WHEN it comes to producing four-seater convertibles Volkswagen have proved themselves to be masters of the art.
From early and current generation Beetles to the Golf Cabriolet models starting with the Mk 1 through to current series, the German car maker has set the standard for family soft tops.
So it‘s no surprise to find that its small SUV drop top in the form of the T-Roc Cabriolet is a class act too.
It looks the part. Rugged yet attractive and with a roof that can be lowered in just nine seconds and raised again in 11. And you can even operate it on the move at speeds of up to 19 miles per hour, just in case you happen to get caught in a shower.
Unlike the hatchback T-Roc the Cabriolet is a four-seater rather than five, but it boasts generous space for front seat travellers and acceptable leg room for those in the back.
And unlike a lot of convertibles whose hoods encroach dramatically on the boot space the one in the T-Roc lies in a neat well just behind the rear passengers leaving the luggage area clear.
Admittedly with 280 litres of luggage space available it's dramatically less than the 445 litres in the hatchback version but it's still not bad for a convertible and you can lower the rear seatback to add a little extra.
Because it's a four-seater when you're travelling at speed with the roof lowered you can feel the effects of the wind more than with a two-seater but an optional wind deflector eliminates it very well and at Â£350 is a must for regular topless motoring.
There are three trim levels available with the T-Roc Cabriolet - Design, Active and R-Line. VW says the Design option - driven here - is for the more style-conscious motorist and certainly the "shadow steel" inserts on the dashboard and doors and the cream and grey Vienna leather upholstery did give our car a chic look, although the latter was a Â£2,335 optional extra.
Under the bonnet is a 1.0-litre, 110ps, three cylinder engine which for the most part copes very well with what is a chunky, sturdy car. You need to work the gearbox more than with a larger engined car - the Cabriolet is also available with a 1.5-litre engine - to get the best results but it copes well while delivering consumption in the mid to high 40s.
Even on the motorway at high speed this tiny engine is smooth and impressive although on long inclines you can expect to have to drop at least one gear to retain momentum.
But the nice thing about the T-Roc is its smooth ride and stability at speed with barely any body roll.
There's a choice of driving modes available at the touch of a button on the dashboard with eco, normal, sport and individual settings all available.
And as with most SUV models the elevated stance of the T-Roc gives easy access and good all round vision although there are the usual blind spots either side of the rear window that affect almost all convertibles but in this instance nothing too severe - although a reversing camera would be a good addition.
And on the subject of adding features deeper sun visors would be a help for such a large windscreen.