2013 Volkswagen CC R-Line Review

The cure for the mid-size sedan blues

2013 Volkswagen CC R-Line Review
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Among the range of currently available mid-size sedans, the 2013 Volkswagen CC presents a stylish, albeit expensive option. Dripping with natural beauty, its single largest flaw is that it might be too expensive for its segment.

FAST FACTS

1. The VW CC is a four-door coupe which starts at $30,965, and costs $41,835 for the top-model with a V6 and AWD.

2. Base models use a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 201 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. A V6 is available, which makes 280 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque.

3. The EPA rates the four-cylinder CC at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, while the V6 model earns 17 mpg in the city and 27 mpg combined.

4. Our tester featured the flashy R-Line package which added a body kit, 18-inch wheels and R-line badging.

MID-SIZED SEDANS LEAVE YOU FEELING BLUE? SEE THE CC

Most automakers offer a mid-size sedan. They’re comfortable, spacious and soft on the road. Volkswagen took a different path by also offering  a heavily styled version of its mid-size Passat sedan and calling it the CC (Cross-Coupe).

Was it a wise decision? Once you take a look at the CC it’s hard to disagree with VW’s vision. The car is gorgeous; especially with unique paint-finishes including the as-tested black-oak brown. Discarding notions that a mid-size must be succeeded by something larger, the CC has smaller proportions and a sportier focus than its Passat sibling. Count the Buick Regal, Lincoln MKZ and maybe even the Acura TSX among its competitors.

The R-Line package dresses up the CC with extras inside and out. A full body kit is included and adds a bit of sporty aggression to the CC’s sexy, toned look. It also includes a set of 18-inch wheels, and additional badging in the grille and side-sills.

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It certainly has the looks to compete in the near-luxury class, and with it’s swept-back roofline the CC is one of, if not the, best looking mid-size sedan in its price range. As nice as it is to park a pretty car in your driveway, sexy sheet metal can only go so far.

BEAUTY ON THE INSIDE

The interior is as special as the exterior, although VW deserves some scolding for hard plastic pieces around the door-handles and center console.

You might not even notice because they’ve been cleverly disguised as luxurious materials, and don’t detract from the overall look of the cabin. While some of the interior beauty is just skin deep, the seats certainly aren’t. Plush, supportive and adjustable, the CC’s buckets feel as good as they look.

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Three passengers can sit in the rear, although that’s strictly speaking in terms of seatbelts. Look at the color-contrasted leather inserts for a better indication of what VW means for passenger capacity.

Unfortunately, the CC offers less rear-seat leg and headroom than the cheaper Passat. Cargo space in the CC is on par with the rest of its competition. Skip this car if you’re frequently ferrying more than one adult passenger on long trips.

SPORTY DUAL CLUTCH TAKES THE TALENT SHOW

If that isn’t the case, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the four-door coupe. It’s still as practical as a sedan, and professional feeling like a luxury car. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. That might not sound like anything special, but pair it with Volkswagen’s quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic and you’ll be surprised how well this car moves.

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Wheel-mounted paddle shifters make manual mode fun to play with, and a sport mode prompts the transmission to hold gears in high revs. If you’d rather not waste gas, tap the right paddle until sixth gear, where the car is the smoothest and most efficient. After a week of testing, the CC returned 23 mpg – not far off the EPA’s 25 mpg combined figure. The powertrain is brilliant, and there’s also a six-speed manual if you prefer to row your own.

The CC also rewards drivers with its handling and suspension. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is responsive and offers reasonable feedback for an electric power steering setup. The suspension is firm without being too stiff, and feels like an Audi product despite using different suspension components.

Tech options in the CC are passable, but leave a lot to be desired. Other, more affordable mid-size sedans offer features like adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring, both of which the CC R-Line does without. That might not be a deal breaker for everyone, but it could be enough to send some customers packing.

On the positive side, the bi-xenon headlights ensure that you’ll see what’s ahead in the dark, and it’s brilliant corner illumination is impressive to say the least. Steering wheel-mounted buttons let the driver navigate through phone contacts and place a call without arguing with a voice command system. It’s a real plus with noisy passengers aboard.

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THE VERDICT

Near-luxury looks and driving dynamics come at a significant cost. The CC starts at $30,965 but our DSG equipped R-Line model came to $33,295. Fully loaded models with the V6 engine and AWD cost $41,835. At  the $33,000 mark, the CC already wanders dangerously close to Audi’s pricing territory, where it is outgunned more often than not. Still, entry-level luxury buyers would be wise to keep it on their short lists for its style and added rear seat legroom over compact luxury cars like the Audi A4 and BMW 328i.

LOVE IT
  • Unrivaled styling
  • Comfy seats
  • Sporty Chassis and powertrain
  • Excellent adaptive headlights
LEAVE IT
  • Pricey
  • Rear-seat space
  • Slim tech offerings

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