The Volkswagen EOS occupies a tiny place in the showroom next to the Beetle Convertible, being the more mature and upscale option for buyers. A slightly larger car, the EOS is a more upscale and feature packed way to have your German sun-tan driving experience.
Larger and more upscale are the keys to the EOS over the Beetle Convertible. While it appears compact at first sight, stand beside the EOS or sit behind the wheel and you soon realize it’s not all that compact.
It has the visual proportions of the Volkswagen Golf but scaled up a bit with what has become classic Volkswagen corporate styling from front to rear.
This means the familiar face you might find on a Jetta, Passat, or Golf and a rear view that’s also breaking little ground from the expected. You do get Bi-Xenon headlamps which adjust at night as well as turn into curves for you.
Black painted 18” wheels with machined faces look plenty premium for their place here. But where the EOS starts to wow you is its retractable hard top which is the only in its class to feature a glass power moon roof.
A console mounted switch begins a symphony of moving parts and panels in the process of unlocking and retracting the top which is fun to watch through all of its steps. It’s fully automatic and requires no unlatching of locks, or buttoning of a boot.
The main drawback to this arrangement is that there is little trunk space before the top disappears into it, and especially after. The trunk has a covered section which is a safe zone large enough only for a few groceries or a briefcase.
The interior of the EOS is trademark Volkswagen design, albiet the oldest design currently available. The dash is tall and vertical along with a high belt line which makes even me feel like a small child behind the wheel. I had to adjust the seat up high to see over the dash in fact.
The leatherette heated seats were a nice welcome place to sit in our top down winter driving but I was surprise they weren’t leather at this price. They are comfortable enough for short stints, but can be a bit hard for longer drives. The power adjustments which only came on the driver seat also lacked memory settings.
Our Sport model had push button start, mounted in place of the old twist key. The steering wheel with paddle shifters was of the tilt and telescope variety but manual. Space up front of course is well more than most will need, which translates to a rear seat that adults can also enjoy.
The stereo system which has a curious rotary menu system for radio presets. It took some getting used to as it’s different from most. The user interface is however simple enough that learning it wasn’t a week long exercise.
Powering our EOS is Volkswagen’s popular 2.0 liter turbocharged TSI engine with 200 horsepower mated up to a six-speed DSG automatic transmission. The combination works well in the EOS, offering up 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. We achieved 25 mpg combined in our week which is right on the money.
The DSG gearbox is not your traditional automatic as most know them. It is actually what I call a robotic manual transmission. This it’s the same as a traditional manual from a nuts and bolts standpoint with the computer actually handling the actuation of clutch and shifting.
The outcome is the same as an automatic but it feels more like a manual in how it takes off and shifts. The format allows for better fuel economy and a sportier feel, but it can take getting used to for people used to the slushy way a traditional automatic shifts. This one is one of the best sorted and well behaved DSG’s I have driven yet.
Handling feels as German as you would expect, with sharp steering and a firm ride. Side to side response is taut and the road feel is high, but road noise is remarkably low. Brakes aren’t as strong as I would have expected though, at least in feel.
Noticeable when the top is down is a small degree of cowl shake at city speeds driving around town where you experience pot holes and driveway seams. It’s not bad but moderate enough to let you know the top is missing from its structure. When the top is up, this seems to be less an issue.
Pricing for the EOS is up the scale from the Beetle Convertible by about $10,000, our tester ringing in at $38,360. Of course you can spend more and you can spend less, as our Sport was in the middle of the grade scale. There are few competitors against this front-wheel drive drop top, the Chrysler 200 being the closest target.
The EOS is the more laid back and sedate option for those that find the Beetle a bit too cartoonish. It offers a top down experience with a distinctly German flavor which is businesslike and conservative enough for any golf club parking lot.