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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.

click any image to enlarge

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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      It never ceases to amaze me! Don't auto journalists get it? Is it really that bad to actually be critical to the people who provide you cars to test? People don't buy stuff they don't trust. No one trusts VW reliability anymore. That's why they lost billions. Not b/c they stopped offering cute-sy cars (clearly they haven't!) or b/c they didn't offer enough of this or that. Get it?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I fail to understand why VW tries to go upmarket with these sorts of cars. The EOS should compete with a Miata hard-top, and it prices itself above that car by at least $5-8K.

      VW succeeds with slightly hip inexpensive cars - Beetle, Jetta, Golf. I've always seen them as a car for someone who doesn't want to be a Honda clone, but wants that sort of price point.

      I'm glad a few EOS owners are here and like their cars, but that doesn't mean these make sense to enough buyers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am German and would never buy a VW again. Lower Timing chain broke 5000 miles after the Warranty run out. Ruined the whole engine. (2000 vr 6)
      Wrote VW a letter in German they could not Care less. Was a material flaw. They can keep their Junk and better wake up.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have not have a VW since my 1984 Quantum. Nice enough car, but had a overheating problem. I have never purchased more than one of any make until SAAB. With several friends with various BMW's and M-B's that have had monumental problems (2 of which each received new BMW's when their problems could not be fixed) I quickly took them off my list. My first SAAB was a 93 9000 CDE turbo. Wonderful car to drive, but have minor electrical problems. Fast forward to 2003 when I purchased my second SAAB, a 9-3. While I have read horror stories about this model, mine was very good. In 4 years and 46K miles, I had to have a new battery, a sunroof sensor, a head light and my emergency brake fixed. That was it. My dealer service in Dallas Texas is amazing. All this brought me back to my new 07 9-3 convertible. If this is as good or better than my 1st 9-3, then I do not see myself ever driving anything else, hardtop or soft!
      • 7 Years Ago
      This car is why we need a Polo convertible (Cabrio)
      in North America.
      People still drive and worship their Cabrio's and Cabriolet's to this day but generally paid a good deal less.
      It's one of the many reasons the Cabrio was so cool.
      I'd still take an EOS in a heartbeat.
        • 7 Years Ago
        How much extra do you have to pay for one that doesn't leak?

        Between my wife and I, we've owned 6 VWs over the last 20 years and we finally had enough. yes, they can be fun and they have nice interiors, but we'll never go back. We've had the following happen to our well maintained, low-mileage cars:

        1) Dead AC compressor on a Passat (at under 40,000 miles -- just out of warranty): $1,400

        2) Dead O2 sensor on an R32 with under 3,000 miles. Car was undrivable and it took 3 days to get the part. No loaner from the dealer.

        3) Grinding brakes from misalligned pads which destroyed the rotors (once on a new GTI, same issue after a brake service on the Passat)

        4) Warped brake rotors (twice on the same car -- heavy Passat 4Motion with undersized rotors)

        5) Dead radio (on a Jetta, just out of warranty)

        6) Coil-pack recall that the dealer said was extremely important to have repaired ASAP (recall), but for which they couldn't get parts for over 5 weeks. They advised me not to drive the car during that month or I'd risk violating the warranty. No loaner offered, of course.

        7) Window regulators on a MKIV GTI (along with hundreds of thousands of others).

        8) Squeaks and rattles ad nauseum

        Need I go on?

        • 7 Years Ago
        There's two car companies that my mechanic father in law hates and they are all Hyundai's and the last ten years of Volkswagon's.

        I can't blame him, although I think Hyundai has finally got it's act together.
      • 7 Years Ago
      hate the huge chrome on the front
      why must everyone have a huge chrome accent on the front nowadays.
      and this car cant look anymore bland, the roof is cool, but put it on a car that doesnt look like a turd.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd rather take a adequately equipped A4 2.0T, thanks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Honestly, VW makes cars for our tastes, just not our pocket. $35K for the EOS is asking WAY too much.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Your review makes me think the G6 convertible looks appealing now. I find the styling of the car rather...odd. The front looks like it gives way to an nice rear, but it falls short. the whole curvature of the rear window/glass area is just odd, it might be there for engineering reasons, but it just doesn't work. The side profile of the car is broken up with way to many lines.
      • 7 Years Ago
      VW problems aren't related to taste or exchange rates - it's all about the rotten quality of these cars. They all look great and *appear* to offer extraordinary quality. Great design, no-nonsense interiors, good handling. But word-of-mouth (both real and online) tells a different story. Lousy reliability has been killing Saab, and is now about to claw VW right off the showroom floor. People will *not* put up with these games anymore - this ain't the 1970's!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ok, the price does have exchange rate written all over it. But it will sell - would sell - regardless. Except that it also has craptastic reliability.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Uh, THAT car at $36,000? Definitely has something to do with the exchange rates.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Agree... I was tempted to get an EOS (even though it's spendy), until I saw one stuck in a very bad spot on the I-405 freeway last week. Not even old enough to have real license plates. It did not appear to be an accident...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Fortunately i must say i disagree with the negative comments toward this car. i researched my purchase quite a bit, and contemplated for quite a long time before settling on the eos. i sat in everything from audi, volvo, pontiac, cadillac, you name the competition, i drove it. my partner suggested vw after not being satisfied with anything else. i fell in love with the eos. i got the fully loaded 3.2 black on black...it has EVERYTHING. and while i will agree that the seats were uncomfortable, i have to emphisize were. i am a 260+ lbs and roughly 6 feet tall. i have had my car for a little over 5 months and after about the first month(hmm, that break in period) i have been VERY comfortable inside. im over 8000 miles and i have had 1 leak, which was promptly addressed. everything else on the car is beautiful and executed well. I also have to say that this is not a car one would really want to put car seats in, or even children. i REALLY dont see ANY parents going out of thier way to get this as a family car. its not meant for that. bigger people almost always have at least a few big friends and i'm no exception. i have had 5 people (4 of them 230+ including me) on an hour and a half trip into l.a. and we were comfortable. back seat and front. this wave of unreliability hasnt come up at all for me, nor anyone i know. (though the gentleman with that broken chain...had i heard your story i would have thought twice again before purchasing. lol. not saying anybody is wrong or what-not, just a voice saying "its not that bad" and i actually own one. i would even go as far as saying, that even if i were to buy another car right now, id still get a vw.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thanks, Chris for pointing out what other reviewers do not: Many VWs are simply too tight for a lot of Americans to fit in. It's not just about girth.
      At 6' tall and slightly long in the torso, I simply can't sit in a Jetta or a Golf without ducking my head or reclining the seat dramatically.
      Too bad, because I'd just love to park a new GTi in my garage.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You sure about that? I'm 6' and I have well over 6" over my head in my MkV Jetta, more than my Infiniti I35, Acura TL, and Infiniti FX. Make sure the seat isn't all the way up when you try it.
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