2012 Volkswagen Eos
Starting MSRP $34,350–$39,585
For those searching for family-centric reviews on the 2012 Volkswagen Eos, I admire your optimism. Unless yours is a family where the kids are old enough for a part-time job and way too cool to hang out with their parents, the Eos will provide more than a few challenges when expected to perform as a family car.
The 2012 Eos is a two-door convertible that seats four, though the backseat is more a formality than something functional.
It's also a gorgeous hardtop with a sunroof that possesses an air of cool. When the top is down and the sun is shining on the Eos' luxurious interior, it feels fun, stylish and carefree. Unfortunately, those traits aren't at the top of most parents' priority list, so the Eos ends up being unrealistic for family duty.
However, there are certainly no complaints when it comes to driving this car. Good times can be had behind the wheel thanks to its turbocharged engine, and it feels stable and can be kept under control with ease. I underwent a slight learning curve when I was getting used to the way I could physically feel the standard six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission shifting for me, but it was nothing significant enough to keep me from adapting to it.
The 2012 Eos starts at $33,995. My test car came with all the bells and whistles at the top-of-the-line Executive trim level, which increased the as-tested price to $39,220.
From every angle, the Eos looks great — top up or down. Oftentimes, a hardtop convertible will look strange with the top up, as though the proportions aren't quite right somehow, but this is definitely not the case with the 2012 Eos.
Will you attract attention from many an envious person sharing the road with you due to the Eos' good looks and charming frame? Yes. Does that make up for the frustration you'll feel every time you must get your child in and out of this vehicle during a busy day of errands? No. Two-door cars tend to be annoying for families dealing with children in child-safety seats.
The good news is the Eos does provide a creative solution for entries and exits — just put the top down and snap that infant-safety seat into the base or lift your child up and sit them right down into their car seat. You'll earn bonus points for the entertainment value gained as your kids watch the sophisticated mechanics of the top going up and down, making the Eos appear just as cool as any of those cars in "Transformers."
For kids who are old enough to enter and exit a vehicle on their own, they still may need a little assistance sliding the front seat forward far enough so they can squeeze into the back. The doors could be too heavy and potentially awkward for little ones to open and shut independently.
The 2012 Eos' 200-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine runs best on premium fuel. The Eos gets an EPA-estimated 22/30 mpg city/highway. I managed to get closer to 25 mpg with my majority of city driving for the weeklong test drive.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Not Really
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Groove-On
The girl in me swooned over the Eos' interior styling with a black-colored dash and the most gorgeous shade of red leather seats I'd ever laid eyes on. Its Executive trim level is apropos because everything inside the Eos feels fancy and expensive.
Every feature you're looking for can be found here: heated seats, a navigation system, a backup camera, dual-zone climate controls and Bluetooth connectivity. I especially appreciated being able to toggle between different screens on the navigation system, which showed fuel consumption, navigation instructions, phone commands and audio information. The interfaces were easy to use, and all displays were not only handy but also attractive.
Then, the mom in me laughed out loud when I noticed the lack of storage and limited cargo space in the car. I know, I know … in a convertible like the Eos, the only things that should be carried with you are a Hermes scarf, oversized sunglasses and a hotel confirmation for a poolside room in Palm Springs. But seriously, there's not even a full-sized storage bin under the center armrest. Upon lifting the armrest, you find a miniature-sized indentation that would probably fit a roll of quarters and a small slot to slide your cellphone into to charge or to plug in your MP3 player. The door pockets are too shallow to be of much use. There are also two teensy European-sized cupholders in the front that made me question their ability to accommodate two drinks stowed there simultaneously.
If you're a minimalist, you may be able to overlook the lack of a nifty storage compartment or two. But the real deal-killer here is the trunk — and I challenge even the lightest of packers to disagree. Upon opening the trunk lid, you immediately see three separate warning symbols telling you where not to place something. That high-tech, savvy hardtop comes with a price — a complete sacrifice of any meaningful storage in the trunk. When the top comes down, it all folds neatly into the trunk and you're left with a small square area that can maybe fit three full shopping bags. If the top is up, you can cheat a little and let things spill over into the sides; I did manage to fit my stroller back there, but it's narrower and a little more compact than many strollers.
Finally, the backseat is really more for looks than for use. Simply put, there's not a lot of room back there for adults and children alike. Yes, you can technically transport two backseat passengers, but no matter who they are, they'll be wishing for a short ride.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Puny
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Puny
The Eos has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the backseat, but as I was installing my rear-facing infant-safety seat, it was clear that they were there only for requirements sake. Just squeezing into the tiny backseat with the car seat posed a major problem because of the limited space. Trying to locate the Latch anchors and attach the base to my infant's car seat in such small quarters was almost comical. See how the Eos performed in MotherProof.com's Car Seat Check here.
The 2012 Eos hasn't been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Eos has standard front-wheel drive, four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, traction control, and front- and side-impact airbags.
Get more safety information about the 2012 Volkswagen Eos here.
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