May 25, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Thursday, 18 August 2011 11:11
Notorious for nonconformity, Volkswagen brought out a new model in 2009 that essentially competes with its midsize Passat. The new CC (Comfort Coupe) has logged decent sales growth, though the Passat may rally thanks to a full redesign for 2012.So what’s the CC’s attraction? The Passat seats five; the CC, only four; hence the “coupe” designation despite its four-door configuration. The Passat is more commodious to rear-seat passengers thanks to its taller roofline. Its trunk has 23 percent more capacity. And the CC costs more. Our 2012 CC Lux Limited test car’s sticker price was $35,486; the most expensive Passat — featuring a V-6 engine — is about $2,000 cheaper.
Moreover, buy-American advocates with a fondness for Volkswagens surely will gravitate to the Passat, which is built in Chattanooga, Tenn. The CC hails from Emden, Germany.
What the CC has in abundance is style and personality. It’s arguably the most shapely car Volkswagen has built since the old Karmann Ghia. It resembles the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, though at (slightly elevated) Volkswagen prices.
Still, far be it for us or any other reviewer to question Volkswagen’s judgment, the Phaeton debacle of 2004-06 aside. For example, reviewers have been bashing the redesigned 2012 Jetta relentlessly as a step down from its predecessor in terms of road manners and interior quality; its sales volume is up 63.6 percent over the same period last year, according to Volkswagen. (We haven’t driven the new Jetta.)
Our 2012 CC proved fun and economical to drive, delivering better than 31 mpg in highway driving (on premium fuel, however) and earning high marks for refinement. Interior materials and switchgear have a rich, quality feel to them. We thought the two-tone “V-Tex” upholstery was genuine leather until a closer reading of the car’s specifications revealed it was vinyl. Very tall drivers will like the CC; our 6-foot driver did not need to bring the power seat to the back of its track.
Our only complaint was a hint of vibration and grumbling at startup, as the car’s hill-holding mechanism releases. Without this system, the direct-shift gearbox (DSG) briefly would allow the car to roll backwards. The rest of the time, the engine feels and sounds as quiet and vibration-free as an electric motor, so the contrast is quite noticeable.
The base CC, with the 2.0-liter, 200-horsepower turbocharged Four and six-speed stick shift, is priced at $28,515. All-wheel drive is available only in the V-6-powered Executive model, which starts at $40,390.
Designated a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the CC has shown average reliability in Consumer Reports magazine owner surveys.
It’s undeniable that some drivers wouldn’t want to spend this much money on a sedan that seats only four and has modest luggage capacity. But we did acquire a quick appreciation of the CC’s driving qualities, interior appointments and styling, and judging by the sales statistics, we’re not alone.
Engine: 2.0-liter inline turbocharged Four, 200 horsepower, 207 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 6-speed DSG shiftable automatic
Weight: 3,147 lb.
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Wheels: 18x8-inch alloy
Tires: 235/40R18 95H all-season
Seating capacity: 4
Luggage capacity: 13 cu. ft.
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons
Fuel economy: 22 mpg city, 31mpg highway
Fuel type: Premium
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