2009 Volkswagen Passat CCEnlarge Photo
Few, if any, will argue that the curvy new 2009 Volkswagen CC is a great-looking sedan—a more emotional, upmarket choice for style-conscious drivers who can't spring for the pricetag of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS, the 2009 Jaguar XF, or even the upcoming 2010 BMW 5-Series GT fastback.
The CC definitely succeeds in conjuring more design emotion; the CC has won almost universal praise for its design, and it recently earned a prestigious red dot award.
Whether it establishes the emotional connection in other ways is a more complicated question (and answer), as we pondered in a follow-up drive of the 2009 CC.
While there's a lot more visual emotion in the 2009 Volkswagen CC, the driving experience is a detached experience in nearly every way. Those who expect it to be even somewhat sporty might be disappointed. The electro-mechanical power steering is fingertip-light and has absolutely zero feel of the road, but it finds its way back to center easily and tracks well on the highway without wandering. Brakes are a little too touchy when braking lightly, but for harder stops they felt firm and just right. Everything else feels like it's kept in tight check by bushings. In some ways, like the feel of the shifter, the clutch pedal, and the way the doors close, it's a positive.
There's no need to step up to the 2009 CC VR6 Sport; other editors at TheCarConnection.com have pointed out that there's a less-settled ride with the VR6, due mostly to the larger wheels and less pliant tires—which somehow bring more road noise and impact harshness without any better handling.
And the base powertrain in the Passat CC is a good one. Volkswagen's 200-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is refined and responsive with either the standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed Tiptronic automatic. This direct-injection four-cylinder moves the 3,300-pound CC with an unexpected urgency, and it's such a versatile, torquey engine, with no noticeable turbo lag and no need to keep up the revs. The six-speed stick in our test car shifted smoothly, with light, measured clutch action and easy, precise-feeling shift action. It's the kind of car that manual-shift newbies could drive without bucking.
The CC 2.0T delivers excellent fuel economy. Over about 120 miles of mixed driving, about half gentle highway cruising but some spirited mountain roads as well, we averaged over 30 mpg. The down side is that premium fuel is recommended.
Now for the bad news: the CC's interior might look good, but it's not that passenger-friendly. In front, the seats are nice and supportive but you sit lower than typical, so combined with the upwardly rising beltline the driver doesn't get much of a view rearward. There's barely enough headroom for taller adults, but it doesn't feel that roomy. Both back-seat passengers will find that they don't get much window space, and due to the sloping roofline and back window most adults will find headroom scarce even though legroom is adequate. Even cargo space is a bit the victim of fashion; while the trunk is roomy and has nice hinges that won't get in the way of cargo, the opening itself is too small to take full advantage of it.
The Volkswagen CC TheCarConnection.com sampled—the base Sport, optioned with Sirius Satellite Radio—was priced at just $28,225. That's a steal for a stylish coupe-like sedan with an uber-refined feel throughout.
The 2009 Volkswagen CC is a distinct step-up from the Passat in look and feel. But before you get too emotionally involved in how the CC looks up close, hop inside.