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2012 VW EOS
Convertible virtues without the vices

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Nov 20, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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2012 Volkswagen Eos

By Brian Kennedy, PhD Putting the top down on this car can best be described as a symphony. You pull a lever on the center console and wait. In a few seconds, little doors open, the top starts to lift, the trunk lid also lifts, flaps open, the top goes back . . . and twenty-five seconds later, it’s all over and you’re al fresco. You like the process so much, you do it again, just to observe the magic. It doesn’t matter if you’re a convertible person or not. I am not, as I’ve detailed before in LA Car. However, the Eos’s top-downing (okay, I made up a word) system is so clever, the choreography so nuanced, that I loved the car simply for the mechanical marvel that it represents.

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But my job here is to give you driving impressions, so here you go: the Eos has its flaws but overall delivers a quality presentation that took me by surprise. Driving up my suburban street, which needs paving, the car bumped and shook over potholes. I was disappointed at the cowl flex I felt, and I think it would bother me to live with it every day. On better roads and the highway, though, I didn’t notice it. The car has a 2.0-litre turbo, and it’s plenty quick despite what might be a weight penalty for the mechanicals of its roof. But the gearing low isn’t quite right—the car is given to spinning its tires (the front ones) on any medium-hard launch when in auto tranny mode. The manual feature of the six-speed gearbox, always there waiting for one to play, is really smooth. You flick the gear lever to the right, and the gear number appears in the top right of the information screen immediately in front of you. You change up or down at will, and the car keeps you from over-revving, but you can really wring it out anyway.

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There are many other positives with the Eos, chief among them the interior fittings of the car. To say they’re terrific would be barely adequate praise. From the moment I approached the test vehicle, I was in love with the red leather interior. The seats are comfortable, too, in the way that you’d expect from a German car—not cushy, but built right, with a firmness that you don’t notice but that keeps you planted and never tires you on a long trip. This model has a 12-way power driver seat, and the same for the passenger, including adjustable lumbar supports. I drove the Eos about 200 miles one way on the highway, and I found it to be straight, true, and easy to pilot, making this the perfect weekend getaway machine, especially if you like the open-topped thing. You might have read my Miata review a while back at LA Car, and you will perhaps recall that driving that car top-down on the LA freeway was kind of a terrifying experience. Not so the Eos. It’s got a higher set of door sills, and you sit low (though not hard-to-get-in low), so there’s generally a more protected feeling when using the car with the roof stowed. I can see this car, then, as a more reasonable alternative for frequent top-down drives home from work. I did observe some negatives from the driver’s seat position, though. The radio interface is slow. There’s a Park Distance Control system incorporated into the large center navigation screen, but it sometimes took several seconds to start working once I put the car in reverse (and no, I’m not one of those who starts a car, puts it immediately into gear, and goes. I give the mechanicals time to come alive). Ditto a time lag in some of the nav and iPod interface functions. It’s like the car’s brain isn’t quite big enough to do what it needs to fast enough.

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However, I did like the hideaway iPod plug-in. It’s in the center console, so you can leave the device plugged in when you’re not in the car with no fear of a thief seeing the unit and helping him- or herself to it. There are also loads of other goodies on this executive model, befitting its sticker price of $39,990. These include seat heaters, CLIMATRONIC dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and heated windshield washer nozzles, plus LED taillights. Thinking about buying one? The Eos is more than just a mid-life toy. It represents a useful compromise between hardtop and convertible, even for drivers in climates which are less friendly to an open-topped car than is So Cal. The hideaway top presents some compromises, though, including a high rear stack which makes it somewhat difficult to see out the back window, itself rather small. There’s also a compromise to be made in the trunk, which shrinks with the top stowed. Good thing there’s room for a couple of suitcases in the rear seat, or to bring a pet or a second passenger along. The latter benefit is where the Eos has an advantage over the Miata, obviously. Not that these two are in the same category, except that they both have retractible hardtops. Price-wise, the VW is over and above the Miata, and at nearly $40 grand, it’s quite a bite for most wallets. But that brings me back to VW as a brand.

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I test-drove some Veedubs back in the summer of 2010 on the way to buying a Nissan Cube. The salesperson at my dealership was nice, well-trained, etc. But he wouldn’t price the cars (other than to cite the sticker). I gave up trying to make a deal, not being particularly in love with any of the models I tried anyway. Spending a morning at the dealership, it wasn’t possible to get a really intimate sense of what the brand currently is. Having the Eos for a week changed my impressions completely. The Eos, and, I am assuming the VW line overall, is so tightly put together, so properly thought-out in its interior execution, and so refined, that should you be in the market for a car more in the mid-20 thousand range, it would be a shame not to have a gander at the Passat and other company offerings. I personally would gravitate away from the Eos simply because I wouldn’t use the convertible enough to justify the cost of the car, but having driven it for a week makes me think that I might just buy a VW of another stripe. Everything is just executed so nicely. For more information about Volkswagen products, go to www.vw.com SUMMARY JUDGMENT The Eos convertible: Symphony in C Major

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SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 VW Eos Executive Price: $33,995 (base) $39,220 plus $770 destination (as tested Executive model) Executive model includes standard foglights, heated mirrors and windshield washer nozzles, a wind deflector, keyless entry, cruise control, heated eight-way power seats with four-way adjustable lumbar support, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, and Bluetooth. The standard eight-speaker sound system features an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod interface, HD radio, satellite radio, a CD player and a touchscreen interface, parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a navigation system (HD radio is deleted), a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels and a 10-speaker Dynaudio sound system that restores HD radio. EPA fuel economy rating (miles per gallon): 22 city/30 highway Engine: 2.0L TSI turbocharged in-line 4 cylinder Horsepower: 200 @ 5100 rpm Torque: 207 pound-feet @ 1800 rpm Transmission: 6-speed DSG automatic with Tiptronic sequential manual mode Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Suspension: MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension Four-wheel independent suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars Wheels and tires: 18 x 8.0 inch alloy wheels and 235/40R18 all-season tires Dimensions Width: 70.5 in. Height: 56.8 in. Length: 174.1 in. Curb weight: 3569 lbs.

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