Yonkers, New York – The Volkswagen Eos achieved the best overall score in Consumer Reports’ tests of seven convertibles for the May issue, narrowly passing the BMW 328i in points. Both vehicles earned “Very Good” overall scores.
The Saab 9-3 and Volvo C70 were also within the “Very Good” range, but earned somewhat lower overall road-test scores. The Pontiac G6, Mitsubishi Eclipse and Chrysler Sebring posted only “Good” scores. Five of the seven cars had retractable hardtops, while two had fabric soft tops; all tops were power-operated.
“The VW Eos is a well-rounded car that works well in all seasons,” said David Champion, senior director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. “Volkswagen has engineered a glass sunroof into the Eos’ hardtop so that you can enjoy just a little sun, or get the full wind-in-your-hair convertible experience.”
Consumer Reports is recommending the Eos, 328i and C70. The 9-3 and G6 are not recommended because of below-average reliability, and the Eclipse and Sebring did not score high enough to be recommended. Consumer Reports only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on a survey of Consumer Reports subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.
The testers noted that the Eos has a good blend of power and fuel economy, with impressive interior fit and finish, but with a cramped rear seat and notable wind and road noise. The BMW 3 Series was agile and fun to drive, but the back seat and trunk space are tight, and its weight hurts fuel economy and acceleration.
The Saab 9-3 “doesn’t stand out among sports sedans,” according to testers, but the convertible version is more competitive; the ride is on the stiff side, but the body has little flex and wind buffeting is not excessive with the top down. The Volvo C70 had a well-finished hardtop, sleek interior and many safety features, but was sluggish from a stop, had a stiff ride, is not very agile and has tight interior space.
The Pontiac G6, the least-expensive in the group, “has an unsettled ride, lacks agility, and creaks and groans constantly,” while “interior fit and finish is subpar, rear access is extremely difficult, and the trunk lid is heavy.” The Eclipse Spyder “exposed diminished handling capabilities at its limits,” and testers found that “its awful visibility, intrusive noise, hard ride, vestigial back seat and wide turning circle are constant annoyances.” The Sebring was described as “a mediocre convertible”, and while it has a relatively roomy rear seat and trunk and a strong powertrain, “the Sebring’s handling is clumsy, the ride is unsettled, the front seats are uncomfortable, and the body groans and squeaks.”