I try to know as little as possible about a car until I get a chance to drive one, so that I don’t have any pre-conceived notions, and can evaluate the vehicle on its own merits as I discover them. That strategy was very successful with the Volkswagen CC, since I knew virtually nothing about it until one showed up in my driveway. And I didn’t look at the window sticker until I’d driven it for several days, so I didn’t know what it cost, or even what motor was under the hood.
|1. The base CC comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 200hp and 207 ft-lbs of toque.
2. That engine delivers a 0-60 mph time of just 6.9 seconds and fuel-economy of 21/31 mpg (city/hwy).
3. Most CC models are front-wheel drive and all models seat just four individuals.
4. Pricing starts at just $27,100.
SPORTY SEDAN WITH A COUPE-LIKE SILHOUETTE
The first thing I noticed was that it was a very stylish 4-door with its long and very low, sleek look. The roof sits only 55.8-inches off the ground, so even an inseam challenged guy like me could wax the center of the roof without stepping on the doorsill to reach it. The front end looks smooth with flush mounted Xenon headlights, flanking a large grill with horizontal chrome accents, and a lower blacked out grill opening flanked by a pair of flush mounted fog lights and marker lights, which is reminiscent of the slick Eos front end.
A nice crease line from the front bumper runs along the side of the car just above the door handles, which is complimented by two similar lines, one just above the doorsill and another just above the lower door frame, which give the impression of forward movement. The rear is simple, with tail lights wrapped around onto the rear quarter panels, and a nice subtle rear deck lid spoiler to complete the look. The body-colored, outside mirrors are heated, and have integrated turn signals. They also shed light on the ground around the door when entering or exiting.
MODERN, SOPHISTICATED INTERIOR WITH JUST FOUR SEATS
Slipping into the cabin, one encounters a beautiful interior, which would look at home in any luxury car costing $15,000 more. The supple leatherette seats on my tester were finished in charcoal grey, with beige seating surfaces and contrasting decorative stitching in both the front and back. The padded one-piece dash was also charcoal, with a handsome strip of brushed aluminum below it, and beneath that everything turned to the beige coloring. The door panels continued that color scheme, making it a striking cabin to enjoy. Add to this a set of sporty heated seats (12-way driver, 8-way passenger), which are some of the best in any car I’ve driven in a long time, with the lower seating portion sculpted for excellent lower back support and comfort. Side bolstering is supportive, and yet wide enough for all day comfort.
One of the things I like about all Volkswagens is how well lit the dash and all controls are at night, with red lighting on the window, door locks, steering wheel controls, and virtually any switch or button inside the car. And the controls are laid out for easy use. A multi-function trip computer is easily to see on a screen between the speedometer and tach, and there are numerous functions to toggle between, including current and average fuel consumption, distance to empty, compass, clock, etc.
A push button electronic parking brake is located on the left side of the dash for ease of use. Storage is also quite good with a large glove box, which is chilled to keep beverages cool, a large center console and large door pockets in each door. Two pop out drawers, each large enough to hold a pack of cigarettes, cell phone, change, and other incidentals are located in the upper center of the dash, and another drawer type compartment is located in the lower left portion of the dash.
Volkswagen is honest and has apparently admitted that the center rear seat in a car of this size (3-Series BMW, Audi A4, Acura TSX come to mind) is tortuously uncomfortable, so they made the CC a comfortable four-seat car. The lower portion of the rear center area has a roll top storage bin which opens to reveal two cup holders and storage, and a wide, nicely padded armrest folds down. Two adults will fit comfortably in the back, although headroom is tight for those over 6’2” due to the slope of the low roofline. But the front seats travel so far rearward, that an NBA forward should have no problem stretching out there. Both rear seats fold down to make the already large truck space even larger, and there is a lockable ski pass- through in the center armrest.
I learned, to my surprise, that the test car was fitted with the standard 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo motor, putting out 200 horsepower and 207 ft-lbs of torque. I would have sworn that a V6 was under the hood. The engine supplied plenty of zip and power, and put it to the pavement in a smooth linear fashion with no turbo lag, or 4-cylinder buzziness.
Transmitting the power to the front wheels, is a butter-smooth 6-speed manual transmission, with gear ratios so well fitted to the engine that each shift can be accomplished with no loss of momentum, and no jerkiness to disturb the luxury car ride. A dual-clutch DSG automatic with manual shift mode is available. Perhaps it was because of the manual transmission, but I found the motor to be peppy and a willing performer on the road while driving aggressively. Volkswagen claims 6.9 seconds to 60mph (7.4 with automatic) and I’ve no reason to doubt them.
FIRM, SPORTY SUSPENSION
The ride is European firm, with enough road isolation to quiet most bumps and broken pavement. The suspension is tuned for flat cornering, and the 17-inch wheels fitted with 235/45 all season tires, offers plenty of grip for high-speed entrance and exit ramps.
In case you push the envelope a bit too far, an Electronic Stability Program and Anti-Slip Regulation kick in to help you out. Feedback to the speed sensitive 3-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel is good, with just a bit of vagueness on center. The ABS brakes have excellent feel, and provide sure quick stops.
You can tell this car spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel, as the .28 drag coefficient would attest to. The result is a very quiet interior while at speed on the highway, with no wind noise. Slicing through the atmosphere at 85 miles per hour produced the claimed 31 mpg on the highway, so I’d expect even better results when traveling closer to the posted speed limits. The 21 mpg city claim was perhaps a bit overly optimistic, but to be fair, I wasn’t driving the car for optimal mileage, as the perky powertrain begged for more playful use.
After a few days and a few hundred miles, I finally looked at the Monroney label, and boy did I have some serious sticker shock! As I said I was very surprised to learn that the motor was a 2.0-liter turbo-four and not a V6. And I had anticipated a sticker price of $34,000. When I looked at the bottom line I did a double take. $28,225.00! The base price was $27,100, and this car had only one option for the Serius Satellite Radio at $375, and the $750 Destination Charge. I’m usually not more than $3,000 off at the most, but this car really fooled me. I’m sure the beautiful interior is what threw me off, but as a package, the Volkswagen CC packs a lot of value into this car.
I can’t remember the last time I got a press car in this price range that had virtually no option packages or separate add-ons. Usually the vehicles are dolled up as much as possible to help get favorable reviews, especially considering base model cars are impossible to find in the real world and are only used for online price comparisons. But this CC left me wanting for nothing, except perhaps a moonroof.
The CC comes in four models. I tested the $27,100 Sport. The Luxury starts at $32,350, which adds a tilt-only sunroof, dual climate controls, Park Distance Control, rain sensing wipers, Homelink, Serius Satellite radio, Sport seats with memory, and self-dimming mirrors. The $38,700 VR6 Sport adds the more powerful 280hp V6 motor, 18-inch alloy wheels, a premium sound system and bi-Xenon headlights with AFS. Last is the VR6 4Motion, which is the all-wheel drive version, and boosts the sticker up to $39,800. Those looking for even more power can read our review on the VR6 4Motion, but for my part the output of the turbo-four is more than enough and the base model, (even if you add an automatic transmission) seems like the best value of the group.