What is there between budget rental-car convertibles like the Chrysler 200, more focused drop-top sports cars like the Mazda Miata and Audi TT, and entry luxury convertibles like the BMW 135 convertible or Volvo C70, or muscle ragtops like the Ford Mustang? What lands neatly in that middle ground is the Volkswagen Eos,
While in appearance it’s strictly a cruiser, a much more flamboyant personality lurks within—and, in our opinion, the Eos is one of the best-designed (and often-omitted by shoppers) convertibles on the market.
The 2013 Volkswagen Eos is about as conservative and understated as you can get with a convertible. From the outside it looks designed to offend no one, while it’s handsome and straightforward there’s nothing all that charming about the design. Inside, the Eos is more charming, with a somewhat swoopier cabin look than other affordable VWs–and better-quality trims and materials.
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Every Eos sports a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (2.0T), paired with either a notchy six-speed manual gearbox or a dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). The latter gearbox is our pick of the two, because it changes gears smoothly yet very quickly, doubling down on the engine’s robust torque curve and bringing out a zippy, responsive feel. Factor in the Eos’ light, responsive handling, and it’s a lot more fun to drive than it looks.
The Eos is quite comfortable too, if you’re a larger adult and if you’re sitting in the front seats. The driving position is a bit more laid-back than in the golf, and the seats feel a bit more plush and better bolstered than in that basic hatchback. While it can carry four adults, the Eos’ back seat feels more like the buckets in a cozy 2+2. Trunk space isn’t so generous either, though when the roof is raised, a movable trunk liner can be flipped up to carve out a couple more cubic feet of room.
The retractable hardtop arrangement is tight, quick, and nearly flawless. In less than 25 seconds, a total of eight electric motors work in conjunction to unlatch the roof from the windshield header and flip and fold it under the metal trunk lid.
New for 2013 is a sport trim that lands just above the base comfort model but priced below the mid-range Lux. It includes a lowered sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, front fog lamps, and an eight -speaker touch-screen audio system. It also gets black exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler, brushed stainless-steel pedals, and adaptive front lighting with bi-xenon headlamps. And at the top of the lineup, the executive includes a rearview camera system, a navigation system, a different ‘Kansas’ alloy wheel design, and 600-watt Dynaudio premium audio with ten speakers and HD radio.