2012 Volkswagen Eos Convertible - FROM $34,350
The Volkswagen Eos deserves more consideration than it gets. It offers the features and build quality of a more expensive luxury model, making it a smart choice for drop-top sun seekers.
What's New for 2012
For 2012, the Volkswagen Eos front fascia more closely resembles the new Jetta's, while the interior receives VW's next-generation infotainment and climate controls. The DSG automated manual gearbox is now standard equipment, while keyless ignition/entry and HD radio are now available options.
Eos was the ancient Greek goddess of the dawn, known for her daily ritual of opening heaven's gates to welcome the sun. The 2012 Volkswagen Eos does much the same thing with its retractable hardtop convertible roof or unique built-in sunroof. Yet unlike its goddess namesake, the VW Eos doesn't get a lot of respect -- and we're not talking about offerings of wine and goat meat.
The Volkswagen Eos tends to be forgotten among the convertible ranks despite its many advantages. Besides its innovative roof, the Eos has a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine (shared with the GTI, among others) that delivers punchy power and high fuel economy, and a quick-shifting DSG automated manual transmission. The impeccable cabin is built to a standard that exceeds similarly priced convertibles, and offers abundant standard features that help justify its price premium over other competitors like the Chrysler 200, Ford Mustang and Mini Cooper.
With its size and front-wheel-drive layout, the Eos claims a middle ground between those cheaper models and luxury drop tops like the Audi A5 and BMW 3 Series, and is a must-look for buyers considering convertibles on either end of the price spectrum.
So why hasn't the Eos enjoyed better success? We can only think of a couple of reasons. For one, its backseat is small (although you weren't expecting palatial rear space in a convertible, were you?). And perhaps the Eos' pedestrian styling, which despite being updated for 2012, doesn't really stand out in a segment where looks are prized. Finally, the Eos doesn't move with any particular verve, although it's an adept and comfortable cruiser. Ultimately you'll decide whether these are deal-breakers, but we encourage you to give this little convertible a chance -- and maybe some needed respect.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Volkswagen Eos is a five-passenger convertible with a retractable hardtop roof that features an integrated sunroof. There are three trim levels: Komfort, Lux and Executive.
The base Komfort comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors and windshield washer nozzles, a wind deflector, keyless entry, cruise control, heated eight-way power seats with four-way adjustable lumbar support, "leatherette" premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, and Bluetooth. The standard eight-speaker sound system features an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod interface, HD radio, satellite radio, a CD player and a touchscreen interface.
The Lux adds different 17-inch wheels, parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a navigation system (HD radio is deleted). The Executive adds a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels and a 10-speaker Dynaudio sound system that restores HD radio. The Tech package available on the Lux and Executive adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, headlight washers and a color trip computer display.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2012 VW Eos is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that sends 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through a six-speed automated manual gearbox known as DSG. Volkswagen estimates that the Eos will go from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.
The 2012 Volkswagen Eos comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, pop-up rollover bars and front side airbags that extend upward for head protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the VW Eos earned the top rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The chief attraction of the Eos is its five-piece retractable hardtop, which includes an integrated sunroof section that tilts and slides for times when you don't want full exposure. It's a pretty cool feature that is still surprisingly unique to the Eos. When you want the total sun-and-breeze experience, the top drops in a respectable 25 seconds and requires 16 inches of rear clearance to operate properly. Fortunately, rear sensors sound if you don't have enough room.
Interior materials are high-quality and overall fit and finish is excellent. The stereo is now controlled by VW's latest touchscreen interface, which deftly controls multiple navigation and stereo functions. The iPod interface is particularly well-designed.
Front passengers will find the Eos spacious enough, but adults in the backseat won't want to stay there long. There isn't much storage space either. The retractable top leaves a roadster-like 5.4 cubic feet in the trunk when stowed. With the top up, cargo space increases to 9.3 cubes.
The 2012 Volkswagen Eos is for drivers who want a relaxed touring convertible. On models without the sport suspension, there's too much body roll and vague steering for serious twisting fun. But on the boulevard or a coastal highway, the Eos is perfectly pleasant thanks to its soft yet composed ride. The Eos' turbo four-cylinder contends with more weight compared to VW's GTI, for example, but it's still torquey and capable. And when the weather prevents top-down motoring, the retractable hardtop provides coupelike isolation.