2007 Volkswagen Eos
2007 Volkswagen Eos Expert Review: Autoblog
click above image to view gallery of 2007 Volkswagen EOS
Even though Volkswagen has one of the fullest lineups in its history of selling cars in the U.S., these aren't the best of times in North America for the German automaker. Since 2005, VW has lost somewhere around $2 billion in the U.S. and the company has decided to lay off 30% of its workforce by moving its U.S. headquarters from Detroit to Virginia. Horrendous Euro to Dollar exchange rates are certainly part of the problem, but VW is having much more trouble offering Americans vehicles that fit our tastes.
The Volkswagen EOS hit the scene with surprisingly little fanfare, even though it combines the sporty 2.0T engine and athletic driving dynamics of a Rabbit with a killer hard-top convertible. The EOS appears to have everything it takes to be a summer classic, a claim we put to the test by inviting the car into our Autoblog Garage for a week.
When looking at the Volkswagen EOS from the outside in, we see a cool car wearing the trademark Volkswagen front end, a totally trick hard-top convertible, and the best rear end in the VW lineup. The soft lines of the sheetmetal are slightly feminine, a feeling that was reinforced by a couple of Woodward Dream Cruise participants calling the EOS a "girl's car." Regardless, the design is crisp and clean, and the vehicle attracts attention when the top is up. When the top was down, we also experienced several long, jealous stares. The engineering ninjas at VW also managed to put a moonroof into the state-of-the-art hard top, a design feature that no competition within $10,000 of this price range can match.
Volkswagen put plenty of expressiveness into the design of the headlights and taillights, which gives the EOS a different identity than the otherwise similarly-styled Jetta or Rabbit. Our model came equipped with terrifically-bright bi-Xenon lamps, which further advanced the cachet of the EOS. VW always seems to find a way to employ the use of attractive, large wheels and tires to fill their fenders, and this four-seat drop-top is no different. The 17s-inchers on our Fire Red EOS made for a much more sporty look, and the provided grip of the Pirelli rubber helped keep honest the well-respected 2.0T engine.
While some may feel the design of the EOS is a little soft, the little 2.0T engine is anything but. What a blast! The power that comes from this little turbocharged engine surprises with every push of the pedal, and turbo lag is nowhere to be found. The only issues we had were some torque steer under very heavy acceleration and a tendency for the EOS to take off on you if any throttle is applied when up-shifting. The first couple of times this startled us, but we got used to it quickly. Another issue with the engine is that it's quite loud for such a small motor, and the injectors caused the 2.0T to sound much too diesel-like for our tastes. Our tester had a 6-speed manual short throw gearbox, and while we'd have preferred to test the paddle shifters, the manual was very capable.
The EOS we tested came in at a whopping $36,000, and while that seems like a lot of money for a VW (Note: it is for this size vehicle), the materials inside met expectations set by the price. VW shines with regards to interior design, especially when it comes to quality build materials and ergonomic layout. Material look and feel is rich, with the right mix of soft touch materials and brushed aluminum accents. When passengers enter the vehicle, they're compelled to stroke the soft-touch dash material, and the LCD screen of the navigation system sets off the center stack nicely.
While the materials of the EOS were superb, the layout of the vehicle was just as good. Ergonomics are well thought out, and nice touches like an adjustable center arm rest make driving a vehicle with a manual transmission that much easier. Buttons and dials were also pleasing to the eye and touch, and the layout is so simple that it's difficult to find your fingers fumbling for the wrong switch.
The hard-top convertible of the EOS is very easy to operate, and when the top is going up or down, everyone takes notice. It all folds origami-style into the EOS' miniscule trunk in about 30 seconds. It would have been nice to just pull the aluminum roof lever so and let the mechanicals can do the rest of the work, but that lever needs to be held during the entire process, which was a little annoying. It's not like anybody would be interested in keeping the top half down, so there isn't much of a point to the whole process.
We were finding everything about the Volkswagen EOS just peachy, but after a day or two, problems began to pile up. While the entertaining engine and trick top kept our attention for a while, after a couple half-hour drives we began to notice just how uncomfortable the seats are. While the leather material appeared to be high quality, we spent about half the time in the EOS cockpit sitting on one cheek. The reason? VW didn't account for hefty Americans when designing its seats. At six feet tall and 230 lbs., this blogger is probably considered to be a bit larger than the average American male, but not by that much. The problem is that VW reinforced the lateral support of the EOS' seats with hard metal. That left me to either sit on one cheek, or sit on the hard metal support. If that weren't bad enough, children's car seats didn't fit properly in the mini-sized rear bucket seats. Both boosters needed to be tilted to the side so the seat belt could be used. Since I have twin four-year-old daughters, they ended up leaning towards each other, heads nearly touching. That caused a few fights. Even to install the seats without contorting uncomfortably, we had to take the top down and lean over the sides. That would be fun during the rain, we imagine.
