available, which the driver can configure in various ways using the buttons on the steering wheel.
The T-Roc Cabriolet will be available with two engines when it goes on sale. The base unit is a 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharger that delivers 115 horsepower. Buyers looking for more élan will be asked to step up to the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a more generous 150 horsepower. Both engines move through a six-speed manual transmission, but a seven-speed automatic transmission is available at an extra cost. At the time of writing, it sounds like the top-less T-Roc will be front-wheel drive only, but additional engine and drivetrain options could arrive later in production. We’d love to see the 300-horsepower turbo four from the T-Roc R in a convertible.
Volkswagen will present the T-Roc Cabriolet to the public for the first time during the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, which will open its doors in September. The model will hit showrooms across Europe (and other global markets) before the end of 2019, but we won’t see it in the United States, where the standard T-Roc isn’t available. Time will tell if its success will lure other automakers into the segment or if it will follow the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet into the pantheon of automotive oddities.