Sport-utility vehicles are practical and popular; convertibles are fun. So why not combine the two? It sounds like a brilliant idea but, aside from true off-roaders like the Jeep Wrangler, the concept has rarely been successful. Nissan’s Murano CrossCabriolet was laughed out of showrooms; more recently, Land Rover decided to add a convertible version of the Range Rover Evoque, which mostly served to reveal that a fixed roof is central to that model’s previously unquestioned design acumen. The idea also was explored by engineering house and contractor Karmann back in 2005 with the unfortunately named SUC concept (its name stands for Sport Utility Cabriolet).
Now Volkswagen is picking up the baton, announcing it will build a convertible version of its Europe-market T-Roc compact SUV.
Based on the Golf, the T-Roc plays a major role in the company’s future-product strategy. Volkswagen, after all, is “developing into an SUV brand,” according to brand chief Herbert Diess. And indeed, launching a T-Roc cabriolet means there won’t be a Golf cabriolet again.
The sketch supplied by VW reveals that the T-Roc cabriolet will be a two-door with a short tail, will feature a fabric top, and will have metal-covered or at least metal-colored A-pillars, much like the Audi A5 cabriolet.
Interestingly, it will be assembled alongside the first-gen Tiguan and the Porsche Cayman in VW’s Osnabrück, Germany, plant. That’s the former Karmann factory, which VW took over after Karmann folded in 2010. Thus, the T-Roc cabriolet could be considered the spiritual successor of the Karmann-assembled Golf cabrio, not to mention the Karmann Ghia and of course, the SUC.