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2010 Volkswagen EOS (Volkswagen)
2010 Volkswagen EOS (Volkswagen)

What Car?

He wants to drop the top but has issues Add to ...

Hello Jeremy and Michael:

I've always wanted a convertible. When I was younger, my parents told me convertibles were unsafe. Then they disappeared. Then there were only super-expensive sports cars with an open top.

I was sorely tempted again this past spring, but resisted. Now I see, with the end of summer, prices have come down - way down in some cases - so I'm tempted again.

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There's no point buying a two-seater - although I like the Mazda Miata or whatever they call it - because the kids want to ride, too. And there's no way I can spend a fortune on the German models. Plus it has to have a back seat like the Volvo or the Volkswagen.

So which one?

Fred

Cato: Fred, I'm not your shrink, but at some point you need to flee the nest. Here it is, decades later, and you're still obsessing over your parents' fears about convertible safety. What makes you happy, Fred? That's the question. To me, it sounds like a ragtop.

2010 Volvo C70

Vaughan: Cato keeps telling me about this TV show In Treatment, which I gather has to do with wealthy and unhappy people complaining about their lives to a shrink. You're watching too much TV, Cato. You can't learn to be a psychiatrist that way. Yet here you are, fast to make an amateur diagnosis of a psychological disorder.

What about the relative merits of the cars, instead?

Cato: And what's that convertible in your garage, Vaughan? An old Porsche? Looks like a desperate attempt to live out your youth so, so, so, so long past. You are living proof that owning a convertible is all about psyche and ego.

Vaughan: Cato, every car purchase has to do with psychology. I was merely referring to the reasons for your rush to judgment on poor old Freddy, who is likely more balanced than you. Let's get to the cars.

Cato: We're out of this cuckoo's-nest discussion about cars and psychology. The cars - starting with the Volkswagen Fred is interested in buying.

Fred, with VW you have two options, the Eos and the Beetle, and then you've thrown Volvo's C70 into the mix. The Miata/MX-5 two-seater is out because of the kids.

Now the VW is a four-seat retractable hardtop convertible with a five-piece glass and steel roof which folds automatically into the trunk in less than 30 seconds.

2010 Volkswagen EOS

Vaughan: Cato, I'm sure you remember from your Greek mythology that Eos is the Greek goddess of the dawn. Is that not a good name for an open-top car? In fact, the name might be the best thing about this costly box.

Cato: Costly? Are you kidding me? The Eos starts at $36,575, but there is at least a $1,500 factory-to-dealer discount out there - and the savvy buyer should be able to squeeze out at least another $1,500-$2,000 in dealer discounting. If you're a fierce negotiator, that is.

Vaughan: Great for a car that leaks. I've never owned one, so I can't say for sure - but I talked to people and read reviewers who say that the roof gets knocked out of whack fairly easily.

Cato: Rumour and hearsay. I checked all the technical service bulletins for the Eos and there's nothing there to indicate a leaky room problem. Vaughan, be careful with the Internet: it's an encyclopedia and also a big garbage can.

I will say this: the roof on that Eos is one complex assembly. At the very least, spraying a little silicon on the seals would probably help. However, with a steel roof - with a little glass skylight built in - there is real protection against people willing to slash a canvas roof to steal cell phones and pocket change. Of course, you have neither, Vaughan, so it's all hypothetical with you.

Vaughan: The engine is good. VW's turbocharged 200-horsepower, 2.0-litre four-cylinder is the base engine and you can buy up to the 250-hp, 3.2-litre VR6. Very nice six speed trannies, manual or automatic, come with both.

2010 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet

Cato: As for the safety concerns of Fred's parents, antilock braking and skid control are standard along with automatic rollover bars that pop up from behind the rear seats in case of a tipover.

Vaughan: Let's get to the Volvo, the C70 ($52,995). It's also a four-seater with a retractable hardtop. Volvo's whole thing is safety and for a convertible this one is loaded with safety stuff.

There's a door-mounted side-impact protection device which inflates when hit hard. The C70 also has a rollover protection structure with two roll hoops hidden behind the rear seats that explode upward if a rollover is about to happen.

Cato: And for a convertible this one is especially rigid and you want that in an open-air ride.

Vaughan: Okay, here's the one Freddy-Boy missed. He's shopping the VeeDub Eos, but he didn't mention the New Beetle Cabrio, which starts at $29,175. This also is no race track monster - far from it - but with its stylishness and outstanding fit and finish it will promptly plaster a smile on Fred's face. It's been around for a while - there's a new New Beetle coming next year - but I don't think its appeal has worn off.

Cato: You're living in the past. Underneath it's just a previous-generation Golf with a 150-hp gas engine. VW Canada has that same $1,500 factory-to-dealer cash on this punch buggy.

Vaughan: So Cato, what is it? I expect you'll go Swedish.

Cato: These three? Eos. And keep working out those parental issues, Fred.



2010 VW Eos 2.0 TSI Comfortline convertible

2010 Volvo C70 T5 Premium M convertible

2010 VW New Beetle 2.5-litre Comfortline convertible

Wheelbase (mm)

2,578

2,640

2,509

Length (mm)

4,410

4,582

4,091

Width (mm)

1,791

1,836

1,724

Height (mm)

1,443

1,400

1,502

Engine

2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged

2.5-litre, five-cylinder, turbocharged

2.5-litre, five-cylinder

Output (hp)

(torque)

200 hp

207 lb-ft

227 hp

236 lb-ft

150 hp

170 lb-ft

Drive system

Front-wheel

Front-wheel

Front-wheel

Transmission

Six-speed manual

Six-speed manual

Five-speed manual

Curb weight (kg)

1,576

1,736

1,430

Fuel economy

(litres/100 km)

10.0 city

6.6 highway

11.3 city

7.5 highway

10.2 city

7.5 highway

Base price (MSRP)

$36,575

$52,995

$29,175

SOURCE: CAR MANUFACTURERS

Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 2 p.m. on CTV.

Follow on Twitter: @catocarguy

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