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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.