Photos: Volkswagen Group
Do you guys really want a convertible crossover?
There are plenty of things in this world that are meant to go together. Peanut butter and jelly, as our own Roman Mica is often keen to remind us. Macaroni and cheese. Volkswagen Touaregs and the scorching Moab desert, as it turns out. Two things that don’t go together, in my opinion, are convertibles and crossovers. Why, oh why, do automakers keep insisting on doing this? I mean really, a Volkswagen T-Roc convertible?
Let’s dig into the actual news: Volkswagen has indeed developed a cabriolet version of its small T-Roc crossover. The company says the move “breathes fresh air into the SUV segment.” That may be true for those who do actually want this car. I’m not saying there aren’t any of you out there who wouldn’t enjoy this, but it’s not an unprecedented move by any means. History gave us the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and the Range Rover Evoque Convertible. Remember the Audi Cross Cabriolet? Yeah, please tell me I’m wrong about this insistence on building convertible crossovers going too far.
Volkswagen says the T-Roc convertible has a “classic” soft top, like the Beetles and Golfs of yesteryear. That soft top can automatically open in nine seconds, at speeds up to 30 km/h (19 mph). There is a price to pay for all the convertible-ness, though. It has two doors and approximately 10.0 cubic feet of cargo space. To put that in perspective, that’s barely more than a Fiat 500 with its seats in place. Even the diminutive hatchback offers 30.1 cubic feet of space with its seats folded, however. Know why? Because it’s a hatchback. And before you level the 500c cabriolet at me, that actually has more cargo volume per EPA figures (31.3 cubic feet) than the hatchback.
“Adding yet more lifestyle”
The Volkswagen T-Roc convertible comes with two gasoline engines. European customers can either get a 114 horsepower turbocharged 1.0-liter inline three engine, or a 148 horsepower 1.5-liter turbo inline-four instead. It does come with a manual transmission, so I will give the car credit for that. Of course, a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is optional if you prefer not to row your own gears.
According to Volkswagen’s release, the T-Roc convertible adds “yet more lifestyle to the booming SUV market.” But does it really? Sure, in the marketing world, it might. They take care to show the funky blue-on-black interior and the top-down, wind-in-the-hair fun you can have in your T-Roc convertible? That said, you can get the funky interior in the standard T-Roc. Want some wind in your hair? There are plenty of four-seater convertibles out there to suit.
You may think I’m being too harsh on the little T-Roc convertible, but my point is this: crossovers can be fun, and convertibles can be fun on their own. Combine the two, and you’re forced to live with compromises on both ends. You don’t have the sportiness of a true roadster or even a four-seater convertible. On top of that, you lose the practicality of having a crossover. Good luck getting adults in those back seats.
Debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show
Whether you like it or not, Volkswagen will debut the T-Roc convertible at the Frankfurt Auto Show this fall. Since we’re not currently getting the T-Roc crossover, it’s doubtful we’ll get this either. If you do care for cars like the Range Rover Evoque Convertible or the Nissan Murano CC, I can’t say I agree with you, but you should be happy to know this car exists?
Am I being too curmudgeonly about this? Let us know what you think of the T-Roc convertible in the comments below.