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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
Hats off to VW for making a 6-speed manual transmission available
The electro-mechanical steering felt a little numb
Road & Track
No surprise that it feels plenty strong around town and on the highway
The athletic, sleek look of the 2010 Volkswagen CC hints at performance, but don't get your hopes too high. While straight-line performance is good enough, the CC doesn't handle with the verve of a sport sedan, though it does win points for a comfortable ride.
The base engine for the 2010 Volkswagen Passat CC is the excellent VW/Audi 2.0T four-cylinder, making 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The base Sport model comes standard with a six-speed manual, while a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. Though few buyers will probably opt for it, the manual transmission is nice in the CC, with a notchy linkage but pleasant clutch. The automatic isn't nearly as great; rather than the excellent twin-clutch DSG system used in smaller cars, the CC gets a conventional automatic that doesn't do so well with the four-cylinder. It's marginally better with the V-6, but upshifts can be lumpy and downshifts hesitant. Overall, the turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder is the clear choice over the V-6, with copious torque and a generally relaxed demeanor, nearly matching the uplevel V-6's acceleration and ringing in at 31 mpg on the highway. The 3.6-liter variant of VW's narrow-angle V-6 (VR6) is optional, but we recommend against it due to its somewhat gruff and vocal nature, less accessible torque curve, and higher fuel consumption.
Autoblog reviewers are impressed with the base engine, finding that it accelerates "with only slight hesitation and almost no hint of turbo lag." The downside to the lack of turbo lag is that there is no explosive burst of speed at higher RPMs, but many drivers will consider it an acceptable trade-off. Power-hungry buyers might be tempted to spring for the available V-6, but ConsumerGuide remarks that the base turbo-4 "moves with impressive pep from a stop and delivers decent mid-range and highway-passing power," so don't write off the four-banger simply because it lacks a pair of cylinders. The VR6 model's engine is decidedly more powerful, as evidenced by Edmunds performance testing. They say that a Volkswagen CC VR6 4Motion runs "from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds"—a good time for any vehicle that doesn't lay track.
The 2010 Volkswagen CC offers a manual transmission with the four-cylinder, which is unusual in a mid-size car—especially one with luxury overtones. However, Motor Trend cautions that the manual is "available with the 2.0-liter turbo only," while the V-6-powered models get "a six-speed automatic with Tiptronic." A range of reviewers, along with the editors of TheCarConnection.com, recommends the manual gearbox. ConsumerGuide notes the "automatic transmission lacks smoothness compared to most premium-midsize rivals." The automatic transmission is a disappointment with the V-6, but it's your only choice with that engine and for the available 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
For a vehicle the size of the CC, fuel economy numbers are quite good. According to the official EPA estimates, a four-cylinder Volkswagen 2009 CC with the manual transmission should return 21 mpg city, 31 highway, while the four-cylinder paired with the automatic gets 19/29 mpg. The 4Motion V-6 variant of the Volkswagen CC gets the lowest fuel economy at 17/25 mpg.
The VW CC handles well, but overall it's unremarkable due to overboosted, feather-light steering that lacks any sense of road feel. Brakes are also a disappointment—they're too touchy and tough to modulate, though they are strong and capable.
Despite the sporty appearance that dominates the exterior design language of the Volkswagen CC, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com don't indicate a high fun-to-drive factor for VW's new coupe. Edmunds admits that the Volkswagen CC "is hardly what we'd describe as a sports sedan," thanks to the fact that "the electric power steering is devoid of feel and doesn't lend a lot of confidence." This complaint is echoed by Road & Track reviewers, who claim that "the electro-mechanical steering felt a little numb." Autoblog adds that the steering "seemed heavy at slow speeds, and light but numb at highway speeds"—the opposite of what most drivers would want. Overall, Jalopnik likes the suspension, declaring that the CC "manages near total isolation without compromising handling ability." ConsumerGuide also notes that the Volkswagen CC exhibits "good grip and minimal body lean in turns."
The 2010 Volkswagen CC doesn't offer the steering of a sport sedan, but a manual transmission brings perky straight-line performance with good fuel efficiency.