Review: 2012 VW Eos Lux – Greek Goddess meets a Snow Storm

2012 vw eos lux snow
Volkswagen “Black Oak Brown Metallic” looks good on snow.

The Volkswagen Eos gets its name from the Greek Goddess of the Dawn.  According to Greek mythology, the Goddess Eos was responsible for opening the gates of heaven for the Sun to rise each morning.  The 2012 VW Eos Lux does not open the gates of heaven, but it does allow its occupants to be immersed in the beautiful outdoors by retracting it’s folding hardtop.  The Colorado Rocky Mountains are not a bad place to enjoy a convertible, although preferably during the warm season.

Is the Volkswagen Eos a GTI with a folding roof or does it have a different personality?  Lets have a closer look.

The Volkswagen Eos has been refreshed for the 2012 model year.  The front and rear fascias have been updated and convey a more masculine and aggressive look than before.  The squared off headlights, the upper and lower grills, and the fog lights draw a strong connection to the looks of the current Jetta.  The shape and design of the tail lights have also been updated to match the latest corporate design.  All together, I like the updates.  I was not a huge fan of the large chrome grill of the previous version, so I welcome this refresh.  However, I was bummed that my 2012 test car did not have the LED daytime running lights and HID headlights.  They  are available on the 2013 models that are on sale now.

2012 vw eos interior beach

The Eos interior stays mostly the same as before, and it is almost identical to the interiors found in the GTI and the Golf.  The Eos Lux model adds wood trim on the dash and the center console.  The second row is where the Eos differs from the other Volkswagen products.  The rear seats are more upright and narrow.  They can accommodate just two passengers in a pinch, as the legroom is also limited.  I had a heck of a time fitting the child seats in the back. It’s possible – the two kids fit, but clearly this car is not an ideal toddler vehicle.  On the other hand, the front twos seat are comfortable and offer more than enough leg and head room.  Also, the seat warmers are some of the quickest and hottest that I have sampled.  The heater works great as well.  The car came up to temperature relatively quickly and handled the frozen environment well.  However, it left me wishing for a heated steering wheel.

2012 vw eos lux roof in action
Let the transformation begin!

The show piece and the party trick of this car is its folding hardtop.  This transformer-like piece of engineering has so many moving parts, that it never fails to draw attention when in operation.  Of course, the Eos looks good with the top up or down.  The top part of the roof is glass that can be opened separately, making the Eos a coupe with a moonroof.  Then, the roof can complete the metamorphosis and turn into a clean looking drop-top.  This roof is one of the slower ones, but works all on it’s own – no manual latches here.  With the roof up I noticed some road noise coming more the rear of the car at highway speeds.  The noise is not uncomfortable, but I expected this car to be a little quieter to match its luxurious image.

vw eos lux turbo motor engine volkswagen
This is where all the fury comes from.

A December snow storm is not the ideal time to enjoy a convertible, but I made the best of it.  I drove this Eos on dry roads before the storm, then during the snow fall, and in the aftermath.   The power-train on the Eos is very easy to configure.  It has just one choice, albeit it’s the award winning 2.0 liter Turbo (TSI) 4-cylinder backed by the excellent 6-speed DSG automated manual transmission.  The motor produces 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque.  This does not sound like a lot on paper, but anybody who has driven any Volkswagen with this motor will tell you that it’s a quick one.  This engine delivers the power in one strong punch.  I would not call it turbo lag.  I would call it an explosion.  This basically means that the driver should be gradual in applying the accelerator pedal from a dead stop.  If you floor it, the torque quickly overwhelms the front tires and you either spin them or the traction control comes in to rein you in.  Perhaps, a grippier tire would help the Eos hook up and put the power down.

The Eos is still a whole lot of fun to drive.  Acceleration and passing maneuvers are effortless and never fail to put a smile of your face.  However, it is not a GTI with a folding roof.  For one, at 3,508 lbs the Eos is almost 500 pounds heavier than a comparable two-door GTI.  The Eos also has a little softer and more relaxed demeanor.   It has a more compliant suspension setup, so it leans more in the corners.  And the brake pedal on my test car had long travel and required significant force to achieve an aggressive stop.  I would say the Eos is better suited for relaxed cruising than carving canyons.  I bet it makes for a great road trip car.

Hardtop Convertibles on the market today:

Starting Retail Price City/Hwy MPG HP / Lb-Ft Passenger Volume cu-ft
2012 Volkswagen Eos Lux $38,355 22/30 200/207 77.4
2013 BMW 328i Conv $47,600 17/26 230/200 84.2
2013 BMW Z4 sDrive28i $47,350 22/34 240/260
2013 Chrysler 200 Conv Limited $32,095 19/29 283/260 88.4
2013 G37 Conv $47,800 17/25 325/267 78.4
2012 Lexus IS 250 C $42,610 21/30 204/185 87.9
2012 Mercedes-Benz SL550 $105,500 17/25 429/516
2013 Volvo C70 $41,200 19/28 227/236 83.5

The Eos may be heavy compared to a GTI, but thanks to the small size it’s around 300 lbs lighter than the next competitor on the list above.  This also helps the Eos to be one of the most efficient.  After a week of driving in cold and snowy conditions in the city and highway, I averaged an impressive 26.3 MPG.  Eos’ closest competitor is the Chrysler 200 Convertible Limited.  They both can be had for under $35,000, although the fit and finish on this Volkswagen is better than on the Chrysler 200.  The other luxury brands are more powerful and further refined but also cost significantly more.

On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the Volkswagen Eos Lux a Lease It!  My Eos Lux test car stickered at $38,355.  The Eos is a competent cruiser and is fun to drive.  However, I felt like it was not refined enough to achieve it’s luxurious aspirations.  Perhaps, the cold weather revealed some squeaks in the roof that you would not normally have in a warm climate?  Also, I cannot help to think about the complexity and the maintenance costs of the folding hardtop over the long run.  Folding hardtops are loosing popularity as the latest cloth-top design continues to improve.  

Please enjoy this fun and very snowy TFLcar mashup between the 2013 Beetle Convertible and this Eos Lux:

Andre Smirnov
Andre Smirnov

Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, and software engineer. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering with a car in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.