Volkswagen delivers on its threat of a T-Roc convertible crossover
Perhaps in retaliation for the mean things people said about the brand after Dieselgate, Volkswagen has decided to inflict a convertible crossover on the motoring world with today's release of the T-Roc Cabriolet.
If we thought the company might be kidding when we saw the T-Cross Breeze concept back in 2016, and hoped it might be an empty threat when we saw the T-Roc concept at Geneva last year, we were sadly mistaken. The chubby T-Roc now comes in a soft top, and it's somehow even more staid and depressing than either of the above concepts.
The idea is transparent enough: take one comfy little car that's easy on the knees to get in and out of, and that gives you high enough seats to see forward in traffic, and add the thrill factor of a drop top. The problem, as Nissan and Range Rover have demonstrated in the past, is that the squat proportions of convertible crossovers are not fun to look at, and their very existence seems to tarnish the cool factor of proper low-riding convertibles.
Leaving all aesthetic judgements of this rolling shoebox aside, its lukewarm powertrain options do little to accelerate the pulse either. Two motors are available, turbo gasoline jobs. One makes 85 kW (114 hp) and 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft), the other 112 kW (150 hp) and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft), with the focus on efficiency.
A standard manual transmission at least gives you something to do, although there's a seven-speed dual clutch auto option as well, and while the T-Roc R offers 4WD and extra power to at least pretend you might take it off-road, the Cabriolet is front-wheel drive only.
The roof opens in nine seconds at speeds up to 30 km/h (19 mph), the cabin is tidy, the two back seats don't look too cramped and there's a reasonable 284-liter trunk under the bed of the soft top. Standard features include auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, post-collision braking and lane assist.
The T-Roc Cabriolet doesn't objectively look like a bad car. It'll probably sell well at a reasonable price (TBA) when it hits showrooms in 2020, and it's the sort of car owners will probably enjoy. Sadly, the rest of us have to look at it and be reminded that yesterday's frivolous mid-life crisis toys are now being re-packaged for the creaky bones of empty-nesters.