What’s Hot: New exterior, improved spec, GTI powerplant.
What’s Not: Carry-over interior.
X-Factor: A great drivetrain and decent rear seats make the Eos a weekend cruiser.
Vehicle Style: Hard-top convertible
Fuel Economy (claimed): 7.7 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 8.2 l/100km
Volkswagen has facelifted its Eos convertible, updating its appearance to bring it into line with the rest of VW’s range.
Standard specification has also been lifted - but with a $500 price rise as a result. The rest of the package is pretty familiar, particularly the interior (which may be starting to show its age).
Quality: Material quality is generally good, but aside from some minor trim updates, the design and overall layout carries over from the previous model.
Comfort: There’s plenty of room up front, and the optional electric seats also include a power-assisted fold-forward function to aid access to the rear.
Shoulder room is tight in the rear seats, and taller-than-average adults will struggle for headroom with the roof raised. Leg and knee room is adequate though.
Roof and windows down, there’s noticeable wind buffet above 80 km/h. A retractable wind deflector on the top of the windscreen frame helps reduce buffeting, but raising the windows is perhaps the best solution.
The retractable sunroof section is a unique feature of the Eos, and is the perfect solution to getting more sun and air into the cabin without having to stop to lower the entire roof.
Equipment: The big news for the 2011 VW Eos is the addition of Bluetooth, a USB audio input and a DSG automatic gearbox as standard.
Those supplement the already-standard eight-speaker RCD510 touchscreen stereo system, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlamps, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and rear parking sensors.
Storage: Roof up, the stumpy boot can swallow 380 litres of luggage. That falls to just 205 litres with the roof folded, and although the remaining space is reasonably deep, you’ll struggle to fit anything more than a briefcase between the roof panels and the boot lip.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: Shared with the Golf GTI, the Eos 155TSI’s 155kW turbocharged petrol four-pot is impressively tractable. Coupled with the now-standard six-speed DSG twin-clutch transmission, the Eos is a very lively performer.
Low speed DSG performance also seems to be improved over previous VW twin-clutch transmissions; the new model is smoother coming away from standstill.
Refinement: Rough roads can elicit the occasional creak from the roof and, with the roof down, there’s noticeable scuttle shake felt through the steering column.
Suspension: The Eos has decent grip, but with a strong preference to understeer when pushed hard. The heavy roof mechanism also produces a lot of body roll when it’s raised, while lowering it reduces handling precision due to chassis flex.
Braking: We had no complaints with the Eos’s all-disc braking system. It may tip the scales at just under 1600kg, but the brakes had no trouble with repeated hard stops.
ANCAP rating: 4 stars
Safety features: Front and front side airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control and stability control.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited kilometres
Service costs: TBC
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Peugeot 308CC ($49,490) - Decent interior space and an eye-catching design are highlights of the 308CC, but the Eos has a more impressive folding roof, better rear seats and much more power than the 115kW Peugeot. (see 308CC reviews)
MINI Cooper S Cabrio automatic ($51,150) - Similar money to the VW, but your friends will hate you if you relegate them to the back seat.
Still, its retro design has significant showroom appeal over the Eos despite losing the power stakes (the MINI’s 128kW is no match for the VW for output). (see Cabrio reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
It’s a pretty mild update, but with the current model due for replacement in 2013, it won’t be long until a comprehensive revision of the Eos arrives.
That said, there’s no denying the value of the Eos when compared with similar European four-seater drop tops. With the 155TSI, it’s got one of the best engines in the business and superior dynamics to match.