2014 Volkswagen Eos Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
January 20, 2014

The 2014 Volkswagen Eos is understated and conservative, but if you can look past that you'll find that it's responsive, refined, and day-to-day usable in a way most convertibles aren't.

Want a convertible that's somewhere upscale of budget rental-car convertibles like the Chrysler 200, more refined than ragtop versions of pony cars like the Ford Mustang, more affordable than luxury convertibles like the BMW 1-Series Convertible or Audi A5, and more practical than roadsters like the Mazda MX-5 Miata? Your options in what sound like a middle ground for convertibles are surprisingly limited--and the understated and often overlooked Volkswagen Eos is one of your only picks.

While in appearance it's strictly a cruiser, a much more flamboyant personality lurks within—and, in our opinion, the Eos is one of the best-designed (and oft-omitted by shoppers) convertibles on the market.

Design-wise, the 2014 Volkswagen Eos is about as conservative as you can get with a convertible. It's handsome and straightforward, but inoffensive almost to an extreme. Inside, the swoopier cabin look and high-quality trims and materials add up to a much more charming impression.

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There's also way more charm from the driver's seat than you might expect, given the exterior. Every Eos sports a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (2.0T), paired with a dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). The DSG changes gears smoothly yet very quickly, doubling down on the engine's robust torque curve and bringing out a zippy, responsive feel. Handling is light and responsive, and overall this is a fun-to-drive small coupe.

Transitioning from coupe to convertible is really one of the things the Eos does best. Its retractable hardtop arrangement is tight, quick, and nearly flawless. In less than 25 seconds, a total of eight electric motors work in conjunction, unlatching the roof from the windshield header, flipping, folding, and tucking it neatly under the metal trunklid. The design looks neat, and it results in a handsome side profile up or down. We have noticed that wind turbulence isn't as great as it could be at speed, and the wind deflector itself is quite noisy.

Interior comfort is superb--especially if you're a larger adult and if you're sitting in the front seats. Compared to Volkswagen's hatchbacks like the Golf--and even the Beetle--the driving position is a bit more laid back, and the seats feel a little more plush and better bolstered, as if this were truly making a play for the luxury-coupe market. The back seat is tight--more like that of a cozy 2+2--but it's easier to get into and out of than in most rival models, and that itself makes it quite usable for an evening cruise with the kids. Cargo space is limited--in part because of the neat folding top--but you can carve out a few extra cubic feet by flipping up a movable trunk liner and leaving the top up.

For 2014 the upmarket Lux model of the Eos has been discontinued, leaving the base Komfort, the more spirited Eos Sport, and the top-of-the-line Executive. The Sport gets a lowered sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, front fog lamps, and an eight-speaker touch-screen audio system, as well as black exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler, brushed stainless-steel pedals, and adaptive front lighting with bi-xenon headlamps. Executive equipment includes a rearview camera system, a navigation system, a different 'Kansas' alloy wheel design, and 600-watt Dynaudio premium audio with ten speakers and HD Radio. VW's Car-Net telematics service is newly available, and Komfort and Sport trims have a new (and much-improved) navigation ssytem.

Pricing may prove a sticking point for some shoppers, though; as the base Eos starts just a few thousand dollars higher than where you'd think it might be in the market. For 2014, it starts at around $35k, and the Executive tops $42k--which puts it just a couple grand below the more prestigious Audi A5 Cabriolet.

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2014 Volkswagen Eos

Styling

The Eos may be the most sedately styled hardtop convertible on sale today.

The 2014 VW Eos is a practice in understated design and conservative styling. There's not a tremendous amount of charm in the design, but it's also straightforward, handsome and seemingly built to be as unoffensive as possible.

The Eos wins points for being attractive regardless of whether the top is up or down–a feat for four-seat convertibles–and it's styling is softer than just about any other car in the segment. The relationship to the VW Golf is obvious from nearly every angle, so it never looks awkward or unattractive–which can't be said about the Chrysler 200.

Inside it's a different story; its interior feels a step above most other Volkswagen models, with a streamlined look and upgraded materials. You won't find 'sexy' as a descriptor that applies here, but the interior layout is a bit more rakish than that of the Golf and GTI, with smoothly contoured interior trim detailed with just the right amount of brightwork.

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2014 Volkswagen Eos

Performance

The Eos' zippy powertrain pairs well with its light-touch steering.

There are only two ways to have the Eos–if you're counting transmissions–but its engine lends a little bit of pep and personality no matter how you slice it.

The 2014 Eos is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower. It's teamed only to a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission called 'DSG.' The former manual transmission option is no more. We prefer DSG anyway, thanks to its quick gear shifts and excellent use of the engine's power and torque.

In a class of overweight convertibles, the Eos is one of the lightest, at 3,500 pounds; and it handles that way. The Eos handles with more finesse than its relaxed boulevard-cruiser looks imply. It's firm enough to power through tricky corners, planted in higher-speed sweepers, and remarkably secure-feeling for a front-driver. Dynamically it's no sports car, but with quick steering, strong, reassuring brakes, and the responsive DSG transmission, it feels very eager.

