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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.