By Mike Torpey on 2020-10-11 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Cabriolet 1.5 TSI
IF there's been any small consolation, apart from people keeping safer, from the spring/summer shutdown it's been fantastic weather.
Ideal conditions for peeling off the lid, popping on the shades and enjoying some wind in the hair driving.
The latest model to hit the compact crossover drop-top scene is the Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet, the first convertible from the company since the Beetle Cabrio was discontinued two years ago, and it's a real cracker.
Bearing more than a slight resemblance to the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, the T-Roc cabrio has lost two of its doors plus its middle pillars compared to the standard T-Roc - essentially to free up space for the fabric roof.
Unlike its hard-top stablemate it is also exclusively a four-seater, though one that allows for a more relaxed travelling experience with a full complement aboard and, significantly, it isn't a struggle to get into or out of the back.
So let's take a ride in this R-Line trim model, from towards the top of a price range that starts at Â£26,505, and in a striking Ivy Green paint job with Titan Black leather upholstery.
Buyers get a slimmed down engine choice of two turbocharged petrol units - a 1.0-litre three cylinder developing 115ps or the 1.5-litre 250ps engine powering our tested variant, which also had VW's twin clutch DSG automatic transmission.
Opting for R-Line spec rather than the more basic but still pretty comprehensive Design grade brings in more sporty features like an exterior styling pack, lowered sports suspension and sports seats.
Other upgrades include a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel plus quilted leather seats with white stitching and the R-Line emblem embossed on the front ones below the headrests.
The upshot is a lovely car to drive, something certainly enhanced by the presence of the optional (£1,085) Dynamic Chassis Control set-up which gives you the choice of three suspension settings - Sport, Comfort and Normal - plus progressive steering.
And when the heavens open without warning the hood takes just 11 seconds to close (opening it even quicker at nine seconds) and at speeds of up to 19mph.
While rear passengers can often feel a little compromised for headroom in cabrios - especially if they are tall - with the hood in place, it's a different matter with this car due to its SUV shape.
The driver's seat puts the pilot in the optimum position and even though there are only the two rear seatbelts, that back bench does have Isofix points for securing child seats.
As for kit, there's plenty in the way of connectivity with Volkswagen's latest MIB3 infotainment set-up, complete with eSIM for online services, included as standard.
R-Line models also get a 10.3-inch Active Info Display digital cockpit as part of the package and the Wireless App-Connect lets you connect Apple CarPlay or Android Auto devices to the main display remotely.
Stowage is mainly up front - glovebox, door bins, plus a deep, if narrow, central container and the boot is fairly average for the type of vehicle with 240-litres of carrying space.
Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet 1.5 TSI EVO R-Line
Mechanical: 150ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 127mph
0-62mph: 9.6 seconds
Combined MPG: 40.5
Insurance Group: 21
C02 emissions: 159g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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