2010 Volkswagen CC
Base price: $28,560 – $40,110
As tested: $29,660
MPG: 22 city/31 highway
- Looks great inside and out
- Good value and nicely equipped
- New Direct Shift transmission makes it a deal breaker
- Only seats four
- Smallish trunk
By Rebecca Antioco
CC is a great looking contender that needs more work
(This review was originally written in August 2009. Although little of substance has changed it has been updated to include what’s new for the 2010 model year)
My initial thought about the Volkswagen CC is, “Why?” Why a four-door sedan when VW already has the Passat? Why would someone pay near luxury prices for a VR6 Volkswagen? After all, saying you drive a Mercedes or a BMW has more cachet than, say, admitting you drive a VW that costs as much as one. Volkswagen should’ve learned that hard lesson with the failed Phaeton.
But here’s where the CC differs from the Phaeton experiment: The base model CC Sport for 2010 has a starting price tag of $28,560 with an automatic transmission. That’s just $560 more than the starting price of the Passat, but the CC has a decidedly sexier look than your typical midsized sedan. Standard is a 200-horsepower inline turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 207 pound-feet of torque. It’s not until you move up the line to the VR6 Sport model, which produces 280-horsepower, that you start to flirt with luxury price ($40,110).
So let’s talk a little more about the “why.” The CC (which, incidentally, stands for Comfort Coupe, despite having four doors) may share the Passat’s basic underpinnings, but it’s built for looks. The roofline is two inches lower than the Passat’s, and the sleek front end and side accent give the CC a profile that could, dare we say, be mistaken for a Mercedes. The interior is much like that of the Passat, but given that Volkswagen earns high marks for its interiors, even in the most basic models, that’s not a bad thing.
The CC does get a few luxury upgrades, including available two-tone seats with cross-stitched leather or convincing faux leather, and comfortable bucket-style rear seats.
The base Sport model is well equipped with standard goodies like full power accessories, cruise control, automatic climate control and a full complement of safety features. Luxury amenities such as heated seats, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, and power adjustable seats with memory feature are also standard, where they are either optional or unavailable on competitor vehicles.
To up the posh factor, you can upgrade to the Luxury, and get 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, power rear sunshade, steering wheel paddles and an upgraded sound system. A technology package with navigation system, digital music storage, back-up camera and iPod integration is available with the Luxury Package and on the VR6 model.
On the road, the CC handles exceptionally well, and the base engine is powerful, with the overall drive quality having a premium feel on par with its outward appearance. The suspension is on the firm side, but not jarringly so, with passengers barely feeling bumps and imperfections on the road. For 2010 we drove the base Sport model, and while we didn’t have the opportunity to test the VR6, we can’t imagine that there would be sufficient drive quality improvement to merit spending an extra $12,000.
New for 2010, turbocharged four-cylinder models come with VW’s Direct Shift Gearbox, a six-speed dual-clutch transmission with an automatic manual shift operation that Volkswagen claims shifts gears faster than other transmissions. That’s what the folks at Volkswagen claim anyway. However, driving the CC with the new transmission was most disappointing and reminded us of the miserable driving experience of the Smart car we tested when it first came out.
Unlike the excellent 4Motion transmission available in the premium level CC, the transmission was a continuous jerk, lag, wait-a-minute to shift operation. From a stop the CC would begin to roll. Press the accelerator and nothing happens because the transmission doesn’t engage. Then suddenly, wham! You’re thrown back in the seat as the transmission catches hold and off you go. We recommend avoiding this new transmission combination at all costs. Volkswagen has got their work cut out unless they get this drivetrain worked out. My recommendation is to scrap the Direct Shift and stick with what worked with the 4Motion.
The CC performed well in government crash tests, earning four stars for passenger and driver protection in front impacts. In side impacts, it received five stars for front passenger protection and four stars for rear passenger protection.
Overall, the CC has the looks and most of the right stuff to be a contender, but the transmission renders it a deal breaker.