First drive: VW Eos 1.4 TSI

* We test 1.4 turbo Eos * 120bhp, 0-60mph in 11.9sec * 42.2mpg, 159g/km of CO2...

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Alex Newby
10 June 2008

First drive: VW Eos 1.4 TSI

You know what they say: size isn't everything - it's what you do with it that counts.

Take VW's clever 1.4 turbo engines that have replaced its 1.6 units. Even the lowest-powered version, with 120bhp, adds an extra 9bhp over the 1.6, as well as 34lb ft of pick-up power, too.

So much for the figures - how does this 1.4 fare in the hefty Eos convertible, with its five-piece folding metal roof to lug about?

Brilliantly, in fact. Around town, the flexible engine makes driving relaxing, even as the traffic ebbs and flows, without the need to constantly change gear.

With the engine's torque at its best at just 1500rpm, you barely need to squeeze the accelerator to nip swiftly ahead when you want to.

Above 2000rpm, the power delivery is more gradual, but it's quick enough and always smooth, and even at the national speed limit, there are still reserves underfoot for overtaking.

With a drive like this, it makes you question the need to spend an extra £2500 on the 2.0 FSI model.

In fact, the 1.4 TSI engine seems much better suited to the Eos's refined elegance and cool, stylish looks. It remains hushed unless revved hard for super-quick progress, although there's still a lot of wind noise in the cabin.

The compliant ride and light steering tell you plenty about the road underneath, and the strong grip and neat handling mean you can push on with confidence when you feel like letting your hair down.

The real bonus of this engine, though, is that although it costs £250 more, it squeezes out an extra 5mpg over the old 1.6, and with carbon dioxide emissions of 159g/km, it costs just £125 month in company car tax to higher-rate payers.

• The Eos 1.4 TSI costs £19,990 and is available now.