I WASN'T a huge fan of the Volkswagen T-Roc when it first appeared in 2017 because I couldn't figure why anyone would choose one above the all-conquering VW Golf.
Naturally, the car-buying public decided otherwise and went out and bought shedloads of them.
However, there is one version which is still a rare sight on the roads and it really stands out from the crowd - the T-Roc Cabriolet.
An open-topped SUV, it's available in three specification levels, Design, Active and the sport-oriented R-Line, with two turbocharged petrol engines - a 113bhp 1.0-litre TSI and a 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI, the latter available with a seven-speed DSG transmission, in addition to six-speed manual versions of both.
The three-cylinder 1.0-litre unit is perfectly adequate but, due to the extra weight of the cabriolet over the hard-top version (around an extra 200kg) some may prefer the more powerful engine.
Aside from the fabric folding roof - which can be lowered in nine seconds and raised in 11 seconds - the T-Roc Cabriolet is distinct from the standard model in its two-door body style and its wheelbase, which has been extended by 40mm compared with its five-door, solid-roof sibling.
The entry level Design trim features 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, an eight-inch satnav-infotainment system is fitted, with wireless App-Connect smartphone connectivity, along with two-zone climate control and a six-speaker sound system.
There are only four seats, but the rear seats, while good on headroom with the roof up, are restricted on legroom. Despite only having two doors, access is pretty good because of the large side doors and front seats that slide out of the way.
Because of the folding roof, boot capacity is reduced to 284 litres - room for a couple of suitcases or the weekly shop - though the rear seats fold down to carry longer loads.
The driving position of both is excellent and comfortable. It holds the road well with plenty of confidence, and the suspension soaks up most of the bigger lumps and bumps. There's very little roll but it's more pleasant than exciting. On the A-roads and motorways, it's a pleasant enough cruiser - with the roof up or down.
Passengers in the T-Roc Cabriolet are well guarded by the roll-over protection, which springs upwards in the area of the rear headrests within a fraction of a second, in response to exceeding a defined lateral acceleration or vehicle tilt.
The T-Roc Cabriolet is also designed with a reinforced windscreen frame and other structural modifications in order to ensure maximum safety.
An arsenal of driver assistance systems is also included such as autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane assist, a driver alertness monitor, and all-round parking sensors.
Probably, the T-Roc Cabriolet's most appealing aspect is how much like a normal SUV it feels like to drive - the Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet always felt a little on the large, unwieldy side. It's refined, fairly practical, and comfortable like a regular, family SUV you could use every day, but with a wind in the hair ride.