With the demise of Volkswagen’s Golf Cabriolet and Beetle Cabriolet, shoppers looking for a drop-top offering from Volkswagen have but one current option: the power-retractable-hard-top Volkswagen Eos.
Not that the Eos is a consolation prize, by anyone’s standards. It comes with such amenities as the aforementioned folding hard top, available leather upholstery and an optional dual-clutch gearbox, and uses the same engine found in the Volkswagen GTI. Those features come at a price, and the Eos’ $34,350 point of entry is quite a bit more than Golf Cabriolet owners may be used to.
In all fairness, the Eos is a much more polished car than the old Golf Cabriolet, and it seems built to a higher standard. Option out a Mazda MX-5 with a power retractable hard top and you’ll come up with a price that’s nearly in the same ballpark, and a convertible Audi TT sells for quite a bit more without a hard top option.
Despite it’s front-wheel-drive layout, the Eos offers drivers some entertainment value behind the wheel. Much of the credit goes to the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, borrowed straight from the GTI. It’s conservatively rated at 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, but we suspect it puts out more than that when fueled with 93-octane premium gas.
Buyers get a choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed, dual-clutch DSG gearbox, but the DSG is really the best choice for extracting the maximum performance from the Eos. It’s the best choice for city fuel economy as well, returning an EPA estimated 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, compared to the manual transmission’s 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
While the Eos may share a powertrain with the GTI, don’t expect it to be quite as quick or nimble as its stablemate. The run from 0 - 60 mph in the Eos takes just under 7.5 seconds, and the car’s suspension is tuned more for comfort than for cornering (though a “sport” suspension is included with Executive trim level cars). Given the Eos’ topless cruiser mission, though, we say it’s fast enough and handles well enough to keep all but the most hardcore drivers entertained.
Raising or lowering the hardtop is accomplished via the help of eight electric motors, and the process takes around 25 seconds to complete. Although technically a 2+2, the rear seats of the Eos are best reserved for children, pets or packages, since legroom is on the tight side.
If you’ve got the budget, the Eos can be optioned out to near-luxury levels of content, including voice guided navigation, leather seating, a Dynaudio sound system, HID lighting, headlight washers and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Get crazy with the trim levels and options, however, and the Eos can crack the $41,000 price point, which puts it into BMW 1-Series convertible pricing territory.
For a comprehensive review of the 2012 Volkswagen Eos, see our detailed write-up at The Car Connection.