19 May 2013
Cars with folding hardtops used to be a rare sight until the Mercedes SLK came along, but now there’s a plethora of similarly-quipped, so-called Coupe Cabrios; VW wasn’t the first to follow the SLK’s lead when it launched the Eos in 2006, but could the Eos match the reputation of the much-loved Golf Cabrio that it replaced?
I first drove the Eos, in this case a 6-speed manual 2-litre petrol turbo on polished, dusty Greek roads and soon became accustomed to the flickering yellow light of the standard fitment ESP system as the front tyres scrabbled for grip. That’s not such a problem on grippier UK roads (when they’re dry) but this model’s 197bhp can certainly deliver very respectable straight line performance – 0-62mph in 7.8 secs with a max speed 144mph. However, with ESP engaged, the engine and its power delivery is almost too refined and quiet to seem genuinely exhilarating.
Same goes for the steering and chassis. Despite weighing over 1.5 tonnes, the Eos does everything you’d expect; it rides very smoothly and comfortably, steers predictably and carves neatly through corners, plus with its mix of Golf front suspension and Passat rear underpinnings, everything is kept nicely under control, even when you hit a particularly bumpy bit of road at an injudicious speed. In short, it’s supple, but pleasant to drive rather than exciting.
The first thing any road tester looks for when driving an open-topped car is the dreaded scuttle shake, or wobbly dash. (This is caused by the interior being less well supported than in an equivalent car with a fixed roof.) Contrary to what you might have read or heard elsewhere, if the Eos has scuttle shake, then it’s virtually imperceptible. Okay, I might have noticed the Eos dash move just a fraction, once, when hitting a nasty rut, but I wouldn’t swear to it. In short, the Eos is solidly built and well screwed together.
Driver and passenger airbags come as standard on the 4-star Euro NCAP-rated Eos, as do front side airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, a rear parking sensor, central locking, an alarm, an immobiliser and electronic stability control. Despite all this the Eos presumably falls slightly short of the full 5-star rating on some small technicality found only in more recently launched models.
Being midway in size between a Golf and a Passat, there’s no shortage of space or comfort for front seat passengers. But is it spacious enough for a week away for two? Well, almost, except that if you take your other half then you’d both better pack light if you intend to enjoy any part of the drive al fresco as the Eos’ 205-litre luggage space with the roof lowered is scant. Although there’s adequate seating, rear legroom is tight, while luggage capacity remains borderline as, even at 380 litres max, the boot’s volume doesn’t even double with the roof raised.
With almost 200bhp under the bonnet you shouldn’t really expect the ultimate in fuel frugality, so a combined mpg figure of 34.4 isn’t too shabby. If you’re prepared to sacrifice some sheer speed, then other Eos models return from 42.2mpg (1.4 TSI) up to an impressive 48.7mpg for the 2.0 TDI. Same applies when considering CO2 (194g/km), insurance group (15) or whole life costs (39.52 pence per mile) – these figures can all be significantly bettered by other, less brawny models. If you tend to travel light then the suave Eos is probably all the car you’ll need, although it somehow lacks the charm of its Golf Cabrio predecessor.
Submitted: 09/09/2008 12:00:37
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