2012 Volkswagen Eos Comfortline Review
Highs and lows
- 4-seater drop-top
- DSG a pleasure to drive
- Panoramic sunroof
- High price for rather bare interior
- Slow-reacting drop-top lever
Opening the heavens
She was a Greek goddess. Her brother, Helios, was the sun. So that Helios could shine brightly every day, Eos made sure the heavens opened up at dawn. If you lived in ancient Greece and believed in the Titan gods, you'd believed she was the reason each day arrived.
And if you live in today's era (as most of us do, hopefully), you'd believe Eos was a vehicle made by the German automaker, VW.
Bear with me, there is a connection here. While some automakers arbitrarily name their vehicles, or make up words, VW called their four-seater the Eos on purpose. When the car was first introduced in 2005, VW marketed the Eos as being the "dawning of a new era" for VW. And I think on some level they were right, but more than anything, the fact that the Eos is a convertible makes the name oh-so fitting.
Coupled with the huge, panoramic glass sunroof that can also be opened separately, the Eos offers driver and passengers alike the opportunity to open up to the heavens, let the sunshine in, and really take in the day. It is in the Eos that the heavens open up to you, and the sun is let in - just like the dawn in ancient Greece.
Alright, enough with the analogies. What the hell am I going on about? Well, I'm waxing lyrical about the new 2012 Volkswagen Eos which isn't a goddess at all, really. In fact, it's far from it. While the connection is there in the opening of the heavens and all that jazz, that's pretty much where the analogy comes to a screeching halt.
Of course, some may disagree with me (after all, isn't that the nature of our business?), but hear me out: It isn't that the VW Eos is boring - please don't misunderstand me - because it's not. No, the reason it hasn't quite reached goddess status and ultimately blends in so well with every other car on the road is because it's just so nonchalant, so gentle, and so unassuming. This car doesn't try to eat up all the attention; it doesn't try to steal the spotlight (like the goddess Eos who let her brother Helios do all the "shining"), which is rare for a convertible.
Consider most convertibles on the road today; what do you think about their drivers? Come on, be honest. They're looking for attention, being all exposed and in the open like that. Add to that that most convertibles are usually sporty (read: MX-5, Z4, Camaro Convertible, MINI Cooper Cabriolet) and they're just asking for heads to turn.
But not the VW Eos.
Granted, my tester for the week was painted black which didn't help its wallflower status, but even if it had been bright red it wouldn't have made a difference. There's something subtly elegant about the Eos' design that I absolutely love. It's distinctly Volkswagen from nose to tail with a simple front grille, no-nonsense headlights, simple 17" alloy wheels and a simple body crease down the sides that offers just a hint of sportiness.
As a Canadian, I appreciate hardtop convertibles more than most. Sure, cloth-tops are cool, but in our uber-cold winters, I'd rather have a solid roof over my head. And the solid roof offered by VW in the Eos is fantastic, mostly because of its sunroof. It is the only folding hardtop convertible in its class to offer such a feature, and it's a great option to have. However, the lever/button system to retract and replace the roof is a bit confusing and slow.
What I like most about the retracted roof is how well it's integrated into the body. Everything is sealed away and contained, there are no open gaps or lingering bits and pieces hanging around, as is the case with some convertibles. Everything is neatly tucked away.
Now, of course that means it's neatly tucked away in the trunk. With the roof down, the trunk diminishes from 290L to 180L, and while that doesn't make the trunk completely useless, it does make it impractical for some things (read: Costco trips and airport pickups).
The interior of the Eos follows the same simple, sophisticated rules as the exterior. The creamy beige interior of my tester was pleasant on the eyes and blended well with the dark exterior and the brushed chrome and black accents of the dash.
Thankfully, the Eos features a functional back seat. While it is a two-door coupe, the Eos has room for four total, and the back seat is actually comfortable. Top up or down, your buddies in the back will enjoy the ride - of course, with the top down the fun level goes up.
And the engine in the Eos helps add to that fun level as well. With a turbocharged 2.0L L4 turbo, the VW Eos pushes out 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with VW's 6-speed DSG system and the Eos really is a joy to pilot. It goes when you ask it to, and handles extremely well for a drop-top thanks to the extra rigidity of the hardtop.
I quite enjoyed the Eos on open country roads with the top down, sun shining in. It's not that the Eos has a throaty growl of an exhaust or an audible turbo even, but it still feels sporty and handles as such. It doesn't feel stodgy or boring when you're behind the wheel, and that elevates this German-bred machine in my eyes.
As I contemplated the significance of the Volkswagen's name, Eos, it dawned on me (pun fully intended): it really does fit the goddess description. The Eos arouses adoration through its charm (not so much its beauty). And as the electronically controlled hardtop descends into the trunk, letting the sunlight stream in, you'll be glad to hand over the near $40,000 starting price just to enjoy some time behind the wheel.