VW’s folding tin-top remains an exemplar of quality and refinement amongst its peers. Pricey, but worth it.

What is it?

A class act, that’s what – it is the facelifted Volkswagen Eos. Why? Because so often, convertible conversions of ordinary family hatchbacks end up as lesser cars, with compromised dynamics, performance and usability. Thanks to VW’s habitual attention-to-detail however, the Eos has always seemed more than the sum of its relatively humble parts.

See pics of the Volkswagen Eos 2.0 TDI DSG in action

What’s it like?

And all the more classy and desirable now that it’s been given a mid-life nip and tuck by VW. The exterior styling changes are concentrated around the head- and taillights, the grille and the front and rear bumpers. To these eyes, although they make the car look smart and more a part of the current VW model family, they do remove a little distinctiveness.

Thankfully for VW, the material and technical upgrades on the Eos are of more import. The updated car gets active cornering lights, a more expensively finished cabin with an extra smattering of matt chome trim, and some fresh seat fabrics. Keyless go is now an option, which comes with remote opening for the folding roof, as is ‘park pilot’ automatic parallel parking.

And under the bonnet there have been changes too. The Eos V6 has been dropped, and the 2.0-litre petrol and turbodiesel versions have been augmented with the offer of optional DSG gearboxes.

The 2.0-litre TDi we tested had that optional twin clutch ‘box, as well as VW’s Bluemotion Technology pack; automatic engine start-stop and an intelligent alternator to you and me. It seemed every bit the well-mannered, upmarket cruiser convertible you’d expect.

That diesel engine is relatively quiet and well-insulated, and the quick-shifting gearbox keeps it at barely audible revs while you’re wafting around town. The car rides equally softly and with compliance, and there’s little in the way of wind bluster or structural shimmy and shake to complain about with the roof down.

At higher speed, the car’s dynamics do deteriorate slightly with the roof down; you don’t quite get the same steering precision or ride comfort. But that’s testament to how quiet and stiff the car feels roof-up as much as anything else; in that mode, it might as well be a proper coupe.

Should I buy one?

The idea of a diesel droptop may still grate with some, but with better than 45mpg possible from this car, there are compensations for that slightly coarse exhaust note. And if you’re not totally appalled by the idea, few oil-burning CCs are better executed than this Eos.

It may look pricey next to a Renault Megane CC or Peugeot 308, but really it’s a cut above those cars – in terms of refinement, practicality, desirability and more. Think of it as a Volvo C70 or Saab 9-3 Convertible for several thousand pounds less and you’ll be nearer the mark.

Volkswagen Eos 2.0 TDi DSG Bluemotion Technology

Price: £25,920; Top speed: 127mph; 0-62mph: 10.3sec; Economy: 53.3mpg; Co2: 139g/km; Kerb weight: 1614kg; Engine type, cc: 4cyls in line, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power: 138bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd twin clutch

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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si73 10 March 2011

Re: Volkswagen Eos 2.0 TDI DSG

@J400hk its a shame, i know its not just vw and i understand brand identity but surely this can be acheived with just matching grills.

J400uk 10 March 2011

Re: Volkswagen Eos 2.0 TDI DSG

@si73 - I think a lot of people would agree with you on that. Its only really since 2008 they have gone this way, before then each car had its own identity. They now seem to be doing what Audi and to a lesser extent BMW are and making every car in the range look almost identical.

si73 9 March 2011

Re: Volkswagen Eos 2.0 TDI DSG

I am really dissapointed of late with VWs designs. They basically seem to have taken a Golf squashed it, shrunk it, bloated it, put a boot on the back, chopped the roof off etc and thats the range. Its a shame as in the 90s you had a Polo with its own identity in hatch (estate) or coupe (hatch) Scirrocco that looked fantastic and nothing like the mk2 golf it was based on followed by the equally individually styled Corrado and a Passat that was also individual, yet somehow they were all blatantly VW products, how come all their cars now have to look the same in order to have brand identity?