- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2007

The 2007 Volkswagen Eos just hit the streets and already it’s a winner. Popular Science Magazine awarded it “Best of What’s New” in the automotive category.

Actually, the magazine had a few months to evaluate the Eos as the 2.0-liter was introduced in Europe last May. Named after the Greek goddess of dawn, Eos, the new Volkswagen is the world’s first four-seat hardtop convertible with an integrated glass sunroof.

By simply touching a switch, I could enjoy the best of both worlds: the open sky above or the protection and quiet interior of a hardtop. Even while driving the smaller 200-horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, I found the acceleration quite thrilling. It’s even more thrilling when driving the 3.2-liter six-cylinder turbo, but this report zeros in on the Eos with the “weaker” engine that achieves 23 miles per gallon city and 32 highway.

The base price is $27,990, whereas the car with the 3.2-liter costs $31,065.

Then comes a long list of options; for example, the Luxury Package includes leather seats, leather-wrapped three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, wood interior trim, rain-sensing wipers, a six-disc, in-dash CD changer with MP3 playback capabilities and Sirius Satellite radio including a three-month trial — all for an additional $3,490. Other options include a sports package, larger alloy wheels, IPod adapter, navigational system and park distance control. And much more.

The real fun for me began when I got into the driver’s seat and mechanically adjusted it to fit my back, arms and legs, including lumbar support. The tilt-telescopic steering wheel helped me get into an ideal driving position. After turning the key, starting up the engine, I then pushed a switch on the center console. It took about 25 seconds for the windows to wind down and the top to open and slide into a compartment behind the rear seats. Then the lid for that compartment closed, making this a very sharp-looking, attention-getting convertible.

The downside is the space available in the fully upholstered luggage compartment; however, it does have a pass-thru for holding a golf bag. Of course, when the top is down, the storage space becomes more limited. On a clear day, the Eos offers ultimate driving enjoyment. It’s also enjoyable just to watch how all the integral parts function in unison.

Another feature: a power glass sunroof lets in air when the top is up, and also has a shield for hot sunny days.

When I hit the open road, I found the Eos to be a very stable car, which is understandable because of its large track width. It has front McPherson struts and self-leveling shock absorbers and the rear has a fully independent, four-link suspension. Stabilizer bars front and rear control roll.

It has numerous safety features such as four-wheel anti-lock brakes, an electronic stabilizing program with brake assist and brake-disc wiper system. It also has anti-slip regulation and an electromechanical power-steering setup.

I was able to give the Eos a good workout on roads that were ideal for making quick turns. This car handles like a dream and responds well to the slightest turn of the steering wheel. As for acceleration, the turbo engine kicks in quickly and the results are great considering it produces only 200 horsepower, and when I drove the six-cylinder engine, it was even more exciting.

With the Eos, I’m sure the Greek goddess of dawn is very proud to have her name associated with a car that’s out of this world.

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