► VW T-Roc Cabriolet confirmed
► To be built in Austria from 2020
► Spy pics capture winter testing
Thought the Range Rover Evoque Convertible was an ill-conceived mistake? Soft-top soft-roaders haven't exactly set pulses racing in enthusiast quarters - nor sales charts alight - but Volkswagen isn't deterred. It's confirmed a cabriolet version of its new T-Roc crossover - and now we've spied it winter testing in Sweden.
Our new photos capture it in the depths of a Scandinavian winter, as engineers shake down the heating and ventilation systems at well below freezing, as well as the rest of the mechanical package. They follow earlier spyshots of it testing on public roads in Germany, a year and a half ahead of launch in summer 2020.
Our new spy photos capture the soft-top on development testing cycles, with its roof firmly up. And it looks rather like a VW Golf on tip-toe. The roof could be a facsimile version of the (now defunct) open-top Golf's, our photographer reported.
This is telling, since the VW Golf convertible has now been cancelled.
VW T-Roc convertible: the business case
In February 2018 Wolfsburg officially confirmed the new VW T-Roc Cabriolet, which will be built in its Osnabrück factory in Austria. It's the same facility that manufactures the VW Tiguan and Porsche 718 Cayman and there had been question marks over its staffing levels.
Volkswagen's board has now announced it's investing more than €80 million (£70m) in the facility to prepare it for new T-Roc drop-top.
No firm product details have been issued yet, but the official design sketch below points to a compact three-door convertible in the spirit of the Golf or Audi A3 rag-tops.
The original rendering suggested a louvred huge sunroof like on the Fiat 500C, but our latest spyshots point to a conventional, fully opening convertible roof. Officials are remaining tight-lipped on the exact hood design, although our new pictures reveal rather more of the mechanism than Wolfsburg would like...
VW T-Roc Cabriolet: the boss explains why
Volkswagen chief executive officer Herbert Diess said: 'Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand. The T-Roc is already setting new standards in the compact SUV segment. With the cabriolet based on the T-Roc, we will be adding a highly emotional model to the range.
'I am especially pleased to note that we can count on the Osnabrück team's decades of experience with convertibles. The Osnabrück plant now has bright prospects for the future.'
The Tiguan has quietly become quite a success story for the brand; it's one of the three top-selling SUVs globally, and in the worldwide top 10.
The T-Roc Cabriolet is one of 20 SUVs or crossovers Volkswagen will have on its books by 2020. Make no mistake about the growing popularity of the bodystyle: crossovers will account for around 40% of VW's sales by the end of the decade.
Read our VW T-Roc review here