The Truth About Cars » Eos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:57:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Eos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Volkswagen Eos Is Dead: Here’s Why http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-eos-dead-heres/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-eos-dead-heres/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:09:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=912786 RX-8, FJ Cruiser, XLR: just some of the recent nameplates which at one time generated healthy sales activity in the U.S., but after slowly fading in un-updated form, were put out to pasture. Now we can add to that list the Volkswagen Eos. Cars like the Eos, which major on style over practicality, are prone […]

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2012 Volkswagen EosRX-8, FJ Cruiser, XLR: just some of the recent nameplates which at one time generated healthy sales activity in the U.S., but after slowly fading in un-updated form, were put out to pasture. Now we can add to that list the Volkswagen Eos.

Cars like the Eos, which major on style over practicality, are prone to early bouts of desirability which wanes as newer, fresher, brighter, bolder, faster machines enter the fray. It’s not surprising to see interest in these vehicles dry up more quickly than it does with a midsize sedan or smaller crossover.

Consider the Chevrolet Equinox. Sales in the Equinox’s category have been steadily rising – vehicles such as the top-selling Honda CR-V and Ford Escape recorded record-high U.S. sales in 2013. But they are newer examples of the breed. The Equinox, on the other hand, was introduced in second-generation form for the 2010 model year. Yet in 2013 it, too, posted record-high U.S. volume.

On the other side of that coin, consider the Chevrolet Corvette. Although it’s a relatively common car for a vehicle of its type, at least in the United States, Corvette sales in its sixth iteration declined sharply in 2007, 2008, and 2009 and didn’t recover as the overall size of the new car market grew somewhat in 2010, growing only slightly in 2011 and 2012.

New is necessary. Corvette sales, now in C7 Stingray form, jumped 166% in the fourth quarter of 2013 and are up 236% so far this year. The Corvette is on track for its best U.S. sales year since 2006.

The Volkswagen Eos is certainly no Corvette, but neither were the Mazda RX-8, Toyota FJ Cruiser, or Cadillac XLR. (Actually, the XLR was sort of a Corvette.) The point stands, regardless. An automaker can’t introduce a sporty little convertible, even one without trackday intentions, and expect consumer interest to remain level during its tenure.

The first and only Eos has been around since the latter portion of 2006, when Mercury was selling a Montego – when Mercury was – and when an Eos buyer could have also looked at a Pontiac G6 GTP convertible.

Though facelifted, the Eos was always as it always was. Equipped with Volkswagen’s ubiquitous 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder or, in the early part of its lifespan, a 3.2L V6, the Eos was a relatively attractive front-wheel-drive convertible. Along with the front-wheel-drive Volvo C70, it was tasked with fighting premium Germans from below and affordable droptop performance cars from above.

Most definitely from above. Back in the beginning, Mazda would sell you an MX-5 PRHT for about $5000 less.

And yet, the Eos was a new thing, and thus, when Mazda USA sold 15,075 more affordable MX-5s in 2007, Volkswagen sold 12,744 Eos convertibles. And in 2008, the Eos actually outsold the MX-5. The Eos outsold the MX-5 again in 2010 and 2011. Isn’t this a recipe for printing money? Sell the more expensive car, the one that shares a great number of parts with countless other high-volume machines?

Yes, it was, until Volkswagen invited a Beetle Convertible back to the party. Volkswagen USA sold 4178 Eos cabrios in 2013 (down from a peak of 12,837 in 2008), a figure which compares unfavourably with Volkswagen’s 18,050 Beetle Convertible sales. That’s more than the Eos’s total from all of 2012, 2013, and the first eight months of 2014 combined.

The Eos is dead because, by VW’s choice, it hasn’t been at all new since 2006 and because, by VW’s choice, the iconic and ancient Beetle nameplate became new again.

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Review: 2012 Volkswagen Eos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/review-2011-volkswagen-eos/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/review-2011-volkswagen-eos/#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2011 19:45:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=417388 Thirteen years after the Mercedes-Benz SLK reintroduced the hard top convertible, the novelty has once again begun to wear off in the face of concerns about cost, complexity, and curb weight. Even high-end manufacturers like Audi, BMW, and Jaguar have fit their latest convertibles with soft tops (albeit multi-layered ones to retain heat and keep […]

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Thirteen years after the Mercedes-Benz SLK reintroduced the hard top convertible, the novelty has once again begun to wear off in the face of concerns about cost, complexity, and curb weight. Even high-end manufacturers like Audi, BMW, and Jaguar have fit their latest convertibles with soft tops (albeit multi-layered ones to retain heat and keep out noise). In other words, the retractable hard top has not rendered ye olde ragtop obsolete. This isn’t to say that the retractable hard top is pointless, at least not when innovatively executed. The recently updated Volkswagen Eos remains the best. But would you want one?

