2007 Volkswagen Eos Review – Not a Chick Car

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by Kurt Gensheimer

2007 Volkswagen Eos

Blings:

  • Powerful and fuel-efficient 2.0T engine
  • Oooh aaah retractable hardtop
  • Audi-esque interior
  • European built

Dings:

  • Frustrating nav system that’s last generation
  • Squeal happy tires
  • Bassy drone at 1500 RPM
  • After a few options, you’re getting close to $40K

Ruling: A fun, versatile convertible that no longer wears the “chick car” label.

There is a general stereotype in automotive circles that Volkswagen convertibles, like the New Beetle and Cabriolet, have always been quintessential chick cars. A manly man would never be caught dead alone in either, especially if the vanity plates read “L8E BUG” or “CUTECAB”. It can partially be blamed on that legendary ’80′s flick, License to Drive. You know, the one with Heather Graham in her white Cabrio blasting Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car” as Corey Haim hops into the driver’s seat. And with the introduction of the Volkswagen Eos – a hardtop convertible named after a greek goddess – it would seem the VW convertible stereotype would continue. But not so fast.

From the gutsy 2.0T and VR6 engine options to the slick retractable hardtop and exterior design cues, the Eos is breaking stereotype. Androgynous? Perhaps. But definitely not a chick car.

Our test vehicle was equipped with the 2.0T, 6-speed automatic tranny with DSG, Luxury Package, Navigation, Dynaudio Stereo and Park Distance Control. Base price is $30,110. But with the options listed, our tester came in at $38,465 – a number approaching Audi territory.

Driving Impressions

One of the shining highlights of the Eos is the standard 2.0 liter turbo engine derived from the 1.8 liter engine that Volkswagen has been making variations of for decades. It pumps out 200 horsepower and 207 ft/lbs of torque while producing over 30 MPG on the highway. On the twisties, the Eos is fun, but not inspiring. It doesn’t like to be pushed, as the stock Continental tires squeal for mercy at the slightest bit of spirited cornering. We also had frequent radial roasts anytime the turbo spooled up in first or second gear. The Eos would definitely benefit from a sportier set of treads. The brakes were also a bit spongy, but for most drivers, the Eos handles well enough to have fun.

For a convertible, the Eos was quite rigid, although we still noticed flex in the corners and some cowl shake at highway speeds. With the windows up and the wind screen deployed, the cabin was serene enough for long interstate jaunts without losing your hairpiece nor your hearing. With the top up, the cabin wasn’t as silent as we expected. At highway speeds, we were still hearing noise behind the driver’s side window. And at 1500 RPMs, regardless of speed, the exhaust made a low, bassy droning noise that drove us nuts.

The 6 speed automatic with DSG – a dual clutch plate transmission – shifted better than a typical slushbox manumatic system, but after toying between + and – for a few minutes, we got bored and just put it back into D. For real driving enjoyment, nothing compares to a clutch pedal and shifter.

Build

In recent years Volkswagen has been plagued by quality issues, especially cars that have been assembled on this side of the Atlantic. But with the Eos, 60 percent of its parts come from Germany. The build quality of the Eos is evident. Panel gaps are a bit wide in spots but entirely even, interior components are Audi-spec and the Eos comes with a 4 year/50,000 mile warranty. Of course for nearly $40,000 well-equipped, you’d expect this kind of quality no matter what the brand.

Interior

The Eos feels rich on the inside. With the Luxury Package, owners are greeted with Audi-quality leather seats, an attractive leather-wrapped steering wheel, wood panel trim and chrome accents all about. The optional Dynaudio system is also a terrific touch so everyone in the neighborhood can hear your taste of music while you cruise with the top down. The navigation system is a waste of money. It has last-generation graphics, it’s extremely difficult to use and a cabbie has a bigger lexicon of street names in his head.

The back seats are functional, but barely. Top up, forget it, unless you have a detatchable head. Top down, you’ll have unlimited headroom, but within two hours you’ll lose all feeling and circulation in your feet. Cargo space with the top down is very limited, unless you have no backseat passengers. Top up, it’s better, but remember, this is a hardtop convertible we’re talking about here. Compromises must be made.

Styling

Some prefer the Eos look with the top up, while others in roofless mode. Either way, we found the Eos to be an attractive car that got a lot of attention from bystanders – especially when the retractable top was in motion. From start to finish, the top retracts in about 25 seconds. Our car was also equipped with Park Distance Control – a sonar system that warns the driver when a backup collision is imminent. Now you might think that kind of feature would be reserved for low visibility SUVs, not a compact convertible. But the reason for getting the PDC option is because when the top retracts, the trunk juts out nearly two feet behind the car. If you’re parked within beeping range of the PDC, your trunk is gonna get crunched. Kinda makes us wonder why it’s an option and not standard.

The Eos sports a mix of old and new design cues. The headlights, grille and taillights quintessential VW, while the overall body sculpting is completely fresh. Debadge the Eos, and some might even think it’s an Audi. One thing we couldn’t help but notice were the panel gaps in the hood. Although they were even, the size of them always seemed to draw our eyes there first.

Value

$30,000 for a Volkswagen. That’s agreeable. $40,000 for a Volkswagen? That’s questionable. The topic of value when talking about the Eos is all in the option packages. Our tester pushed $39,000, but we would have done away with the navigation system and the automatic tranny, bringing the price down to $35,600 – perfect.

Who should buy it?

Anyone who has few cargo requirements, hates to deal with the annoyances of a ragtop, occasionally loves to feel the wind in their hair and a sunburn on their scalp, and has few friends who shamelessly try to bum rides.

Conclusion

We really enjoyed the Eos. It was a fun car with a bumpin’ stereo and a slap-happy engine. Unfortunately, our jubilation was deflated a bit when it came time to operate the navigation system. We also rolled our eyes in disbelief anytime we took a corner faster than 40 mph and heard the Continentals scream bloody murder. Order your Eos nav-less and get some sportier tires, and you’ve got a thoroughly satisfying machine. And if you’re a guy, don’t worry, you won’t be teased for having a chick car.

Build

Interior

Performance

Handling

Styling

Value

Overall

Rating

4.5

4.0

4.0

3.5

4

3.5

3.9/B

 

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>> See all of the Volkswagen Eos photos in our photo gallery

>> Details of the 2007 VW Eos can be found on the specs page

>> Be the first person to submit a review of the Volkswagen Eos

>> Volkswagen of America presents U.S. vehicle information, pricing, incentives, deals, comparisons on Eos, GTI, Jetta, New Beetle, New Beetle Convertible, Passat, Passat Wagon, Touareg 2, Rabbit, R32 and the GLI with links to VW dealers, owner information, Volkswagen merchandise, and VW accessories.

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