“Knowing he hates the wind in what’s left of his hair, we gave Klosey the Volkswagen Eos to Review...”
I’ve never been a big fan of convertibles. To me they have traditionally swapped structural integrity and dynamics for a ‘softer’ drive and sunburn. You know, the type of car shunned by enthusiasts but coveted by poseurs. With the popularity of coupe/cabriolets gaining momentum, and summer well and truly underway, it seemed appropriate to take a look at the Volkswagen Eos. Would my preconceived notions be confirmed?
Volkswagen Australia tossed me the keys to the Eos diesel and gave me a week to have a closer look at their summer cruiser.
What Is The Eos?
The Eos isn’t a re-bodied Golf. It does however share the Golf V’s wheelbase and front suspension assembly, but combines it with the Passat’s four-link rear suspension for an added dose of sophistication. The Eos’s two-door body is, on the other hand, all original (aside from the Passat chrome grille) and looks a treat. It is better balanced, particularly the rear sheet-metal, than many of its coupe/cabriolet competitors.
Starting at $47,990 for the 2.0 TDI turbo-diesel engine with a six-speed manual gearbox, there is also the option of a 2.0 TFSI (it’s the same 147Kw engine that is found in the Golf GTi) with the six-speed manual costing $49,990. It’s not often that you can buy a diesel for less than a petrol. Both engine choices can be ordered with VW's Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) for an extra $2300.
The EOS also sports an impressive list of standard features, including low tyre pressure indicator, climate control air-conditioning, cruise control, 'coming/leaving home' headlight function, fog lights, six-disc in-dash CD changer with eight speakers, multi-function leather-trim steering wheel, multi-function trip computer, power windows and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.
While 17-inch alloy wheels are standard (as tested), there is the option of lowered sports suspension, with 18-inch alloys. Other options include walnut wood trim, a premium audio system, sat-nav and bi-xenon headlights.
On test was the turbo diesel mated to the six-speed DSG, which proved to be a perfect match: strong low-down torque with a willingness to rev (accompanied by a not displeasing muffled growl) gives the Eos a very sprightly feel. It's explained in the figures: 103kW @ 4000rpm and a massive 320Nm available from 1750-2500rpm. The result is a respectable 10 second dash to 100k/ph, and a meagre 6.9 l/100km consumption.
In fact, so grunty was this combination that less-judicious use of the throttle off the line is greeted by wheelspin, at least until the traction control steps in to spoil the fun.
The diesel grunt, combined with superb steering dynamics, and a sharp but not bruising European ride, combines to make the Eos a very swift point-to-point tourer. In fact, despite being saddled with a 200kg weight penalty over the Golf, it felt more lively and go-kart like than its hatch-back cousin. Serious drivers can really enjoy this car.
The Eos’s folding roof is worthy of its own section in this review. It features a total of 470 parts (yes, someone has counted them), an electro-hydraulic pump and eight hydraulic cylinders that combine to open the five-piece Webasto roof in 25 seconds. It is super simple to use, nothing to undo, unclip and no need to exit the car – simply push the ‘open’ button and let the Eos do the rest.
Roof up, the Eos is surprisingly creak and rattle free and the only perceptible wind noise was provided by the door mirrors, an outstanding effort given the complexity of the roof.
Even with the roof up, open-top motoring die-hards will enjoy the innovative electric glass sun-roof on those cooler days. Roof down, you can enjoy all the benefits of convertible motoring, including sunburn, steaming hot leather trim and longing looks from young women – sadly more interested in your car than you.
The Eos cabin isn’t a bad place at all to spend those long summer days. It's as black as a Russian sit-com but with brushed metal highlights and quality plastics, complimented by the optional leather trim and integrated six-stack CD, the cabin has a very classy feel.
The front seats are plenty comfortable and offer good support. Rear seat occupants will find the seat backs sit a little too upright, so they are better suited to kids rather than adults, and short trips rather than interstate journeys. The rest is typically VW, which means well thought-out, ergonomically correct and screwed together to last.
Despite having a boot that in good weather is likely to be full of roof, the Eos offers a reasonable amount of useable boot space, certainly enough for singles and ‘dinks’ to tackle their weekly shopping and keep the roof down. Roof up, the Eos offers 308 litres of boot space, which is reduced to 205 litres with the roof down.
As you would expect from Volkswagen, occupant safety is well catered-for. The Eos may be a convertible but it has a high level of body rigidity, a fact which explains its excellent on-road manners and absence of scuttle-shake. VW has used high-strength steels in the manufacture of the Eos’s platform to retain the structural rigidity lost by the absence of the B and C pillars.
In addition to its sturdy structure, the Eos is fitted with front airbags, head/thorax side airbags and a rear mounted roll bar (that will deploy in 0.25 seconds) to protect occupants in the event of an accident or roll-over.
Any convertible by its very nature is a compromise. Most lifestyle cars are and people shopping for cars of this type are generally prepared to accept the compromises if it means enjoying some roof-down motoring. In the case of the Eos, VW appears to have looked hard at the usual compromises and found answers for many of them.
The Eos offers a structurally robust, reasonably roomy, fun to drive, economical and well-built convertible – one that when the sun’s rays have taken their toll will convert to a solid snug coupe at the touch of a button.
Brilliant in its execution, the Eos offers the best of both worlds. As a package, it is an enjoyable drive, fun to live with and difficult to fault. It is worth a very close look if you’re in the market for this type of versatile lifestyle car.
The Last Word
A seriously good drive, in a fun filled summer package that offers convertible fans the best of both worlds. A triumph of good design, the Eos is both easy on the eye and effective in the way it offers its unique motoring experience.
- Good looks and petite rump for a CC
- Turbo-diesel torque off the line
- Impressive fuel economy
- Amazing folding roof
- Quality interior and ergonomics
- Solid body, lack of rattles and scuttle-shake
- Fun handling
- Upright rear seat back
- Black interior a little bland
- Attracted plenty of female attention, they just weren’t interested in the driver
- Peugeot 307CC
- Renault Megane CC
- Holden Astra TwinTop
- Ford Focus CC
|Capacity||2.0-litre / 1968CC|
|Fuel System||Bosch EDC 17 with common rail injection|
|Power||103kW @ 4200 RPM|
|Torque||320Nm @ 1750 – 2500 RPM|
|Performance||0-100km/h: 10.3 seconds (claimed |
Top Speed: 206km/h (claimed)
|Transmission||6 Speed DSG (also 6 Speed Manual)|
|Steering||Electro-mechanical power assisted rack & pinion steering|
|Suspension||Front: Independent, MacPherson struts with lower A-arms. Anti-roll bar. |
Rear: Independent, four-link with coil springs. Anti-roll bar.
|Brakes||Front: Ventilated Discs |
|Wheels and Tyres||Alloy wheels (Le Mans) 17 x 7½” with 235/45 R17 tyres Alloy wheels (Akiros) 17x 7½” |
Alloy wheels (Azuro) 17x 7½” Alloy wheels (Velos) 18x 7½”
|Kerb weight||6 speed DSG: 1581 |
6 speed manual: 1556
|Economy||6 speed DSG: 6.9 litres / 100km (claimed) |
6 speed Manual: 6.0 litres / 100km (claimed)
|Price||Eos 103TDI 6 Speed DSG $50,490 |
Eos 103TDI 6 Speed Manual $47,990