VOLKSWAGEN CC REVIEW
Vehicle style: Coupe-styled four-door sedan
Price: $54,990. | As tested: $64,140
Listed fuel economy: 5.7 l/100km. | on test: 6.7 l/100km.
Back in 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show, Volkswagen unveiled a slinky coupe-styled version of its Passat sedan - the elegant Passat CC.
It went on to sell 220,000 units world-wide, including around 2700 in Australia since its 2009 local launch. Here, the Passat CC became VW’s premium flag-carrier.
Now a new model, with the word "Passat" erased from its bootlid, has been launched here in two guises: a 125TDI diesel and a four-paw 132 FSI V6 petrol version.
It’s now known simply as the Volkswagen CC.
The big news with the new model however is that a suite of pretty fancy former options - now made standard - adding between $5000 and $6000 of enhanced value to an already appealing and well-priced car.
Quality: While not quite in the class of the interiors found in its upmarket Audi cousins, the new CC is classier and more stylish than most out there at its entry price-point.
The 125TDI chosen for this review had black leather trim (beige and black is also available) and the optional walnut trim highlights. There is plenty of soft-touch plastic and fit and finish cannot be faulted.
Comfort: The CC is one of those cars that as soon as you climb in behind the wheel, you feel right at home.
The two front seats are beautifully crafted, bolstered like sports seats and with all the electric adjustment you could ever need. Combined with the leather-wrapped height and reach-adjustable steering wheel, locking in the perfect driving position is a doddle.
The rear bench seat is – at least for the outer two passengers – also well crafted and comfortable. But you wouldn’t want to go from Melbourne to Sydney in the centre section. It’s flat and uncomfortable and your feet have to straddle a fat transmission tunnel.
The test car was fitted with the optional active-climate-control seats with massage function. It’s a touch of luxury - perhaps more an indulgence - but they can certainly help keep aches at bay on a long trip.
Despite its sloping coupe-like roof-line, rear headroom is ok for anyone up to a six-footer (or a tad more) in the old money.
Equipment: Standard equipment includes a pretty fancy eight-speaker AM/FM/CD MP3 audio system, sat-nav, Bluetooth, rear-vision camera, 12-way electrically-adjustable front seats, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with gear-shifting paddles, cruise control, multi-function trip computer, colour screen and dual-zone climate-control air-con.
Also standard are front-and-rear floor mats, automatic boot-lid release with an easy-open function, an automatic-dimming interior rear-vision mirror and driver’s side exterior mirror, parking sensors, power windows, rain-sensing wipers, alarm with interior monitoring, an electronic engine immobiliser and an electronic ignition lock.
The test car was fitted with more than $9000 of optional extras and included were a driver-assistance package ($3300), walnut trim highlights ($500), 19-inch alloys ($1900), panoramic glass sunroof ($2000), active climate-control front seats with a luxurious and self-indulgent massage function, and metallic/pearl-effect paint that added $700.
Storage: The CC's cavernous boot can swallow more than 530litres of luggage. Adding to the storage flexibility, the rear-seat backs have a 60/40 split and can fold virtually flat (and can be dropped by flicking levers inside the boot). There is also a ski hatch.
There is however quite a high lip over which you have to lift your luggage. Inside, cubby holes are somewhat limited.
There are small front-door pockets but none in the rear, an adequate glove box, a small drop-under-dash tray on the driver’s side, pockets in the rear-seat backs, two cup holders in the front and rear plus a roof-mounted sunglasses holder.
Then there’s a secret and handy “dish” under the boot floor. It’s formed because the spare is locked in face down and is just the thing for jumper leads, a tow rope or even to hide a laptop.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: While not in the same class as the Audi A4’s 150kW/400Nm TDI engine in power, torque and fuel efficiency (CC 5.7 l/100km, A4 4.9 l/100km), the VW’s 125kW/350Nm engine is responsive, gives no hint of lag and it makes light work of overtaking and hills.
