Review: Volkswagen T-Roc cabriolet
Ping! The display had an orange depiction of a flat tyre and accompanying pictogram showing which tyre was afflicted. No spare tyre on board. Instead, the car had a can of puncture sealant and inflator. The tyre wasn’t flat. The repair kit would have done a temporary mend on the slow puncture but tyre depots don’t like dealing with the subsequent repair and gunge.
I rang the hairdresser. Well, what would you do? I was on my way there for a tonsorial revamp. Brenda had one of those tyre inflators which plug in to the cigarette lighter socket.
The digital display showed 24psi. It should be 36psi. I boosted it to 40psi, set off for home and then borrowed another inflator (unused in its Halfords box) from friends at half-way.
The Volkswagen T-Roc cabriolet was looking splendid in a bright blue called teal, which was fairly accurate. The night was dark, warm and dry. I pushed a button. the insulated canvas roof (black, no choice) folded away so quickly a stop watch would have measured a mere nine seconds. It lies flat and out of sight. A neat job. A similar system was used on the recently obsolete VW Golf cabrio, The car became immersed in the air around it. The side windows minimise wind buffeting and noise and retain cabin heat. Hmm. Down with them. I grew up driving Morgans, usually open, rarely with the rattling side screens attached. The firm still use the antique system today. A case of not quite broke so why fix it?
T-Roc began life as a show concept SUV called Rocstar. The cabriolet which went on sale last year is the hugely popular -T-Roc decapitated, on a stretched wheelbase. It is a smart thing. It seats two in the back. Headroom depends on whether the roof is down (immeasurable) or up (try before you buy if you are big).
The luggage boot is under a light-action flip-up lid. It is deep and roomy enough. The rear seats fold away, giving restricted access from the boot through the stalwart bulkhead. This is needed to stiffen the car’s tub, which would otherwise shimmy after losing the roof and its monocoque integrity. It is still not as tight as the SUV but the difference is not important.
Our car had the seven-speed DSG twin clutch gearbox and the 1.5-litre petrol turbo engine driving the front wheels. Until we got to know each other the tyres wanted to snatch when taking off, and could tramp. It felt like much more than 184lbft of torque at play.
The tyres were Bridgestone Turanza, summer treads, almost new. A screw near the shoulder had ruled out a legal repair, said the depot. Better safe than trying to save a few quid: actually £164 with fitting and disposal of the damaged one.
There’s not much opposition for this cabrio in the trade. Range Rover did a drophead version of the Evoque but it looked like a pram, that’s if you saw one. I saw two. Prices were upwards of £46,000. The T-Roc hasn’t the plush interior of the Evoque. Prices start at £32,000 with the 113bhp one-litre petrol turbo Style and around £35,600 with racier R-Line trimmings. This engine is very good and cheaper to run than the 1.5 motor fitted to our R-Line demo car. This cost just over £40,000 with £4,000 in extras.
The R-Line already has heating for the front seats, screenwashers and side mirrors. We loved the bright LED ‘performance’ headlamps. They give superb vision and self-adjust the range. In fact, all the lights, even the rear number plates, have energy-saving LEDs.
The instrumentation is fully digital. The information screen is top centre, with voice or touch control. The main display behind the steering wheel has switchable displays. The buyer gets a three-year connection to an integrated help, breakdown, SOS, can analysis, speed alerts and parking locator.
A useful reversing camera was £280; plus £985 for variable dynamic chassis control I wouldn’t bother with; £460 to upgrade to 18-inch wheels (for comfort I’d stick with the standard 17s and save the money); £380 for keyless access and push-button starting (yes please), A beats audio system was £545 but fell on deaf ears, so to speak. A wind deflector for the cabin was £320 and stayed under the boot floor with the puncture kit.
Verdict: One of those summer cars I’ll miss whatever the weather.
Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet R-Line 1.5 TSI DSG.
It is: Front wheel drive, two-door, four-seater fully opening convertible made in a bespoke factory in Osnabruck, Germany,
Engines: a frugal one-litre three-cylinder with 108bhp or as tested a 1.5 with 148bhp, giving 127mph and 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds.
Eco: Officially 44mpg and 144g CO2. On test, 35mpg locally to 41mpg on our long route.
Prices: From £32,000 (see dealers for latest offers).
Size: 161 inches long (4.1m). Tank capacity 11 gallons (50L).
Range: around 400 miles.