This car is the epitome of style with a fully automatic hardtop that gives it the appearance of a regular car. In fact, even while I was checking it out online, I was not convinced it was a convertible.

The Eos offers not only style, but is well engineered, making it useful as well as fun. It is derived from the fifth-generation Golf and comes in two choices: a 200-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four or a 250-hp version of the 3.2 liter, narrow angle VR6. The VR6 is similar to the V engine but has cylinders offset from each other and tilted by 10.6 or 15° instead of the more common 45, 60, or 90°.

I drove the 2.0-liter version and it definitely has get-up-and- go. Unfortunately, for a relatively small car, mileage isn’t that great at 23 mpg. I was lucky enough to have three days in which I could drive with the top down (although one of the days did require a hat and gloves). Retracting the top took only the touch of a button and about 1 min to complete the transformation.

This single button activates sensors in the rear bumper to ensure there’s 16 in. of clearance behind the car. The plastic deck then tilts up and moves rearward. The multipiece hardtop unlatches from the windshield header and stacks up in the trunk. A single electric motor and eight hydraulic rams provide power.

To give the car more structure, Eos incorporates a targa hoop that also braces the Cabrios body shell and is found in the pedestal for the rear seat. In case a rollover is imminent, a roll-bar, powered by pyrotechnics, not a spring, deploys behind the rear seats in just 0.25 sec, while both front and rear-seat passengers get air bags for head protection.

It also has rear head restraints, front and rear power-assisted disc brakes, all season tires, and antislip regulation.

A problem, common for most small hardtop convertibles, is the lack of storage space. There is only room for a small suitcase in the trunk but one day I had to stow my groceries on the seat.

The only option was a six-speed automatic transmission for $1,075. It brought the sticker to $31,695.

— Julie Kalista

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2007 Volkswagen Eos