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VW Golf Cabriolet

Soft-top Volkswagen Golf returns just in time for summer... And we're first behind the wheel

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It’s a triumphant return for the Golf Cabriolet. This new model mixes all that is good about the hard-top Golf with top-down, wind in the hair thrills. Best of all in this style-conscious segment is that the soft-top model looks even better than the standard car. 

The Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet is back! After an absence of almost a decade, the popular convertible has returned and slots below the folding hard-top Eos in the range. Is it a return to form after all this time?

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Unlike the larger Eos, the Golf gets a clean and stylish design that incorporates a folding canvas roof. The arrangement folds neatly into the top of the boot and does without a tonneau cover. 

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Golf Cabriolet

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For the first time on an open-top Golf, this model doesn’t get any visible roll-over hoops. Instead, it gets the pop-up system featured in the Eos that activates if the car detects it’s about to flip over. As a result, the design of the car is not as fussy, and it looks a lot more upmarket.

The front and rear lights are LED units as standard which adds to the stylish design, while the canvas roof can be lowered in only 9.5 seconds while driving up to speeds of 18mph – if you are interested in practicality, it's worth noting that there’s still a surprisingly spacious 250-litres boot when it is folded away. 

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As well as the practical boot, the Golf Cabriolet boasts the same wheelbase as the Eos which makes seating four tall adults a breeze. Rear seats are comfortable, if a little exposed to the elements with the roof down!

Inside, the cabin layout is identical to the hard-top Golf but some of the materials have been made slightly more durable to deal with the elements. 

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The drive will be familiar to Golf owners too. Despite losing the roof, Volkswagen engineers have reinforced the window-frame, cross-members, side-panels and doors to make the drive as sharp as possible.

The steering is precise, responsive and despite slightly more flex in the chassis the newcomer grips and handles just as well as its hard-top sibling. 

On the move, the car also feels surprisingly refined. The fabric roof has an extra insulating layer and the window and door seals have been improved for what Volkswagen claims is class-leading quietness - and on the evidence it’s hard to argue.

Even with the roof down there's very little buffeting or wind noise around the front seats.. You can easily hold a conversation at motorway speeds.

Over bumpy surfaces, the Golf Cabriolet performs well, with only large imperfections unsettling the suspension. The car feels stable, particularly through long, sweeping corners.

On top of that, the 157bhp 1.4-litre TSI unit fitted to our model is smooth, quiet and provides plenty of punch - particularly in the middle of the rev range.

The 1.4TSI is relatively economical, but buyers with an eye on fuel economy can also choose between a 104bhp 1.2-litre TSI, or 1.6-litre TDI engine.

Later 2.0-litre TSI and 2.0-litre TDI engines will be added to the range, boasting 207bhp and 138bhp respectively.

So is this Golf Cabriolet a worthy successor to the legendary machines that came before it? In a word, yes. It's better built, more neatly styled and above all, more luxurious than ever before.

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