The World Needed a Second Crossover Convertible, and Volkswagen Answered the Call

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the world needed a second crossover convertible and volkswagen answered the call

You’ve no doubt read about how demand for the defunct Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet will surely fund the retirements of those willing to let go of their beloved vehicles. In the wake of that model’s cancellation, only a single drop-top crossover remained: the Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet.

Well, not for long. Volkswagen has announced its newest crossover, the Golf-based T-Roc, will give fans of this peculiar segment a cheaper option. The T-Roc, which sported a targa top and two-door layout when it first appeared in concept form in 2014, converted to a typical four-door hardtop when launched last year. Now, there’ll be a two-door soft-top arriving for 2020.

Arriving, we should point out, an ocean away. VW has different plans for North American consumers, and you can bet on it not having an open-air option.

Production of the T-Roc Cabriolet should start up at the company’s Osnabrück assembly plant at the end of the decade. There’s no shortage of experience in building convertibles at Osnabrück, either — the long-gone Golf Cabriolet and original Beetle soft-top once rolled out of that facility.

The company anticipates production of 20,000 convertible variants each year. Many will probably go to the UK — a damp country that buys lots of convertibles, for some reason.

“Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand. The T-Roc is already setting new standards in the compact SUV segment,” said VW brand chief Herbert Diess in a statement. “With the cabriolet based on the T-Roc, we will be adding a highly emotional model to the range.”

Those looking for compact crossover emotion in the U.S. or Canada will have to satisfy themselves with the older, smaller Tiguan (rebilled the “Tiguan Limited” after the launch of the largest, next-generation Tiguan) until VW figures out what to build for buyers on this side of the pond. It was anticipated that we’d see the T-Roc, too, but that plan never materialized.

There’s a different — and probably larger and boxier — compact crossover planned for these shores. Like the T-Roc, it will ride on VW’s versatile MQB platform.

If having the sun and wind in your face is an absolute must, VW still sells the Beetle Convertible in this market, and will continue to do so until the model is finally discontinued. This, of course, might never happen if certain executives get their way. There’s an effort afoot to turn the Beetle into an electric vehicle, thus preserving the model’s lineage.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Feb 26, 2018

    Actually, much of the world, the less-developed part, needs a modern version of the Ford Model T: a tough, durable, easy to fix platform that can be put to multiple uses, like a coupe, convertible, pickup, flatbed, stakebed, box van, etc.. This ain't it.

  • Sub-600 Sub-600 on Feb 27, 2018

    I’ve seen lots of chicks in Wranglers with the roof off, but that doesn’t really count as a convertible. Now that I think of it, most of the high-end convertibles I see are driven by middle-aged men.

  • SilverCoupe I am one of those people whose Venn diagram of interests would include Audis and Formula One.I am not so much into Forums, though. I spend enough time just watching the races.
  • Jeff S Definitely and very soon. Build a hybrid pickup and price it in the Maverick price range. Toyota if they can do this soon could grab the No 1 spot from Maverick.
  • MaintenanceCosts Would be a neat car if restored, and a lot of good parts are there. But also a lot of very challenging obstacles, even just from what we can see from the pictures. It's going to be hard to justify a restoration financially.
  • Jeff S Ford was in a slump during this era and its savior was a few years away from being introduced. The 1986 Taurus and Sable saved Ford from bankruptcy and Ford bet the farm on them. Ford was also helped by the 1985 downsize front wheel drive full sized GM cars. Lincoln even spoofed these new full size GM cars in an ad basically showing it was hard to tell the difference between a Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. This not only helped Lincoln sales but Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sales. For GM full size buyers that liked the downsized GM full size 77 to 84 they had the Panther based Lincoln Town Cars, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Crown Victorias that were an alternative to the new GM front wheel drive full size cars that had many issues when they were introduced in 1985 and many of those issues were not resolved for several years. The Marks were losing popularity after the Mark Vs.
  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.