The Eos’s exterior styling remains consistent with the VW brand. Meaning it’s much more clean and functional than drop-dead gorgeous. The revised, de-chromed nose is more generic, but an improvement nonetheless. The top’s novel configuration avoids the poorly located side rail seams that mar the appearance of the otherwise more stylish Volvo C70. Inside, the Eos is similarly very VW, with an instrument panel similar to other compact Euro-market VWs. So clean and solidly-constructed, but nothing flashy or notably luxurious.

As in a number of other VWs and Audis, the driver’s seat is firm and supportive, but is not especially comfortable despite the inclusion of a four-way power lumbar adjustment. You’ll find a far better seat in a Volvo. Visibility is pretty good in all directions. The rear seat is just roomy enough for the average adult male to side behind another such male. If either person is six-plus-feet-tall, though, the fit is going to be tight.

The top is truly the big story. If you’re not interested in it, then you’re not interested in the Eos. VW’s key innovation: separating the center panel from the side rails. This enables a number of unique advantages:

  1. A superior exterior appearance when the top is up, as noted above. The separated side rails can stow to each side of the rear seat, so they can be longer than a one-piece center panel could be.
  2. An extra-wide rail-to-rail fully functional glass sunroof within the retractable hard top. So you can get some light in the car even with the roof up. Or, to get a little air in the car without fully opening the roof, vent or open the sunroof.
  3. A compact retracted roof, in sharp contrast to the much simpler roof of the late, unlamented Pontiac G6 hard top convertible. Even with the top down there’s enough room in the trunk for my usual weekly grocery run. With the top up, trunk space expands from 6.6 to 10.5 cubic feet. And there’s a pass-through to the rear seat for long objects in either configuration.

You simply cannot buy any other car with a roof this versatile. VW even includes a standard wind blocker that covers the rear seat to enable comfortable top-down driving on cool days, and that easily fits in the trunk when not in use.

Of course, the roof also has downsides. The first: with so many motorized pieces, it’s extremely complex. While my sons were highly entertained by the top’s “transformer” effect when in transition, the reliability survey conductor in me must wonder how durable this mechanism will be, and how much it would cost to fix if it did break. Even with the nearly new tested car the top proved finicky. On cold mornings it visibly shook and audibly creaked while traversing patchy pavement. (To keep the seals supple, regularly apply Krytox GPL lube, which runs $50 for two ounces.) Get the trunk’s cargo separator just a bit out of place, and the top won’t go down. Other times the windows wouldn’t move up or down in response to my initial request. And once the windows started rapidly going up and down a fraction of an inch, as they do whenever a front door is opened.

The second downside: curb weight. Tipping the scales just north of 3,500 pounds, the Eos is over 400 pounds heavier than a GTI. So VW’s ubiquitous 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine feels a bit soft off the line and more laggy at middling speeds. Unlike some these days, you can tell it’s a turbo. Once boost is up, though, the 2.0T moves the Eos forward more than well enough given the car’s typical cruising mission. You don’t have to rev the engine, given its plump midrange. If you want to do so anyway, the mandatory ultra-quick-shifting DSG dual-clutch automated manual transmission is eager to assist. Manual mode works via the lever; there are no shift paddles.

The extra curb weight appears to have cut two-to-three MPG from the Eos’s rated fuel economy, 22/30 vs. 24/33 for the GTI. In suburban driving the trip computer reported from 23 to 26, depending on my driving style. Not bad numbers for a four-seat turbocharged convertible.

In casual driving the Eos feels taut, sporty, almost agile, and much more enjoyable than a Chrysler 200 (the only other hard top four-seat convertible with a price in the mid-thirties). The VW’s steering provides little feedback, but it’s quick and nicely weighted. Drive the Eos as you might a GTI, though, and it lapses into a clumsy plow as its higher center of gravity (especially with the top up) and extra pounds overwhelm the capabilities of the suspension and 235/45HR17 Goodyear Eagle LS tires. The tires do contribute to a generally smooth, quiet ride.

The final downside of the complicated top: price. At $34,765 in its base trim with no options, the Eos lists for $6,950 more than a GTI with DSG and the Sunroof and Convenience Package. Aside from the retractable hard top, the feature level is very similar (according to TrueDelta’s Car Price Comparison Tool), so you’re paying about seven large for the top (in addition to the cost of a sunroof, which is included in the GTI as configured). Not that you’ll do better elsewhere. A Chrysler 200 Limited hard top convertible costs about the same, while a Volvo C70 lists for $6,000 more.

The Volkwagen Eos doesn’t handle like a sports car, or even like a hot hatch. Its styling doesn’t suggest otherwise. But some people are merely seeking a solid, sensible, livable car with a versatile roof that lets them enjoy the sun and fresh air to the maximum extent the weather permits. For this mission, the Eos serves best.

Volkswagen provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.

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