If you are in the market for a compact convertible Volkswagen have got your options pretty well covered. If you like the idea of a folding metal roof convertible, you can go for the Volkswagen Eos
. If, however, you prefer the idea of a conventional cloth-roof convertible, you can now choose the latest Volkswagen
It was the latter that I recently had the chance to appraise in Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet SE 1.4TSI 122 bhp form. The good news is that if you choose this over the equivalent Eos, at £22,470 you can save yourself £850.
One of the important features of a convertible, in our changeable climate, is how quickly you can open the thing up to catch fleeting glimpses of sunshine. And, indeed, how quickly you can get the roof up again as the rain starts to fall!
We timed it and, the roof actually takes less than ten seconds to open and just a little longer to raise again. As well as being very simple to operate, the roof is a good snug fitting design and looks well finished both inside and out. It is also well insulated and quiet.
I was impressed with how rigid the car felt, with a complete absence of what is traditionally known as "scuttle shake". That's where the windscreen and dashboard shake compared to the main frame of the car.
You do, of course, lose a little of the rear seat space for the privilege of open-air motoring. But, providing your aspiring rear seat passengers are of reasonably compact dimensions, it does work.
The boot is a suitable size for carrying luggage on a sun-seeking break. However, access is through a quite small letterbox at the back of the car. So, before you pack your suitcase, check that it will actually slot through the boot aperture!
The rest of the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet is much like the Golf hatchback. That translates into a very positive experience. There is the usual feel of quality about the interior and the driving position is both comfortable and practical.
My test car came with a reversing camera (useful on a conventional cabriolet where the rear view is inevitably a little restricted), it also had auto headlights and the increasingly popular road sign recognition. As usual, its display of speed limits is somewhere short of 100% reliability, so you do need to use your eyes and your common sense!
So how do you choose between the Eos and the Golf Cabriolet if the £850 price difference doesn't answer your question? Well, the Eos is brighter thanks to all that glass. It also has better visibility than a conventional cabriolet. The boot, when the roof is up, is larger and much more easily accessible – but when the roof is stowed it is the opposite.
Other than that, there is not a great deal to consider in terms of performance and economy. Thanks to the extra weight of that roof, perhaps, the Eos is a fraction slower 0-62 mph at 10.9 seconds compared to the Golf's 10.5 seconds.
However, the Golf is marginally thirstier, posting a combined mpg of 44.1, compared to 45.8 for the Eos. According to the trip computer my average was about 35 mpg overall on city and country roads.
So, the choice is yours. But the open air comes with both.