What is it?
Well, before the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet came along recently, the Eos was VW's only non-novelty four-seat convertible; the Beetle Convertible also has four seats. However, now that the Golf has arrived - and excellent it is too - the pricey Eos finds itself fighting harder to justify its existence. The only real difference between this and the Golf is the material from which the roof is made.
So, the Eos has had a facelift. The five-piece folding metal roof remains - and keeps the integrated glass sunroof - but there's a new grille, some new interior trim and, ahem, the addition of park assist.
Is it any good?
As you can tell we're struggling to trumpet this mid-life revision, as did Volkswagen before it unveiled the car at last year's (2010) Los Angeles Motor Show. In fairness, however, VW didn't really need to do an awful lot: the Eos was the mid-size convertible class leader when it arrived on the scene in 2006, and only the Audi A3 Cabriolet has beaten it since.
Both the Renault Mégane Coupé-Cabriolet and Peugeot 308 CC - its most immediate, and cheaper, rivals - run it close, but neither has the Eos's air of class, sense of quality or graceful good looks; the Eos is arguably the only mid-sized convertible that looks like it was designed to be that way in the first place.
So, with styling and build quality on its side, the Eos is off to a good start. It continues with the sense of space in the cabin - the car will easily seat four adults - and with the refinement on offer. With the roof up there's definitely more wind noise than you'd get in a Golf, especially around the joins at the top of the windscreen, but it's otherwise excellent. Same goes for the ride: the Eos can tend to rattle slightly as compared to something with a fixed roof structure, but you really have to be looking out for it to notice.
The only real issue, aside from a small boot, which you probably expected anyway, is lack of punch from the new entry level 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine. Despite sharing its name with VW's family of turbo- and supercharged engines, it only actually gets the turbo. Good for 120bhp, it's quiet enough and, because it has a turbo, puts out all its 148lb.ft of torque at just 1,500rpm, but if you're expecting fireworks, prepare to be slightly crushed. A diesel might not be the most obvious fit for a cabriolet, but if it's something more effortless you're after, with fewer gear changes required, it's a diesel we'd recommend.
Should I call the bank manager?
Tricky question. The Eos is expensive, starting at £22,900 for this 1.4 TSI BlueMotion Technology version. You do buy a lot of quality, proven residuals and a fair bit of kit for that - including fuel saving stuff like stop-start to help it return 45.6mpg on average. However, two factors sprinkle a significant amount of rainfall onto the Eos's open top parade: firstly, that its French rivals do offer a lot more kit for the money, and even the Audi A3 starts cheaper.
But it's the second that splashes most: the new VW Golf Cabriolet. Freshly re-launched after nine years off the market, the Golf might only put fabric between the elements and your coiffure, but it has four seats and a VW badge too, and it's cheaper.
We like the Eos as much as it's possible for us to like a relatively small convertible with four seats and a folding metal roof. There are compromises in order to facilitate that clever hard top, but no car in this rough price bracket does it better - it's the best in terms of mimicking the refinement of a fixed roof car. The facelift hasn't really improved anything, though, and given the choice between this and the Golf, it's probably the latter we'd go for.