First Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Eos

Courtesy of Manufacturer
#VW, #Eos

When you drive some 200 new cars a year, it's sometimes easy to forget about older models. I've recommended the Volkswagen Eos to a few friends, and those who bought one have been quite happy with their car.

Of course, just because I approved of their vehicular purchase didn't stop me from making fun of them for driving an ugly car.

Luckily, the Eos has now received a facelift to look more like the Mk6 cars (Golf and Jetta) and it worked wonders on the awkwardly proportioned four-seater hardtop convertible.

The rest of the Eos' positive qualities remain intact: good steering, a great engine, and comfortable seats. The 2.0T turbo four-cylinder is smoother than most V-6s, with admirable fuel economy and great power. My tester (a $38,020 Lux model) came with a bangin' stereo system controlled by a touchscreen that, like most others, is slightly annoying to use.

Like always, VW's DSG dual-clutch automated transmission shifts so fast you wonder how the tachometer needle doesn't break off its post, and so smoothly that you often can't feel the shifts at all. Torque steer is impressively well filtered out. The glass pop-and-slide moonroof built into the convertible top is, frankly, awesome.

Drawbacks? The roof takes about 11 eons to raise or lower and requires that there be a good bit of space behind the car, since the trunk lid swings out to accept the folded roof. And with the top down, not much cargo space remains. The Eos' structure is also prone to a good bit of cowl shake. And lastly, the halogen headlights (and particularly the high-beams) are weak. At this price and equipment level (heated leather seats, climate control, keyless access, wood trim) I expect powerful HID headlights.

Overall, however, the Eos is a pleasure to drive. And now, not even bad to look at.

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