Peugeot 308cc Lexus IS250c
A sparkling clear blue sky, not too hot, not too cold, and the perfect ribbon of tarmac winding its way through green valleys and wooded mountain passes is just what convertibles were made for. No one really wants to drive around in the freezing cold with the roof down, or summer in 42c that would give you 3rd degree burns in seconds, but for most of the year it’s Goldilocks weather.
Those who don’t own a convertible invent all sorts of reasons why that sort of car is impractical for them. It’s all nonsense of course. With the roof up, it is no less impractical than any other coupe. With a folding tin top stowed away, there is a trifle less room in the boot, but frankly who cares. We don’t have children unless of course you count the outrageous differences in age between you and your other half, and there is a back seat for the David Jones bags if you go overboard at the boxing day sales.
So let’s put a few of these silly ideas to bed.
Part 1 EOS by VW
The VW Eos has been with us for a while and has been recently updated. Our test car was the pre-update version.
The exterior is a scrumptious mix of class and elegance with a touch of practicality. The side mirrors have puddle lights and indictors just in case you return to your car in the night and a puddle spontaneously formed right there at the drivers door. The rear tail clusters are sprinkled with LEDs which look like fairy lights on a christmas tree. The lines are simple and make a gentle wedge in silhouette. There are generous alloy wheels with big fat tyres. There are some odd angles and lines but over all it works. On a side note, the odd angles have all been fixed in the new face lifted model.
The real joy is watching the roof fold away like a pool full of synchronised swimmers. Little bits and pieces appear then disappear and click and chunk until the whole thing is the size of a folded face washer, then of course you open the boot to put away your shopping to discover a mail slot where the boot space used to be. Ah well. The hard luggage cover is in place inside the boot and is there to spot the crystal you bought at the boxing day sale from being crushed to smithereens when you put the top down. With the hard cover folded back, the roof won’t open. But even when the luggage cover is pulled back there are bits in the way of anything really big being put inside. There is the back seat for that sort of thing. The roof is glass on top and includes a clever section that opens a-la sunroof. It also forms part of the roof lowering mechanics so it slides back, then the back window plonks on top then the whole things folds rearward in 25 seconds. As with most convettibles there is also a single button to raise and lower windows. Eos did pass our “2 bags” test but you have to pack them before putting the roof down. That’s about it then for packing space.
2 bags test shown with the hard cover in place
The inside shows a similarly tasteful approach. The deep leather seats are very firm but none the less comfy. They support in just the right bits so if you do corner in a spirited fashion, your love handles are gently gripped so you don’t do a shimmy-shimmy off your chair.
The dials and switches are vaguely Golf GTi which is nothing to be ashamed of as the GTi is one of my favourite cars, and you’ll no doubt remember our road trip in the GTd last year. I’d say the cabin feels luxurious without being stand off-ish as some German cabins tend to be. You feel at home instantly and that’s so important when you’ve shelled out $50k for your shiny new motor car. Speaking of seating, although all 3 of our cars are marketed as 4 seaters, the friends in the back are going to need to be short and very friendly. So much the better though as we don’t want them coming on our romantic get away do we? Besides you can use the back seat for the cases of wine you buy at the cellar door.
The drive is also spirited because both the diesel and petrol engines are turbo charged. The petrol is from the old GTi and the diesel is the standard 103 that’s is use in other models. The manuals are easy to use but frankly the DSG is such a pleasure that I can’t imagine why, especially in the city, you would want to change gears yourself.
Just a few little things would make the drive perfect such a reversing camera, but cornering is a pleasure and the brakes are precise. As with most new cars, the electric steering is also a joy to use. Once upon a time electric steering was a wishy washy affair with zero road feel but we had the Eos on the back roads, highways and scenic coastal roads and Eos didn’t put a foot wrong. Even in wet weather, the back was kept in check by the clever electronics. Don’t ever be tempted to turn them off. Only race drivers and fools on motoring shows turn off the assistance. If you and I did that sort of things we’d be off the road into the shrubbery before you can say “I’m such a twat” and you’ll be the one paying damages to everybody you hit on the way through.
I like the Eos very much. It’s stylish and comfy. It uses fuel frugally and is well made and last for ages. With 0-100 in the 8 second range and power of 103kw for the diesel and 147kw for petrol, there is oodles of oomph for overtaking and enough torque to get of the mark fast. At the end of the day all you really demand of a car is that it is quick, quiet, safe and spacious. For around $50,000 you have a car with few issues and a lot of presence.