The Vw Eos: Closer To Audi Territory

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Better than a Rabbit and a bargain compared to Audi, the Volkswagen Eos has a sunroof or convertible setup considered so revolutionary that it snagged a "2006 Best of What's New" award from Popular Science magazine in the automotive category.

However, some automobile analysts say the operation of the retractable hardtop is not particularly special, though quite well done. When the lid is up, it is not folded nicely into the truck but snug and tight over your head. This process takes 25 seconds. While this is being done, the passengers may simply slide a panel over and get light, but just a bit more, in the cabin. The Eos has an integrated, power glass sunroof, making it a true four-season ragtop.

Nonetheless, the Eos starts at a very reasonable $36,900. This price makes it one of the best, if not the best, value in hardtop convertibles. The Volvo C70 hardtop convertible, for instance, lists for $56,495. It is of course way more expensive and definitely up there by most standards, but yes, it is a reasonable comparison. The closest competitor to the Eos is probably Mitsubishi's Eclipse Spyder that costs $31,998-$36,998. The Spyder only comes with a power soft-top, although the Spyder GT-P ($36,998) has a 260-horsepower V-6.

The Eos 2.0T has its 200-horsepower inline-four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual. If you want the six-speed Tiptronic automatic, one will needs to the $1,400 tab. The Volkswagen in Canada, however, does not offer the top-of-the-line Eos 3.2L model with a 250-horsepower V-6 engine.

The name Eos comes from the Greek goddess of the dawn, who is also the mother of the winds Passat and Jetta.

Don?t go thinking though that the front-wheel-drive Eos is your regular, cutesy ragtop because it is definitely not. The VW Eos is a grown-up convertible with substantial, but not bulky, styling thanks to design highlights that include the wide chromed grille, expressive headlights and black louvers. Generally speaking, the coupe-style body looks good.

And here?s another thing -- the cabin departs a little from your traditional VW interior design, this time sporting a pleasing contemporary look, accented by metallic-look trim. The front seats feel roomy, the controls including the ones for the convertible operation are simple and straightforward and the rearward visibility is thankfully good.

Upgrades include a sport leather package at $3,885, a removable wind blocker at $375, a removable ski bag at $250 and a park distance control at $350.Standard for the Eos are power windows, door locks, a good stereo, cruise control. With the usual durable VW ball joints, the Eos has an interior with two small cup holders that do not adjust.

It has turbocharged engine, which delivers 200 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque, and six-speed manual transition. Fuel economy with the manual is pegged at 10.1 litres/100 km city/6.8 highway.

The cars safety features include the usual four-wheel disc brakes with anti lock and electronic brake assist, and an anti-skid program. Also, front and side airbags with a head extension are standard.

The Eos running gear is patterned to the Rabbit/Jetta platform, and the rear suspension is based on the Passat.

Thanks to all the smart engineering and design work by the brilliant minds at Volkswagen the Eos is seemingly moving closer to Audi territory.

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