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#19

in 2012 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $20,437 - $25,765
Original MSRP: $34,350 - $39,585
MPG: 22 City / 30 Hwy
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2012 Volkswagen Eos Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Test drivers like the 2012 Volkswagen Eos because it is a practical convertible that drives with a touch of sport thanks to its turbocharged four-cylinder engine. They especially like the Eos’ six-speed DSG automatic transmission, which they say is smooth shifts quickly through the gears. On the downside, a few reviewers noticed some body flexing with the top down because there is no fixed roof to make the body more rigid. 

  • "Besides its innovative roof, the Eos has a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine (shared with the GTI, among others) that delivers punchy power and high fuel economy, and a quick-shifting DSG automated manual transmission." -- Edmunds
  • "The Eos' performance is better than any previous VW convertible, and closer to the GTI than it has ever been. The fact that it will run so closely with a Mustang V-6 speaks volumes." -- Motor Trend
  • "It's comfortable for front-seat passengers, easily maneuvered, carefree, economical to operate and reasonably fun to drive." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The engine and transmission are tech high points for the car, using about every efficiency technology available today short of going hybrid. However, the overall engineering of the car, with its disrupted weight distribution, doesn't support this drivetrain well." -- CNET

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Volkswagen Eos is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 200 horsepower. VW’s six-speed DSG automatic transmission routes power to the front wheels. The DSG automatic has separate settings for normal driving and sport driving modes, and can be shifted manually if desired.

Test drivers say the Eos is no Volkswagen GTI, but they’re still impressed with the amount of power in this convertible, as well as its smooth, dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission that shifts quickly. The EPA says the 2012 Volkswagen Eos gets 22/30 mpg city/highway using premium fuel, which Volkswagen recommends for this car.

  • "Eos is satisfyingly quick, particularly in the 45-65-mph range. The automated-manual transmission can be slow to downshift in standard drive mode but is alert in its sport setting. The engine runs out of steam at high rpm, but the transmission's manual override helps compensate somewhat." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 2.0-liter turbo in our Eos proved so smooth and powerful that on more than one occasion we were shocked to look down and see our six-speed automatic cruising along without complaint in just fourth gear." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The Eos' turbo four-cylinder contends with more weight compared to VW's GTI, for example, but it's still torquey and capable." -- Edmunds
  • "Just like the GTI DSG, acceleration is effortless. The small turbo spins up quick and starts producing boost below 2000 rpm. Shifts are faster than you can blink, both on the way up and way down. At this point the DSG is the only transmission choice, and honestly, we can't see anyone wanting anything other than that in a car that leans more toward luxury cruiser than roadster." -- Motor Trend
  • "There is a slight bit of lag when hitting the gas from a stop, but the turbo quickly spools up, launching the car." -- CNET
  • "However, there are certainly no complaints when it comes to driving this car. Good times can be had behind the wheel thanks to its turbocharged engine. ... I underwent a slight learning curve when I was getting used to the way I could physically feel the standard six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission shifting for me, but it was nothing significant enough to keep me from adapting to it." -- Mother Proof

Handling and Braking

The Volkswagen Eos handles differently with the top up and down, which is common among convertibles.

Reviewers are divided on the amount of cowl shake in the 2012 Eos, which is also a common convertible problem. Cowl shake is a vibration passengers feel when the convertible travels over a bump. Part of the body flexes because the car’s structure is less rigid since there is no fixed roof. Some say there is a decent amount of cowl shake, while others disagree.

The brakes get positive remarks from test drivers, who say they are plenty sufficient at stopping the car. Overall, reviewers say the VW Eos is sturdy, relaxed and composed, despite some reports of cowl shake.

  • "The Eos' structure is also prone to a good bit of cowl shake." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "I was impressed with the lack of chassis shake. It's perfect for cruising but not necessarily for flinging around." -- AutoWeek
  • "Displaying ride and handling characteristics that approach some of the best fixed-roof coupes we've tested, the 2012 Volkswagen Eos qualifies as one of the sturdiest four-seat convertibles on the market." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2012 Volkswagen Eos is for drivers who want a relaxed touring convertible. On models without the sport suspension, there's too much body roll and vague steering for serious twisting fun. But on the boulevard or a coastal highway, the Eos is perfectly pleasant thanks to its soft yet composed ride." -- Edmunds
  • “There is a perceptible difference between top-up and top-down handling, as you might expect. Taking a decent chunk of mass from above your head and folding it up inside the trunk is pretty significant. Although the car may lose a degree of stiffness with the top down, its center of gravity is lower and it's better balanced. So if you want to make the best time in the canyons with the Eos, bring your sunblock." -- Motor Trend
  • “Finally, for a convertible, the Eos is a pretty rigid car. I didn't get much sensation that the car was flexing or wallowing around the road. That's unusual for a convertible and a mark in its favor." -- Cars.com
  • "And the brakes are more than adequate. The pedal is a bit softer than we'd like, but with familiarity any driver can muster quick, smooth stops." -- New Car Test Drive

Next Steps: 2012 Volkswagen Eos

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