First Drive: The updated Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet adds further style to this funky drop-top

Volkswagen has tweaked its oddball T-Roc Cabriolet. Ted Welford tries it out.

First Drive: The updated Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet adds further style to this funky drop-top

What is it?

The T-Roc Cabriolet is the only new convertible SUV on the market. (Volkswagen)

Despite the UK’s often questionable weather, Brits are some of the biggest buyers of convertibles around the globe. And it makes us a big target audience for manufacturers launching new drop-tops.

That was the case for Volkswagen, which launched its strange T-Roc Cabriolet in 2020. A convertible version of the brand’s best-selling crossover, it’s a very different take on the usual drop-top formula that traditionally favours sportiness. Following updates to the standard T-Roc, Volkswagen is now back with an updated version of this model too.

What’s new?

The T-Roc Cabriolet now gets a more angular front end. (Volkswagen)

VW’s mid-life updates don’t tend to be the most extensive, and that’s the case here. There’s a sportier-looking front end, along with upgraded LED headlights. Inside, the German firm has aimed to give it a more upmarket finish, with softer materials used alongside more digitalisation.

But like before, the T-Roc Cabriolet is truly in a class of one, with no other new convertible SUV on the market. It also carries on Volkswagen’s long-running reputation for drop-top models too, such as the Beetle, Golf and EOS.

What’s under the bonnet?

A choice of 1.0- and 1.5-litre petrol engines are available. (Volkswagen)

Volkswagen slims down the engine choice from the regular T-Roc for the Cabriolet, with just two petrol options on offer.

The first is a 108bhp 1.0-litre unit, and though we haven’t driven it, its 12.1-second 0-60mph time makes it seem rather slow. The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol version, therefore, seems to make the most sense, and there’s also the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox – our test car comes with the latter.

Producing 148bhp and 250Nm of torque, this engine is able to get the T-Roc from 0-60mph in 9.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph. In terms of fuel efficiency, Volkswagen claims 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 144g/km.

What’s it like to drive?

The T-Roc Cabriolet is at its best when driven in a leisurely style. (Volkswagen)

Most convertibles typically have a sportier feel that encourages you to drive harder. But the T-Roc is a far more relaxed and laid-back affair. That’s in keeping with this 1.5-litre, which prefers to be driven leisurely, rather than thrashed. The DSG gearbox can be overly hesitant at times, though.

With the roof down and the optional wind deflector in place, it’s very refined by convertible standards, while the ride is largely comfortable, and only occasionally unsettled. It does suffer from the ‘wobble’ that affects many convertibles (because the structural rigidity is lowered because of the lack of roof), but it’s by no means bad. We’d also specify the optional Dynamic Chassis Control too, which lets you put the car in a ‘Comfort’ setting – the best mode for the T-Roc.

How does it look?

You will either absolutely love or absolutely hate the way the T-Roc Cabriolet looks. It’s certainly got plenty of Range Rover Evoque Convertible styling cues about it, and at first, the idea of a drop-top SUV looks a bit odd, but it’s an eye-catching thing that turns plenty of heads.

The high-up look surprisingly suits a convertible quite well, while even with the canvas roof up, it still has an elegant style to it. The R-Line trim also gives it a slightly more aggressive profile, including more angular bumpers and exhaust trim at the rear. There’s a good choice of colours on offer too, though we personally wouldn’t go for the Teal Blue pictured.

What’s it like inside?

The front of the T-Roc Cabriolet is almost identical to the standard SUV. (Volkswagen)

Sat in the driving seat, the Cabriolet’s interior looks and feels just like a regular T-Roc. That means you get a high-quality cabin, which is improved as part of this facelift with more soft-touch materials. There’s a new climate touch panel that works well too, though we’re not a fan of the new ‘touch buttons’ on the steering wheel as they are awkward to use and just a worse substitute for normal controls.

The roof is also impressively speedy to fold, lowering in just nine seconds at the touch of a button and rising in 11, and at speeds of up to 19mph – ideal for the UK’s changing weather. It’s pretty roomy by convertible standards too. The 284-litre boot can comfortably fit in a golf bag and trolley, and stays the same size, regardless of whether the roof is up or down. Rear seat space isn’t quite as generous as a regular T-Roc, but they’re fine for adults for shorter trips, and accessing the back is relatively easy too.

What’s the spec like?

The optional wind deflector is worth having. (Volkswagen)

There are two trim levels available on the T-Roc Cabriolet – newly-introduced Style (replacing Design) and R-Line.

Standard equipment is plentiful, with the Style coming with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control and an eight-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and wireless smartphone mirroring.

Upgrading to the R-Line brings more advanced LED headlights, a larger 10.25-inch digital dial display and a sportier styling kit.

Prices for the T-Roc Cabriolet start from £31,820, though the R-Line (which is only available with the 1.5-litre engine) costs from £35,605. With a few choice options, the price can quite quickly rack up to £40,000, which is when it starts to get pretty expensive.

Verdict

The T-Roc Cabriolet is more practical than many convertibles. (Volkswagen)

There’s a great deal of charm about the T-Roc Cabriolet that makes it hard to dislike. Get the roof down on a sunny day, and the idea of a convertible SUV suddenly becomes quite appealing.

Combine that with a relatively practical interior and reasonable running costs and this drop-top T-Roc becomes quite an attractive prospect as a daily driver.

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