2012 Volkswagen Eos Road Test Review

Simon Hill - CAP staff
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Comfortline trim features leatherette upholstery that could easily pass for real leather. (Photo: Simon Hill, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

The back seats are reasonably comfortable for average-size adults. (Photo: Simon Hill, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Trunk space is limited by the need to stow the roof, but a few bags of groceries fit easily enough. (Photo: Simon Hill, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on January 03, 2012

Power across the Eos range comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine producing 200-horsepower and hooked up to a 6-speed automated manual transmission. (Photo: Simon Hill, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

A whole new front end with a wide horizontal grille and angular headlights gives the 2012 Eos a more mature, masculine appearance. (Photo: Simon Hill, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

At the back, simpler taillights and a lower diffuser create a cleaner, sportier look. (Photo: Simon Hill, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Top up or down, the Eos is a nice looking and well proportioned car. (Photo: Simon Hill, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Published on January 03, 2012

Six years after its 2006 introduction Volkswagen's Eos hardtop convertible has become a familiar fixture in the automotive marketplace, but that doesn't mean it's the same car it has always been. For 2012 Volkswagen has given the Eos a thorough facelift that at once gives it more of a family resemblance to the current Golf and the newly-redesigned Jetta, while also conveying a more mature and - significantly - more masculine appearance.

The changes include a new front fascia and wide horizontal grille, with new headlights in angular housings. At the back there's new a diffuser for a sportier look, and the glitzy round white central taillight lenses are gone, replaced by simple, almost rectangular taillights. All-in-all the changes have cleaned up the Eos considerably, although part of me feels that the new front end doesn't quite match the somewhat more lightly revised back end. Still, my Candy White test car definitely conveyed a little more "cool" and a little less "cute" than the silver 2009 Eos I last drove, and I was happy about that.

I was less happy about my test car's Bluetooth interface, which is ingenious to the point of being obtuse: It uses a single button (mounted up by the rearview mirror where it was difficult to find) to control the system, in concert with a voice prompt. So it's very discreet, but I actually (gasp!) had to refer to the manual to figure out how to work it, and even then the manual did not in fact tell me where the button was located, just that I should press it. So, more searching in the waning late afternoon light. It's the sort of thing that might count as delightful discovery for a new owner, but by the time I got everything sorted out and my phone working I was feeling a little miffed, and even the Bluetooth system's calm, pleasantly British-accented female voice only served to heighten my annoyance thanks to its unflappable counterpoint.

But perhaps what was really annoying me was that I had finally gotten a convertible to test, after missing out all summer, and now it was December and was already dark. But after driving six or seven blocks I got a brilliant idea ... a brilliant, slightly outrageous idea: The car was already warmed up nicely, I was stopped at a red light, and despite the bone-chilling cold outside it was neither raining nor snowing. I knew from previous experience that the ingenious Webasto folding roof only takes about 25 seconds to completely stow away, and the cross traffic was still showing a walk signal. So I turned up the heat and the seat warmer to maximum, cranked the music all the way up and pressed the lever to open the roof. Twenty-five seconds later everyone else in the dreary rush-hour traffic was looking at me quizzically, and that was just fine with me - I was enjoying summer in December and suddenly everything was right with the world.

I drove all the way home with the roof open and left it open when I put the car away in the parkade, and then I drove to a club meeting like that later in the night. Two degrees above freezing outside and the heat blasting and my bum toasty. Grand!

That's the thing about the Volkswagen Eos: You can get sky above your head at the drop of a hat, whether by opening just the glass moonroof or by opening the whole top. In most other respects it is very much like a Golf, but it carries a price premium and a performance deficit over a similarly equipped Golf thanks to its versatile, but complicated and relatively heavy, roof. The retractable hardtop moonroof is the whole "raison de etre" of the Eos, so if you aren't the sort of person who likes the idea of glass above your head when it's raining and nothing but sky above your head most anytime else, you probably aren't the kind of person who wants an Eos. But if you are that kind of person, there really aren't many other cars with such a versatile top.

Performance-wise, the Eos is now offered in North America with only one drivetrain configuration, which combines a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine (good for 200 horsepower) with Volkswagen's very capable 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. There are no paddle shifters in the Comfortline trim, but you can control the shifts manually using the shift lever. My one ongoing complaint about the transmission is its tendency, in its quest for good fuel economy, to upshift very early if you lift even slightly off the throttle. This means that when you make a turn at a traffic light, unless you stay on the throttle while steering it'll shift up and leave the car struggling at low revs by the time you straighten out and want to accelerate. Fortunately the engine has a nice fat mid-range power band, so the car doesn't struggle for long. And if you put your foot down and keep it down the Eos shows a tire-spinning turn of speed and will scoot to 100 km/h in about eight seconds. In return for this turn of speed, it prefers premium fuel when it comes time to fill up.

Inside, the Eos is familiar Volkswagen territory. My Comfortline test car had very convincing "Cornsilk" (light beige) leatherette upholstery that really could pass for real leather, although I'd be interested to know how well it passes the comfort test on hot sunny days. The instruments and switches are all simple but handsome, and there's soft-touch material on the dash, armrests and inner door panels, with everything else finished in hard-touch plastics. Truth be told, Volkswagen could do with refining the textures on some of the hard-touch panels, but the overall effect is generally civilized and pleasant. The one oversight in the Cornsilk colour scheme would appear to be the decision to make the textured dead-pedal beige rather than black - it gets dirty-looking very quickly and looks like a bother to clean properly. I was also frustrated by the apparent lack of any accessory position in the ignition switch - where I live there's a law against idling for more than three minutes, yet if you shut off the Eos, your music shuts off too.

As tested in Comfortline trim, the 2012 Eos is priced at $39,075 plus $1,365 in delivery charges. This gets you leatherette upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 17-inch wheels, halogen projector headlights, eight-way manually adjustable seats, eight-speaker audio, Bluetooth connectivity, media interface with iPod connectivity, and more. It also gets you all the usual safety equipment such as stability control, front and side curtain airbags, and antilock brakes. A $2,200 sport package available with the Comfortline trim adds 18-inch wheels, sport suspension and bi-xenon headlights.

Highline trim comes priced at $45,775 and adds Vienna leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, automatic bi-xenon headlights, 12-way power-adjustable sport seats, auto-dimming mirror, Homelink, dual-zone climate control, keyless access and pushbutton start, paddle shifters, trip computer, rain-sensing wipers and a 6-CD audio system with Sirius satellite radio. Either trim level can be ordered with a $2,925 technology package that includes touch-screen navigation and a 600-watt, 10-speaker premium audio with Sirius satellite radio. For my money this would be a worthwhile upgrade, because while the base audio system is plenty powerful enough under normal circumstances, when you're driving in December with the top down, there's nothing like a little extra high-volume clarity to go with you high spirits.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Convertible, Volkswagen, VW, 2012, Eos, $40,000 - $49,999,

Organizations: Volkswagen

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments