2012 Volkswagen Eos – Hardtop Convertible Fun – Review – The Car Guide

23 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2012 Volkswagen Eos – Hardtop Convertible Fun – Review – The Car Guide

2012 Volkswagen Eos – Hardtop Convertible Fun

Volkswagen has made successful inroads in the near-luxury game by building automobiles that look and feel like their legitimate premium cousins, but don’t necessarily feature the same high price tag one would expect. The 2012 Volkswagen Eos is a perfect example of this particular product strategy, a small convertible that co-opts many high end features (such as a retractable hardtop) typically found only on the usual German or Japanese luxury suspects, but which maintains the everyday accessibility that has long been a key aspect of the brand’s outreach to customers. Coming off a light restyling effort for the 2012 model year – as well as a few adjustments to the vehicle’s drivetrain options – the Volkswagen Eos presents an appealing package to price-conscious sun lovers.

A Smoother, Cleaner Look

VW has chosen to move the 2012 Volkswagen Eos over to the automaker’s new corporate look, which means that the convertible trades in last year’s shield-style front fascia for one that mimics the broader grille of vehicles like the Volkswagen Passat and Volkswagen Jetta. Along the way, the company has additionally elected to sweep back and sharpen the headlights of the Eos, as well as install LED running lights and reshape the vehicle’s LED taillights for additional detail.

The Volkswagen Eos benefits from a retractable hardtop that also happens to house a sunroof, making it the only vehicle on the Canadian market to feature this type of dual, ‘fun in the sun’ setup. The hardtop not only makes the Eos a legitimate option for Canadians concerned about the practicality of a convertible during the depths of winter, but it also gives the automobile a unique, coupe-like look when it is in the raised position. The 18-inch wheels found on our Highline trim level Eos provided a sharp, almost sporty stance for the automobile, and while some might find the bulging roofline of the Volkswagen awkward from certain angles, there’s no arguing that 2012’s updates have improved its overall appearance.

Compact On The Outside, Spacious On The Inside

When initially seen with the roof closed, the 2012 Volkswagen Eos might seem to enclose a claustrophobic passenger compartment. This impression couldn’t be further from the truth. While the rear quarters of the Eos aren’t exactly a place where adults would enjoy spending more than 20 minutes or so at a time, the two-plus-two seating arrangement inside the compact convertible provides exceptionally comfortable accommodations for those riding in the first two positions.

The Eos is a vehicle that was meant to cruise, whether it be gazing up at the fall foliage with the roof open, or sailing down the autoroute between cities. Either way, the leather-upholstered buckets found in our test vehicle did an excellent job of coddling us even on extended highway jaunts.

The vehicle’s roominess extends to the trunk which, while not huge, is more than adequate for a convertible the size of the Eos. With the top down, roughly half the Volkswagen’s storage space disappears, but there is still a surprising amount of cargo room available for storing a few overnight bags.

The amount of engineering expertise that has been applied to the VW Eos’ navigation, entertainment, and driver information systems is also impressive. Although we were occasionally annoyed with the amount of time it took for the touchscreen interface to initially load upon vehicle startup, once the system was ready we had no real complaints about the ease of use of its menus and features. The top-tier Dynaudio stereo system in our test vehicle made short work of highway wind noise, and the Bluetooth hands-free calling system responded flawlessly to our voice commands.

It’s also worth mentioning that, for an affordable car, the Volkswagen Eos really goes the extra mile to provide buyers with interior trim, buttons, and materials that feel like they belong in an automobile costing thousands of dollars more. Fit and finish is an area where Volkswagen has traditionally been able to best other automakers in the quality department, and the Eos is no exception. Yes, there is some cowl shake when driving the convertible over rough pavement, or a set of train tracks, but other than that the vehicle feels extremely solid.

Turbocharged Power

The 2012 Volkswagen Eos is motivated by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Fans of the brand will be familiar with this near-ubiquitous engine, which has become Volkswagen’s workhorse and which appears across the company’s lineup in various guises. In the Eos it is paired exclusively with a six-speed DSG (automated manual) transmission, with last year’s six-speed traditional manual no longer available.

Purists might grieve the disappearance of a row-it-yourself gearbox from the Eos’ tool box, but in reality this convertible is a tourer, not a sports car. The DSG’s dual clutch design is perfectly suited to banging out fast and smooth gear changes, particularly when the box is set to Sport mode, and there is plenty of power on tap from the near-lagless turbo four to satisfy the vast majority of Eos drivers.

There are some trade-offs associated with the DSG design – notably, a sense of vagueness when cruising in top gear and attempting to kick the transmission down a gear – but they certainly don’t outweigh the benefits. Fuel economy is also reasonable for a car this size, as we recorded 9.26 L/ 100 km during our time with the car.

Unfortunately, as enjoyable as it was to drive the Volkswagen Eos, it ended up leaving our test fleet ahead of schedule due to a no-start condition that appeared to be related to its fuel system. When parked at a steep angle, with roughly a quarter tank of fuel, the Eos simply refused to catch, turning over but ultimately stumbling and stalling until additional gas was added to the vehicle. The Eos was returned to Volkswagen for an analysis of the problem, but we were left upset that we had to deal with this type of unusual issue on a brand-new vehicle.

A Comfy Convertible Cruiser – With A Catch

The 2012 Volkswagen Eos is a viable option for anyone who wants to be coddled by a convertible without spending the kind of cash one would need to land a BMW or an Audi in the driveway. While the Eos certainly doesn’t offer the same levels of performance as its more illustrious Teutonic colleagues, it provides more than enough power and comfort to be considered a legitimate – and more affordable – alternative.

The catch has to do with reliability. Volkswagen has been repeatedly called out for issues concerning its products, and while the automaker has acknowledged that improvements need to be made, the problem we had with our brand-new Eos test car indicates just how much father the brand needs to go to assure potential buyers of the long-term quality of their vehicles.

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