2007 Volkswagen Eos

Brian Konoske

Like the VW Cabrio, the Eos is always practical. When the hard top is up, it seals out the weather and delivers a measure of security when you park at the beach or at a dance club, while a transparent, sliding/tilt-up sunroof gives you a window to the weather. With the top down, there's still room for a medium-size suitcase in the trunk. The only thing the Eos really lacks is an adventuresome look, as its proportions are slightly off-kilter, an affliction common to small, hardtop convertibles.

The Eos will be equipped as a fully optioned car, and it'll have a fully optioned price, just south of $30,000. But if VW wants this car to find its customary audience among drivers who know more about style than anyone else in the automotive marketplace, the company will have to realize that these people are expert consumers of brand-name goods who expect durability, quality, and reliability as part of such a pricey package. Quality continues to be VW's biggest challenge, and the choice of an assembly plant in Portugal for the Eos suggests there might be some challenges ahead for this car. Fortunately, Wolfgang Bernhard, the VW division's president, has staked his reputation on a 50 percent reduction in warranty costs for the VW line in the near future, so the outlook for improved quality seems bright.

In the meantime, the Eos is the model of what every convertible should be. It embraces the exhilarating rush of the wind and the opportunity to express enthusiasm for life and your place in it.

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