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2014 Volkswagen Eos

Comfort & Quality

The Eos' folding hardtop and adult-sized back seat make it the most useful convertible this side of Jeep.

There aren't many choices in the four-seat convertible segment for less than $30,000, leaving the 2014 Eos as one of your only options. Sure, you could have the Ford Mustang or Chrysler 200, but their back seats are virtually unusable, making the Eos the most comfortable vehicle in this market.

The look and feel of the cabin is top-notch, with a nice premium look and feel to the materials and trims that's rivaled only in the CC sedan and Touareg SUV. There's some road noise, but not any more than you're notice in Ride quality is firm but supple enough to soak up medium-sized potholes. Some road noise is present, but it's actually less than you'll find in a number of sporty coupes--and far better, of course, than other convertibles.

When it comes to layout and convenience of the convertible layout, it just doesn't get any better than this. In less than 25 seconds, a total of eight electric motors work in conjunction to unlatch the roof from the windshield header and flip and fold it under the metal trunk lid. There's also a setting for opening the front section of it only, as a sunroof. Otherwise, stow the top away and you still have about 6.6 cubic feet--about enough for most carry-ons.

The front seats in the Volkswagen Eos are very comfortable; the driving position is just a little more laid-back than in Volkswagen's other cars, and the seats themselves feel a bit better-bolstered than in its lower-priced models like the Golf.

In the back seat, there's enough space to fit medium-sized adults for short trips, but it's still better used as luggage space for those up front. There's not much leg room in back, which forces the driver and front passenger to move their seats up close to the dash.Volkswagen's folding hardtop wins over the Chrysler 200's optional hardtop.

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2014 Volkswagen Eos

Safety

The IIHS has some "good" things to say about the Eos, but the NHTSA hasn't scored it.

The 2014 Volkswagen Eos scores well for safety, making it a solid choice for those who would normally steer clear of topless cars for those concerns.

The Eos does have a couple of especially important features that aren't included in most convertibles. A pop-up head protection system in the Eos, which automatically deploys when the car senses a rollover is imminent, is a standout in this more cost-conscious end of the convertible market—employing a host of sensors to deploy just before it's needed, when a rollover is anticipated. There's also an optional Park Distance Control and a Technology Package that includes upgrades to the lighting system--including an adaptive, swiveling function for the headlights.

Anti-lock brakes, stability control, and airbags that protect the head and upper body on front passengers are all among the standard features on the Eos. So is a pop-up roll bar tucked behind the rear seats.

Crash-test results have been good, but they're hardly conclusive because only one of the agencies has tested the Eos, and even in that case it hasn't been run through the entire battery. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says it's a "good" performer in frontal, side, and rear tests, but because it's a convertible, it doesn't get the roof-strength test and is kept from Top Safety Pick Status. It also hasn't been tested in the new small overlap frontal impact test. The federal government, which tests only a few dozen vehicles a year through its NCAP test program, hasn't tested the Eos.

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2014 Volkswagen Eos

Features

There's not much wow factor in the Eos' options list, but there are no disappointments.

The 2014 VW Eos may lack a few of the most current infotainment technologies, but it has an otherwise impressive set of standard and available features. And, there's a Sport trim that's packaged attractively for an affordable price.

You can also look at Komfort and Executive trims of the Eos–all of which come with standard power mirrors, locks and windows, and the power-folding hardtop. Bluetooth connectivity is also standard, as is a LCD touchscreen to control the audio system.

Vinyl upholstery--"leatherette" is the marketing word--is the standard upholstery on $35,195 Komfort models, along with 17-inch wheels and tires, cruise control, automatic climate control, a navigation system with a five-inch touchscreen, and Bluetooth.

The Sport trim lands just above the base Komfort model, at $37,925. It includes a lowered sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, front fog lamps, and an eight-speaker touch-screen audio system. It also gets black exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler, brushed stainless-steel pedals, and adaptive front lighting with bi-xenon headlamps.

The $41,695 Executive edition gets 18-inch wheels, wood and leather trim, a rearview camera, a better navigation system, and parking sensors. It also features a 600-watt Dynaudio premium audio with ten speakers and HD Radio.

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2014 Volkswagen Eos

Fuel Economy

Nothing seats four, rolls down its top, and sips fuel like the Eos.

Overall, the Eos beats the smaller, lighter Mazda Miata two-seat roadster for fuel economy--and that makes the Eos one of the greenest convertible picks of all.

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The four-cylinder produces great EPA ratings for the Eos, one of the few four-seat convertibles that gets fuel economy of more than 30 mpg. With its automatic transmission--a dual-clutch unit--it has an EPA rating of 22/30 mpg, or 25 mpg combined.
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