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2007 Volkswagen Eos

Aren’t Greek Goddesses Supposed To Be Beautiful?

     We wanted to like the Eos, we really did. After all, it has one of the slickest convertible roofs ever designed and matches a smooth and powerful V6 engine to our beloved DSG transmission. Why then, didn’t it earn our affection? It comes down to our core belief that convertibles should be beautiful cars, and the Eos simply isn’t.
     Much of the problem can be blamed on the Eos’ proportions, which in turn can be blamed on the Eos sharing other Volkswagen platforms. From almost every angle the car looks too short and tall and odd panel gaps don’t help, especially where the decklid meets the rear fenders. The front and rear views are generic and lack the kind of character lines or sporty details that set well designed cars apart. Dual exhausts would dress up the rear nicely and more color and less chrome on the grille would be on our list of improvements. Actually the easiest improvement is to just keep the top permanently stowed. The car still isn’t gorgeous in that configuration, but the clunky greenhouse is hidden and that helps visually lower the car’s weight.
     Luckily for Volkswagen the rest of the Eos is pretty good. The aforementioned incredibly smooth narrow-angle V6 provides a healthy 250 hp and an adequate 236 lb-ft of torque, which isn’t stellar but does sit between a useable 2,500 and 3,000 rpm. It revs easily and matches well with the 6-speed DSG transmission. A $650 Sport Package adds a few goodies like a leather 3-spoke steering wheel, aluminum trim, sport suspension and 18” alloys, but also adds paddle shifters to the steering wheel to make lightning fast gear changes a fingertip away. We’re still amazed every time we sample this transmission because its automatic mode is nearly as good as a conventional automatic and its manual mode cannot be beat.
     Engineers tuned the Eos for composed ride and handling, but the sport suspension on our tester crashed over frost heaves and expansion joints and sent a jolt through the car’s structure that reminded us we were in a convertible. We don’t say this often, but we’d probably pass on the sport option. The Eos simply isn’t a sporty car and shouldn’t try to be one. For one thing, it weighs 3,686 pounds and the steering is typically vague. That’s not to say the Eos doesn’t have that solid, buttoned down feel at speed that good German cars do, because it does. Rather, the car has no steering feel and a chassis that doesn’t move the little car’s weight well. In addition, the brake pedal is way too soft during the initial travel and reminded us of how older GM trucks and SUVs had an inch of soft dead space in their brake pedals. Perhaps GM’s old brake engineer found employment in Wolfsburg. The car has plenty of go, with VW citing 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, but the rest of the dynamics are a let down. The car should be setup toward the comfort side of the spectrum and forgo the sporting pretenses.
     Typically excellent materials are used inside the Eos with our car done up in an attractive two-tone Moonrock Gray and black color scheme. We really like the large clear gauges and everything inside falls easily to hand. The climate controls are easy to use at a glance and VW offers deep cupholders. The seats are comfortable and aggressively bolstered. Trust us, you won’t need bolstering this aggressive in this car, but the chairs look good and are supportive. Volkswagen continues to offer subpar navigation systems. The one in the Eos is DVD based, but it isn’t touchscreen and the maps are not very detailed. A non-touch screen nav/infotainment system as user-unfriendly as this, especially in 2007, is unacceptable in our books. Get with the times guys, or buy systems from GM.
     We liked the quietness at all speeds, which indicates the guys who designed the top did a good job sealing things up. In fact, they did a good job designing the top altogether. It’s the only convertible we know of that has a sunroof built in and we really liked leaving the shade for the glass panel open because it floods the cabin with light even on days that are too cold to lower the top. It’s a convertible that gives you lots of options, and we like that. Mostly we’re just glad we weren’t in charge of making it work! We were surprised to see a ski pass through in a convertible, score one for VW.
     So we’ve established that the Eos is not a sports car, but is a pretty slick convertible. It has real back seats that will hold real kids and it has a comprehensive 4-year or 50,000-mile warranty. But there’s still the fact that it’s ugly. Feel free to disagree with us, but I could line up 10 automotive design experts within 10 minutes to testify to the fact that the Eos’ proportions are fatally flawed. There’s another problem. The as-tested price of our loaded Eos 3.2 was $39,930. That kind of money gets you into better looking convertibles with sporty dispositions and equal amounts of comfort. Audi TT Roadster anybody?

The Good:
Nice seats, slick folding top and integrated sunroof, smooth V6, 29 mpg highway, awesome transmission.
The Bad:
Lifeless steering, lifeless brake pedal, impact harshness, expensive, ugly.
The Verdict:
Neither sporty nor good-looking, the Eos fails to impress.


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