It's swift in a relaxed way on the highway, and you can't help but feel that on a German autobahn the CC could cruise all day at 160km/h plus.
Turbo-diesels and DSG-dual-clutch transmissions are a match made in heaven and this is certainly the case with the CC.
Shifts are swift and decisive (although it's not as decisive away from the line) and there are steering-mounted paddles if you want to command the changes yourself.
One thing, though… the paddles could be a bit taller for better 'fingertip control'.
Refinement: If there’s one thing today’s best turbo-diesels have going for them is a level of refinement undreamt of not too many years ago.
There is a hushed premium feel to the way the CC performs on road: noise, vibration and harshness is all-but absent, helped no doubt by the acoustic windscreen glass.
The overall refinement is improved both acoustically and for ride by the rear-suspension set-up that is isolated by sub-frames on four rubber-metal mounts.
Suspension: The CC shares its well-sorted underpinnings with the Audi A4. There are MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear.
With the 19-inch wheels fitted to our test car, the CC’s ride will be too firm for some. We prefer the smoother ride the smaller 18-inch wheels provide.
The rack-and-pinion steering system is electrically assisted, rather than hydraulic, and provides quite reasonable feel on the highway, and is light at low speeds (around car parks and the like).
Braking: The 125TDI uses ventilated discs at the front and solids on the rear. There is an electro-mechanical parking brake, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and an automatic hold function.
ANCAP Rating: 5 Stars
Safety features: The CC comes standard with six airbags (dual front, front and rear side and full-length curtains), a fatigue-warning system and lane assist, ABS brakes, traction and stability control, tyre pressure monitoring and seat belt pre-tensioners (front and outer rear) with belt-force limiters.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years; unlimited kilometres (paint warranty also three years and unlimited kilometres).
Service costs: Service costs and charges can vary; speak with your dealer prior to purchase.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Audi A5 TDI Sportback - $68,700: An inevitable comparison. The $54,990 CC is considerably cheaper, though the Audi has the more power and more eager response.
The Audi's 4.8 l/100km also betters the CC's 5.7 l/100km fuel consumption. It's a toss-up which wins for style and finish though. (see A5 reviews)
Mercedes-Benz C 200 CDI - $60,900: Not as eager as the CC nor, arguably, does it have the same stylish presence in the carpark as the very elegant CC.
Slightly better than the CC for economy (the Benz manages 5.4 l/100km), it's good buying if you're not bothered by the staid looks. (see C-Class reviews)
BMW 320d - $60,990: Certainly the benchmark for verve, an alive chassis and an electric and involving sporting drive. The Beemer’s 4.5 l/100km also makes it the most fuel-efficient of this group.
It's an appealing car all-round topped off with a classy interior but, like the Merc, quite a bit dearer than the CC. (see 3 Series reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The new CC is all about style: from any angle, it really is a handsome car.
It offers a premium interior - fit and finish is excellent as is the classy feel to the materials and surfaces - and it comes very well kitted-out with standard features.
Four-up, the CC is an extremely comfortable car in which you could happily cruise all day (the centre rear seat though is for short trips only).
Performance from the 125TDI diesel is spirited enough, but bettered by other premium purchases at this price point. If you want more sports-car-like performance, there’s always the V6 all-wheel-drive petrol version. A fatter cheque however will be required.
But there is substance behind the Volkswagen CC's slinky coupe lines. At $55k it's good buying. We'd recommend a look if shopping in this segment.
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- Volkswagen CC 125TDI - $54,990
- Volkswagen CC V6 FSI - $64,990
Note: prices exclude on-road costs.
Other options include:
- Walnut ornamental wood inserts - $500
- Heated and ventilated front seats with massage function - $750
- Park assist 2 - $900
- 19-inch Lugano alloys - $1900
- Dynaudio 600W premium audio - $2000
- Panoramic glass roof - $2000