There’s nothing quite like driving a convertible. Driving a convertible is the very definition of
riding in style. After all, driving with the wind blowing on the face is simply cool—in more ways than one. Plus, a convertible is guaranteed to turn heads no matter where it goes. Now, there have been numerous convertibles released in the past. Despite that, Volkswagen’s convertibles have always managed to stand out from the rest. Volkswagen automobiles have always sported a rather distinct design, and its brand of convertibles isn’t any different. With those said, the Volkswagen Cabrio is one of the more unique convertibles that were released in the modern era.
1979-1993: The Cabriolet Era
The Volkswagen Cabrio was derived from the Volkswagen Golf, the brand’s long-running small family car series that was established way back in 1974. The Golf’s convertible version was released in 1979, although the
Cabrio designation wouldn’t be used until the ‘90s. Back then, the Golf convertible was known as the Cabriolet.
The Volkswagen Cabriolet was conceptualized by German firm Karmann, the independent automotive company that also designed the Volkswagen Beetle convertible. The Cabriolet featured the trademark
basket handle roll bar, which boosted the frame’s strength and provided passengers with protection in case the car rolls over. While the Cabriolet is aesthetically different from the Golf, their mechanisms share a lot of similarities. Under the Cabriolet’s hood sat a 1.6-L engine (one of the engines used by the Golf) that was capable of 76hp.
Several upgrades went the way of the Cabriolet all throughout the ‘80s. For instance, the original 1.6 engine was eventually upgraded to 1.7-L and 1.8-L. Some old optional features became standardized while entirely new ones were added. There were also slight modifications in the exterior, the interior, and the vehicle’s various systems (brakes, suspension, and transmission).
1993-2001: The Cabrio Era
The Cabrio name was finally used when the latest generation of Volkswagen Golf convertibles arrived in 1993. The change wasn’t just limited to the name though as the Cabrio featured new exterior and elements such as updated fenders, bumpers, headlights, blinker. The interior received the same treatment as the steering wheel, the shift lever, and the seats were also upgraded. A new set of engines and a wide assortment of features were also available.
The Cabrio or the Cabriolet became Volkswagen’s top-selling of convertibles. Despite that, the Cabrio was discontinued in 2001. The Volkswagen Eos convertible took its place.