2011 Volkswagen CC Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
February 11, 2011

The 2011 Volkswagen CC has performance that doesn't altogether match its sexy shape, and seating space is disappointing, but otherwise there's a lot to like.

While basically a restyled version of Volkswagen's conservative Passat sedan (no longer offered for 2011 while an all-new version waits in the wings), the CC hits an entirely different aesthetic realm—and to many, looks like a more expensive car than it is.

If you feel that the 2011 Volkswagen CC feels a little bit like an auto-show concept, or a much more expensive vehicle, you're not alone. The CC takes after the Mercedes-Benz CLS with its stunning, coupe-like silhouette, frameless windows, and long, flowing design—including nice rear styling that tucks neatly down. The Volkswagen CC's interior still stands out several years after introduction; it includes details like contrast stitching, contrast color themes for the upholstery, and pleasing, upscale trims that aren't typical in a car that starts well under the $30k mark.

While the strong, sleek appearance of the 2011 Volkswagen CC might suggest sport sedan, it's not quite that. All of the CC models are quick on the straight line, though they don't handle with the verve of a sport sedan, clearly trading off some crispness for comfort. The engine that powers most of the CC line is the excellent 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder, making 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, and we much prefer it to the 3.6-liter VR6 engine that's available (only in 4Motion all-wheel-drive guise). VW's excellent DSG automatic is now offered in the CC, and we like it or the standard manual. The VR6, which has to be revved a bit, simply doesn't move the CC that much quicker to justify its fuel economy figures, of just 17 mpg city.

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The VW CC handles well, but that's not its forte. Most of the lineup—especially the four-cylinder models—ride quite well, and lavish interior trims feel luxury-car caliber; the interior is tight and serene, too.

But take even a brief look at the rather odd seating arrangement and slightly cramped backseat, and it's abundantly clear that the Volkswagen CC is a vehicle that was designed for form over function. Backseat space isn't passable for adults, for head room reasons, while the front-seat position is, for lack of terse terms, a bit odd.

Volkswagen hasn't skimped on features in the CC sedans; all of them, even the base Sport, come very well-equipped. The CC is available in Sport, Lux, and Executive models, with Sport and Lux models getting the four-cylinder engine and the Executive upgrading to the VR6 and 4Motionn all-wheel drive.

Bluetooth connectivity is now standard on all models, along with a new sound system that includes an auxiliary input and iPod connectivity. The navigation system in the CC is an all-new unit this year, while the top Dynaudio sound system is now only offered on the top Executive VR6.

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