New & Used Volkswagen CC: In Depth
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The Volkswagen CC competes with the Nissan Maxima and Audi A4. The CC, with frameless windows in its four doors, has a sleek roofline that mimics the styling of the much more expensive Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. VW refers to the CC as a "coupe-like sedan" that, size-wise, sits between the VW Jetta and Passat sedans.
Now in its seventh model year, the CC shares underpinnings with the 2009 Passat sedan, which has since been replaced with a newer, larger model. VW's four-door coupe, in fact, was initially known as the Passat CC--although the two never shared any body panels. 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 mid-size VW sedans two polar opposites from which to choose.
MORE: Read our 2016 Volkswagen CC review
As is the case with most of the so-called four-door-coupe set, the CC's 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 short people, 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 a good step up in quality compared to 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 known as the 2.0T makes 200 hp here. 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 the autobox option has been the sportier Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automated dual-clutch. Fuel economy is good for a sedan this size, at 21 mpg in the city and 32 in the highway cycle.
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 reality, though, the VR6 doesn't feel notably faster or more powerful than the turbo four. If you want VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive, however, you'll have to opt for the VR6--and it'll cost you substantially more up front and at the gas pump.
Overall, the CC is a capable, nice-handling sedan, with great ride quality—firm yet compliant. To some, the steering is a bit light on 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.
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.
Safety ratings for the CC haven't been perfect on all counts. It has received all "good" scores from the IIHS except for a "marginal" in the new small front overlap test. It has not been rated by the NHTSA except for a four-star rollover score. All CCs come with stability control, front side airbags, and all the features good shoppers would look for in this segment. Rear side bags—one feature that's still somewhat 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 2016 model year.