VW Golf Cabriolet: the hard top option

  • VW Golf Cabriolet takes on VW Golf Eos
  • Soft top is quicker roof and cheaper to buy
  • Metal roof Eos is better bet for winter driving

There are two distinct camps when it comes to convertibles: hard or soft roof.

Soft tops were once the only choice, but in order to provide owners with a greater sense of security and quieter cabins, folding metal roofs were introduced.

Clearly our long term test VW Golf Cabriolet comes from the school of soft – a black fabric roof that quickly peels back to expose the cabin to the elements. It takes just nine seconds to open or close the roof.

But VW also has another Golf convertible with a hard folding roof, called the Eos, launched back in 2006. It’s a five-piece arrangement, including a glass panel that keeps the cabin light with the roof up, that takes 25 seconds to open or close.

The Eos range has slimmed down from four trims when it was first launched to just two currently: Sport and Exclusive. The closest match to our Golf Cabriolet 2.0TDi SE BlueMotion now is the Eos Sport 2.0TDi BlueMotion also fitted with six-speed manual gearbox. 

It uses the same 138bhp diesel engine that works really well with the manual gearbox thanks to pulling power that starts from low down and builds through the rev range. This enables you to shift through the gears smoothly and smartly. The acceleration isn’t enough to push you back in your seat when you put your foot down - instead the speed builds deceptively.

Cruising at an indicated 70-80mph is easy, though get over 70mph in the Cabriolet and the increase in wind noise is very noticeable. For a more comfortable journey (and one better for fuel economy) keeping it pegged to 70mph is the way to go.

No two ways about it, the Eos is quieter, but surely the penalty of a metal roof is a lot more weight? A glance at the cars’ stats and the Eos is 71kgs more, the equivalent of an extra adult. Not a whole lot lardier than the Cabrio and certainly not enough to create much difference in terms of running costs.

The Eos has a claimed average fuel economy of 58mpg and sits in road tax band D, while the Golf Cabrio returns a claimed 62mpg and sits in road tax band C. They are even the same insurance group – 23, to be precise – so costs there are going to be similar too.

The Eos has the larger boot, with 380 litres of boot space versus the 250 litres of the soft top. However, drop the roofs and the Eos boot space shrinks as it has to swallow its roof and accompanying mechanism. This is not a problem for the Cabriolet, where the boot space is fixed whether the roof is up or down.

The Cabriolets’ rear seats also fold down to create a larger load space, where as the Eos only has a small-load through hatch ideal for skis for example.

Both cars have the same space for four passengers, though adults may not want to travel too far in the rear of either - especially with roof up as head space is hardly commodious.

The Eos has a glass panel in the roof so it is light inside the car even when the roof is up. That’s in marked contrast to the darkened interior of the closed up soft top, something that is going to make a difference through the winter months.

So the Eos does edge it as a better bet through the winter months than its soft top sibling. However, there is the small matter of price. Given the same 2.0TDI engine and six-speed manual gearbox, the Eos Sport tirm costs £26,635 while the Cabriolet SE sets you back £24,820. That’s a difference of nearly two grand.  

Small wonder then that the soft top is finding more customers than the Eos given these tougher economic times.

VW Eos exterior static

Eos features folding metal roof that takes 25 seconds to open or close

Current mileage: 11,383 miles

Average mpg: 49.1 mpg