2013 Volkswagen Eos Highline
2013 Volkswagen Eos Highline
2013 Volkswagen Eos Highline. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Volkswagen offers two different interpretations of the compact convertible experience:  the funky, retro-style, back-to-the-60s, Beetle soft-top convertible priced in the $29,000 to $39,000 range; and the more contemporary, sophisticated and stylish Eos hardtop convertible priced in the $40,000 to $50,000 range.

I know what you’re thinking: $40 to $50 grand is a lot of money to pay for what appears to be a restyled version of the Golf/GTI with a folding hardtop.  But look around, as I did, and you’ll find there are very few four-passenger hardtop convertibles that start under $40,000.  In fact, there are none.  The closest is the Chrysler 200 Limited or 200S with the optional folding hardtop priced in the mid-40s. But that’s, well, a completely different kind of car.  A more appropriate competitor is probably the BMW 128ci Cabriolet ($41,400) but it has power-folding soft top.

The Eos was first introduced in 2007 and received a styling makeover in 2011 (as a 2012 model) with the now familiar VW family mug, new LED taillights and a revised instrument panel.  At that time, it also lost the standard six-speed manual transmission when the six-speed DSG auto-manual tranny became standard equipment (Boo!). Changes for 2013 are mainly trim upgrades to the base Comfortline trim level ($39,875): a new driver’s knee airbag, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters, premium audio with eight speakers and touchscreen, and standard Sirius satellite radio.  The optional Highline trim ($45,775) comes with all that stuff and more.

So what’s the big deal about a folding hardtop?  Well apart from giving a convertible the look of a coupe, keeping the cabin quieter at speed, and deterring vandals and thieves from breaking in, the Eos convertible hardtop includes a power tilt/slide glass sunroof (with pinch protection) and manual sun shade.  In winter with the top up, you can enjoy the extra daylight from the glass sunroof, you can open it up for some fresh air, or you can go all the way and put the top down.

2013 Volkswagen Eos Highline2013 Volkswagen Eos Highline2013 Volkswagen Eos Highline2013 Volkswagen Eos Highline
2013 Volkswagen Eos Highline. Click image to enlarge

Once you see the Eos’ folding hardtop in action, you can appreciate that this piece of technology must have been costly to develop.  It separates into four pieces that stack neatly on top of one another in the small trunk and even leaves some luggage space for a couple of carry-on bags.   It all happens in about 25 seconds simply by pressing a lever on the centre console (there were some unusual complications which I’ll mention later).  There’s no need to manually lock the top in place or get out of the car to snap on a tonneau cover – it’s all done for you.  The Eos hardtop includes an attractive black fabric inner liner.

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