First Drive: 2014 Volkswagen Eos
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That seems to be VW’s slogan when it came to the latest Volkswagen Eos. Almost nearly a decade old, the Eos has essentially been the same sporty convertible with some modern flare to keep up with the youngsters. Why change what works… but that’s where the Eos is starting to lose it touch.
What may have been riveting a few years ago is now showing some age and with this out going 2014 model, there isn’t really much difference amongst the previous generations. However, VW’s design team did an exceptional job with their last face lift as the Eos continues to maintain an attractive stance. Our tester this week came delightfully coated in Reflex Silver Metallic paint and snazzy 18” alloy wheels with black accents that seemed to catch many wondering eyes. The front fascia adds a stunning curb appeal accented by the black and chrome grille, Bi-Xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lamps – that helped the Eos looking young again.
The Eos uses an interesting 5-piece hardtop folding roof system that takes nearly 20 seconds to fully retract. Seems like a lifetime, but the outcome turns into a stimulating experience. With the top down the Eos curb appeal is staggeringly beautiful and at each stop light the LED taillights give the Eos the appearance of a striking a pose. And if the season requires an erected roof, the power sliding panoramic sun roof opens up rays of sunshine without having to put on sunscreen.
Volkswagen went very German when designing the interior. Since it hasn’t been fully updated since 2006, the Eos lacks interior personality. First impressions came off very ‘business’ oriented. The clean line dash is attractive with carbon fiber trim and brushed aluminum accents – which makes easy to live with on an everyday basis. Our mid-level Eos ‘Sport’ offered an array of perks for us to play with; black leatherette seats with heated feature, 12-way power adjustable driver seat, Satellite Navigation, and push-button start with proximity key.
The interior quality was needless to say, a disappointment. Nearing the $40k price point, the Eos’ leatherette interior added a cheap feel to an expensive car. Nonetheless, the space was comfortable; the seats provided sufficient bolstering making it relaxing for long distance driving or every day traffic headaches. The rear seats are of typical convertible stature condoning it the ‘in-laws’ section. And as suspected there is a lack of interior storage space and for trunk capacity; let’s just say don’t bother packing anything for a weekend retreat.
The technology in the Eos is dated compared to what we’ve been so accustom to. We had issues from the start just trying to pair our cell phone to the Bluetooth. The center touch screen display added an attractive feel to the bland dash, but was small and finicky. The record spinning radio presets was a cool idea and added funkiness – it was difficult to use, though given some additional time it would grow on us.
Outside the Technology, the Eos was a lot fun behind the wheel. The leather wrapped steering wheel was comfortable with thick grip points, the mounted audio controls where easy to use, and the paddle shifters heightened the driving experience. As soon as we hit the road, we were surprised by how well the Eos drove. We instantly got comfortable with the powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine. The 200 horsepower front-wheel drive torpedo was quick to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds. The tuned exhaust system was a party piece to the Eos that gave a little belch at every shift point – reminding us of the Audi S5 we drove earlier this year.
The Eos uses a very interesting and scientific six-speed DSG automatic transmission. Essentially it’s a manual transmission driven by a computer system. We don’t quite understand it, but have read enough to understand what it does and explains why it drives funky. Acceleration lags at lower rpms between 1,000 and 2,300 – we suppose that’s when the ‘automatic clutch’ and turbo are trying to work together. Either way this system didn’t hinder our driving experience; it only made it more eccentric. Using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; you can expect a quick response time from the transmission as well as in standard automatic.
Drivers will relish the handling dynamics. The steering is very responsive and allows for quick dodging in and out of traffic maneuvers. The 207lb-ft of torque really pulls the Eos through the corners giving the driver confidence to push a little bit harder on the back twisty roads. The brake pedal feels timid, but when it comes time for stopping the brakes will not disappoint. With the top up or down, there is very little rattle or shaking from the Eos – it feels solid and composed. Even with the top down and the wind screen up, road noise was surprising minimum for a convertible – only problem is, the Eos loses its attractiveness with the wind screen in place; take away the wind screen and it will be noisy and windy at higher speeds.
The suspension on the Eos is not what you would call a comfy ride. The stiff suspension is noticeable when driving on the rougher side of town but won’t hinder the driver’s experience. What did obstruct our experience was the fuel economy. EPA shows 22/30, we only averaged 21 mpg combined on premium grade fuel. Though we must admit, trying to be economical is like trying to get us to walk a mile; it’s just not going to happen. We would rather be smiling all the way losing our wallets to the pumps.
There is quite a lot of draw backs to the Eos – which is hard for us to say as we enjoyed our short time with it. Nearing almost $40k, it’s not as well equipped as what would be expected. The tough to learn infotainment system, leatherette interior, and lack of higher end technology makes it a hard sell. The only true factor it has is that it’s a novelty item; something special, something everyone can enjoy to drive and for that, it might just be worth it.
|2014 Volkswagen Eos Sport:||$37,495|
|Notable Standard Features:|
|Touch Screen Infotainment System w/ Navigation|
|Hard Top Convertible with Panoramic Sun Roof|
|Bi-Xenon Headlights with LED Daytime Lights|
|Push Button Start with Proximity Key|
|Dual Zone Climate Control|
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