The Eos is a compact four-seat retractable-hardtop convertible, and as such it occupies a small niche in the car market. It roughly competes on price with the Audi A4, and costs more than the Mini Cooper convertible and Volkswagen's New Beetle Convertible. It's not designed to be a sports car, and it doesn't behave like one. It's only been on sale since the 2007 model year, and for 2008 it gets a number of leather upgrades and other tweaks to the interior. Its trim names have also changed to Turbo, Lux, VR6 and Komfort, the latter of which is apparently the German spelling of "comfort."
Unlike the retired VW Cabrio, which was a soft-top version of the Golf, the Eos isn't based on any existing model, though it does share a platform with a few small VW models. It has a clean, sporty look with design cues seen on new VW models, including a plunging grille and taillights similar to those on the Jetta. For 2008, new 18-inch wheels are standard on the VR6, the Lux trim gets new 17-inch wheels, and 17-inch wheels are optional on the Komfort. Otherwise, the Eos rides on 16-inchers. Also for 2008, VR6 models get new chrome grille louvers.
Like other retractable hardtops, the Eos looks like a coupe when the top is up. Its rear window and roof panel (which also is a glass pane) retreat into the trunk, leaving a neat appearance and uninterrupted lines. An active roll bar that remains out of sight unless needed helps to minimize the visual clutter. VW says the powered top's operation takes about 25 seconds.
The Eos offers VW's storied interior design and materials quality, and this is where the Eos sees the most changes for 2008. Leather is now standard on the steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake handle. The center sliding armrest is standard, as is the windblocker — a screen-like device designed to reduce turbulence in the seating area. Finally, a power 12-way driver's seat is newly standard for 2008. Turbo models also gain the option of heated front seats.
A relatively low windshield is said to grant an exceptional open-air feeling, even for front occupants. The power front seats are designed to motor forward to enable backseat access and then return to their original position. Typical of retractable hardtops, the Eos loses trunk capacity when the top is down, but it has a pass-thru to the cabin, which remains a rare feature in convertibles.
Under the Hood
There are two engines in the Eos. Turbo, Lux and Komfort models get a 200-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The VR6 gets a 250-hp, 2.5-liter V-6.
Standard safety features include the active roll bar, an electronic stability system and side head-thorax airbags that deploy from the front seats but are designed to protect occupants' heads in the absence of roof-mounted side curtain airbags, which can't be installed in a convertible. Bi-xenon headlights that aim in the direction of a turn are optional. For 2008, Lux and VR6 models get a reverse warning system that beeps at drivers as they approach things when reversing.