Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible: new VW or used Range Rover Evoque Convertible?

The Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible drop-top off-roader is here. But it's not the only high-riding soft-top; should you go for VW or Evoque?

James Wilson
Sep 4, 2019

Just when you thought the world couldn’t get any more bonkers, Volkswagen reveals a drop-top crossover – the T-Roc Convertible. Prices are yet to be announced, but the T-Roc Convertible is pencilled in to arrive in spring 2020 – i.e. just in time for summer sunshine or let’s face it, summer showers.

The T-Roc stands very much alone in that it is the only convertible crossover you can buy new in the UK, or rather, you will be able to buy shortly. Its one potential rival, the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, is no longer on sale following a comprehensive update of the regular Evoque it was based on. Whether or not a Mk2 Evoque Convertible will be made is yet to be confirmed.

Even so, the T-Roc is smaller and expected to be significantly less expensive than the Evoque new, so unless you can find a suitably priced second-hand Range Rover, there aren’t really any direct rivals for the latest VW.

The T-Roc Convertible, like any Volkswagen, has an image to uphold, so this odd car is packed with technology and safety equipment as well as mutliple engine, transmission and styling options. For a comprehensive breakdown of each of these and more, read on.

 

Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible trims and models

VW has kept things simple with the T-Roc Convertible range, only offering the open-top crossover in two trims: Style and R-Line. The former is aimed at those who prefer more subtle styling and a more relaxed driving experience, while R-Line models sacrifice a drop or two of comfort in the name of looking and to a certain extent, feeling sporty.

As standard both models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, but there is the option of 19-inch wheels if you so desire. Volkswagen is yet to reveal the full details of what the T-Roc comes with as standard, but has given an indication of the kit you can expect to find in this high-riding convertible.

From what we know about Style models, they will be offered as standard with a choice of four different interior décors (no confirmation as of yet as to the differences between the designs), ambient lighting, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. In addition to this, there are optional leather trim packages.

R-Line models get fog lights, variable steering - which is more direct and low speeds and less responsive when driving faster - and sports seats which feature R-Line branding. While the list of trim equipment may seem short currently, R-Line models are traditionally quite high up on the VW trim food chain, so expect a raft of additional kit with this trim level.

Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible pricing and launch date

Volkswagen is yet to announce official pricing for the T-Roc Convertible, however, it is expected to start around £30,000. For reference, a normal T-Roc starts at £20,040. The T-Roc Convertible will make its first public appearance at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, before having its full launch (with order books likely opening at the same time) in spring 2020.

Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible roof folding times and speeds

The T-Roc roof is of the fabric variety (there are several convertibles available with metal folding roofs, however, none of these are crossovers) and opens electronically in nine seconds. Drivers won’t need to worry about getting caught out by rain either, as the roof can open and close on the move at speeds up to around 19mph.

Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible engine range

Volkswagen is offering the T-Roc Convertible with a grand total of two engines, both of which are petrol. The first motor is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo, which produces 115hp and is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The second engine is a larger 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit with a power output of 150hp. In addition to the increased size and power output, the 1.5-litre engine can also be specced with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. Irrespective of which engine you go for, the T-Roc Convertible is front-wheel drive. Official figures for economy and emissions are yet to be released.

Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible interior

Underneath the fabric roof of a VW T-Roc Convertible is a cabin which is the same as the standard car. The result of which means the T-Roc Convertible will come with a well-built interior, even if a select few of the materials feel a bit cheap and therefore disappointing considering this isn't a cheap car. Depending on how you specify your T-Roc the interior can be a sleek blend of dark coloured trims and fabric or a more colourful affair with a dash that mimics your car’s exterior paint scheme.

As for media systems, the T-Roc comes with a central eight-inch screen which can be used in conjunction with an 11.7-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver (something VW calls Digital Cockpit). One thing to note, while the eight-inch unit is standard across the range, the 11.7-inch dash unit is an optional extra.

Like other manufacturers, VW is pushing customers to use its connected services by including a data connection in its models, and the T-Roc is no exception. These bits of technology typically allow motorists to get real-time information on things such as parking spaces, fuel prices and where your car is located. While free when new, a subscription is normally required after a few years of ownership.

Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible safety

Chopping the roof off a car naturally puts a question mark over how safe a vehicle is, after all, you are more exposed to the outside world and the body of a car loses some strength. Fortunately, car manufacturers know this and go to great lengths to make drop-top cars as safe as possible.

