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Volkswagen Eos

28 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Volkswagen Eos

Volkswagen Eos

(March 2007)

What we liked

Long-term potential

Inclusions for price

Safety standards

Not so much

Compromised access to cargo

Pricey options

Overall rating: 4.0/5.0

Engine/Drivetrain/Chassis: 4.0/5.0

Price, Packaging and Practicality: 4.5/5.0

Safety: 4.0/5.0

Behind the wheel: 4.0/5.0

X-factor: 4.0/5.0

It’s fair to say Volkswagen knows a thing or two about cabrios. Since chopping the top off its Beetle in 1949 and later Karmann Ghia and Golf models — and not forgetting the New Beetle convertible — VW will have built a million open-top vehicles by the time Eos goes into full production this year.

While some motorists question the logic of taking the roof off a perfectly good car, VW can say the Eos is a perfectly good convertible, using a stand-alone platform built specifically for a CC.

Two years since Eos’s appearance in concept form at the Frankfurt motor show and longer still since the last Golf Cabrio, VW says it waited until the CSC-roof (so-called for convertible, sliding and coupe roof) mechanism, designed by German company Webasto, was perfect before it was put into production.

And good things have come: this is arguably the most innovative and tempting of all the clever coupe-convertibles on the market. An open-top with all-season versatility, top safety marks and luxury fit and finish for around $50K… The golden miles can now start sooner rather than later for many ‘lifestyle car’ shoppers, and even those A-to-B drivers willing to make a few compromises.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT

Eos starts at $47,990 for the 2.0 TDI turbodiesel engine with a six-speed manual gearbox. The turbo petrol offering, the 2.0 TFSI with the same six-speed manual costs $49,990. Both models can be ordered with VW’s auto-mode sequential Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) for an extra $2300.

And though the pricing’s sharp both cars come with an impressive list of standards. These include low tyre pressure indicator, climate control air-conditioning, cruise control, ‘coming/leaving home’ headlight function and fog lights, six-disc in-dash CD changer with eight speakers, multi-function leather-trim steering wheel, multi-function trip computer, power windows and rain sensing windscreen wipers.

The Eos also comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels or it can be ordered with 18-inch rims and (lower) sport suspension. The spare is a space-saver type.

All models get sport front seats with height adjustment in cloth trim. Customers can choose between two leather trims, adding around $3000 to the price.

Options include bi-xenon headlights with cornering function, sat-nav, premium audio system and walnut wood interior trim.

MECHANICAL

As noted above, two engine variants are offered locally: the turbodiesel 2.0 TDI, rated at 103kW/320Nm, and turbo petrol 2.0 TFSI from the Golf GTI with 147kW/280Nm. Check out our Golf reviews here for more information on the mechanicals.

Official consumption figures for the manual diesel and petrol Eos are 6lt/100km and 8.4lt/100km respectively. Equipped with the DSG, the diesel uses 6.9lt/100km; the petrol engine wants 8.4lt/100km.

Eos incorporates Golf’s MacPherson front suspension and Passat’s four-link system at the rear in an attempt to combine the small hatch’s handling and agility, and the sedan’s ride comfort.

Eos’ CSC roof mechanism uses 470 parts and an electro-hydraulic pump with eight cylinders to move the five sections in two-part stages.

Sounds troublesome? VW says that almost 10,000 open-close cycles were performed in testing and assures us that in the event of a rear collision, panel beaters will be able to resurrect the roof without difficulty. The Eos open-top’s innovative sliding glass sunroof is separately powered by an electric motor.

PACKAGING

VW justifiably targets the entire market age group with Eos, considering well-heeled first-time drivers right up to retired, so-called ‘lifestyle’ purchasers exempt from transport duties. To appease a range of buyers, Eos comes with a relatively generous standard-fit list and utilises durable materials to create an impression of quality and longevity. Compared to the Golf and Beetle Cabriolet models, owners are less likely to grow out of Eos.

Eos looks conservative and much like all other VW models; more like the Jetta and Passat than a convertible and is similarly sized: 1790mm wide, 4410mm long and 1440mm high with a 2580mm wheelbase. Eos also wears Passat’s chrome grille.

Webasto’s intricate five-piece roof takes 25sec to open and boasts a large, tilt-and-slide sunroof operated by a switch located in the centre console. The vehicle must be stationary and have space behind it before the roof can be opened or closed. Rear sensors will sound an alarm and prevent the roof from opening if an obstruction is detected.

