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Volkswagen Eos

Angular Front Exterior View - 2013 Volkswagen Eos 2-door Convertible Komfort SULEV Enlarge PhotoThe Volkswagen Eos is a hard-top convertible (or "convertible coupe" as VW styles it) with luxury intentions. The two-door Eos is a unique vehicle in the VW range, despite sharing much of its construction with the Jetta and previous Passat models.

The Eos' unique style and packaging give it few natural competitors; the MINI Cooper S Convertible could be considered an alternative, as could the BMW 1-Series Convertible. The MINI is smaller, and the BMW can be considerably more expensive, however.

Volkswagen pitched the Eos as the successor to its VW Cabriolet model (based on an earlier Golf model) when the car launched back in 2007. That Cabrio had a cloth roof, though, so the Eos was definitely a step up in insulation, weather protection, and comfort. It's also a hit with kids, who will relish watching the folding roof lift up, separate into give panels that nest inside each other, and retract to drop itself into the trunk compartment--all in less than 30 seconds.

The packaging is quite marvelous in the Eos, in fact. Its trunk is reasonably roomy, and the power top won't descend if there's anything in its path. The back seat is, surprisingly, roomy enough for kids—or even shorter adults, for brief stints—and access isn't bad. Wind deflection isn't great at highway speeds, though, so you'll probably travel at speed with the top up.

The Volkswagen Eos hasn't changed a great deal since its 2007 launch, except for some changes to trim levels and the loss of the VR6 engine option. All models include a pop-up roll bar plus head and thorax side bags, along with more standard features than you'll find on VW's other small cars.

This year, there's only a single engine offered in the Eos: a 200-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (2.0T), here paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or the optional, and excellent, six-speed automated manual (DSG) gearbox.

The first two years of Eos also offered as an option VW's 250-hp, 3.2-liter VR6, which came only with the DSG. What it gained in smoothness and exhaust note, however, the V6 gave up in fuel economy--it was much thirstier--and it really didn't feel much faster on the road. The current engine does well on fuel economy, with EPA ratings of 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway.

On newer versions Bluetooth has been made standard and larger wheels have helped spruce up the Eos' appearance somewhat. And for 2013, VW furthered that by introduced a new Sport trim, with a lowered suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, fog lamps, and special 18-inch alloy wheels, plus a touch-screen audio system.

Handling and roadholding are better than the car's conservative exterior might suggest. The Eos is a better-tuned, better-balanced vehicle than all the smaller cars in VW's lineup except for the GTI—and it's considerably more refined than that hot hatch. Ride quality in the Eos is also supple and composed, especially for such a short vehicle.

The current generation of the Eos is expected to be the last.


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