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Volkswagen Eos 2011 review

It was a good little hardtop convertible before, and now the Volkswagen Eos has more to offer with a new facelift and extra goodies in the cabin.


The new Eos comes at a $500 premium to the existing models, putting the 103kW/320Nm turbodiesel at $49,990 and the 155kW/280Nm petrol donk at $51,990. Standard gear includes an alarm system, leather upholstery, dual climate-control, airconditioning, rain-sensing wipers and rear parking sensors. And now also Bluetooth and multimedia connectivity.


VW says it takes the electro-hydraulic roof system just 25 seconds to raise or lower. The Eos was the first car to feature a five-piece hardtop with an integrated tilt/slide glass sunroof, and in day-to-day use it gives owners the choice of near sedan comfort with the roof up, or going all the way and dropping the top - but the in-between with just the sunroof open can be noisy so go for either one extreme or the other.


The Eos front is unmistakably VW, with the wide, three slat grille running into wrap-around halogen headlights. It has a refined arched-roof coupe look with the roof up without being overtly sexy, but the convertible look has too many flat planes, even if that is the latest trend. The chrome strip around the waist helps break up the look a little - and advertises to 5500 existing Eos owners that you've got the latest model.


There's only four airbags on the Eos. It's a bit hard to pack too many into a car where the roof comes off, but it still misses out on the knee bag that is available on the VW Golf. The Eos does have the latest software, though, with ABS brakes backed by brake assist and hill start assist, ESLP and an electronic diff lock (the system brakes the inside wheel when it detects imminent spin). A pair of rollover protection barriers are hidden behind the seats and the active head restraints are designed to minimise whiplash.


The Eos flexes enough to be unmistakably a convertible, but the chassis still sits flat on the road. The petrol engine is well ahead of its diesel counterpart, posting 7.8 seconds from 0-100km/h against 10.3 seconds. The tradeoff comes at the bowser where, while both engines are down by 0.2litres/100km on the previous model, the petrol still 7.7litres/100km against the diesel's 5.9litres/100km.

The manual version has vanished in the update. VW spokesman Karl Gehling said only 15 per cent of buyers had opted for a clutch, so it was tossed out. That makes the six-speed DSG semi-automated transmission the only choice, but it's not a bad one. The ride can bash over larger bumps, but at highway speeds it's unlikely you'll shake up the chardonnay on that picnic drive.


For those who like the occasional run in the sun but don't want the compromise to comfort that comes with a cloth roof, the Eos will continue to be a breath of fresh air.

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103 TDI 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $11,500 – 16,830 2011 Volkswagen Eos 2011 103 TDI Pricing and Specs
155 TSI 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP $11,900 – 17,490 2011 Volkswagen Eos 2011 155 TSI Pricing and Specs
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