Is there space in Volkswagen’s range for a soft top Golf when the successful Eos convertible that’s based on the same chassis already exists?
Volkswagen certainly thinks so and it’s hard not to warm to the latest in a long line of open top Golf models.
Available with a choice of six engines, the 1.6 diesel takes care of the eco expectations with some aplomb.
A fact that Volkswagen rather kept under its hat with the last Golf Cabriolet is that it was actually a facelifted Mark 3 rather than an actual Mark 4 which means its underpinnings were that of a 1994 car.
Therefore, the step forward to a current Golf Cabriolet is massive and, at first, slightly befuddling.
This is genuinely based on the current Mark 6 underpinnings which means multi-link suspension front and rear and body rigidity that’s from another dimension.
This comes courtesy of a reinforced window frame and structural modifications to the underbody, side panels, cross-members and doors the rigidity benefits of which are manifested in improved safety, comfort and refinement.
The engine line up numbers no fewer than six, three of which are available right off the bat with a further three arriving a few months later.
The most economical engine in the range, the 1.6-litre TDI diesel tested here, develops 105PS supported by a generous 184lb ft of torque - good enough for a 0-62mph time of 12.2s and 117mph top speed.
Volkswagen attempts to distance the Golf from the Eos by stating that it’s 208mm shorter and while this is true, a closer look at the cars shows that, as expected, both ride on the same wheelbase and it’s the bigger rear end of the Eos that accounts for much of the difference in length.
By contrast, the tail end of the Golf is almost shockingly pert, with the result that with the fabric roof stowed, there’s a mere 250 litres of luggage space available. Some recompense comes with the 93 million miles of headroom.
Build quality seems up to the usual Volkswagen standard which means soft touch materials, classy metal trim inserts, ambient mood lighting and silicon damped everything.
The soft top features an additional exterior skin, as well as snug window and door seals.
The roof can swing into position in only 9.5 seconds and it can operate at speeds of up to 18mph.
The question that may niggle a little when considering the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet is whether the arrow of automotive evolution has temporarily been pointed backwards.
We already have the beautiful Eos but Volkswagen has chosen to launch a simpler, lighter, more affordable counterpart.
In isolation, the Golf Cabriolet looks extremely good. The styling is sleeker than any soft top Golf to date and the engineering is unimpeachable.
If Volkswagen can get the pricing right, it’s hard to see this car falling on its face.
Get the pricing wrong, however, and this car could easily become a curious sideshow attraction.