2013 Volkswagen CC Lux

The Volkswagen CC was quite a dramatic looking car when it debuted in 2008, aping the sultry "four-door coupe" look that had debuted on the Mercedes-Benz CLS-class a few years earlier. Now, though, nearly every mid-size sedan has adopted the eye-pleasing and aerodynamically sound profile, including the Hyundai Sonata and the 2013 Ford Fusion. Fortunately, a face-lift for 2013, which includes very smart LED taillights, means the Volkswagen CC still looks sharp four years after its introduction.

Although I'm actually a fan of the Tennessee-built 2012 Volkswagen Passat, I still think the CC represents what Volkswagen should be aiming for in the mid-size segment. Compared with the new Passat, the CC has a livelier driving experience, more stylish exterior design, and a better-finished interior. The torquey turbo engine in our testermakes it fun to drive (and a 3.6-liter VR6 is optional), generous head- and legroom mean you can comfortably carry passengers in the back seat, and the trunk is big enough for a road trip's worth of belongings. Couple that with a design that still looks great, and you have a recipe for a very appealing sedan.

Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor

I've always liked the Volkswagen CC, and I'm not the only one: in each of the last three years, U.S. sales of the CC have been in the mid 20,000s, far more than the (last-generation) Passat that the car is based on. That's really good for a "niche" product. For a high-fashion car that has been on sale since late 2008, I think the CC is aging quite well. The face-lift for 2013 is a welcome update (particularly the taillights), and I'm glad that Volkswagen didn't mess up the car's distinctive profile or its interior quality. I observed a couple of imperfect fits around the center stack, but the interior is clearly of higher-quality materials than the new (much cheaper) Passat.

Now that the CC has five seats, it's even more practical (although slightly less cool), especially for parents of one child, who can now be situated in the middle of the rear bench (the safest place for a kid). Not that this is the most practical family car, particularly because of its smallish rear door openings, but it'd be a fine secondary family car.

The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder provides plenty of go, and the very good steering enhances the car's overall sporty feel. The six-cylinder engine option seems unnecessary, but even this four-cylinder test car was optioned up to $36K (the base CC starts at $31,430; the top-of-the-line all-wheel-drive model starts at $42,240), which puts it into Audi A4, BMW 3-series, and Mercedes-Benz C-class territory. Swoopy, larger sedans like the Mercedes CLS, the Audi A7, and the BMW 5-series GT, however, cost much, much more than any CC.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

One of the too-often ignored corollaries to Volkswagen's move down market to appeal American buyers is that it hasn't stopped selling us upmarket European cars. Don't like the cheapened Jetta? Volkswagen will happily sell you an untainted Golf or GTI. Think the new Passat is bloated? Then have a look here at the Passat CC, which remains, four years into its run, one of the sexiest sedans you can buy for less than $40,000.

Mind you, the CC used to be one of the sexiest vehicles you could buy for less than $30,000 but it can still be something of a bargain if you're careful with your options. That's actually not difficult here. For starters, don't waste a second's consideration of the VR6. It's a fine engine, but the 2.0-liter four-cylinder in our test car provides more than enough power and refinement for some $2000 less. I'd also skip the large power sunroof -- it only tilts and doesn't slide back. Just like that, you have a large, fashionable sedan for less than $35,000.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

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