Do you want a convertible that is somewhere more upscale than inexpensive rental car convertibles like the Chrysler 200, more sophisticated than ragtop versions of pony cars like the Ford Mustang, cheaper 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 for what sounds like a middle ground for convertibles are surprisingly limited – and the low-key and often overlooked Volkswagen Eos is one of your only favorites.
While it is apparently entirely a cruiser, there is a much more flamboyant personality lurking inside – and in our opinion the Eos is one of the best-designed (and often giddy by buyers) convertibles out there.
In terms of design, the 2014 Volkswagen Eos is as conservative as it is with a convertible. It’s handsome and straightforward, but almost harmless to the extreme. Inside, the swoopier cabin look and the high-quality cladding and materials make for a much more charming impression.
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There’s also a lot more charm to the driver’s seat than you might expect given the exterior. Each Eos is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with turbocharger (2.0 t) and 200 hp and a dual clutch transmission (DSG). The DSG shifts smoothly yet very quickly, doubles the robust torque curve of the engine and ensures a brisk, responsive feeling. Handling is easy and responsive, and overall this is a fun little coupe.
The transition from coupe to convertible is one of the things the Eos does best. The retractable hardtop arrangement is firm, fast and almost flawless. In less than 25 seconds, a total of eight electric motors work together to detach the roof from the windshield attachment, turn it around, fold it and tuck it neatly under the metal trunk lid. The design looks neat and results in a nice side profile up or down. We found that the wind turbulence is not as great as it could be at high speed, and the wind deflector itself is quite noisy.
The interior comfort is excellent – especially if you are a taller adult and are sitting in the front seats. Compared to Volkswagen hatchbacks like the Golf – and even the Beetle – the driving position is a bit more relaxed, and the seats feel a bit plush and better padded, like this really is a game for the luxury coupe market. The back seat is tight – more like a cozy 2 + 2 – but getting in and out is easier than most other models, and that makes it quite useful for an evening cruise with the kids. Cargo space is limited – in part due to the neat folding top – but you can cut out a few extra cubic feet by flipping up a movable trunk liner and leaving the top up.
The upscale Lux model of the Eos was discontinued for 2014, leaving the basic comfort, the more spirited Eos Sport and the top manager. The Sport has a lowered sports suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, two-zone climate control, fog lights and a touchscreen audio system with eight speakers as well as black exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler made of brushed stainless steel pedals and adaptive front lighting with bi-xenon headlights. Executive features include a rearview camera system, 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 now available, and comfort and sports equipment has a new (and greatly improved) navigation system.
However, pricing can prove to be a sticking point for some buyers. As a base, Eos starts off just a few thousand dollars higher than you think it could be in the market. For 2014, the price starts at around $ 35,000 and the Executive tops $ 42,000. This means that it is only a few grand below the more prestigious Audi A5 Cabriolet.