Refreshed and revitalised
IN the high-tech world of car manufacturing it doesn't take much to make everything that is old new again.
A few tweaks to the exterior, a little engine refinement and updated trim accents and suddenly your refreshed product is garnering new interest.
Volkswagen are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to become the largest automotive organisation in the world.
The ease with which they keep their products in the public eye is a big part of that.
The Eos, due for replacement in 2013, is the latest Volkswagen to get a mid-model makeover a little bit of sprucing to keep it in vogue.
Changes are mostly cosmetic with a few more electronic bells and whistles and slightly improved fuel consumption.
The Eos prides itself on being a purpose built four-seater convertible and the proof is certainly in the eating.
Shoulder room for adults in the back of the car can be a bit of a squeeze.
However it is more generous than most competitors and of course headroom is of little consequence when the roof is brought down.
Legroom is ample with the electronic sliding front seats making it easier to enter and exit the second pew.
The driver and passenger are treated to supportive eight-way adjustable leather seats which make finding that optimum position a cinch.
Seats are heated too for those cold mornings.
As you would expect the boot is pretty minimal - 380 litres with the top up dropping to 205l with it lowered - with a small shop or a couple of overnight bags the extent of its capacity.
On the road
The 2.0-litre petrol engine is the same unit found in the Golf GTI and gives the Eos the power it needs to deliver a tingly ride.
Handling is excellent even with a little torque steer when pushed out of corners.
Suspension is firm and while that is manageable it can get a bit bumpy, especially for passengers in the back on uneven country roads.
It is great on the highway when you can really appreciate the balance of the car and acceleration is smooth and effortless.
There is increased movement with the top down though which requires renewed concentration by the driver.
The Eos is fairly quiet for a vehicle of this type and even in the convertible stage it is easy enough to hear passengers in the rear.
What do you get?
VWs tend to share interiors and although the Eos has some changes to its trim, it still looks a bit dated.
However, the update adds Bluetooth connectivity and multimedia streaming to complement dual-climate control, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, cruise control, dusk-sensing headlamps and dual-zone climate control, among attractive features. There are four airbags as well as anti-lock brakes with brake assist and hill assist, stability control and an electronic diff lock which brakes the inside of the wheel when it detects spin.
Australia has a fair number of convertibles vying for your dollar. Others worth considering would be the BMW 1 Series convertible ($54,200), Ford Focus CC ($45,490), Mini Cooper Cabrio ($40, 490), Renault Megane CC ($45,990) and Audi A3 cabriolet ($53,500).
Impressively, the roof takes about 25 seconds to raise and lower but of course you have to be stationary to do so.
A retractable wind deflector on top of the windscreen frame helps to reduce wind buffet during the drive. If you feel like letting in some sun or air while on the go, the Eos also comes with a sunroof.
This was a unique feature when it was launched in 2007.
Visibility is not excellent but can be compensated for with regular blind-spot checks.
Fuel economy has improved for both engine types with the VW with the petrol returning 7.7 litres/100km and the diesel a more frugal 5.9 litres /100km.
Volkswagen's model updates and an intention to keep a strong family resemblance, means that from your rear view mirror, at least, VWs are difficult to tell apart.
The Eos, for example shares that three-slat grille ending in halogen headlights with both the Golf and the Caddy.
The sloping roof adds a point of difference but really it's only when you drop the top that the Eos stands out. And even then it's in that understated German way rather than the glitz and glamour associated with its French and Italian counterparts.
The Eos offers a powerful, dynamic drive with quality features and inclusions to match.
This update will renew interest in a convertible that already enjoys a dedicated following.
Model: Volkswagen Eos 155 TSI.
Details: Three-door front-wheel drive cabriolet.
Engine: 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged petrol generating maximum power of 155kW @ 5300rpm and peak torque of 280Nm between 1700-5200rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed DSG.
Consumption: 7.7 litres/100km (combined average).
Bottom line: From $51,990.