There was a time when retractable hardtop convertibles were limited to expensive cars, but today, most small, moderately priced convertibles have retractable tops. The Volkswagen Eos is a good example.
A convertible no longer means a canvas top, and that’s a boon to folks who want to enjoy top-down driving when the weather is good without sacrificing the comfort and convenience of a coupe when the weather is marginal.
It’s a snap to let in the sunshine because the Eos’ top folds into the trunk in 25 seconds at the touch of a button. The folding roof also has a glass panel that functions like a sunroof. The hardtop also keeps out noise.
One drawback: The retractable top encroaches on trunk space when it is folded, leaving room for only a couple of small bags.
The Eos has a fairly short 101.5-inch wheelbase, so it drives and handles like a compact sedan. The front seat has adequate space, but the back seat is pretty tight for anyone other than small adults or children. Getting into the back seat is aided by sliding the front seats forward.
The Eos is powered by VW’s 200-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, mated to the excellent Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG). The turbo provides strong low-speed throttle response, and stepping into the throttle yields performance on par with a small V-6.
The six-speed DSG has an automatic dual-clutch system that instantly engages and disengages gears without the need for a clutch pedal. With a special computer controlling the process, one clutch is engaged on the next gear needed while the clutch from the previous gear is released. Crisp, quick shifts are the result, especially when driven with gusto.
The Eos comes in Komfort, Lux and Executive trim levels. I drove a Komfort.
This engine’s direct fuel injection sprays gas into each cylinder for enhanced performance and economy, and it works very well in concert with a turbocharger. Fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway.
Volkswagen interiors have long been a model of good design, nice materials and thoughtful details. The Eos continues that trend. The gauges have bright blue numerals at night. The large sections of flat silver trim on the centre stack look less elegant, however, than some of VW’s previous interiors.
The sloping windshield lets passengers sit low and out of much of the wind when the top is down. A removable wind-blocker can also be set up behind the front seats to reduce wind buffeting even more.
Roll bars pop up from behind the rear seats in case of a severe collision or a vehicle rollover.
The power folding outside mirrors have LED side turn-signal lights as well as small lights that illuminate the ground in front of the doors at night.
The Eos has front, side and side-curtain airbags. Anti-lock brakes and vehicle stability control are standard.
Engine: 2.0-liter, 200-hp 4-cyl.
Transmission: Six-speed DSG automatic front-wheel drive
Wheelbase: 101.5 inches
Curb weight: 3,569 lbs.
MPG rating: 22 city, 30 hwy.