Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

For VW to choose the Volkswagen T-Roc instead of the new Volkswagen Golf or Volkswagen 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.

Elliptic daytime-running lights add visual interest to a bluff front end. The T-Roc’s sheer chunkiness makes it unusual among cabriolets – and somewhat inelegant.

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.

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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