2008 Eos New Car Test Drive
Eos was the Greek goddess of the dawn. The Volkswagen Eos is a two-door, four-seat, retractable hardtop convertible. It brings on the sun with the press of a button. In a display of modern engineering, the hard roof rises up, the trunk lid opens, the rear window folds, then the pieces neatly stack themselves into the trunk before the lid closes, hiding everything and giving the Eos the clean look of a convertible. Press the button again and the glass-paneled roof arises, unfolds, and firmly latches in place. Eos is now a sanctuary, tight and quiet as a coupe.
Retractable hardtops are nothing new. A few European exotics offered them in the 1930s, and the 1957-59 Ford Skyliner was probably the first mass-produced example of the breed. But Eisenhower-era Americans rejected the increased cost and complexity of the Skyliner, with many preferring to buy a lower-priced, standard cloth-topped Ford convertible off the same showroom floor.
Our standards of comfort have changed since then, as have our concerns about security. Lately manufacturers of expensive luxury roadsters have been offering more and more models with new, high-tech folding metal roofs. With the Eos, Volkswagen has delivered the first of these new-generation folding hardtops that most of us can afford. The Eos is the first modern European hardtop convertible priced under $30,000.
Even with the top down, Eos feels tighter than most older convertibles, with less cowl shake on rough roads. When it is raised, the glass top gives the Eos a unique appearance. And it's entertaining to watch it go up or down, a feat that can be performed by remote control.
Though it's a small car, the Eos seats four, and getting into the back seat is relatively easy. The interior is trimmed nicely, an area where Volkswagen excels.
We were more than happy with the 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 turbo 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 that decision can add $8,000 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 yet offers opportunities for top-down worship of the sun, the moon and the stars.
The 2008 Volkswagen Eos offers a choice of two engines and four trim levels.
Eos Turbo is the base model and it comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and six-speed manual ($28,915) or six-speed DSG automatic ($29,990) transmission. Standard: V-Tex Leatherette upholstery, air conditioning, an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, cruise control, eight-way adjustable front seats, tilt and telescope steering wheel, power windows, power heated mirrors, power locks with remote, and a removable wind blocker. Tires are all-season 215/55HR16 on 16-inch alloy wheels. Options are limited to heated front seats ($225) and an iPod adapter ($199).
Eos Komfort is offered with the same six-speed manual ($30,565) or automatic ($31,640) transmissions, but is upgraded with a sports suspension, Tiptronic paddle shifters (with automatic transmission), sport seats with 12-way power for the driver, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-CD changer with MP3 capability, Sirius Satellite Radio, heated front seats and washer nozzles, trip computer, and ambient interior lighting. Options expand to include 235/45HR17 all-season tires on 17-inch alloy wheels ($450).
Eos Lux ($34,990) comes with the automatic transmission. While the Komfort model is sporty the Lux is luxurious, and it reverts to the standard suspension and standard seats (but with real leather upholstery), and deletes the paddle shifters. Otherwise it includes all Komfort standard features plus walnut interior trim, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, multi-function steering wheel, Park Distance Control, and the same 17-inch wheels and tires that are optional on the Komfort model. Ten-speaker, 600-watt Dynaudio premium sound ($1,000) and DVD-based navigation ($1,800) join the option list.
Eos VR6 ($37,990) features Volkswagen's exclusive 3.2-liter narrow-angle V6 engine and six-speed DSG automatic with Tiptronic paddle shifters. VR6 comes with leather sport seats, brushed aluminum interior trim, and all Lux/Komfort-level conveniences, plus heated power folding self-dimming exterior mirrors, Homelink, sports suspension, and 235/40HR18 all-season tires on 18-inch alloy rims. Visual distinction is provided by additional chrome accents on the front grille. Premium sound and navigation are again optional, plus adaptable bi-xenon headlights ($950).
Some changes to content were made during the model year. The information above is accurate for 2008 Eos models built in October 2007 and later. Seats, audio systems, and some options may differ slightly in 2008 Eos models built between May and October of 2007; see your dealer for details.
Safety equipment for all Eos models includes dual front airbags with passenger detection, side curtain and side-thorax airbags, front seat-belt pre-tensioners, four head restraints, automatic roll-over bars, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control (ESP), traction control, and a tire pressure monitor.