For VW to choose the T-Roc instead of the new Golf or Polo as the basis for its latest Karmann-built convertible imposes some predictable compromises on the car, although modern platform engineering means the conversion isn’t the technical leap some might imagine it to be.
The regular T-Roc uses the same MQB model architecture as both of those hatchbacks, after all, and so the T-Roc Cabriolet ends up with transverse front-mounted engines and a driven front axle, just as a Golf or Polo cabrio might. Whether it ends up looking quite as neatly attractive as a lower, more compact cabrio might have is subjective, although none of our testers thought so.
The engines in question are VW’s 113bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol and its 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder. Only the 1.5 can be had with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox as an option to the standard six-speed manual, and it was the 1.5-litre auto we elected to test.
The T-Roc Cabriolet has a longer wheelbase than the standard car, allowing space for two rows of what are alleged to be adult-sized seats in addition to the furled roof. It has two passenger doors rather than four, reinforced A-pillars and windscreen, and pop-up rollover protection, as well as several reinforcements to the regular T-Roc’s underbody structure to add rigidity.
Kerb weight (which we couldn’t verify under prevailing testing restrictions) is claimed to be 190kg greater than that of a regular T-Roc with the same powertrain, at 1540kg. It’s perhaps more revealing that an Audi A3 Cabriolet with the same engine and gearbox is 145kg lighter than this car.
The rolling chassis configuration depends on trim. Both the 1.0- and 1.5-litre models come with multilink rear suspension but R-Line cars get shorter, stiffer coil springs than Design models, as well as 19in alloy wheels and ‘progressive’ passive variable-rate steering as standard.
An effort has been made at some level, clearly, to give this car a bit of sporting driver appeal. Meanwhile, Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive damping is also available as an option and was fitted to our test car