2007 Volkswagen Eos 3.2L Review


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2007 Volkswagen EOS 3.2L

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen Buyers Guide

DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD
WITH CAREY RUSS

2007 Volkswagen Eos 3.2L

Sometimes you want a coupe, sometimes you want a convertible. And so, for the past 50 years there have been cars built with folding metal hard tops instead of the traditional cloth or vinyl convertible top.

The first folding hardtops, in the late 1950s, weren't quite ready for prime time, but an increasing number of convertibles in the past decade have done away with soft tops for the security of a hardtop top-up added to the open-air motoring experience of a convertible. Nearly all newer luxury and near-luxury convertibles have been made that way, and an increasing number of more popularly-priced models as well.

All lack one detail. Sometimes you may also want a glass sunroof. One that can be left closed, for a view above in cool or damp weather, and that can also be slid back or tilted up for fresh air or ventilation when the full top-down experience is not desired.

That seems like a simple extension of the folding convertible top, but the first car to combine the virtues of a coupe, sunroof, and convertible is the 2007 Volkswagen Eos, with its "CSC"(tm) top. CSC? Coupe, Sunroof, Convertible.

Eos is the ancient Greek goddess of the dawn, who brought daylight to mankind. Unsurprisingly, given the production techniques in today's automotive industry, the Eos is built on the same front-wheel drive, transverse-engine platform as Volkswagen's other sedans and hatchbacks. It's closest in size to the Jetta, with which it shares its 101.5-inch wheelbase, although it is slightly shorter, wider, and lower. Unlike some other folding-hardtop convertibles, the Eos has useful luggage space with the top down.

The first examples of the Eos were powered by VW's lovely 200-horsepower 2.0-liter direct-injected, turbocharged, intercooled four-cylinder engine, matched to either a regular manual or DSG auto-shift manual gearbox, both with six speeds. It was joined a few months later by a model with the compact 250-hp 3.2-liter narrow-angle VR6 engine, with the DSG.

I drove both versions when they were introduced. I found that the 2.0-liter was more than merely adequate - it was plenty strong, and suited the car's sporty but not serious sports character well. The V6 was icing on the cake. With yet more power and a more upscale standard fitment - much of what is optional for the 2.0 is standard in the 3.2 - it competes in a higher class. Yet it competes quite well with the established entry-luxury brands.

More recently I had the opportunity to drive an Eos 3.2 on the track, and that was the car that appeared in my driveway a couple of weeks later. That coincided with the arrival of summer weather, which where I live can mean cold fog in the morning and warm sunshine by noon - a perfect situation for the CSC top. The Eos 3.2 was surprisingly quick and capable on the track, and just as pleasant in the real world. In any trim, it offers the protection from the elements expected of a coupe, the view and fresh air of a large glass sunroof, and the open-air experience of a convertible in one very pleasant package.

APPEARANCE: Although it shares no bodywork with other Volkswagens, the Eos is instantly recognizable as a VW by virtue of its clean, slightly rounded, and subtly-sculpted shape. And, of course, its chrome-goateed grille, the modern VW hallmark. At a glance, it appears to be a Jetta convertible - but the Eos has two doors to the Jetta's four, and that, a lightly greater width, and the modifications for the top preclude any panel sharing. Top-up, the Eos is a handsome and sporty-looking coupe. With the top down, its wedge profile is accentuated.

COMFORT: No surprise, the Eos's interior design is contemporary VW - meaning clean, uncluttered, and contemporary. The 3.2 has a higher standard equipment level, with walnut trim, upgraded leather seats, and an upgraded audio system among its features. In all models, windows, mirrors, locks, and of course the top are all power-operated. The steering wheel is manually adjustable for both tilt and reach, ensuring a comfortable driving position for all drivers. There is a master window lift switch to put all four windows up or down, a very convenient feature for a convertible. My test car has the Sport Package, which included more highly-bolstered sports seats and aluminum trim replacing walnut in its interior features. Front seat comfort is very good, and the two-place rear seat fits medium-sized adults comfortably. Top operation is a breeze, just hold the appropriate switch to raise or lower the top or operate the sunroof. Top-up, noise levels are no higher than in a coupe, and top-down wind levels are pleasant even without using the wind-blocker (which covers the rear seat). Top-up, the trunk has a useful 10.5 cubic feet capacity. This decreases to 6.6 cft top-down, under a protective structure, but that is about 6.5 more than some competitors and adequate for a weekend's worth of carry-on luggage for two.

