Full 2011 Volkswagen Eos Review
What's New for 2011
For 2011, the Volkswagen Eos gets a few more standard features as the Komfort trim comes with 17-inch alloy wheels (versus last year's 16s) and the Lux gets daytime running lights, power lumbar adjustments (for both front seats) and an auto-dimming feature for the driver side outside mirror.
In the $30,000-$40,000 range, you have a variety of four-passenger convertibles from which to choose. There are the sportier entries, such as the Ford Mustang and Mini Cooper S, and then there are the grand touring drop tops, such as the BMW 128i and Volvo C70, with the latter boasting a retractable hardtop. In the middle of this mix sits the 2011 Volkswagen Eos, a compact convertible that's geared toward laid-back sun worshippers who'd rather take a cruise up the coast than carve up canyon roads.
The Eos has the added appeal of offering a few of the more desirable aspects of this group in one car. Like the C70, the Eos has a retractable hardtop, which provides the al fresco experience of a soft top when it's down and the weather-tight insulation and security of a hardtop when it's up. And as with the Mini Convertible, the Eos has a power sunroof integrated into its hardtop -- the forward portion of the roof slides back, providing a fresh air experience without the full wind-in-your-hair consequences.
Beyond the talented top, the Eos provides an enjoyable drive thanks in part to the standard turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine. The 200-horsepower mill is also seen in other VW models such as the GTI and is known for smooth yet willing performance. Still, serious driving enthusiasts will want to look elsewhere, as the Eos is tuned for boulevards rather than back roads. Its retractable hardtop also makes it rather pudgy at nearly 3,600 pounds, which is 500 pounds more than a GTI. Nevertheless, we're certain that most sun lovers will appreciate the easygoing demeanor of the Eos.
The 2011 VW Eos is one of those cars that doesn't really stand out until you think about its competitors. The Mini Cooper? It's more fun to drive but less practical due to less passenger/cargo space. The Ford Mustang? A good choice now that the V6 is a strong performance value, but as with the Mini, only a soft top is available. The Volvo C70 has a retractable hardtop, but it costs thousands of dollars more. And then there's the BMW 128i, but it can get rather expensive once a few option packages are checked off. At its in-between price point, the 2011 Volkswagen Eos occupies a happy middle ground between the sportier but less refined lower-end choices and the more luxurious but pricier higher-end entries.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Volkswagen Eos is a front-wheel-drive, two-door hardtop convertible with seating for four. It comes in two trim levels: Komfort and Lux.
The Komfort model comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, a hill-holder feature for the manual-transmission model, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, a trip computer, a power driver seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a rear center pass-through slot, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker touchscreen stereo system (with six-CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio).
The Lux model adds daytime running lights, power-folding heated outside mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview and driver's outside mirrors, burled walnut cabin accents, leather upholstery, power passenger seat, power front seat lumbar adjustments and an easy-entry function for rear passengers.
Options for the Komfort are few and include ground effects (lower body skirting), a rear lip spoiler and 18-inch wheels. Options for the Lux include ground effects, two styles of 18-inch wheels (one of which includes a sport suspension), rear lip spoiler, a Technology package (including adaptive bi-xenon headlamps and rear parking sensors), a hard-drive-based navigation system (with iPod connectivity, USB port and digital music storage) and a Dynaudio premium sound system.
Powertrains and Performance
All 2011 Volkswagen Eos models are powered by the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which makes 200 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque. The Komfort trim level is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or VW's six-speed dual-clutch automated manual, which functions like a traditional automatic with a manual mode but features quicker and more efficient shifts. Lux models are available with the dual-clutch automated manual only.
In the Edmunds test of an Eos with the six-speed manual, the 0-60-mph drill took 7.8 seconds. The fuel economy ratings for the 2011 Eos with the manual are 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. The DSG is rated at 22/29/25.
Standard on all Eos models are antilock disc brakes, stability control and front seat side airbags.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the 2011 VW Eos earned the top rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The chief attraction of the Eos is its five-piece retractable hardtop. The top drops in a respectable 25 seconds, though buyers should note that it requires 16 inches of clearance behind the car to operate properly. Fortunately, rear sensors will warn you if you don't have enough room. As noted, there is also a sunroof section that tilts and slides for those occasions when you don't want a full al fresco experience.
Interior materials are of high quality, and overall the fit and finish is tough to beat in this or any other class. Front passengers will most likely find the Eos spacious enough, but adults in the backseat might feel cramped. There isn't much storage space either. The retractable top leaves little room in the trunk once stowed -- a roadster-like 5.4 cubic feet. With the top up, cargo space increases to 9.3 cubes.
The 2011 Volkswagen Eos is designed for those who want a relaxed touring convertible. On models without the sport suspension, there's too much body roll and steering vagueness for serious fun, but the Eos is perfectly pleasant on boulevards thanks to its soft yet composed ride. The turbo four-cylinder engine has more weight with which to contend compared to VW cars like the GTI, but it's still torquey and capable. Both transmissions are nicely executed, but we suspect the typical Eos buyer will be happier with the automated manual. As expected, the retractable hardtop provides coupelike isolation when the weather prevents top-down motoring.