Motoring: Volkswagon Eos zooming straight to the head of the class
First of all, this is both a coupe and a convertible, thanks to its very clever folding hardtop roof. Usually cars with such features cost a lot, lot more.
Then it is fast. It has a turbo-charged two litre, four cylinder engine that pumps out 200 hp. Then you get a choice of two transmissions, you can either get a good six-speed DSG-box, which is a twin-clutch manual gearbox that works like an automatic, or you can have an even better proper six-speed manual gearbox that is simply a joy to use.
I was expecting this car to be boring to drive, but it just isn't. I spent about three weeks living with Eos' and loved every minute I spent with it.
They are a joy in the city and just as enjoyable on the highway. The more you drive it, the more you enjoy it. The extensive driving won't hurt your pocket much either because the Eos is quite fuel-efficient. I averaged about nine litres/100km, which is phenomenal.
The one area I would have bet this car would let me down in was the handling. But again, it surprised me on that too. This car handles very well. Sure it isn't a sportscar like a Mazda RX8, but it is much, much better than a Toyota Solara or a Honda Accord coupe.
The interior is better than its Japanese rivals too. It is well built (by the way, these are built in Portugal), well designed, comfortable, spacious and well equipped. The seats might not hold you too well when you are enjoying its cornering abilities, but they are comfortable to sit on.
The stereo might not be a boom box, but it is plenty good enough for most people. There is plenty to get people talking and be amused by this car, but its party-piece is its roof.
This Eos has the most innovative folding hardtop system I have ever seen. Unlike other hardtop convertibles this one has a sunroof feature. So if you want to drive with just the sunroof open, you can and it'll be like a coupe with a sunroof. Then, you can open the sunroof and drop all its windows and it becomes a targa. Then you can open the roof completely and it becomes a proper convertible, a goodlooking one at that.
So you basically have three cars in one and it works well in either of its configurations. So it makes for a good emotional buy, a sports car that you can buy from the heart.
But it also works as a buy from the brain, because the Eos is very safe. It comes with front and side airbags, ABS-brakes, traction control and stability control system.
This then is as perfect a car as you can imagine. I cannot knock it as this is a seriously good car. I guess what surprised me most was the fact this wonderful car comes from Volkswagen, which has not done many great cars recently. The Passat wagon I tested a few months ago was bad, and the Jetta I tested some time ago was worse. So it is surprising VW got the Eos so right, but I am glad they did.
In the last year I tested many cars, some were good and some were bad. My favourite car from the year past was the Audi RS4, but the VW Eos should take the prize as the second best car from the past year. Coming second to the RS4 is a huge accomplishment and it deserves it.
So, like I said in the beginning, if you have about $40,000 on a sporty car, buy an Eos, you'll be very happy indeed.