Volkswagen Eos cabriolet (2006-2011)
"The Eos is engaging to drive, boasting handsome looks and a high quality interior. It's metal folding roof means it can be used all year round, but it's more expensive than rivals in this class."
- Superb build quality
- Engaging to drive
- Innovative roof design
- Relatively expensive
- Drab cabin design
- Bluemotion version is slow
First introduced in 2006, the stylish Eos is one the best looking coupé-cabriolets in its class, delivering better build quality, handling and interior space than most of its rivals. Its unique selling point is that the uppermost panels of the five-piece folding roof are made of glass, so the cabin remains light and airy whether the roof is up or down. There's a wide range of engines, from powerful turbocharged models to an eco-friendly 'Bluemotion', which was launched in 2010. Standard equipment is generous, but there's a price to pay as the Eos starts above £20k, rising to £28,000 for the top-spec version with DSG automatic gearbox.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Despite their widely differing outputs, all the engines return decent fuel economy, ranging from 36.7 to over 50mpg - which means the Eos should be relatively inexpensive to run. Road tax and insurance are both equally manageable, but as with most cars that wear the Volkswagen badge, parts and servicing are likely to be the biggest costs of ownership.
Engines, drive & performance
The Eos comes with a huge range of engines, but because of it's heavy weight (thanks to that clever folding roof mechanism) the more powerful versions are best. The characterful 2.0-litre TSI petrol is from a Golf GTi and provides plenty of pace - 0-62mph takes just 7.6 seconds. The 2.0-litre diesel is also a strong performer, coming with 138bhp, although it isn't as refined as its petrol counterpart - and is especially noisy on start up. It is admirably frugal though, returning over 50mpg combined. Precise and well-weighted steering makes the Eos entertaining through corners, and both the six-speed manual and DSG semi-automatic gearboxes make changes swift and smooth.
Interior & comfort
Despite its sporty image, the Eos is a very easy car to live with. Refinement on the motorway is excellent, with both wind and engine noise well suppressed. It's a simple job finding a comfortable driving position, and the suspension remains composed over all but the largest potholes. The tall windscreen keeps driver and passenger well protected from the elements, and thanks to a large rear screen, the Eos is easy to park in town.
Practicality & boot space
Inside the Eos, there's more room than you might expect from a coupé, and although it is a bit of a squeeze getting in, there is space for adults in the rear seats on shorter trips. Still, headroom is at a premium with the sloping roof in place. The boot is the car's other weak point, at just 205 litres, is can only carry small bags, the load space is awkwardly shaped, and larger items can get trapped under the roof mechanism.
Reliability & safety
The quality of the materials used in the cabin is extremely high - and it feels solidly built, the Eos is unlikely to develop many squeaks and rattles later in its life. No major mechanical faults have been reported either, and all the engines have been tried and tested in main stream VWs like the Golf hatchback and Passat saloon. In crash tests by safety body Euro NCAP, the Eos was awarded four out of a possible five stars, which is average rather than class-leading - but it does come equipped with driver and passenger airbags, traction control and pop-up roll bars that release instantly if the car turns over in a crash.
Price, value for money & options
VW's status as a premium brand means that prices are high, starting at £20,695 for the 1.4 TSI fitted with fuel-saving Bluemotion fuel-saving technology, and rising to £29,935 for the 2.0 TSI in top 'Exclusive' trim and fitted with a DSG gearbox. There's a decent list of standard equipment though, with even the lowest 'S' spec getting alloy wheels, air-conditioning and electric windows. Exclusive adds toys like cruise control, on board computer and rear-parking sensors, but residual values for all versions are the best in the class.