New & Used Volkswagen CC: In Depth
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The Volkswagen CC is a spin-off of the last generation of VW Passat sedans. A four-door with frameless windows, it's dubbed by VW as a "coupe-like sedan"--a car with a sleeker roofline and more visual zest than a standard four-door. In that way, it's a follower in the trail blazed by the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.
The CC is a rival for vehicles like the Nissan Altima and the Audi A4.
MORE: Read our 2015 Volkswagen CC reviewNow approaching its seventh year, the CC shared the underpinnings of the 2009 Passat sedan, which was replaced with a newer and larger model for 2012. VW's four-door coupe, in fact, was initially known as the Passat CC--although the two share no body panels at all. The CC's swept-back front end, sculpted body, and smoothly flowing roofline continues to set it apart from the current, more square-cut Passat. It stands apart as even more distinctive against that car--giving buyers of VW's mid-size sedans two polar opposites from which to choose.
As is the case with most of the so-called four-door coupe set, the pretty roofline has an associated cost. Rear-seat headroom suffers, which can cause problems for tall adults on long trips—it's okay for short jaunts or children, who are the most likely rear-seat inhabitants anyway. The swoopy CC also has a low driving position, which can be off-putting to some, especially vertically challenged drivers. Even with those trade-offs, the CC makes up somewhat with its rich materials, the cabin feeling about a step up from the larger Passat sedan.
Power for most versions of the CC comes from an engine that should be familiar to anyone fond of recent VW or Audi vehicles. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is known as the 2.0T and here makes 200 hp. Rare among mid-size sedans, the CC offers a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, while a six-speed automatic is an option. Through 2009, the CC used a conventional six-speed automatic, although from 2010 on the autobox option has been the sportier Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automated dual-clutch.
Also available is a 280-hp VR6, a V-6 engine designed with a very narrow angle between its cylinder banks, for compact size. It comes only with the DSG. In practice, though, the VR6 doesn't feel notably faster or more powerful than the turbo four. If you want VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive, you'll have to opt for the VR6 first--and it'll cost you substantially more.
Overall, the CC is a capable, nice-handling sedan, with great ride quality—firm yet compliant. To some, the steering is a bit too light in feel, but overall, the CC typifies Volkswagen's firm, "German engineered" handling and rides and drives well.
The first big upgrade after the 2007 launch came in 2010, when the six-speed automatic was replaced across the board by VW's DSG automated manual. Bluetooth and an enhanced audio interface were made standard that year as well.
Then in 2013, the Volkswagen CC got a more significant update. It gained a new grille and front air dam, LED running lamps, and standard bi-xenon adaptive headlamps on the outside. Inside, VW refreshed the trim and cabin decor, and replaced the old two-position back seat with a three-position bench containing a fold-down armrest. Prices also rose appreciably. For 2014, Volkswagen at last began to allow buyers to pair the more fuel-efficient engine (2.0T) with the Executive trim, bringing with it some of the top features like premium sound, massage seats, and leather upholstery. Sirius XM Traffic, an 'Easy Open' motion-activated trunk opener, and Keyless Access with push-button start were added to that, while a standard rearview camera system was added for most of the model line.
Our favorite VW CC models remain the Sport, Sport Plus, and Lux four-cylinders, although many of the most desirable features, such as leather upholstery and premium audio, remained unavailable with the smaller engine. Of all the different CC variations, we recommend the base CC Sport, which comes well equipped with automatic climate control, heated seats, and an eight-speaker sound system. Though the VR6 and 4Motion models give you luxury levels of features and equipment, you'll face a sticker price of more than $40,000. For that money, you could get the additional dealer service that comes with an Acura, BMW, or even Mercedes-Benz.
Safety ratings for the CC haven't been perfect on all counts, but it has received all "good" scores from the IIHS and comes with stability control, side bags, and all the features good shoppers would look for in this segment. Rear side bags—one feature that's still quite rare—are optional.
A shooting brake version of the VW CC has been rumored, but not at all confirmed.
Only minor changes have been made to the CC for the 2015 model year. It's unknown whether the next CC, based on the new European Passat, will be sold in the U.S. That car is expected to arrive within a year, about the same time our CC would be due for replacement.