Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Cabriolets and open-top sports cars, although easy to confuse, are quite different things. For the T-Roc to miss the kind of zingy responsiveness and swiftness you might get from a similarly priced Mazda MX-5, then – or even from a low-end Audi TT Roadster – needn’t be considered a failing. Cabriolets are, by and large, high-day cruisers.

Richness and slickness in operation, good associated drivability and an assured performance level are the qualities we’re after – and the T-Roc’s powertrain has at least some of them.

It’s high time a cabriolet specialist like Karmann came up with a better wind deflector than the standard type that either makes the back seats unusable or takes up room in the boot. A better solution can’t be beyond the wit of a good designer, surely?

The 1.5-litre engine and gearbox combine very agreeably at low speeds. The motor is smooth and refined across most of its operating rev range. The dual-clutch gearbox, meanwhile, shifts ratios with polish under lighter loads, changing down fairly quickly and intelligently when it needs to. It’s never particularly fast acting, but only begins to show real hesitancy during harder driving.

The car’s outright performance level isn’t a strong one, although it feels reasonably swift when picking up from town speeds through the lower intermediate gears. Its kerb weight feels like a bit of a millstone even for 184lb ft to move and so only via use of manual mode on the gearbox, keeping the revs high and the selected gear number low, can you really maintain any kind of urgency from point to point.

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That may not bother the majority of T-Roc Cabriolet owners, but you can get a markedly better outright performance level in the same market niche for much the same money. Refinement in the car is better. The front of the cabin is quite effectively sheltered from the wind when the roof is down and the windows and wind deflector are up, and driving around the national speed limit like that is pleasant. With the roof in place, meanwhile, cabin sealing is also good.