CHOP the roof off a car and it will likely wobble on rough roads, add a fabric top and it will let in more noise than keeping the tin-top in place.
That’s simple physics; the trick is to minimise both intruders while giving the punter something stylish for his (and, vitally, her) money.
And that’s another drop top factor to consider. They all cost more than the hatches they’re based on, so will only win over buyers who fall in love with the prospect of a bit of a pose in a less practical car. Now, after a nine year break, comes the Golf Cabriolet and, on a first drive in glorious early autumn sunshine it wasn’t hard to make a case for spending the extra.
My test car was the most expensive Golf Cabriolet you can buy, at the moment. It costs a not inconsiderable £26,595, £3,495 more than the equivalent Golf hatch and tops a range starting at £20,720. Three engines are immediately available (two petrol, one diesel) with three more later in the year.
The theme of threes continues in the number of trim levels (S, SE and GT) with all of them having 16 inch alloy wheels, DAB radio and Bluetooth and a powered roof that whirrs up and down in about the time it takes Usain Bolt to run 100 metres and will perform either action at up to about 18mph – looking ultra cool in the process.
Finding somewhere to stow the top when you want wind in your hair means there’s less room in the rear seats than a Golf hatch and the boot is down in volume too.
However, unlike convertibles with bulky metal folding roofs (like the bigger, dearer VW Eos), there’s the same space available whatever the position of the top, although reaching into the furthest recesses is a bit like trying to retrieve a parcel posted through a letter box.
But enough of these practicalities, you buy a cabrio as much with your heart as your head, even if the VW badges allows you to pretend you’ve been a bit sensible too.
Try the cabrio first with roof in place and a patched British main road and you’ll feel the car shimmying slightly as it mourns the loss of stiffness in the cut-about body, while noticing a bit more wind noise than the hatch will provoke.
Purr the roof down, however, and let the sun shine in and you’ll forgive the car its minor downsides and enjoy the smell of the fields, the twitter of birds and the feeling of one-ness with nature.
And it doesn’t matter if you stray on to faster roads, where the standard fit air deflector behind the front seats means there’s only a gentle breeze in the cockpit.
The dash is standard Golf hatch fare. That means it’s sensible, easily mastered and just a touch lacking in flair but promises an uncomplicated relationship with a car that so easily puts a smile on your face.