When it comes to the T-Roc Convertible, VW has added roll-over protection for those in the rear seats. This system is claimed to deploy in a fraction of a second, springing upwards behind the rear headrests to keep passengers safe when the car detects it is necessary to do so. For example, if it thinks the car is about to roll over. Fortunately, unlike airbags which are very much a one time use and then have to replace/repair your interior, the roll-over protection is reversible.

Front passengers are looked after, too. With VW reinforcing the windscreen, underbody and doors in a bid to keep people safe should the worst happen. On top of extra protective structures, there is a decent amount of safety technology on offer.

For example, automatic emergency braking is included for when the T-Roc Convertible senses a crash is about to happen, lane assist (which helps keeps you in your lane while driving) and post-collision braking (which will bring you to a stop after an accident) are all included.

Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible dimensions, cargo space and towing

At its extremes, the T-Roc measures 4,268mm long, 1,811mm wide (excluding door mirrors) and 1,522mm high, which makes it smaller in every direction when compared to the Range Rover Evoque.

Cargo space is not a strong point for the T-Roc Convertible, with 284-litres of space in the boot. However, a smallish boot is part and parcel of having a convertible as the roof has to be stored somewhere. With regards to towing, VW is yet to confirm official figures, but the T-Roc Convertible will be offered with the option of a tow bar.

New VW T-Roc Convertible or used Range Rover Evoque Convertible?

As mentioned previously, the T-Roc Convertible is expected to cost around £30,000, which puts it in the ballpark of some second hand Range Rover Evoque Convertibles. The question is, which one is best for you? The answer: it all boils down to what you want from your car.

To start, let’s consider price, age and reliability. For £30,000 you are going to be looking at Evoque models which are around three years old with the mileage to match. Naturally, age and mileage brings about a need for maintenance and, unfortunately, Range Rover only offers a three-year warranty as standard so you won’t have that to fall back on.

On the flip side, for the expected £30,000(ish) price tag the T-Roc Convertible will come with a full three-year warranty.

Age aside, Volkswagen traditionally has a better record for building reliable cars than Land Rover (Range Rovers are built by Land Rover). That said, in the latest Auto Express Driver Power ownership survey results, VW only finished three places ahead of Land Rover, so perhaps the tide is turning.

Moving on to running costs. Let’s make no bones about it, the Range Rover will cost you more to run. All models come with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox (there is a choice of petrol or diesel engines). Over in the T-Roc Convertible camp, smaller capacity engines should mean better economy and lower emissions, with the lack of four-wheel drive helping with both as well.

While it may seem like it is all positive for the T-Roc Convertible, that isn’t the case. The Range Rover Evoque tends to hold onto its value very well and being that we are considering cars which are around three years old, depreciation should have steadied or be steadying out, as the car will have lost much of its initial value by this stage. As it is brand new, the same can not be expected from the T-Roc Convertible.

Similarly, the Range Rover is sold as a luxury vehicle, which means you get all that comes with such a title. We aren’t just talking about having an upmarket badge, the interior, styling and driving experience are designed to match as well – even if the driving experience happens to be decidedly leisurely. We will have to wait to get behind the wheel of a T-Roc Convertible to pass judgement on which crossover convertible is more rewarding to drive.

Finally, when it comes to practicality neither is going to be suitable if you need a family car. The T-Roc has a bigger boot (284 litres vs 251 litres) and is a shorter car, so some may find it easier to park and manoeuvre about town.

As both cars are very similar in the package they offer motorists, which car is right for you will likely depend on whether you can cope with the additional running costs of the Evoque, whether you want a brand new or used vehicle and also, which one you like the look of best.

If however, you want a convertible for driving pleasure, you might be better looking at conventional convertibles such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Convertible. Likewise, if you need a practical SUV, the number of SUVs with traditional roofs seems to be growing by the hour.

New VW T-Roc Convertible review

As VW has scheduled the launch of the T-Roc Convertible for spring 2020 we are yet to get a drive of the open-top crossover. While we are prepared for what the interior will be like, the biggest test will be how successful VW has been at strengthening the body and how it has hidden the added weight of doing so. If done badly a convertible can feel about as rewarding to drive as a three-legged donkey.
 

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