Will Volkswagen’s convertible T-Roc crossover start a trend?

    Volkswagen’s pocket-sized T-Roc crossover is going topless. Developed primarily for the European market, the high-riding drop-top fills the void left by the demise of the ragtop variants of the Golf and the Beetle, while breathing new life into the affordable convertible segment.

    The German firm’s newest convertible looks a lot like the sub-Tiguan crossover it’s based on when viewed from the front, but it features a model-specific two-door body, and a cloth soft top that opens and closes at the push of a button. Think of it as a budget-friendly alternative to the convertible Range Rover Evoque that Land Rover will certainly bring back for a second generation. It’s in a class of one for the time being, which will either leave you puzzled or grateful.

    Buyers can select the next generation of Volkswagen’s infotainment system. Called MIB3, but presumably unrelated to the Men in Black movies, it’s displayed on an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and it’s permanently connected to the internet if motorists want it to be. An 11.7-inch digital instrument cluster that the driver can configure in a variety of different ways using buttons on the steering wheel is also available.

    The T-Roc Cabriolet will be available with two engines when it goes on sale. The entry-level unit is a turbocharged, 1.0-liter three-cylinder that delivers 115 horsepower. Buyers seeking more pep will be asked to step up to the 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged to a more generous 150-horsepower rating. Both engines shift through a six-speed manual transmission, but a seven-speed automatic is available at an extra cost. As of writing, it sounds like the top-less T-Roc will be front-wheel drive-only, but additional engine and powertrain options could arrive later in the production run. We’d love to see the 300-horsepower turbo four from the T-Roc R in the convertible.

    Volkswagen will present the T-Roc Cabriolet to the public for the first time during the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show that will open its doors in September. The model will arrive in showrooms across Europe (and in other global markets) before the end of 2019, but we won’t see it in the United States, where the standard T-Roc isn’t available. Time will tell whether its success will lure other automakers to the segment, or if it will follow the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet into the pantheon of automotive oddities.

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