From £26,8058

Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

Retracting the roof on the Volkswagen Eos requires no manual intervention, just the tug of a weighty chrome lever between the seats, the operation of which feels more substantial and significant than pressing a fiddly button.

What follows is dramatic and graceful in equal parts. First, hidden strings draw apart the inner roof linings. Next, the upper panels and rear screen sandwich together before the entire mechanism arches back – the upper panels into the luggage compartment, the longer side rails into a gap on each side of the rear seats.

That cabin is just like the Golf's and Passat's in its overall look

In either position, all the roof mechanicals are hidden from view behind flaps or fabric linings to give a more finely finished cabin than the Eos's rivals can offer. The keyless entry option includes remote-control roof operation.

Up front, that cabin is just like the Golf's and Passat's in its overall look, even if the styling differs, and it shares their air of quality and solidity. In the back, however, the Eos is unique. With its extended length, the Eos offers acceptable rear legroom and headroom even for adults, but with the roof mechanism straddling either side of the rear cabin, shoulder room is tight. Boot space is merely average, encroached upon further by the folded roof if you're motoring al fresco.

In either roof configuration the Eos is marvellously refined, with minimal wind or tyre noise; roof up, the trade-off against a conventional coupé is negligible, and roof-down motorway cruising is comfortable.

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