Is the compact convertible the next niche to be conquered by the crossover SUV?

This week’s test subject, the T-Roc Cabriolet, provides a new kind of motoring experience, according to Volkswagen: one that mixes “the rugged appeal of an SUV with the feel-good factor of the wind-in-the-hair open-top”. And anyone still puzzled as to why it might exist need only direct their attention to the sales figures of its manufacturer to find an explanation.

Having been available in only one bodystyle since its launch in 2017, the Volkswagen T-Roc has become one of VW’s biggest-selling models and is its fourth-most-popular car in the UK, after the Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Polo and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Blistered wheel arches quite effectively disguise the visual mass of the car’s profile. Most crossovers are more slab-sided, but at least this one, although big, isn’t too blocky.

People like medium-sized crossover SUVs, then, and buy them in numbers that were still growing before the current market paralysis struck. As unintuitive as it may seem, that makes the T-Roc precisely the kind of car that might justify an extra bodystyle such as a convertible – at least from a business perspective. And since the T-Roc also attracts younger customers than some of the models higher in the sales ranks, those younger buyers might be particularly suggestible to the idea of drop-top motoring.

You can certainly follow the logic, but does it make for good product strategy? Is the crossover convertible a vehicle type that’s likely to stick? Stand by to find out.

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The T-Roc Cabriolet range at a glance

VW slims down the engine range of the wider T-Roc crossover line-up to just two petrol options for the cabriolet (see above) and likewise offers just two trim levels: Design and R-Line.

Neither trim level is meanly equipped. Design gets 17in wheels, 8.0in touchscreen infotainment, an electric roof, adaptive cruise control and a full set of parking sensors.

R-Line has sportier bodystyling, LED headlights, digital instruments, 19in alloy wheels and the mechanical difference mentioned on the next page.

What Car? new car buyer marketplace - Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet

Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet First drives