I really admire the Volkswagen CC’s premium interior, practical-yet-engaging powertrain, and reasonable price. Well equipped in its base trim and starting at $28,560, I think of the CC as an Audi A4 with a $5000 discount. The slick-shifting six-speed manual and willing-to-rev 200-hp four-cylinder are a joy to work quickly. There are some interior bits here shared with $18,000 Golfs, but they still meet the class standard in a $30,000 sedan; this is how VW earned that reputation for fabulous interiors, by creating shared parts that are at-home in the most expensive vehicle they’re used in.
Here’s what I didn’t love: This CC exhibited strange cabin noise/pressure changes that drove me mad. The phenomenon was similar to rolling down a single rear window and 80 mph, creating the drumming wub-wub-wub of pressure fluctuation. While this wasn’t as dramatic as having a window rolled down, the noise was irritating and noticeable at speeds from 35 mph to 80 mph. If I owned a CC, I’d be sorely disappointed that I might have to live with this annoyance. However, I didn’t experiencing this in the last CC I drove, so it could just be an issue with one of the seals around the frameless glass.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
With its creamy white paint and its black and cream two-tone leather interior, this Passat CC makes a mighty nice facsimile of a luxury sedan. When I first heard that Volkswagen planned a four-door, coupe-style version of its Passat sedan, I thought it was a silly idea. But the new set of duds, both outside and in, really transform the Passat into an elegant piece of work. The ride and handling are crisp, and the six-speed manual adds a nice touch of sportiness and mates well with the turbo four-cylinder. All in all, I remain far more impressed by this car than I ever thought I would be.
One little oddity: the key fob has to be pushed into a hole in the dash to start the car, a slightly cumbersome procedure. You turn off the car by pushing in on the fob and pulling it out. Then all four of the frameless side windows drop slightly in their tracks, so that the doors can be opened. About 20 or 30 seconds later, they rise back into place. It’s not a big deal, but the noise made by these procedures is a little loud and jarring.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
I first saw the CC at a dealer almost a year ago. At first sight I thought it was a piece of art. I love the lines and styling of this car. It borrows some great elements from Audis and takes a few more from its competitors.
Interior was almost as impressive as the exterior design. The two-tone leather seats were not only beautiful but a pleasure to be in. I did find myself a bit disappointed with the dash design. It just did not carry the same level of high design as the rest of the car. I also missed the sunroof and having automatic climate control. The front seats had ample room for two tall, muscular guys, but that left little legroom for those in the back. Remember to call shotgun for long distance rides.
Speaking of the odd noises that Joe mentioned, the CC does sound a bit like an armored car. Disengage the fob and all doors unlock sounding like that of a well-built vault. Press the park brake button and it sounds as though the car is transforming itself into a block of hydraulic metal that screams, “I’m not going anywhere.”
I would definitely say this is the next step for young professionals who have outgrown their GTI. The base price is reasonable, but when I spec’d out a CC on VW’s site, I experienced a bit of sticker shock! Nonetheless, this is still more reasonable than the some of the other European cars of similar size and design.
Kelly Ryan Murphy, Creative Director
While other carmakers talk about downsizing engines, Volkswagen has gone and done it. One can find a version of VW’s direct-injected, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in everything from the GTI to the Audi A5. In every application, it impresses with its ample torque and broad power band. The CC is no exception. Never during my time with it did I wish that I had the optional VR6 engine.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Like David, I never wanted more power for the CC-but some tweaks to the suspension tuning might be in order. Despite being billed as a sporty alternative to the Passat, the CC feels rather soft and has numb, overboosted steering. The brake pedal isn’t much better-the four-wheel-disc system has a fair amount of bite, but pedal feedback is fairly spongy.
It’s a shame. With a stiffer suspension and a bit more driver feedback, I think the CC could be a sexy, sporty sedan that’s as fun to drive as Subaru’s Legacy 2.5GT.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
From a design perspective, it’s hard to find anything wrong with the CC. Both its sleek profile and its beautifully designed interior make it seem like a more expensive car. Having said that, the trim level we tested, Sport, is the least expensive CC you can buy. Among the amenities you’ll have to do without are adaptive front headlamps, heated sideview mirrors, a power sunroof, dual-zone climate control, and a navigation system. If you absolutely can’t do without those items, it’ll cost you five grand to move up to the CC Luxury, which comes with all the above plus a DSG dual-clutch automatic. If you prefer to shift for yourself, the CC Sport is the only choice-and it’s definitely not a bad one. In fact, even though it’s at the bottom of the CC pecking order, it still feels like a premium-level vehicle.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
Well, as expected, Volkswagen nailed the interior of the CC-the supremely comfortable seats being the crowning jewel. In fact, this cabin would look at home in a vehicle that cost substantially more than this vehicle’s $33,000 as-tested price. The manual gearbox is light and effortless to work, but, to me, where this suited our 4 Seasons VW Jetta, it feels a touch flimsy here. It lacks the solid, substantial feel that the rest of the CC imparts. It’s a small complaint, especially since a large majority of buyers will choose the automatic transmission anyway.
Like Eric, I noticed something odd in the CC’s demeanor between about 40 and 80 mph but I felt it more than I heard it. There is an underlying vibration/motion in the CC’s ride that translated into a minor, but constant, jiggle, especially at highway speeds.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
I’ve expressed my affection for this relatively affordable and incredibly stylish four-door “coupe” in the past. But lately, it has become my least favorite four-door family car; loading tots into the back seat is quite challenging, because the CC’s swoopy roofline significantly compromises the size of the rear door opening. Bigger kids and adults who can get into the car on their own, however, should be pretty happy with the accommodations once they’re buckled in back.
The driver of the CC should be very pleased with the car’s smooth four-cylinder powertrain and slick stick shift. I can see little case for the CC’s optional, thirstier V-6, which is a hefty $11,550 more than the base four-cylinder CC. Of course, all that extra cash includes additional equipment as well.
This particular CC gets extra style points for its attractive two-tone interior, sport-package body trim, and pricey yet extremely cool ten-spoke, graphite-colored wheels.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
2010 Volkswagen CC Sport
Base price (with destination): $28,560
Price as tested: $33,058
2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
6-speed manual transmission
Electro-mechanical power steering
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Tire pressure monitoring system
Heated front seats
Climatic single-zone climate control
8-inch touch screen radio with in-dash 6CD changer
Sirius satellite radio
Leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Options on this vehicle:
19-inch alloy wheels — $2499
CC ground effects kit — $1999
Side sill extensions
Key options not on vehicle:
DSG dual-clutch transmission — $1100
iPod cable — $199
21 / 31 / 25 mpg
Size: 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 200 hp @ 5100-6000 rpm
Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1700-5000 rpm
Curb weight: 3300 lb
18 x 8-inch aluminum wheels
235/35ZR19 91W Goodyear Eagle GT all-season tires