SAFETY: Standard safety equipment in all Eos models includes three-point harnesses, driver and passenger front airbags, with the Passenger Occupant Detection System (PODS), front combined side thorax and head airbags, emergency locking belt retractors, and the Rollover Protection System, with spring-loaded roll bars that pop up from behind the rear seats in the event of a collision or if the car gets extremely sideways. Brakes are four-wheel discs, with standard antilock, Brake Assist, traction control, and the ESP electronic stability control program. A brake disc wiper system keeps moisture from unduly decreasing brake performance in wet weather.

RIDE AND HANDLING: Volkswagen has developed its following by building cars with sporty but comfortable character, and the Eos is yet another fine example. Although my test car had the "Sports Package" option group, with a firmer tuning of its fully-independent MacPherson strut / multilink suspension and ultra-low profile P235/40 HR18 tires, it had a pleasant ride quality on all surfaces. Steering was just right in effort. The car was in its element in spirited driving on the street. Pushed harder on the track, it was thoroughly enjoyable, feeling like a larger, heavier GTI with more weight in the rear. Which, come to think of it, pretty much describes the Eos. On rough surfaces and in a 10,000-mile plus car some cowl shake was noticed, but it was less than in many convertibles and not detrimental to the ride or handling.

PERFORMANCE: The heavy top and structural reinforcement of its unibody structure mean that the Eos is no lightweight, at nearly 3700 pounds for the 3.2 or 2.0 with DSG and 3500 for the 2.0 stick. Yet even the 2.0-liter engine provides an enjoyable level of performance. With its 10.6-degree vee angle, the 3.2-liter VR6 is not much larger, or heavier, than the four, so it has a negligible effect on weight distribution and handling. It boosts power output to 250 horsepower (at 6300 rpm), with torque peaking at 235 lb-ft between 2500 and 3000 rpm. The six-speed DSG auto-manual gearbox is the perfect match for it, with shifting quicker as smooth as from any torque converter automatic in automatic mode, and lightning-fast rev-matching shifts in manual mode.

CONCLUSIONS: The VW Eos is fun in the sun, snug in less pleasant weather, and with its retractible, multifunction CSC roof it's three cars in one.

SPECIFICATIONS
2007 Volkswagen Eos 3.2L

Base Price			$ 36,850
Price As Tested			$ 40,930
Engine Type			24-valve dual overhead cam
				 10.6-degree VR6 
Engine Size			3.2 liters / 195 cu. in.
Horsepower			250 @ 6300 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)			235 @ 2500-3000 rpm
Transmission			6-speed DSG
Wheelbase / Length		101.5 in. / 173.5 in.
Curb Weight			3686 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower		14.7
Fuel Capacity			14.5 gal.
Fuel Requirement		91 octane unleaded premium gasoline
Tires				P235/40 HR18 Pirelli P6 Four Seasons
Brakes, front/rear		vented disc / solid disc
				 ABS and ESP standard
Suspension, front/rear		independent MacPherson strut /
				  independent multilink
Drivetrain			transverse front engine,
				 front-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE
EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon
    city / highway / observed		22 / 29 / 22
0 to 60 mph				6.5  sec

OPTIONS AND CHARGES
DVD Navigation system with armrest CD changer		$ 1,800
Dynaudio  premium sound system				$ 1,000
Sports Package - includes:
  sport seats, leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel
  with Tiptronic controls for DSG, brushed aluminum
  trim, sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels
  with all-season tires					$   850
Destination charge					$   630

Complete specifications on the 2007 Volkswagen Eos 3.2L and other vehicles are available at the New Car Buyers Guide!

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