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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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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.