Got fifty large to spare? Here’s a fun way to spend it: the 2014 Volkswagen Eos Highline, a sleek compact convertible with a five-piece solid top — but we’ll talk more about the convertible aspects later. Shamelessly impractical, this two-door coupe is the sort of gift a successful businesswoman gives herself for turning forty and divorcing. Short on both storage and passenger space, it doesn’t compromise on making her travels very enjoyable otherwise.
That no-compromise attitude has made the Eos a perennial if peripheral success since its introduction eight years ago. It comes in two trims. The less expensive Comfortline starts $39,975. Pshaw! Our tester was the Highline, fraulein.
More on the issue of space: at Eos is 4,422 mm long and 1,791 mm wide is compact but not insubstantial. (It’s over 400 mm longer than Nissan Micra.) The Eos seats four, but the legroom in the back makes economy class on Air Canada seem voluminous. As you’d expect with a coupe, the space went to the lucky folks up front. We’ll detail many of the luxuries they reap because, despite being fun to drive, this is frankly an expensive car and you’ll only want it for its many grace notes.
The driver enjoys a wide array of information on the instrument cluster. It doesn’t offer a boy-racer’s excess of dials and gizmos, but is more than adequate to keep your ride fully informed, entertaining and comfortable.
A broad low-hung hood allows a commanding view from the very comfortable Vienna leather sport seat, which bends twelve ways from Sontag. Everyone, even a space-starved backseat passenger, gets to enjoy the leather seats, which were sensibly cream coloured — or “corn silk beige”. The lightness doesn’t attract the sun in the summer. Mind, you could always lower the roof if you’re hot — but we’ll discuss the convertible aspects more, later.
Speaking of colour, the exterior was even harder to describe. I was picking our daughter up from the airport, unsure how to explain the colour over the phone — “Greenish black? Blackish grey?” — symptoms of a Crayola-deprived childhood. Turns out it was Indium grey metallic.
KESSY, keyless access with start-stop button, means pampering before the driver even gets in. Simply having the key on your person is enough to yank the locked door open. (And one thing I always love on VWs: you tilt the logo on the trunk to unlock it. Again, it’s the grace notes.) This being a two-door, rear access and egress are never elegant, especially with the roof up.
2014 Volkswagen Eos Highline, dashboard. Click image to enlarge
The tester included the Technology Package, a $2,625 increase to the already pricy base, $47,550. Nonetheless it’s a good package: RNS 510 Navigation; CD player (only pays a single CD at a time, but who listens to CDs anymore anyway?); touchscreen and 30-GB hard drive; Dynaudio 600-watt digital sound package with ten speakers.
The ride is surprisingly quiet for a convertible, but all the more reason to enjoy those ten speakers. The touchscreen is easy to get used to and passengers, especially teenagers, will avail themselves of its many offerings, including satellite radio. But let’s get back to the driver now while the teens are still asleep.