Ah yes, rain. In days gone by, sunroofs and convertibles were like Niagra Falls in anything more than a sprinkle. As technology has progressed, many of the leaks have disappeared. Not in the EOS. Our left leg was literally soaked after braking hard to avoid something in the road, the unexpected force causing the hard-top to become misaligned. The water kept coming in until we found a gas station where we could open and close the top to reestablish a tight seal. Unfortunately, the problem wasn't resolved. A constant drip existed for the duration of the 22-mile trip, and then later on the way back home. The issue resolved itself only when the rain stopped, which is not an ideal solution
The EOS not only leaked in the rain, it also had issues with traction. When driving at 45 MPH on the weekend in the rain, the vehicle was pulling to the right. Not surprisingly, we no longer felt confident with the way the EOS in the rain, so we headed to the right lane and slowed down to 35 MPH. This was both disappointing and odd, especially since the EOS comes equipped with stability control.
After all this, we'd say the EOS is definitely an interesting vehicle, and the hard-top convertible is a trick piece of hardware, but we expected quite a bit more than what we got for $36,100. It's obvious that the EOS was designed for European tastes, but the quality problems we encountered are unacceptable in any price range. VW makes great products that usually carry a premium anyways, but the EOS needs to go grow up all around and fix its leaky roof to gain significant traction in the U.S market.
New Car Test Drive
Three cars in one: coupe, sunroof, convertible.
Buyers are often put off purchasing convertibles because of their inherent disadvantages. Among them: noise, cowl shake, potential water leakage and increased risk of theft by break-in. Manufacturers of expensive luxury roadsters have overcome these problems with high-tech folding metal roofs. Now, manufacturers are beginning to develop more affordable systems for the rest of us.
The newest and example of an affordable hardtop convertible is the all-new 2007 Volkswagen Eos. The Eos is the first European hardtop convertible priced under $30,000.
The Eos, named after the mythical Greek goddess of dawn, delivers the top-down thrill of driving on a sunny day and, at the flick of a button, the warm, quiet comfort one desires on a cold or wet day. When driving with the top up, the Eos feels tight and quiet, like a coupe. With the top down, it feels more like a convertible but tighter, with less cowl shake on rough roads, than in older convertibles. The glass top gives the Eos a unique appearance, and it's entertaining to watch when raised or lowered, a feat that can be performed by remote control.
In spite of its diminutive dimensions, the Eos seats four, and getting into the back seat is relatively easy. The interior is trimmed nicely, an area where Volkswagen excels. Our preference was for the cloth upholstery in the base model, but leather upholstery comes with the Luxury and Sport packages along with nice looking wood or aluminum trim.
We were more than happy with the $27,990 base model, equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine coupled to a six-speed manual transmission, and loaded with safety features, air conditioning and a decent stereo. The turbocharged engine delivers brisk acceleration performance and is a smooth companion around town.
Drivers who prefer an automatic transmission, especially those who must commute in heavy traffic, might prefer the V6 engine, although those decisions can add $10,000 to the bottom line.
Either way, the Eos represents a good compromise between a sports car and a sedan. It's sporty and practical and offers top-down motoring.
The Volkswagen Eos starts with the base model equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission ($27,990). Options are not available, but it comes loaded with safety features, air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD stereo system, and remote key locking.
The 2.0T ($29,990) adds a 12-way power driver seat, upgraded semi-automatic climate control that's modified to suit a convertible, and a few other minor upgrades. It has the same engine and transmission as the base model. It's also available with the six-speed DSG automatic transmission ($31,065).
Options for the 2.0T include 17-inch Le Mans alloy wheels with 235/45R17 all-season tires ($400) and an upgraded audio system with a six-disc in-dash CD changer and Sirius Satellite Radio ($550). The Luxury Package ($3,490), which is only available with the automatic, includes leather seats, a 12-way power passenger seat, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, wood interior trim, the 6CD changer, Sirius Satellite Radio, a diversity AM/FM antenna, and rain-sensing wipers.
