Say the words “drop-top utility vehicle” and American minds desperately conjure up memories of Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, Dodge, and International Harvester models of the 1970sÂ â€” anything to avoid visions of the defunct Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and somehow still alive Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet. That latter model, it should be noted, is not for everyone.
In the Volkswagen stable, one convertible still exists in the North American marketÂ â€” the Beetle CabrioletÂ â€” but that model disappears after 2019. The retractable hardtop Eos left the scene a couple of years ago, hot on the heels of the long-running Golf Cabriolet. In Europe, VW dealers stock exactly zero convertibles, but that will soon change.
Right around the time Americans lose access to a drop-top VeeDub, Europeans will get a new one. And, naturally, it will be an SUV.
As reported by Autocar, Volkswagen used the launch of the T-Cross mini crossover to announce that another crossover model would shed two doors and a roof in late 2019, going on sale in early 2020. Based on the same MQB platform as the little T-Cross and other VW models, the larger T-Roc crossover and its upcoming convertible variant is a nameplate we won’t see on these shores.
Volkswagen’s chief operating officer, Ralf BrandstÃ¤tter, calls the upcoming vehicle “our emotional highlight for Europe.”
“If you have a strong model you can base a derivative on, such as the T-Roc, you can already justify a second model because the first model sells in six-digit numbers,” he said.Â “It was the same with the Golf Cabriolet. It is a project thatâ€™s worth doing.”
The T-Roc first appeared in concept form in 2014 (see above), sporting two side doors and a removable forward roof section. A targa utility, essentially. The arrival of a fabric-topped convertible takes the model closer to its conceptual origins.
Europeans, even Brits, are known for their love of convertibles, but there wasn’t much love spread to the Beetle Cabriolet in recent years. Only 613 units made their way to UK buyers in 2017. Despite the model’s age and relative niche status, some 5,597 Beetle Convertibles sold in the U.S. in the first nine months of 2018.
While Americans won’t see the T-Roc, a small utility vehicle positioned below the Tiguan will appear at dealers in the near future, likely sporting a fixed roof only.