2014 Volkswagen Eos SportPosted on April 30th, 2014
Retractable hardtop for driving enthusiasts
By Nina Russin
The Volkswagen Eos is like two cars for the price of one. With the hardtop in place, it’s a sport coupe, powered by a turbocharged 200 horsepower four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Utilizing a toggle switch adjacent to the center console, the driver can fold the top into the trunk in less than 25 seconds, transforming the Eos into a cabriolet.
Following a major redesign for the 2012 model year, the 2014 car is essentially unchanged. The biggest news is the availability of VW Car-Net connected car services, including automatic crash notification. New car buyers receive a six-month complimentary subscription to the service.
The Eos is available in three trim levels: base Komfort, midgrade Sport and upscale Executive. The Sport model tested incorporates a modified suspension with firmer spring and damper settings. The car also sits half an inch lower for enhanced high-speed performance.
Base price for the test car is $37,495. Standard convenience features include keyless entry and start, the power folding hardtop with a sliding sunroof, satellite radio, Bluetooth interface, 12-way power driver’s seat, dual zone climate control, touchscreen navigation and bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and tail lamps. Adding the $865 destination charge, final MSRP is $38,360.
Test drive in Arizona
This week I drove the newest Eos around the Phoenix, Scottsdale and Chandler Arizona metropolitan areas. Late spring weather was perfect for driving with the top down.
The Eos is a niche car. Its high MSRP and lack of trunk space limit the car’s appeal to those buyers who have the means to afford it and can travel light. But it’s also one of the best-executed retractable hardtops on the market.
Visibility around the perimeter is surprisingly good with the hardtop in place. Although the test car was not equipped with the optional rearview camera, I had no problems backing out of parking spots or monitoring for cross traffic. Since the car has no B pillars, over-the-shoulder visibility is excellent, making it easy to monitor traffic in the adjacent lanes.
The car’s structure is extremely solid, so much so that the windows lower slightly when the driver unlocks the door to break the air seal. Cowl shake that is the bane of many convertibles is a non-issue.
The turbocharged two-liter engine is delightfully responsive. Direct injection enhances throttle response. Because of the turbochargers, the engine develops its peak torque of 207 foot-pounds as low as 1700 rpm, so the driver doesn’t need to dip far into the throttle to accelerate.
The six-speed dual-clutch transmission offers the crisp performance of a manual gearbox with the convenience of an automatic. Fuel economy is good but not exceptional, with an EPA average of 25 miles-per-gallon. As with most convertibles, the Eos is a heavy car. Curb weight is just over 3500 pounds. The manufacturer requires premium fuel: something would-be buyers should factor into the cost of ownership.
The car’s short wheelbase and electric power steering combine to produce a small turning circle: 35.8 feet, making it easy to perform the occasional U-turn.
The suspension consists of a strut-type setup in front and multilink in the rear. The rear suspension is mounted to a subframe to reduce road noise. Anti-roll bars on both axles keep the chassis flat in the corners. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the car in firm, linear fashion.
With the top retracted, the Eos becomes a completely different animal. Open-air motoring is a much more visceral experience, surrounding the driver with the sounds and smells of the environment. Driving along a rural two-lane road on a balmy spring day, it can be quite a lovely experience.
The Volkswagen Eos isn’t a particularly large car. The wheelbase is 101.5-inches: something second-row passengers pay for in terms of legroom. But that, in general, is the nature of two-plus-twos.
I found the driver’s seat easy to adjust for good visibility out the front, with plenty of lower lumbar support for longer road trips. Keyless entry and start saves the driver from fumbling for the key fob. The driver’ seat slides forward to ease access and egress to the second row.
The leatherette seating is attractive, although it retains heat more than cloth in weather extremes. I found the center stack display easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions. Ditto for the digital display on the gauge cluster.
Dual-zone air conditioning enables both front occupants to adjust the temperature to their liking.
The trunk is constructed to prevent users from placing cargo in the hardtop stowage area. As a result, there is very little usable space.
The Volkswagen Eos comes with front and side airbags. A rollover protection system deploys two spring-loaded aluminum posts from behind the rear seat head restraints if sensors detect too much lateral movement in the vehicle.
Other standard safety features include antilock brakes, daytime running lamps, electronic differential lock and electronic stability control. Adaptive front lighting swivels the headlamps according to steering inputs to better light corners in the road. It can make a big difference in the driver’s ability to see pedestrians at intersections in poorly lit rural or suburban areas. In the event of a serious collision, the vehicle automatically unlocks the doors, cuts the fuel and turns on the hazard lights.
The factory warranty includes two years or up to 24,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance, whichever comes first.
Like: A solidly built retractable hardtop that combines sporty performance with the joy of open-air motoring.
Dislike: Lack of trunk space. High MSRP puts the Eos out of reach for some potential buyers.
Model: Eos Sport
Base price: $37,495
As tested: $38,360
Horsepower: 200 Hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque: 207 lbs.-ft. @ 1700 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: N/A
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 22/30 mpg city/highway
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