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 latest four-seat convertible, the 2009 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 in the 2009 Volkswagen Eos.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 New for 2009
The V6 is dropped from the line for 2009, leaving only two trims (Komfort and Lux), both powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2009 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 away – after a 25-second mechanical ballet – luggage space shrinks from 10.5 cubic feet to 6.6 cubic feet. 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 dual-zone climate control that maintains separate settings for top-up and top-down driving.Exterior
The front of the 2009 Volkswagen 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 17 inches and dual exhaust outlets. Adaptive, swiveling bi-xenon headlamps are optional, 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 2009 Volkswagen Eos comes equipped with electronically controlled air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, heated front leatherette seats (dubbed V-Tex) and an eight-speaker six-disc CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary input jack. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability controls, auto-dimming driver's side mirror, front airbags and combination head/thorax side airbags. Lux models add power folding mirrors, 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, 12-way power adjustable front seats with four-way power lumbar and leather seating surfaces.Notable Optional Equipment
Available features include a navigation system, Dynaudio Premium Sound System, iPod adapter, Park Distance Control, front armrest, rear wind blocker, 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.)
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: 21/31 (manual), 22/29 (automatic)
The 2009 Volkswagen Eos' Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $32,500 with the manual transmission and $33,500 with the six-speed DSG automatic. A fully loaded Eos Lux tops out around $40,500. 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 over $40,000 and, fully equipped, can approach $50,000. Smaller and less expensive is the Mazda Miata MX-5 Hardtop, with the only other four-passenger hardtop in this price range being the Chrysler Sebring. In terms of resale value, we expect the Eos to perform nominally better than the Volvo C70 and MX-5 Miata and much better than the Sebring Convertible.