2013 Volkswagen Eos


Review: 2007 Volkswagen Eos

This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2014.
By Ann Job of MSN Autos
Rating: 9
  • Starting price for a hardtop convertible
  • Nice size car with seats for four
  • Good power from both 4- and 6-cylinder engines
  • Can get pricey quickly with options
  • Complicated roof on a car with no reliability history
  • Is it a woman's car?

Hardtop convertibles are becoming trendy. Fortunately, they're also coming down in price.

Just a few years ago, a car shopper had to expect to spend more than $40,000 for a hardtop convertible—and this was for a 2-seat SLK from Mercedes-Benz that ranked as the lowest-priced, new, hardtop convertible on the U.S. market.

Today, there are at least 8 hardtop convertibles available, and the starting manufacturer's suggested retail price for three of them is in the $20,000s.

Eos impresses in many ways
Arguably the best of the three is VW's Eos. Perfect for sunny days, the 4-seat Eos is a pleasantly styled, lowest-priced convertible from a German brand. It's also VW's first convertible with a hardtop, rather than a fabric roof.

Better yet, integrated into the Eos' hardtop is a fully functional sunroof, so an Eos driver can see and feel the sun overhead even if he or she doesn't put down the roof altogether—on fickle, not-so-warm spring days, for example.

Best of all, the Eos comes standard with lots of safety equipment, including electronic stability control, rollover bars useful in crashes when the car might overturn with the top down, and side airbags that activate to provide protection for both head and thorax in side crashes.

Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, is around $28,000 for a base, 2007 Eos with manual transmission and 200-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.

European competitors, like the 2007 Volvo C70 hardtop convertible, are higher priced. The C70, for instance, starts around $39,000 for a base model with 218-horsepower turbocharged 5-cylinder engine and manual transmission.

And even hardtop convertibles from U.S.-based car brands are priced similar to the standout Eos. For example, the Pontiac G6 hardtop convertible starts around $29,000, though it comes with a 224-horseower V6 and automatic transmission.

Hot time for hardtop convertibles
VW, Volvo and Pontiac all introduced 4-seat hardtop convertibles for the first time during calendar 2006 and 2007 as development and production processes for these sophisticated convertible tops became less costly than before.

Despite the complexity of hardtop roofs, many consumers are bound to appreciate the security they afford—for foiling so-called slash-and-grab thefts and for imparting better vehicle crashworthiness.

Many shoppers also view hardtop convertibles as more practical year-round cars than are convertibles with fabric roofs, even if the roofs have many layers of fabric that try to keep out noise and hold in warm air from car heaters.

The Eos roof is a steel structure with five panels, including the glass sunroof, that separate and stack in a sophisticated manner at the push of a button on the center console.

In fact, the 25-second process to lower the roof, operated by hydraulics, is impressive to watch as the trunk lid first opens in clamshell fashion, the panels stack and then lower into the back of the car. But because the Eos is new, there's no reliability record for the Eos hardtop mechanism.

Note that even with the Eos roof down, there's still 6.6 cubic feet of space left in the trunk. When the top is up, the Eos trunk has a commendable 10.5 cubic feet of space.

Ratcheting up the price
But beware how quickly Eos prices can get up over the relatively affordable starting price.

An automatic transmission isn't available on the base Eos. So buyers must move up to the Eos 2.0T with automatic, which starts at some $31,000 and was the test car.

Buyers who want leather seats or satellite radio must select a pricey option package adding at least another $3,490 to the car.

To be sure, the test Eos 2.0T looked and felt good. Sized just right for easy parking and maneuvering, it wasn't so small that the back seat was unusable.

The turbocharged 4 cylinder in the Eos tester gave a peppy ride, with strong get-up-and-go coming on after just a very slight lag.

Peak torque of 207 lb-ft surges as low as 1800 rpm and is available through 5000 rpm, according to VW.

As a result, the test car passed other vehicles efficiently on both city and highway thoroughfares, though sometimes the car seemed to rush forward breathlessly rather than smoothly propel forward.

Drivers looking for smoother, effortless power might consider the top engine for the Eos. It's a 250-horsepower 3.2-liter V6 with 235 lb-ft of torque starting at 2500 rpm.

But starting price for an Eos with V6 is some $37,000, or closer to that of other European hardtop convertibles.

Fine road manners
I especially liked how the front-wheel-drive Eos handled.

Built on the platform of the VW Jetta sedan, the Eos is some 270 pounds heavier than a Jetta.

But there was nothing unpredictable in the Eos' behavior, and the four-wheel disc brakes had strong stopping power that came on quickly.

Impressively, the car held tight in curves, moved solidly and stably over road bumps and never seemed to suffer a shimmy or shudder the way lesser convertibles can.

In fact, the Eos can ride so well, drivers would be well-advised to keep an eye on their speedometers. This convertible just doesn't seem to be going as fast as it is.

Some of this has to do with the decent quiet found inside the Eos when the roof is on. Unlike in fabric-topped convertibles, I didn't even hear much noise from loud semi-trailers nearby. I didn't notice much road noise from the tires, either.

Odds and ends
Controls and gauges inside the Eos are well-laid out, and, in typical VW style, are not gimmicky.

The Eos seats also have the usual supportive style and firmness that VW is known for.

Note that buyers can opt for a sportier suspension.

The test Eos got lots of attention from other drivers, but it was my driving partner, a man, who pointed out that for some reason, all of it came from women. He wondered aloud whether the Eos is a woman's car and that guys in it looked, well, in his words, sissy.

And, Trunk Lid Assistance is an intriguing option that prevents the roof from going up or down unless there's enough distance behind the car for the clamshell trunk lid to maneuver. Otherwise, the trunk lid might crunch into a garage wall.


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BB03 - 7/23/2014 7:16:16 AM