Our Cars: Volkswagen T-Roc SEL 1.6 TDI 115

4 November 2019: Drop tops and hot shops

The Details

Current mileage 2500
Claimed economy 50.4mpg [WLTP]
Actual economy 48mpg

As we've already discussed, and as you'll probably have guessed yourself if you use the roads at all, the Volkswagen T-Roc is proving something of a sales success. This has emboldened Volkswagen to do not one, but two mildly mental things with it: a 300 horsepower version and a convertible version. I'm not sure which is madder of the two. The fast one is available already, so let's start there. 

The T-Roc R has 300PS from the same 2.0 turbo petrol engine in the Golf R (and loads of other fast VWG stuff), hits 62mph in a fairly stupid 4.9 seconds and costs about £39,000. For reference, that makes it a little faster than the Cupra Ateca, a little slower than the Golf R, and quite a bit more expensive than both. 

Notwithstanding the idea of a smallish crossover having that much power and costing so much per se, the price feels a little uncomfortable on account of the Ateca being both bigger and built of squishier materials (if that sort of thing bothers you), while the Golf R is also higher quality and a proper dynamnic driving thing of the sort the T-Roc will struggle to be.

That last thing is absolutely vital to the success of the car: the question of how it drives. Sure, some people will buy the T-Roc R on the coimbination of looks, the prestige, straight line speed and space - but, if it drives with a "meh", more people will be put off. I'm reserving judgement, but based on how our T-Roc handles I'm quietly hopeful. Because the T-Roc handles better than most crossovers. There's a good chassis there, clearly. 

Volkswagen -t -roc -r 

And so to the altogether less blue and more grey area of the T-Roc Cabriolet. The recent history (in the UK, anyway) of convertibles based on crossovers is short and consequential by virtue of its inadequacy: the Range Rover Evoque Convertible is no longer on sale here. Which is good because it sucked. 

Early evidence suggests the T-Roc Cabriolet isn't going to be a world apart. The same principle applies: take a five-door SUV and sacrifice two of those doors, lots of rear leg room, loads of boot space and most of its structural integrity, the last problem corrected by making the whole thing heavier, negatively impacting performance, efficiency and dynamic sharpness. Oh, and make it more expensive in the process. Who'd actually buy into that? For 30 grand?  

And if there weren't enough showoffs here in the UK to keep the Range Rover one going, what makes Volkswagen think its run-of-the-mill crossover will do any better? 

Still, there is some hope. For a start it doesn't have any clear cut rivals - the Jeep Wrangler costs £50,000 and is much bigger and clunkier than this - and there probably are quite a few folk that don't really care about practicality and dynamic degradation. Strange but true. Also, you never know... it might end up being brilliant. I hope so, for the laughs. I'll let you know.  

« Earlier: Avoid this Volkswagen diesel. Duh.     Later: Real MPG: we're warming up now »

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