Volkswagen Eos review
The Eos proves that VW is capable of building great cars. With a stiff body, handsome looks and good road manners, it has few weaknesses.
Driving: The Eos boasts superb attention to detail, and that extends to the structure. VW is proud of the fact that it has been able to fit a shorter, more upright windscreen, due to the car's excellent rigidity. In fact, the Eos feels as shake-free as many purpose-built roadsters. As a result, the ride is supple unless you hit a deep pothole, the handling is taut and composed, with good steering, and thanks to fine insulation, the VW is a great cruiser. Our only gripe is a touch of roar from the rear screen area - but even so, no rival feels so together or capable. A popular engine choice for us, from the wide range, will be the Golf GTI-sourced 2.0-litre turbo. It's one of our all-time favourites, with pace, effortless grunt and crisp responses. The gearshift action is good too.
Marketplace: The Eos looks really good in the flesh, appearing smooth and cohesive whether the roof is up or down. Volkswagen has been careful to distance the styling from the Golf, by designing unique headlights and borrowing the chrome grille from the Jetta. The result is a car that doesn't look out of place alongside Audi's desirable A4 Cabriolet - not bad, considering it shares a platform with the humble hatch, albeit lengthened, with a wider track, and redeveloped with components including Passat rear suspension. The first-ever VW folding hard-top, it has a five-piece folding roof and has been dubbed by VW a 'CSC' - coupe sunroof convertible. That's because the front glass section of the amazing roof can be slid back to open up the elements, though there is some cabin bluster. Offered with a choice of four petrol engines and one diesel, plus two trims - standard or Sport - the Eos competes with the Vauxhall Astra TwinTop, Ford Focus CC, Volvo C70, Renault Megane CC and the Peugeot 307 CC.
Owning: The roof, operated by a chrome lever behind the handbrake, takes 25 seconds to fold away, and is truly unique street theatre to watch. Of course, you do have to sacrifice some luggage space -it drops from 380 litres to 205 litres - and, unlike as in the Astra TwinTop, there's no facility to raise the roof within the boot when folded, to aid luggage access. However, the roof, which contains 470 components, is amazingly well packaged, lets in lots of light and is fast to rise when rain clouds gather. Inside, it's surprisingly comfortable for four, with plentiful knee clearance for those in the back, and an appealing cabin design. It's broadly Golf based, but a few individual touches set it apart. Seats and driving position are great too. Even better, running costs will be low; all variants are economical, inexpensive to service (whether you choose fixed or variable intervals) and retain a high proportion of their list price. The VW is, however, notably more expensive than key competitors, and the overall package is spoilt slightly by a mean one-year breakdown recovery deal.