2012 VOLKSWAGEN CC REVIEW
Volkswagen has taken its sleekly-styled Passat CC upmarket. The exterior has been revised, there’s now a fifth seat and there’s more standard equipment than before.
The price though, beginning at $54,990 and rising to $64,990, has been left intact.
There is however one big deletion: to distance the swish four-door from the more prosaic Passat sedan, the new car is now simply known as the Volkswagen CC - “Passat” has been dropped from the bootlid.
The new CC certainly carries an aura of sophistication, and commands quite a presence in the car park. But where does it fit in the scheme of things? Is it a bargain-priced luxury car, or simply a very nice, very well-equipped mid-sizer?
The biggest change in here, besides a new dashboard and centre stack, is the addition of a centre rear seat.
That adds a bit more utility to the CC’s cabin, but proportionally it’s no more spacious than its predecessor and there’s still a major shortage of headroom for back seat occupants.
Fit and finish is generally quite good, but the hard plastics on the side of the centre console would be better substituted with softer materials. The flimsy cupholders also struggle to keep bottles in place.
Trimmed with Nappa leather as standard, the CC’s power-adjustable seats are supportive and comfortable, with the optional ventilated seats also adding a massage function for the driver.
There are two leather tonings available - beige or black - and the standard aluminium trim accents can be substituted for wood veneer at extra cost.
The upmarket appearance of the walnut trim gives the CC’s interior a more luxurious ambience, and we found it preferable to the plain-looking alloy trim.
A colour multifunction display also replaces the monochrome unit that used to sit between the tachometer and speedometer, and a fatigue-detecting system is now standard-fit.
Volkswagen also says it has added more sound suppression materials to the CC’s body.
On the road however we found there to be quite a bit of tyre roar - particularly on the optional 19-inch alloys (18-inch wheels are standard). Engine and wind noise is quite muted though.
On The Road
There are two engines and drivetrains on offer. The starting point is a 125kW/350Nm 2.0 litre turbodiesel, which takes power to the front wheels via a six-speed DSG automatic.
The flagship is the all-wheel drive V6 FSI, powered by a 220kW/350Nm 3.6 litre V6 and also paired with a six-speed DSG.
Given there are no major mechanical changes for 2012, the new Volkswagen CC drives much the same as the car it replaces.
The diesel has plenty of low-end punch, and accelerates rapidly to 80km/h. It’s smooth and tractable, although it engine note is still a tad diesel-ish under light throttle.
It runs out of puff above 3900rpm, but under normal driving the DSG transmission keeps the engine spinning right where the torque is at its best. It’s a relaxed powerplant, and it’s arguably more suited to a car like the CC than the V6.
Performance from the V6 is excellent. It loves to rev, produces strong mid-range torque, and gives the big cruisy CC quite a bit of performance-car edge.
That said, the V6 can sound a little strained when asked to work hard, something we’d put down to the extra weight of the 4Motion all wheel-drive system. Weighing in at 1657kg empty, the CC V6 FSI is more than 130kg heavier than the CC 125 TDI.
Fuel economy also suffers from the extra heft: the V6 has a claimed combined-cycle efficiency of 9.7 l/100km. It’s not poor (for a highly-strung V6 with AWD), but compared to the 125 TDI’s 5.7 l/100km claim, it’s a real gas-guzzler.
On the flowing, well-maintained roads of the Tasmanian launch route, the CC rode well. The suspension is quite firm though - noticeable even with the standard Active Chassis Control set to ‘Comfort’. On poorer quality sections of road, the ride could become a little choppy.
Ride quality diminishes further with the optional 19-inch alloys, which have less compliance than the standard 18-inchers.
On the other hand, cornering performance is good. The CC tackles turns with very little body roll and predictable, understeer-biased dynamics.
Steering feel through the electro-mechanical steering rack is very light and artificial, but the front wheels respond faithfully to driver-inputs.
TMR First Drive Verdict
It’s hard to line up the natural competitors to the new Volkswagen CC. Mainly because it’s quite alone in a segment of its own creation.
The Skoda Superb V6 has, like the CC, pretensions of luxury, but is a completely different offering in terms of interior space and aesthetic appeal.
It’s one for the professional though, and conceivably comparable to the entry-level variants of smaller luxury sedans like the Audi A4, C-Class, 3 Series and Lexus IS (although none can equal the VW’s generous standard equipment list).
So is it then a cut-price luxury saloon then? Not quite. There are elements to the CC’s interior that don’t quite allow it to cross the barrier into ‘premium’ territory (those rickety cupholders being one), even though it’s quite a nice car to be in.
Instead, we’d say the CC is a well-sorted and individual mid-size sedan. It’s upmarket, and stylish, but certainly not ostentatious. It’s also not without appeal if you’re looking for something just a little apart from the crowd.
The new CC is available now, priced from $54,990 for the 125TDI, and $64,990 for the V6 FSI (both exclude on-road costs).
Metallic and pearlescent paints attract a $700 charge, while the driver assistance package costs $3300.
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
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