A gift from the gods

Volkswagen Eos 2.0 TDI

I always knew that a classical education would come in handy one day and that learning Latin wasn’t just about writing scripts. So when VW parked their latest Eos convertible in my driveway I instantly recalled from my ancient history days that Eos was the Greek Goddess of Dawn.

Without an understanding of the laws of astro-physics or the movement of celestial bodies the Greeks assumed that she opened the gates of heaven every morning for her brother Helios (the Sun), allowing him to ride across the sky in his chariot. The story was credible enough that the Romans re-named and adopted most of the Gods as their own and thousands of years later car companies think they’re a good bet for naming rights as well. After all if the last time the name was used it described a God, surely the public won’t mind driving a car by the same name.

I’m not sure that all the Gods are fair game though and although we’ve seen a Holden Apollo, a Mitsubishi Triton and a Honda Odyssey, I doubt that we’ll see a Toyota Chaos, a Ford Mania or a Nissan Nemesis. And lest the personification be taken too far it is worth remembering that Eos was said to be “free with her favours” and that she had “many consorts with the handsomest of mortals”.

As VW expect most buyers of the Eos to be female they may have to warn prospective purchasers that Greek males may try to show too much attention. The Eos is certainly attractively styled and I just couldn’t keep my colleagues out of the vehicle in my hospital car park. Though most of them thought it was a Golf convertible it’s actually based on the VW Jetta. Dropping the roof does add $14,000 to the price, but amazingly only 41 kg in weight compared to the Jetta.

The folding roof looks like it was designed by Harry Houdini and from the inside the detailed trim makes it look just like an ordinary roof. It’s in two pieces and cleverly includes a sliding sunroof. The retracting sunroof is pivotal to allowing the roof to squeeze into the boot as it shortens the length of the whole assembly. The mechanism is a work of art and the build quality of the Eos is excellent compliments of those obsessive German production line robots.

There is slightly more room in the boot of the Eos than the Volvo C70 and VW can supply customized luggage that makes the best use of the space. The base model Eos is rather Spartan compared to the Volvo with leather upholstery and alloy wheels optional. But going without all the fruit does save about $20,000 against the Volvo and pitches the Eos at about the same price as an Astra Twin Top. And for that money it is worth noting that the Eos has 52% more torque and a six speed automatic against the Astra’s agricultural four forward gears.

On the road the diesel Eos unfortunately sounds like a diesel and is a little slow off the mark. After all it’s 161 kg heavier than a similarly powered turbo diesel Golf. It certainly powers up the hills though with almost as much torque as a V6 Commodore. The six speed auto does keep the engine spinning in the right rev range and I really liked the fact that the VW dash indicates what gear you’re in.

All around the Eos is a great fix for those of us with self-image problems or an Oedipal complex. And buying a convertible is also less invasive than getting a tattoo or having one’s navel pierced. The Eos is also less expensive than it looks and it will certainly impress neighbours and friends, and after all isn’t that what this sort of car is all about.

Safe motoring,
Dr Clive Fraser

For: Great economy and plenty of torque from the diesel engine.

Against: A bit sluggish off the mark (apparently this isn’t noticed by female drivers).

This car would suit: Hippocrates and other Greek physicians.

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    Medical Motoring is an online record of the articles written by Dr Clive Fraser and published in the Australian Medicine magazine by the Australian Medical Association.