The Sport Package ($3,690) features Avignon 17-inch wheels, sportier styled leather seats with a leather-wrapped three-spoke multi-function steering wheel (with Tiptronic controls for the DSG automatic), brushed aluminum interior trim, rain-sensing wipers, 6CD with MP3 playback capability, Sirius Satellite Radio, the diversity antenna, switchable auto-dimming interior mirror, 12-way power passenger seat with adjustable lumbar support and a sport suspension that lowers the ride height by 15mm. Buyers of the Sport Package can swap the 17-inch alloys for a set of 18-inch Samarkand alloy wheels with 235/40/R18 tires ($400).
The 3.2L V6 Eos is only offered with the DSG automatic transmission and as it includes most of the features of the luxury and sport upgrades listed above, the only package offered is an alternative Sport Package ($650) with leather sport seats, leather-wrapped three-spoke multi-function steering wheel with Tiptronic controls, brushed aluminum trim, sports suspension and 18-inch Samarkand alloy wheels with 235/40/R18 all-season tires.
Those who purchase the packages for the 2.0T or buy the 3.2 V6 can also choose to further upgrade the audio system with the Dynaudio premium sound system ($1,000), a DVD navigation system ($1,800) and a Park Distance Control system ($350). A Technology Package ($1,400) is offered on the 3.2L model, which includes the Park Distance Control system and bi-xenon headlights with AFS.
Generally speaking the problem with a convertible is that, with the soft top up, it never looks as good as a coupe version of the same car. Even classic greats such as the E-type Jaguar looked much sexier as a coupe. Of course, once the top is down all is forgiven, as convertibles then look the way they should.
When the top is up on the Volkswagen Eos it doesn't look anything like a soft-top convertible. Admittedly it's not eye-popping attractive or truly sexy looking, but it's acceptable. In many ways the Eos is a cross between a Jetta or even a Passat and a GTI. That's appropriate as it's built off a combination of the three cars. Indeed, the Eos is about eight inches longer than a GTI and about six inches shorter than a Jetta in overall length.
The front has the unmistakable new VW family look with its in-your-face grille surrounded by plenty of chrome. The sleek covered multifaceted headlights blend into the fender and hood while the edge of the hood continues as a flowing unbroken line back to the rear of the car. The windshield has a low sloping rake to it and in keeping with the coupe look there are no B-pillars. Even the C-pillar is not too large. It's certainly way smaller than it would be if it were a traditional soft-top convertible.
The glass roof gives the Eos a unique look even with the top up. It provides one of the largest openings for a sunroof available in any car as it covers the full width of the roof even if it does not slide back as far as most sunroofs.
The trunk has a large flat top to it, which is necessary as it has to rise up to engorge the whole roof and its mechanism when the top folds down.
Watching the roof fold away is enthralling. In just 25 seconds the top of the roof rises up, the trunk lid opens and the rear window folds up. Then the pieces neatly arrange themselves on top of each other and park themselves in the trunk before the lid closes, hiding everything away from prying eyes and giving the Eos a clean flowing look. It's all done by computer-controlled hydraulics.
An optional remote lets the owner raise or lower the roof while standing away from the car. Another option that could prove invaluable is the Park Distance Control sensor that warns if an object is in the way of the roof or trunk when the mechanism starts to open the trunk because it rotates back some distance and the roof rises a foot or more above the car's closed roofline.
Given the compact look of the Eos, one could be forgiven for expecting it to have a cramped interior. This is far from the truth. Front seat passengers will find it as roomy as in the Jetta with adequate headroom and plenty of hip room.
Obviously with the top down headroom is unlimited, but even with it up the rear seat passengers will find it acceptable unless they are approaching six feet tall. Getting into the back seat is made much easier as the front seatbacks fold down and the seat moves up off the seat runner to provide easier access. Legroom in the back is tight unless the front occupants move their seats forward.
Because part of the folding roof structure has to reside within the side panels when lowered, there is less usable width available for the rear seats, so it's not possible to seat three people in the back seat. The rear seatback is also more vertical than in the Jetta or GTI, as a result of creating maximum space for storage of the folded roof, making it less comfortable. There's a lockable door in the center of the rear seats for holding long items placed through from the trunk.
Even with the roof in place the rear seats are a trifle claustrophobic, although not that much worse than in most small coupes. It's not a car for taking rear seat passengers any great distance, but for cruising around town or at the beach with the top down it's a charm.
Passenger safety is enhanced by an active protection system whereby a roll bar in the rear pops up within a quarter of a second when sensors sense a serious accident is about to occur. Coupled with an extremely stiff front windshield frame this helps protect passengers in a roll over.
