By KBB.com Editors
While the cloth-top convertible won't be going away anytime soon (the New Beetle being a perfect example), the recent proliferation of retractable hardtops shows no sign of slowing. Volkswagen has taken the trend a step further by integrating a glass sunroof into the top of its new four-seat convertible, the 2008 Volkswagen Eos. Hardtop advantages include a more finished, more coupe-like look and feel inside and out, while the downside is generally limited to a reduction in cargo volume when the top is stowed. Named after the Greek goddess of dawn, the Eos is helping to usher in a new era of versatile and practical convertibles.You'll Like This Car If...
If you'd like the freedom of a convertible but need a practical, comfortable daily driver, you'll be happy to know that you can also have an excellent powertrain, athletic handling and even a sunroof.You May Not Like This Car If...
The Eos' attractive but understated styling might not deliver the look-at-me factor some convertible buyers seek. And, as with most four-seat convertibles, the rear seating area is narrow.What's Significant About This Car?
New trim-level names are Turbo, Komfort, Lux and VR6. A power 12-way driver seat becomes standard equipment, as does a leather-covered steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake boot.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2008 Volkswagen Eos is one of the sturdiest four-seat convertibles we've ever driven, with ride and handling characteristics closer to those of a fixed-roof coupe than a typical longer-wheelbase drop-top. We most appreciated the Eos' chassis rigidity in the curvy sections of our test drive, through which our Eos 2.0T test vehicle carved with more confidence and enthusiasm than we expected. Out on the open highway the ride was controlled but comfortable, and the 2.0T engine was so smooth that on more than one occasion we were surprised to find ourselves cruising along with the six-speed transmission in fourth gear. Front-seat passengers are well protected from wind thanks in large part to a tall front deflector that deploys manually from the top of the windshield frame.Favorite Features
Dynaudio Sound System
The optional 10-speaker, 600-watt audio system produces a full, natural sound that's among the best we've heard.
The Eos' handling characteristics make it easy to utilize and appreciate VW's quick- and smooth-shifting dual-clutch transmission.
The Eos' interior is more attractively designed and better put together than those of some cars we've driven with sticker prices twice as much. With the top stowed awayafter a 25-second mechanical balletluggage space shrinks from 10.5 cubic feet to 6.6 cubic feet. Still, that's three times the cargo volume of a Pontiac G6 Convertible with its top lowered. For something between top-up and top-down, the Eos' wide sunroof is just the ticket. Typical of four-seat convertibles, the rear seat is somewhat narrow as a result of having to accommodate the top's mechanicals. Interesting features include an adjustable, cooled glove box and an available dual-zone climate control that maintains separate settings for top-up and top-down driving.Exterior
The front of the Eos is dominated by Volkswagen's now-familiar, U-shaped grille flanked by large, expressive headlamps. Viewed from the side with the top up, a handful of cut lines give away what might otherwise pass as a fixed-roof coupe. Other exterior points of interest include turn signals integrated into the side mirrors, a wheel lineup that ranges in size from 16 to 18 inches and dual exhaust outlets. Adaptive, swiveling bi-xenon headlamps are optional on V6 models, while trunk-integrated antennae add to the Eos' clean look. In a potential rollover situation, an active roll bar pops up from behind the rear-seat head restraints.Notable Standard Equipment
The Eos comes equipped with air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, leatherette seats (dubbed V-Tex) and an eight-speaker CD/CD-MP3 audio system with an auxiliary input jack. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability controls, front airbags and combination head/thorax side airbags.Notable Optional Equipment
Features not included on the base model include a navigation system, leather seats, six-disc CD changer, Dynaudio Premium Sound System, iPod adapter, Park Distance Control, front armrest, rear wind blocker, heatable front seats, power-folding side mirrors and trip computer.Under the Hood
The Eos' 2.0T engine and DSG transmission comprise one of the most highly regarded powertrains on the road. With FSI direct fuel injection mitigating turbo lag, the 2.0T is unusually responsive. The innovative DSG transmission functions as a no-touch automatic in traffic and a quick-shifting, no-pedal manual when you're feeling more enthusiastic. While the interactivity provided by a proper six-speed manual transmission matched with the responsiveness and linear power delivery of a naturally-aspirated V6 presents a certain attraction, the Eos does not offer such a combination.)
2.0-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1800-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (manual), 21/30 (automatic)
250 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
235 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500-3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (automatic)
The 2008 Volkswagen Eos' Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just under $30,000 and will climb into the low-$40,000 range when fully loaded. DSG -equipped models starts under $31,000 and the DSG-only V6 around $38,000. We expect our Fair Purchase Prices to reflect real-world transaction prices close to these sticker prices. The Volvo C70 is the Eos' most kindred competitor in spirit, but it starts at $40,000 and, fully equipped, can approach $50,000. The Pontiac G6 Convertible starts below $30,000 and can reach the area of $33,000. In terms of resale value, we expect the Eos to perform nominally better than either the C70 or G6 Convertible.