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The new-age droptop

<p>Nothing expresses the fun and freedom of driving better than a convertible. Where shall we go today? Who cares! The journey itself is the thing.</p>

VW Eos brings more than just fresh air



Starting at $36,900, the 2007 Volkswagen Eos is proof that you don’t have to be stinking rich to enjoy al fresco automobility.





Nothing expresses the fun and freedom of driving better than a convertible. Where shall we go today? Who cares! The journey itself is the thing.





These days you don’t even have to be stinking rich to enjoy al fresco automobility. Nor does your enjoyment of it have to be reserved for sunny summer Sundays.





Volkswagen’s Eos is a good example of a convertible that meets many peoples’ year-round daily driving needs at a price that starts well below $40,000. And with its retractable hard roof, the $36,900 Eos even has the ability to morph from a snug hardtop coupe to a wide-open topless convertible in mere seconds.





In simple terms you could call the Eos a belated successor to VW’s old Golf Cabriolet, though this is a much more sophisticated car, and is only loosely based on the current Rabbit (née Rabbit) platform.





One thing that sets the Eos apart even from other hardtop convertibles is its standard power glass sunroof. That’s right: if you don’t want to drop the top the whole way (a process that takes only 25 seconds, by the way) you can leave the Eos’ tin top in place and slide back the sunroof — just the thing for those crisp fall days to come.





The standard and only motivation for the Eos is VW’s 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 200 horsepower and mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. Optional is the clever DSG automated manual 6-speed unit. We were impressed by this engine which kicks out as much low-end pulling power as it does yet happily spins well at high revs and sips gas at a rate (8.4 L/100 km overall) that makes many of its rivals look like gluttons. And all this with impressive refinement.





The Eos’ optional Sport Leather package includes dual-zone climate control, six-CD indash charger and more.





The essence of the Eos is lightness. Combine its low weight and compact build with feathery steering effort and you have a road package that feels nimble and agile. And even on the stock 17-inch tires (18-inchers are optional) the Eos grips well. With the electronic stability system off, its handling is nicely adjustable, too; ease of the throttle in mid-curve and the tail comes gently around. Ride comfort is very liveable, with no apparent vices. Likewise, the structure feels consistently tight and of-a-piece.





With its eight-way power seat adjustment plus reach-and-rake steering, the Eos is easy to tailor for driver comfort. The dash gauges are crisp and readable too. But a minor quibble is that the cupholders are too shallow to securely retain anything but short, stubby mugs.





The rear cabin has room for only two passengers — hindered by the need to accommodate the folded roof structure. But, considering the Eos is a whopping 15 inches (40 cm) shorter on the outside than Pontiac’s G6 hardtop convertible, and barely less roomy inside, it’s impressively well packaged.





Well endowed with safety features, the Eos also offers an optional Sport Leather package which includes leather, dual-zone climate control, sport suspension, trip computer and six-CD in-dash changer, to name a few amenities.















2007 Volkswagen Eos


Type: Compact 4-pass. convertible FWD



Price: $36,900



Engine: 2.0-litre L4 DOHC turbo



Horsepower: 200 @ 5100 rpm



Torque (lb-ft): 207 @ 1800 rpm



Highlights: Nice looks, slick roof, engine, steering feel, agile handling, standard stability control.


 
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