Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet is only mainstream convertible SUV
Cabriolet gets bespoke bodywork and uses 1.0 and 1.5 petrol engines
T-Roc Cabriolet, one of a kind in the market, will arrive next year at “well below £30k”
Claimed to bring an “extroverted and emotive design” to the brand’s range, it indirectly replaces the Golf and Beetle cabriolets and will bear the burden of being the only drop-top Volkswagen for the foreseeable future. It’s due to go on sale early next year after a Frankfurt motor show public debut in September, with first deliveries in the spring.
Far from chopping the roof off a standard T-Roc, the cabriolet’s body and structure are mostly new, with 37mm added to the wheelbase and a 34mm increase in overall length. As well as the absence of rear doors and a unique rear-end design, there is structural strengthening in the underbody, windscreen frame, side panels, cross members and doors. Engineers are confident that it would achieve a similar five-star score as the hard-top T-Roc in Euro NCAP crash tests.
The soft-top itself features a mechanism similar in concept to the outgoing Golf Cabriolet’s, with the roof stowing in an exposed compartment above the boot rather than under a panel. This allows it to be one of the fastest-opening roofs on sale, retracting in just nine seconds via a switch on the centre console or the key at vehicle speeds of up to 19mph.
The T-Roc Cabriolet’s roof design is also space efficient, allowing for two usable rear seats with enough leg and head room for six-footers to be comfortable on short journeys and a well-shaped 284-litre boot (161 litres down on the standard crossover). VW claims noise levels are kept low by specially developed door and roof seals.
Only two engines, both petrol, will be offered with the cabriolet at launch: a 113bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine and a 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit. The 1.0 has a six-speed manual only, but the 1.5 can be mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
VW has yet to release official performance and efficiency figures or confirm the kerb weight of either variant. There are no plans for diesel engines to be offered.
Two trims – Design and R-Line – will be available in the UK. Options will include a wind deflector, mounted over the rear seats, that stows in its own compartment under the boot floor. Prices will be announced next year, but bosses claim it will start from “well under” £30,000.
Q&A with Jurgen Stackmann, VW board member for sales, marketing, aftersales
There’s lots of talk about this car being an expression of Volkswagen’s emotive side, rather than a pure business decision. Is that the case?
“The concept only has reason to exist because of that. The convertible is the ultimate expression of emotional mobility. It’s got lost in the last few years. The [sales] momentum for convertibles is over. “The opportunity to combine what people really want now – a C-UV [C-segment utility vehicle] – with a cabriolet that has a long-standing tradition in the Volkswagen brand was a great opportunity. For us, it had to look good, so we decided after seeing the first prototype to build it. From a rational side, you would never go into the cabriolet market.”
Will this be the only convertible model from Volkswagen that we’ll be seeing for now?
“Purely from a convertible point of view, that’s our car. It’s meant to please customers in the UK and Germany [the two biggest drop-top markets]. If there’s anything ‘open’, it’ll be very different. It’ll be things we’ve discussed like the ID Buggy.”
Will you do an R version of the T-Roc Cabriolet?
“R is about high power, high performance and four-wheel drive, and we don’t think any of those are right for this. It would have very limited appeal on the market, so we won’t.”
Source: Autocar Online