The dashboard in the Eos is similar to that found in the Jetta and GTI. It's the same layout with some changes to the trim. That's a good thing because the interior of the Jetta is regarded as being one of the nicest in this price range. The reshaped air vents are trimmed out with thin surrounds in brushed aluminum that sets them off nicely.
Models with the Luxury Package are trimmed with a strip of wood trim stretching across the lower edge of the dashboard; another piece covers the area ahead of the gearshift in the center console. The Sport Package features nicely finished brushed aluminum trim in place of the wood.
Leather comes with both of the packages. Personally, we found the smart-looking cloth seats in the base models more pleasing.
We found the navigation system worked well when we drove the Eos in South Africa. Unfortunately it's not as easy to view as it should be when the roof is open, as the screen is not shielded from the light.
The speedometer and tachometer are located in two nice big round gauges in a compact instrument pod. Although they are easy to read neither is in the center of the instrument panel, which some drivers find disconcerting. Instead there is a LCD in the center providing readouts and warnings. On some models a digital speed reading can be displayed here. The analog coolant temperature and fuel gauges are also located between the speedometer and tachometer.
The trunk is a decent size with the top up, offering 13.4 cubic feet of storage space, which is on par with a small sedan. It has a retractable cover that has to be latched in place before the top can be lowered. With this in place the storage space shrinks by almost half to about 7 cubic feet, similar to that of a two-seat sports car. Considering it has an all-metal roof with a built in sunroof and glass rear window that's not too bad of a compromise. So when you go on long trips you'll probably have the top up.
We spent all of our time driving a European-spec Eos with a six-speed manual transmission so we did not get to try the model with the V6 engine or DSG automatic transmission.
As in other VW models, the combination of the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and the slick six-speed manual transmission is a delight to drive. The engine produces plenty of torque, making it a good car for gentle cruising or more aggressive driving.
In the past, we haven't cared too much for the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder paired up with an automatic transmission. Until we test this combination we can't be sure, but we're inclined to recommend getting the V6 if you want the automatic. Volkswagen's V6 with automatic has been a delightful combination on other models and we expect that will be the case with the Eos.
All Eos models include an electronic stabilization program (ESP), which we found to be completely unobtrusive, perhaps because we never drove the car past its limit of adhesion. We had the chance to drive a short distance on a dirt road at a slow speed and there was no drama from the car nor any squeaks or rattles.
Because of the added weight and a less rigid body the car does not handle as well as the GTI. Hardly any surprise, but again it's not really an issue as the GTI is so good it is almost in class by itself, making it an unfair comparison.
The electro-mechanical steering is fine; in fact we felt it delivered a slightly better feel than in the GTI. Brakes are also more than adequate. The majority of owners will find the Eos is acceptable for all driving except at high speed on winding roads.
With the top up there is virtually no indication that you're in anything other than a coupe. There is little wind noise and the body feels tight. With the top down there is some cowl shake on rough roads. It's far less than in older convertibles, which indicates VW has done an excellent job of creating a stiff new frame under the svelte body.
The Eos includes a couple of extras to help reduce wind buffeting with the top down. These include a deflector that can be raised up along the top edge of the windshield that is mostly to prevent buffeting with the sunroof open. The other is a wire mesh contraption that goes over the rear seats when there are no passengers to lessen air turbulence behind the front seats. We found it helped but wonder whether most people will bother to install it unless they intend to drive some distance with the top down.
We did not have the chance to try an Eos with the Sports Package. In some ways it almost seems unnecessary for this car as it handles just fine in standard trim. If you want a really good handling car the GTI is a much better deal and we doubt the Eos could never match it due to the inherently less rigid body structure and added weight.
If the Beetle Convertible has become passe for fans of VW's iconic car, the new Volkswagen Eos is an all-new, up-to-the-minute alternative. It's truly a car for all seasons. When the metal roof is up the Eos is sealed and you'd never know it was not a normal two-door, four-passenger coupe. On warm days it takes less than half a minute to transform the Eos into a four-seat convertible. For in-between days there's the option of a sunroof with a very wide opening. Compared to the price of other metal-hardtop four-seat convertibles, the Eos is truly one for the masses, priced about ten grand less than the Volvo C70.
New Car Test Drive correspondent John Rettie filed this report after test driving the Volkswagen Eos 2.0T with six-speed manual in South Africa.
Volkswagen Eos ($27,990); 2.0T ($29,990); 2.0T DSG automatic ($31,065); 3.2L V6 DSG automatic ($36,850).
Options As Tested
Volkswagen Eos ($27,990).
2007 Volkswagen Eos Information
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