What a difference those curves make! Volkswagen’s decision to dress up the dowdy-looking Passat was an excellent way to entice admirers of the Mercedes-Benz CLS who can’t quite afford one. I certainly wasn’t expecting a price of less than $30,000 on our ice-blue model (keep it low on spec and enjoy the bounty of equipment on the base model). On looks alone, it’s a terrific value. This is definitely the people’s car for beautiful people.
Jeffrey Jablansky, Intern
Only 200 hp? Really?? My butt dynamometers told me this was putting out at least 230 hp. I enjoyed this four-cylinder, stick-shift model a whole lot more than the stuffy VR6 auto we had in last winter. It really is amazing what a clutch pedal and a smooth-shifting gearbox can do to shrink a big car down to a manageable, even fun, size. Needless to say, the $14,000 price difference between this car and the CC VR6 we previously tested helps a bunch, too. Gaffes like VW’s uncharacteristic use of hard interior plastics don’t seem to matter as much when you’re comparing the CC to an Accord or Camry rather than an Acura TL. And check out that huge trunk!
I still want some more steering feel, and the lack of a fifth seat is a bummer for families. But for less than $30,000, the CC’s gorgeous looks and strong four-cylinder performance make it quite compelling.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
The Volkswagen CC Sport was an extremely comfortable car for a long weekend drive that involved hauling things and people. Everyone who rode in the CC complimented the fine interior, which looks like it belongs in a $40,000 car rather than one costing less than $30,000. It’s an exquisitely detailed cabin, one with thoughtful use of space for stuff – for instance, there’s a bin in the instrument panel to the left of the steering wheel, and a slot between the twin cup holders holds a cell phone. The seats are like fine leather furniture, and thickly pebbled leather caps aluminum and wood slabs on the dash.
A high clutch takeup is my only powertrain complaint. Otherwise, it’s fast and smooth with a slick-shifting six-speed, great brakes, and sport-sedan handling.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
While walking around the CC in my driveway, I noticed that there is no “CC” badge anywhere on the exterior of the car – only the VW logo. I wonder how many people see this car, notice how attractive it is, and then are curious about what the heck kind of VW it is? It seems like a curious corporate decision – it’s almost like Volkswagen is trying to keep people guessing…or trying to entice them into a dealership.
At any rate, this is one attractive VW. The interior is really lovely; the four-cylinder engine has plenty of power and is matched with a great six-speed manual, and it costs just under $30,000. It seems to me that VW should be doing their darnedest to get the word out about this car – starting with putting a “CC” badge on it.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
As I was driving home last night I found myself trying to remember how much the Volkswagen CC costs. I figured this particular one was about $33,000 or so, so I was shocked later when I saw the $28,225 listed on the Monroney (window sticker); for a moment I thought it was for the wrong car and had to double check. $28,000? That’s what a loaded-up GTI or Jetta GLI might cost.
It amazes me that the CC has such a wide range in price per trim level, from the front-wheel-drive 2.0T manual we tested, starting at $27,100, to a VR6 4Motion that flirts with the $40,000 mark. Volkswagen did a good job with the CC. It gives young Golf and Jetta owners a car to aspire to as they grow up, someone who isn’t quite ready to buy a Passat or an Audi A4.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
This CC is an extremely distinctive car for $28,000, without being too flashy or impractical. This much cachet is very hard to find at this price point.
The basic specification of this test vehicle – an energetic, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, smooth six-speed manual, no nav–is definitely the way to go, much more tenable than spending $40K for essentially the same car with a less fun V-6, an automatic transmission, and heavy all-wheel drive. If I were shopping for a CC (which I might be if not for the fact that there’s no middle rear seating position for the baby), I’d keep it simple like this car and add only Sirius satellite radio and possibly Bluetooth (absent on this vehicle). Unfortunately, a sunroof isn’t available on the CC’s base model, but this beautiful two-tone tan interior (which earns lots of admiration from passengers) helps prevent any feeling of claustrophobia that might otherwise stem from the CC’s sexy but swoopy roofline. I agree with Jeff: I think the Passat looks a bit dumpy, but the CC’s relatively minor alterations improve greatly on its sibling’s looks. It’s almost like the Passat went on one of my wife’s favorite TV shows, What Not to Wear.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
The CC is an intriguing alternative to pretty much any car in the midsize class, whether you’re seeking luxury, sport, or value. As nearly everyone noted, the interior is absolutely fabulous, with a clean design and wonderful leather-clad seats. Luxury shoppers will also appreciate an absolutely smooth drive provided by the refined engine, slick shifter, and comfortable ride. While the 3300-pound curb weight is par for this segment, the CC feels much lighter thanks to a torquey turbo powerplant that likes to rev. Of course, the six-speed manual also does a lot to increase driver engagement. When pushed through corners, the CC performs predictably like a front-wheel-drive mid-size sedan, but spirited around-town driving is surprisingly fun.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
We’re all of one mind on this Volkswagen CC Sport: it’s more elegant, more refined, more spirited, more luxurious, and more exclusive (how many have you seen on the road?) than any car costing less than $30,000 has a right to be. It’s the polar opposite of another Volkswagen we recently drove, the Routan minivan, which disappoints to the same extent that the CC delights.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
2009 Volkswagen CC Sport
Base price (with destination): $27,850
Price as tested: $28,225
Sirius Satellite Radio – $375
21 / 31 / 25 mpg
Size: 2.0L TFSI (Turbocharged, Direct Injection) 4-Cylinder
Horsepower: 200 hp @ 5100 – 6000 rpm
Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1700 – 5000 rpm
Weight: 3300 lb
17″ aluminum wheels
235/45/R17 self-sealing nailguard all-season tires