I love Volkswagen's six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and I also love Volkswagen's omnipresent turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4. Pairing the two in this CC should equal nirvana, correct? So I thought, but I was actually a little underwhelmed, at least when the transmission was in drive. The 2.0T's turbo lag does it no favors with the DSG during a hard launch, as it seems to take forever to get up and go. The sport shift programming is a bit better in this regard, and is remarkably quick to downshift and happy to hold gears - a refreshing change from most transmissions in this segment.
What impresses me most about the CC, however, is just how well it hold up in this segment, despite the fact it's coming up on five years old without a major refresh. The car is still attractive and manages to fool bystanders into thinking it's something from a much more expensive marque. The cabin is attractive, well-built, and very much upscale.
Volkswagen says the more milquetoast 2012 Passat -- not this CC -- has been designed for American tastes. If true, that's a depressing take on America. The CC is oozes European pizazz, is poised on the road, and is very nicely equipped at $35,000. But the duller Passat will inevitably sell in far greater numbers.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor
In my mind, the CC is exactly what a Volkswagen should be: charismatic, exceptionally attractive and stylish, good-driving, and -- at least in four-cylinder form -- remarkably affordable. This particular test car costs some $6000 more than a bare-bones CC, but I could easily justify ditching the special wheels, sunroof, backup camera, better headlights, and other random luxury touches in order to save money and get a stick shift (which is available only on the base, sorry Sport, and the R-Line trim levels). However, I'd probably never recommend springing for the all-wheel-drive, VR6-powered edition, which costs almost twelve grand more than a base CC.
Forget the high-volume intentions of the new Jetta and Passat. This car reminds me of the 1980s Scirocco -- distinctive, bold, and comfortable in its own skin. I hadn't realized that very similar numbers of American buyers have purchased CCs as Golfs (which include GTIs and R32s) in the past few years, but it doesn't really surprise me, even though the CC costs about $10K more. The CC is a fantastic car, and a fantastic deal, one that we at Automobile Magazine sometimes overlook.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
There are a lot of things to like about the Volkswagen CC. Here are two of them:
This is a car that gets noticed. A woman stopped me in the parking lot to ask me how I liked the CC. She said that she tries to talk to owners whenever she can about the car, because, she said, "If I ever buy another sedan, it will be the CC. I think it's gorgeous."
And it's not just the exterior that looks good. The two-tone leather interior of this test car was tasteful and exuded quality.
The CC has an impressive fuel range. We departed for West Branch, Michigan, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening -- about 160 miles one way -- with the CC's fuel gauge showing half a tank. I figured we'd have to fill up on the way or that we would at least be down to fumes by the time we reached our destination. However, when we arrived the fuel tank was still a quarter full. That means that the CC has a range of close to 600 miles on a full tank of gas. Of course, the fact that it has a rather large 18.5-gallon tank helps, but we also averaged about 32 mpg on our drive, so it's not only stylish, it's economical.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
The Volkswagen CC is a car that, sadly, gets overlooked by most mid-size sedan buyers. Yes, it's pricey, but its distinctive, swoopy exterior and lovely, nicely crafted cabin makes it look every bit a $35,000 car. To me, the absolutely gorgeous seats and perfect seating position make the CC worthy of consideration.
Unfortunately, it has some quirks that could prove difficult to live with. The 2.0-liter engine's pronounced turbo lag and the brakes' tendency to get grabby as the car nears a stop can make city driving a jerky affair. The CC performs better on the highway where it is smooth, quiet, comfortable, and, as Amy learned, surprisingly economical.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms