Volkswagen’s classy Eos is no softie

With our very mixed summer weather it's easy to see why the Volkswagen Eos hard-top convertible won so many fans. Iain Dooley, PA senior motoring writer, says it is a sound used buy.

Engines – In recent years we've come to appreciate the depth of Volkswagen's talents in the engine department, however in a bid to promote a more 'premium' driving experience the company's Eos is a largely petrol-driven model. Save for a token diesel option it's petrol all the way and, no doubt, this quieter approach will make sense when you've got the roof down.

Exterior – Yes, it's true the Eos looks a lot like VW's Golf minus its roof. The devil is in the detail as the Eos boasts a folding metal hard-top not the new Golf's fabric roof, and its nose and tail are noticeably different. There's a bit more bling all round too, which helps to position the Eos a price point or two above the Golf.

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Interior – As with its exterior, the cabin of the Eos is a bit more plush and polished than the Golf. Everything should look and feel familiar to VW fans but there's no mistaking the upmarket ambience. Realistically it's a two-seater, although those chairs in the back could be used for transporting small children due to the modest amount of legroom on offer.

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Driving – Volkswagen never promoted the Eos as a sporting convertible and it's best to just take it easy when behind the wheel. The various petrol engines do offer a good level of performance but it's fair to say that the motors' surplus of power is to make your life easier rather than propelling you along at lightning speeds. This also tallies with the car's set-up, which is biased heavily towards comfort.

Ownership – An easy car to live with, the Eos behaves a lot like a regular Golf when in use on a day-to-day basis. Its size helps to make light work of the urban landscape, while its cabin is big enough to accommodate two adults in comfort. The rear seats add little value but can double up as a tastefully upholstered shelf. Boot space is reasonable considering the presence of the roof mechanism, which performs flawlessly and helps transform a run-of-the-mill Golf into a stylish all-weather drop-top.

What to look for – Predictably it's important to check the operation of the powered roof. If that's not performing perfectly then walk away to avoid potentially big bills. With the Eos very much a car for the style-conscious buyer, don't be surprised by low-mileage cars with more than their fair share of urban scars – parking dents, kerbed wheels. A patchy service history is another no-no along with a less than perfect test-drive. Remember, this is a Volkswagen and the cabin should be squeak-free.

Model history – 2006, Volkswagen launches the Eos, a 'Golf convertible' with a luxury twist. Boasting a slightly different exterior plus an upmarket cabin, the Eos came with a powered metal folding roof to complete the premium experience. Petrol was the dominant fuel at launch, with diesel power making a token appearance. Expect to see leather and plenty of toys on well-equipped examples.

Reasons to buy – Brand reputation, premium cabin, metal folding hard-top, 1.4 TSI petrol engine.

Reasons to beware – Not for keen drivers, crossover with Golf, little diesel choice, modest rear seat and load space.

Pick of the range – Eos 1.4 TSI SE.

What to pay – 2008 58 �9,255; 2009 09 �10,105; 2009 59 �10,490; 2010 10 �11,595; 2010 60 �12,035. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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