What The 2014 Volkswagen Eos Has That Other Retractable Hardtops Don't

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Volkswagen Eos Sport
The 2014 Volkswagen Eos Sport.

Volkswagen calls the 2014 Eos "The only hardtop convertible with a built-in sunroof". And that's true.  With all other retractable hardtops, which includes the Chrysler 200, Lexus IS 350C, the Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT and the BMW Z4, you can either look at the sky above by putting the top down, or not, by leaving it up.

The Eos has a sunroof built into the retractable hardtop, giving you a third option: A little sun, without having to take the top all the way down.  On its own, it is somewhere between a great feature and a cute gimmick, and it is also a very subtle reminder of Volkswagen's role in popularizing sunroofs, dating all the way back to 1950s Beetles with a canvas sunroof that rolled back to let the sun shine in.

Rear 3/4 view of 2014 Volkswagen Eos Sport
2014 Volkswagen Eos Sport.

For a car that is in its eighth model year, the Eos is a rare bird.  You do not see many on the street in everyday driving.  Here in Phoenix, maybe once or twice a week, an Eos will pop into view---not counting trips past a VW dealer.  There are parts of the country where you might not have seen one in person.  According to GoodCarBadCar.net, which uses Volkswagen's own sales figures, only about 4,000 Eos were sold in the United States during all of 2014. Toyota sells six times that many Corollas in an average month.  Ford sells fifteen times that many F-150 pickup trucks. 
Interior view of 2014 Volkswagen Eos Sport
2014 Volkswagen Eos Sport interior.

The Eos comes in three trim levels: Komfort, for $35,595; Sport, for $38,325 and Executive for $42,095.  All three have the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic.  Our test vehicle was the Sport.  Standard on that trim level are 18-inch alloy wheels, a touchscreen navigation system, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, Bi-Xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lights, leatherette seating surfaces, heatable front seats, a 12-way power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and brake lever, paddle shifters, dual-zone climate control, a trip computer, cruise control, power windows, mirrors and locks, keyless access and pushbutton start, fog lamps, LED taillights, heated windshield washer nozzles, front cupholders and front and rear carpeted floor mats. 

And that is that.  Our test car had no extra-cost options, so the as-tested price, including $865 destination charge, was $38,360.

And that leaves the question of what it is like.  Frankly, the Eos is less a car than a fashion accessory for a certain type of taste.  There are retractable hardtops and convertibles that offer more interior room, more power, and about the same fuel economy as the Eos' EPA-estimated 22 city/30 highway. Some cost a bit less, some a bit more.  And, sad to say, although the point of a retractable hardtop is enhanced practicality, none of them are particularly practical machines.  

You look at the Eos and either think "I want one", or you don't.  It could have been this generation's replacement for the VW Cabrio as the official vehicle of sorority girls nationwide, but not at this price.  Which Volkswagen knows.  The 2015 model year will be the last for the Eos.  It is rumored that a larger Golf-based cabriolet will take its place come 2016.  So if you are among those to whom the Eos speaks, the clock is ticking.