Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The T-Roc is already a favourite small SUV of ours, but it’s no surprise that turning it into a convertible has had an effect on the way it drives. You get the same choice of engines, though, the cheapest being a 1.0-litre petrol with 113bhp. We’re yet to try it in the Cabrio, but it packs a relatively mighty punch in the regular T-Roc, providing plenty of pace both around town and when accelerating to motorway speeds.
The other option is a 1.5-litre petrol with 148bhp. On paper, it turns in less performance in the Cabrio than it does in the regular T-Roc, but it still musters plenty of oomph from relatively low engine speeds. You’ll have no problem scooting away from a junction or accelerating up to the speed limit.
The standard six-speed manual gearbox is a little notchy, but has a short shift action so it isn’t too much of an effort to change gear. A seven-speed automatic gearbox is optional with the 1.5-litre engine.
With sensitive steering, the car can feel a little twitchy at motorway speeds, while the front tyres have a habit of following the road camber on the road. Poor road surfaces are smoothed over comfortably, though, and larger imperfections, such as potholes or expansion joints, aren’t too jarring. R-Line models get a lowered sports suspension setup that we’re yet to try; hopefully it will be far more forgiving than that of the overly firm Mini Convertible.
To combat the loss of rigidity that comes with the removal of the roof, Volkswagen has added reinforcement to the T-Roc Cabriolet’s structure, and that means extra weight. You become slightly aware of this on twisty roads; you’ll notice a bit of body lean when you start to push on.
Unsurprisingly, having a fabric roof means you’re not as well isolated from the outside world as you would be in the regular T-Roc. Wind and road noise – including tyre roar from passing vehicles – are all fairly obvious from inside the car. Our test car also suffered an annoying wind whistle from the top of the windscreen, whether driven with the roof up or down. Generally, though, open-air motoring is calm and comfortable; you’re well protected from buffeting, even at motorway speeds. There’s also a wind deflector as a relatively inexpensive option if you need a little more protection from the elements.