Eos able to go topless but not quickly
"With the roof stowed, it’s a slick-looking vehicle. Despite a five-piece roof setup, the rear end doesn’t look bloated and frumpy."
It’s all too easy to overlook the 2012 Volkswagen Eos as it sits alongside more popular vehicles in VW’s line-up such as the iconic Beetle, the swift-selling Jetta, and the critically-acclaimed Passat.
And while it took me a few days to really warm up to Volkswagen’s hardtop convertible, the Eos proves itself an interesting, if flawed, vehicle in a small segment.
VW’s only current hardtop convertible was introduced in 2006, a few years after the Golf Cabrio ragtop was retired. The Eos received a facelift in 2010 to give it a more mature look that mirrored other recently redesigned VW models, and it gets a few more interior and exterior changes and upgrades for the 2012 model year.
Although I still think the Eos is easily recognizable as a hardtop convertible with the top up, many people I show the vehicle to are surprised to hear it is, in fact, a drop-top.
With the roof stowed, it’s a slick-looking vehicle. Despite a five-piece roof setup, the rear end doesn’t look bloated and frumpy. Roll bars are placed behind the rear seats, but they only make an appearance when they’re needed - which is hopefully never.
Volkswagen claims 25 seconds to go from coupe to convertible, but to that I say “poppycock”, as there is a noticeable delay before pieces start moving when initially pressing the roof operation switch.
Not only that, but every time I go to put the top down, a message in the instrument cluster readout tells me there’s an obstruction outside of the trunk’s luggage protector, even though the few small items back there are clearly within the limits. I simply ignore the warning, and the roof retracts regardless.
For those who are too impatient to wait 25 seconds or more, or live in provinces where the snow is already falling, the Eos is still the only convertible on our roads that also employs a power-operated sunroof. It’s a neat little feature, to be sure.
The Eos uses a modified version of the platform used by its Golf sibling, and though the two vehicles share the exact same wheelbase, the convertible has noticeably less space inside for people and cargo.
The front seats are supportive and offer plenty of room for my lanky frame, but the two back seats are best left for kids or short jaunts with adults. Ingress and egress to the rear seats is a little tricky with the top up, but getting into or out of the front buckets is a cinch, thanks in no small part to the A-pillars that sit far ahead of the seats themselves.
There’s one engine under the hood of both Eos trims for 2012 - Volkswagen’s tried-and-tested 2.0-litre turbocharged “four.” It’s more powerful than competitors’ four-cylinder offerings, but falls well short of V6 powerplants found in the likes of the Ford Mustang and Chrysler 200 convertibles.
That said, I’m a big fan of VW’s offering, and for good reason. It’s smooth, relatively quiet, and it’s made all the better when mated with the automaker’s wonderful six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. It’s still easily one of the best transmissions you can find outside of a luxury vehicle.
That’s the rub though - while the Eos isn’t a luxury car, the price tag for my Highline test vehicle suggests otherwise. With the $3,000 Technology Package added in, this vehicle comes close to $50,000, which puts it in Lexus IS-C territory, and even near the lowest-priced Volvo C70.
You can opt for a far less expensive Mustang or 200, but you’ll be getting a much different experience, with the former being closer to a raw muscle car, and the latter leaning more toward a staid tourer.
The Eos sits somewhere in between. It’s peppy and fun to drive for a four-seat convertible, but it offers a comfortable, more serene experience when all you’re interested in is road-tripping on a cool fall day.
2012 Volkswagen Eos
Trim level: Highline
Price as tested (before taxes): $48,700
Options on test vehicle: Technology Package ($2,925) inc.: upgraded audio system, touch screen navigation system with 30 GB hard drive
Configuration: front engine/ front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0L 4-cyl./ 6-spd auto. with sequential shift
Power/torque: 200 hp/ 207 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): Premium (55L)
Fuel economy ratings: 9.5 L/100km city; 6.7 L/100km hwy
Observed fuel economy: 8.9 L/100km over 499 km
Warranties: 4 years/80,000 km (basic); 5 years/100,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: Chrysler 200 convertible; Ford Mustang convertible; Lexus IS C; Volvo C70.
Strengths: engine; transmission; acceleration; "CSC" roof system
Weaknesses: styling; power; wonky convertible operation