- MT Expert
New Volkswagen Eos first drive
Almost exactly five years after its UK launch, the Volkswagen Eos two door, four seater, coupe cabriolet has undergone a facelift to keep this niche model fresh.
The newest version was unveiled in the US last November and now in the UK there are SE, Sport and Exclusive versions from £22,900 to £31,835.
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Eos, which was originally launched in the UK in July 2006, has now been given the bright-detailed front and rear restyling which we have seen on the latest Polo, Passat and Sharan models with new front and rear bumpers and lights, restyled bonnet and the option of LED daytime running lights.
It is slightly longer and higher than the previous generation Eos, which is the name of the Greek goddess of the dawn.
Inside there is new trim finishing to bring it up to date with its stablemates and the first time option of 'cool leather' seats which reflect sun's rays to reduce solar heating as well as the useful choice of park assist to automatically manoeuvre the car into a space.
The Beetle convertible over 50 years ago started the open-air range but five years ago Eos brought the multi-sectioned folding metal and glass roof, including sliding sun-roof, to market and its not been equalled in its sector.
Volkswagen Eos Coupe Cabriolet
For the newest model, remote roof operation has been added and the system takes 25 seconds to open or close.
The clever storing arrangement concertinas the roof sections into the boot and when open it sits on top of any luggage which has 205 litres of space, rising to 380 litres with the car closed to the elements.
Under the reprofiled bonnet lie a choice of petrol or diesel engines, including some modified to stretch economy as far as possible using stop & start technology and battery regeneration on 122PS 1.4 turbo petrol and 140PS 2.0 turbo-diesel versions.
There are also 160PS 1.4 and 210PS 2.0 petrol engines, and all have six speed manual or automatic transmission.
Last year, Eos was sold to 2,462 British buyers and 60 per cent selected a diesel. This year in tougher times, VW predict sales of 1,700 units led by the 140PS 2.0 turbodiesel, Sport, mid-range version taking a quarter of registrations.
Falling in size between the Golf and Passat, Eos employs the Golf front struts and Passat four-link rear suspension systems which are excellent for packaging to accommodate the unique rear boot floor section and stowed roof.
Volkswagen Eos SE 1.4
I reacquainted myself with the Eos in a SE 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged petrol 160PS 6-speed manual model priced at £23,980.
The SE specification includes 17-inch alloy wheels, electronic stability and traction control systems, full range of airbags, semi-automatic air conditioning, electrically operated front and rear side windows, power operated and heated door mirrors, multifunction computer, comprehensive sound system and front and rear parking sensors.
This Portuguese built model felt very well put together and the 1.4-litre engine was extremely responsive and adequately powerful for the car unless you really drive hard.
With the roof down and windows raised the cabin did not suffer from wind buffeting to any annoying degree and even dropping the side windows the interior was still comfortable at 60mph.
The smooth powertrain was matched by a good if slightly firm ride but the bane of most convertibles, chassis vibration and scuttle shake, were virtually absent in the Eos tested.
On a brief test of mostly open roads I only managed to achieve just under 27mpg, compared to a claimed 41.5mpg and which seems a very optimistic figure which does not take account of how hard the engine works in real world situations.
Claimed maximum speed is 135mph and 0-62mph is said to be 8.8 seconds.
Open or closed, the Volkswagen Eos two-door is a very quiet and sophisticated car but it also seems a bit stiff to ask buyers to fork out £255 for a header-rail mounted wind deflector and £75 for carpet mats.
Volkswagen Eos MILESTONES
Volkswagen EOS SE Coupe-Cabriolet 1.4 TSI 160PS manual.
Engine/transmission: 1.4-litre, four cylinder, turbocharged petrol, 160PS (158bhp), 240Nm (177lb ft) of torque from 1,500rpm, 6-speed manual.
Performance: 135mph, 0-62mph 8.8 seconds, 42.5mpg (27mpg on test), CO2 157g/km, VED road tax £165, BIK company car tax 21%.
Insurance group: 24E.
For: Classy looks, solid build, safe and secure smooth operating folding metal roof, minimal wind buffeting inside with the top down.
Against: Watch the price of the options, quoted fuel economy was not matched in real-life driving conditions, firm ride.