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The VW T-Roc Cabriolet costs £27k. So, T-Roc or MX-5?

Arm yourself with £27k. Now choose: classic drop-top, or nouveau niche?

Here’s one of Rules of Recommending Cars. When someone asks you ‘what car should I buy’, the quickest, least offensive, most watertight response is usually ‘get a Golf’. Because if your inquisitor then says ‘but I want a fast car/estate car/hybrid car’ and so on, well, there’ll be a Golf that does that.

Another rule is that when someone wants a simple sports car, they should buy a Mazda MX-5. It’s lightweight, packed with a fruity engine and zippy gearbox, the top folds away in a nanosecond and although it’s rear-wheel drive, the handling’s safe and squidgy enough that you won’t wind up wearing your MX-5 as a metal hat.

However, the Rules of Recommending cars were made to be broken. By Volkswagen. It’s just announced prices for its T-Roc Cabriolet, which is basically a drop-top version of a taller, 4x4-y version of – you guessed it – a Golf. A whole Russian doll of niches. And it’s right in top-spec MX-5 territory.

The T-Roc Cabrio starts at £26,750, for a mere 113bhp 1.0-litre turbo engine and a six speed manual gearbox. That sort of dosh will get you into a splendid mid-range MX-5 Sport powered by a naturally aspirated 130bhp 1.5-litre engine.

Fancy a T-Roc Cab with more attitude? VW will sell you a bodykitted R-line example. For £31,920. Ouch. Now you’re in the realm of the ultimate MX-5 GT Sport Tech, which needs a 182bhp 2.0-litre engine just to power its many bells and whistles.

We admit, there are things the T-Roc offers the MX-5 can’t compete with. Things like back seats. A motorised roof. Enough headroom to permit quiff hairstyles.

Still, it’s a fun thought experiment. Stroke your metaphorical beard, and ponder the Rules of Recommending Cars along with us: new VW T-Roc Cabrio, or for the same kinda cash, an old-school Miata?

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