2013 Volkswagen Eos

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Review: 2007 Volkswagen Eos

This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2015.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 7

Bottom Line:

New retractable hardtop convertible breaks new ground for Volkswagen.
Pros:
  • Nimble
  • Fast
  • Affordable retractable hardtop
Cons:
  • Cramped rear seat
  • Minimal trunk space
  • Average styling

The Volkswagen Rabbit and similar Cabriolet 4-seat convertibles were the quintessential "chick cars." They seemingly were driven mostly by high school and college female students until largely replaced by the Mazda Miata sports car in the early 1990s.

It's doubtful if Volkswagen's new front-wheel-drive Eos 4-seat convertible will be as popular with young ladies as the Rabbit/Cabriolet, even though it has a fully automatic five-section retractable hardtop with a unique feature for such a top: a large sliding sunroof.

For one thing, price is an obstacle, although the Eos is among the lowest-cost retractable hardtops at $27,990-$36,850. The most expensive Cabriolet, which replaced the Rabbit convertible, cost only $18,380 in 1993. It was affordable for the good number of moderately affluent parents to buy for their daughter. Based on a mid-1970s Volkswagen design, the Cabriolet was dropped after 1993.

Long History
Volkswagen has a long history with convertibles in America, having offered a Beetle soft-top here since the early 1950s. The last old Beetle model sold here was a 1979 4-seat convertible because the Beetle hardtop had been dropped here several years earlier. The Beetle convertible was replaced by the Rabbit convertible in 1980, and the Rabbit soft-top was succeeded by the Cabriolet in 1985.

Of course, Volkswagen has been selling the retro-styled New Beetle 4-seat convertible here for several years with a conventional soft-top. It's cuter than the Eos and starts at $22,120. The Miata begins at $20,435.

Something Else Again
The Eos, though, is something else again. Named after the Greek goddess of dawn, it's based on Volkwagen's proven Jetta/Passat hardtop models. It starts at $27,990 with a 2-liter 4-cylinder 200-horsepower turbocharged engine and goes to $36,850 with a 250-horsepower V6.

Transmissions are a regular 6-speed manual, which works with a light but long-throw clutch, and an automatic 6-speed Direct Sequential Gearbox (DSG).

The base and 2.0T Eos are quick with their sophisticated, turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.

However, that's a rather small engine that calls for lots of shifting for the best performance during quick acceleration or when merging or passing with the 6-speed manual gearbox my test car had. Quick highway passing above 65 mph calls for one or two downshifts.

Fuel Efficiency
The larger 3.2-liter V6 allows more relaxed driving with its added power and torque. But it's less fuel-efficient than the 4-cylnder, providing an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 29 on highways. The 4-cylinder delivers 23 and 32 with the manual and 23 and 31 with the DSG transmission.

The Eos is fun to drive, being small and nimble. Steering is quick and communicative, and handling is good, although this is no sports car. Volkswagen convertibles always have been cruisers. The Eos ride thus is comfortable and braking is good, with a progressive acting pedal for smooth stops.

Pretty Well-Equipped
All Eos trim levels are pretty well-equipped. Even the entry version has air conditioning, tilt-telescopic wheel, manual height-adjustable driver's seat, cruise control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player and power windows and door locks with remote keyless entry. Also, the heated power mirrors come with turn signals.

The midrange $29,990 2.0T adds heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, power driver's seat, center console and even heated washer nozzles.

The top-line 3.2L adds the V6, an in-dash 6-disc CD/MP3 changer, steering wheel radio controls, satellite radio and the DSG transmission. The DSG also is offered for the 4-cylinder Eos, but raises its price to $31,065.

Safety Features
Anti-lock brakes, traction/anti-skid control and front-seat side and curtain airbags are among standard safety features. There also are automatic rollover bars behind the rear seats if there is a tip or collision.

Option packages contain leather upholstery and a sport suspension for crisper handling. Also offered are larger wheels and tires.

The $28,680 Pontiac G6 GT convertible is the major competitor to the Eos. The GT6 has a retractable hardtop, but no sunroof. The Volvo C70 T5 also has a retractable hardtop, but also no sunroof. It costs a pricey $39,090.

So-So Styling
The Eos styling is attractive, but ordinary. Lowering or raising its top at the press of a button causes bystanders to stare. The procedure only takes about 25 seconds, not counting the time it takes to open or close side windows.

One drawback: Nearly two feet of space must be left behind the Eos before lowering its top or top components will hit an object near the rear of the car. However, a $350 warning system beeps if the Eos is too close to an object behind it.

Small Cargo Area
There's not much trunk room with the top up and little cargo space when it's lowered. Doors have pockets, but more small-item cabin storage space would be appreciated.

The Eos is nearly rattle-free. Its sunroof gives it a sunny top-up interior, which is quiet but has a cramped back seat—like every Volkswagen convertible ever built. The attractive high quality cockpit has easily read gauges and user-friendly controls.

The Eos again shows that Volkswagen is capable of advanced engineering. The car's styling could be improved, but conservative Volkswagen never has been much of a styling leader.

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BB03 - 7/29/2014 12:48:57 PM