The consideration for extra rearward room during the roof’s operation is due to the large bootlid moving down and outwards in part of its open-close cycle.

Eos offers good boot space for a CC (308 litres); reduced to 205 litres with the roof down. Access to luggage while the roof is down is restricted, however, by the roof laying flat and low over objects in the boot.

Eos includes a lockable storage compartment allowing for bulky items too large for the boot to be stowed through to the cabin.

SAFETY

VW says Eos has high body stiffness due to the specific use of high-strength sheet metal, mould hardened steels in the vehicle floor and a special railing pipe inside the doors.

Eos also has good lateral strength, including across the windscreen which was positioned as vertically as possible to reduce intrusion to the cabin and offer better roll-over protection.

The Eos is equipped with a rear-mounted roll bar system, which VW says will activate after 0.25sec if the transverse acceleration or the vehicle’s inclination exceeds a fixed mark.

Eos comes with front airbags and clever head/thorax side airbags that will deploy vertically and horizontally to act as curtains through to the rear. VW’s development of head protection for convertible passengers is commendable and a segment first following on from Volvo’s use in the larger (and more expensive) C70 variants.

ABS with brake assist and EBD, and ESP are standard.

COMPETITORS

Primary, price-bracket opponents include Peugeot 307CC, Renault Megane CC, the new Holden Astra TwinTop, and upcoming Ford Focus CC. The French offerings don’t include a diesel model, as yet neither does Holden’s, and we’ll have to wait of Ford’s word on Focus CC.

VW also wants Eos to attract customers otherwise sizing-up Saab 9-3, Volvo C70, Mazda MX-5 Roadster, Audi TT, Mercedes-Benz CLK, Audi A4 Convertible, BMW 3 Series Convertible.

In other words, the net is being cast wide.

We feel for the likes of Saab — it wasn’t that long ago that the Swedish marque had this four-place affordable near-premium cabrio market all to itself. Nowadays everyone’s getting in on the act.

ON THE ROAD

You’d think that during our worst drought in history VW would luck a dry day for the launch of its clever convertible. Instead, Victoria’s west coast received some much-needed rain and the launch fleet remained in coupe form most of the drive which gave us ample time to assess how competent the Eos is in its more-usual state, and make use of the unique sunroof instead.

No news to most that VW builds quality cabins using high-grade materials and good ergonomic design. Eos is thus immediately comfortable and spacious, despite its compact dimensions.

The sunroof includes a mesh sunblind and the folding roof mechanism is hidden from occupants’ view, and didn’t creak — even over broken road surfaces. Wind noise was minimal, and only produced by the side-view mirrors — not any gaps in the convertible hard top.

The front seats are supportive and were comfortable over the relatively long stints, but like many ‘four-seater’ convertibles the rear is compromised by an upright back seat cushion to accommodate the roof-swallowing boot.

Obtusely, the expensive optional wind-deflector (around $700), reduces Eos to a two-seater anyway, and with a tallish driver at the helm, will rub against the front headrest creating squeaking noises. A slimline wind deflector is also built into the windscreen frame.

We drove the 2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TDI — both with VW’s brilliant DSG. Obviously the TFSI offers a sportier drive and was indeed responsive and sounds great, and even with the semi-auto it will manage 0-100km/h in less than 8sec.

The Golf GTI donates the turbo powerplant and front suspension, but the Eos is more Passat-plush in terms of ride and handling and is best described as competent and fun; in keeping with the laidback lifestyle a convertible implies.

The 2.0 TFSI’s 280Nm of torque is linear throughout its real world 1800-5000rpm spread, effacing any turbo character and making it seem you’re driving a larger capacity normally-aspirated engine.

While a diesel convertible might strike some as odd it’s actually an apt fit, especially when the engine is as quiet and refined as the 2.0 TDI.

Frugal in manual form at least, the TDI Eos is quick off the mark and a smooth cruiser, but lacks power at top-end requiring a downshift or two for overtaking.

Still, up to us (and 36 per cent of VW Australia’s early orders for Eos), we’d choose the oiler… Convertibles are for long, romantic drives into the sunset and the cheaper the date, the better.

Short-list Eos as a long-term option. It feels solid and classy, and will accommodate most transport requirements, save hauling around a large brood.

The CC craze is now yielding some well-executed examples that offer transport that’s more than just a car, more than just a convertible and Eos is definitely one of them.

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Published. Tuesday, 13 March 2007

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