2012 Volkswagen Eos Comfortline Road Test Review

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Published on March 21, 2012

Eos takes to the corners well, but the studded tires didn't help matters. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Love the new taillights and rear diffuser. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

New grille, headlights and other details have given the Eos more masculinity for 2012. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Nice wheels! Studly tires. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Thirst for pricier premium fuel hurts at the pump. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Interior offers a near-premium experience. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Looks like leather. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Love the panoramic glass roof. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

Published on March 21, 2012

I really like how VW's new corporate nose and reworked tail end makes the 2012 Eos look. With a triple-ribbed chrome grille, LED-enhanced angular headlamps, gorgeous LED taillights and a sporty rear diffuser style valance, it's gone from cute and cuddly to cool and classy. From the ideal car for hitting the town on ladies night (ladies) to a more unisex look that any admirer of good, clean design can appreciate, the 2012 Eos is a head-turner.

The interior looks much the same as the one in the outgoing 2011 model, and that's ok because it already won my approval. The instrument panel pulls together the brand's high-quality plastics, metallic surfaces and premium-like switchgear into one cohesive interface, simultaneously delighting all the senses. Visual, with simple, attractive, contemporary design; kinesthetic, with satisfying tactility of its textured plastic and metal surfaces; olfactory, with that new car smell (although the fragrance would have been better with leather than pleather); gustatory, with… ok, I didn't lick the door handle as done in previous VW TV ads; and auditory, with sound deadening materials and soft-touch plastics to absorb noise plus good standard eight-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with aux and iPod inputs to enhance each moment with my favourite tunes.

Drop the beautifully finished panoramic glass-roofed hardtop and wind noise wasn't a problem at all, but the clickety-clack of some thousand tap dancers that seemingly accompanied forward progress was ruddy annoying. Closer inspection revealed studded snow tires, a sound I hadn't heard in twelve years of testing new vehicles and ultra-odd coming from a car that was created for the sportier side of entry-level luxury. What could have been fun romps through delectable curves transgressed into front-wheel slides, while quick takeoff resulted in faster chatter and embarrassing tire squeal as the traction control system didn't know what to make of such an unorthodox and likely untested situation. It was a nice thought if I'd taken it up the ski hill (and its large rear seat pass-through would have allowed it), albeit overkill for Vancouver's rather mild winters. I'm thinking VW had better remove these tires before April 30th, or a future journo could get fined.

Considering the circumstances the Eos handled fairly well and, other than the clitter-clatter of hundreds of studs, was a joy to drive. The ride is comfortable in base trim, and no doubt firmer when optional sport suspension and 18-inch wheels underpin, but I'm guessing nothing to wrinkle your nose at.

The Eos' engine is a sweet four-cylinder, 2.0 litres in displacement and sporting a turbo and direct-injection for 200-horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. This is pretty advanced tech, with VW joining only a handful of manufacturers in offering such a forward-thinking powertrain, but I was once again stymied by its thirst for premium fuel. Why, oh why my German friends, must you subject us to a 10-percent surcharge (that during the week tested equaled $1.55-plus per litre in BC) when other manufacturers build 2.0-litre, turbocharged, direct-injected engines with even higher output that only require regular fuel? VW's TSI is a lovely engine, with decent fuel efficiency at an optimistically estimated 9.5 L/100km city and 6.7 highway, much thanks to its brilliant DSG dual-clutch sequential automatic with manual mode, but 10-percent more for zero benefit just doesn't cut it with me.

What does cut it is the Eos standard features list, at least mostly. The aforementioned leatherette seat surfaces are lookalike and generally feel-a-like leather, so kudos to VW and all German manufacturers for perfecting good old vinyl seats. What they're like on a hot day will need to be experienced. More kudos to VW for the best seat heaters in the business, from a relatively weak blonde roast to a darkly therapeutic burnt toast, if these don't do the job in even the harshest of winters you'd better go for acupuncture treatments to stimulate the nerve endings in your backside. Auto up/down windows are nice albeit expected in a car that costs more than $40k, the Eos beginning life at $40,440 including shipping. The same can be said for a leather-wrapped shift-knob, handbrake lever, and steering wheel, but when that steering wheel looks bare and naked from being devoid of redundant audio controls, and when the climate control system and seat mechanisms need manual adjustment, and pet peeve of them all, the headlights don't even include automatic off, let alone full automatic functionality, so that they'll burn out your battery if you happen to leave them on (c'mon VW, get into the 21st century), I start to scratch my head in perplexed dismay.

I perked up to learn of standard Bluetooth phone connectivity, new for 2012, and like all VW's it was straightforward and easy to sync up with my Bold 9900, and in any convertible you'll learn to appreciate rear park distance control, the Eos' system made better with the usual audio as well as a cool graphic to show obstacles in your rearward path. Yes, a rearview camera would have done the job just as well, and is available with the optional Technology package that adds touch-screen navigation and a wickedly alluring 10-speaker, 600-watt Dynaudio sound system, not to mention Sirius satellite radio for a bit less than $3k. A Sport package can be added too, with a sport suspension and 18-inch rims, plus the option of adaptive HID headlights: $2,200 with or $1,200 without. If you want real leather, proximity sensing keyless access and pushbutton ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, a 6-disc CD changer, a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters and (ahem) audio controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, and let us not forget automatic headlights, plus all the items found in the aforementioned Sport package, you've got to move up to the $46,140 Eos Highline.

In my opinion, living the highlife in a Highline is the only way to own an Eos, as living with the need to turn my headlights off every time I get out of the car would have me replacing batteries every other week. Yah, maybe I'd get used to the good old days of DIY thinking, but why should I have to when every other car out there has the sense to turn the lights off if a locked car's been sitting around doing nothing for a few minutes. We're just talking about a cheap timed switch here.

So equipped, the 2012 VW Eos is an extremely nice convertible that could easily pass for something made by a premium brand. It's capable of going head to head with the likes of a Lexus IS 250 C or Volvo C70 any day of the week, with a retractable hardtop that's as slick as they come. Seriously, with a few inexpensive tweaks the Eos could be just about perfect.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Convertible, Volkswagen, VW, 2012, Eos, $30,000 - $39,999, $40,000 - $49,999,

Organizations: Volkswagen

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments