It’s important from the start to understand exactly what the Volkswagen CC is…and isn’t. It isn’t a Passat. It isn’t a Jetta either. Although a four-door, the VW CC isn’t a straightforward sedan like the Passat or Jetta, the two models that make up the overwhelming percentage of Volkswagens sold in the U.S. It is, in today’s parlance, a four-door coupe, even though, yes, we know coupes are only supposed to have two doors.
The CC, however, lies between the Passat and Jetta in size. The Passat has a 110-inch wheelbase and the CC just 106 inches, with the Jetta’s wheelbase is only 104 inches. And while the Passat has 102 cubic feet of interior volume, the CC has 93 cubic feet. The Jetta is a cubic foot bigger inside than the CC is. By EPA standards, the CC is a “compact,” as is the Jetta, while the Passat is a “sedan.”
And then there’s price. Both Jetta and Passat have budget models, starting at $17,325 and $21,120 for two models respectively. At the other end, the Jetta maxes out just under $30k for the non-hybrid model while the Passat can be loaded up to $35,660. The Volkswagen CC, however, ranges from $32,685 for the entry level CC Sport 2.0T, with the fully loaded CC V6 priced at $43,140. We’re clearly talking a different kind of car.
And then there are those contours that say the CC thinks it is a coupe. The roof line flows past fluid C-pillars to a short trunklid with a ducktail molded into the metal. In front, horizontal grille slats reach from one headlight cluster to the other—Bi-Xenon headlamps are standard—with a lower radiator opening below the front bumper. Along the side, and accent line rises from behind the front wheels, over the rear wheel opening and into the taillights. We’ll pick “sleek” from the thesaurus to describe it.
To be sure, Volkswagen calls it a sports sedan, and we’d say that’s fair enough. All trim levels of the CC are equipped with sport suspension, and with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the CC is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic. The other drivetrain offering on the Volkswagen CC is the narrow-angle vee VR6 3.6-liter six-cylinder, available only with a six speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
As one might expect, it’s the VW Group two-liter engine that gives the CC 2.0T its name, in either Sport or Executive trim, the latter with extra features that move the CC up to the $37k range. The Volkswagen CC 2.0T R-Line differs from the Sport primarily in exterior trim, particularly the front end. It’s the VR6 engine and all-wheel drivetrain that makes the big bump in price for the V6 model, however. Look for a killer ten-speaker 600-watt Dynaudio killer—two woofers—audio system only in the CC V6.
While the exterior styling has worn well since the model’s 2009 introduction, the interior, though equipped with premium materials, is stuck in the straight line school of German interior design, this in spite of one interior makeover of the CC’s interior since its introduction. It’s not so much wrong as it is a contrast with the exterior styling. Curves outside, straight lines inside, dissonance in between.
The Volkswagen CC is notable for its level of standard equipment. Even the base 2.0T sport comes with no-extra-charge navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive (steering) Bi-Xenon headlights, 12-way power-adjustable (including 4-way power lumbar support), and an audio system that includes Bluetooth with streaming audio and a USB port,
For the price range the Volkswagen CC competes in, one might think that a two-liter engine making 200 horsepower just isn’t enough. Volkswagen’s 2.0T, however, is the same engine as used by Audi, and instead of being tuned for peak horsepower is set up to produce bottom-end torque. And if 207 lb-ft seems inadequate on paper, it doesn’t feel that way on the road, where the peak torque starts at 1700 rpm, making the CC with the 2.0T feel responsive and easy to drive on a day-to-day basis.
The 2015 Volkswagen CC 2.0T Sport we drove for first impressions was equipped with a manual transmission, something rare in this price and equipment range, and anyone who still wants the tactile experience that a manual gearbox can provide will not be disappointed with that in this VW.
Handling and cornering easily meet German Sport Sedan standards; the ride is firm but not harsh, and overall it’s a car worthy of video ad images of leaving the car with a valet. The Volkswagen CC has style without ostentation, and yields function for fashion. It’s not like other VWs. And that’s what the Volkswagen CC is.
2015 Volkswagen CC 2.0T Sport, price and key specifications as tested
Body style/layout: 4-door sedan, front engine/front-wheel drive
Base price: $32,685
Price as tested: $33,550
- Type: 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
- Displacement, cc: 1984
- Block/head material: cast iron/aluminum
- Compression ratio: 9.6:1
- Horsepower: 200 @ 5100 rpm
- Torque: 207 @ 1700 rpm
- Recommended fuel: premium unleaded
- Fuel economy, EPA est.: 21/32 mpg city/highway
- Fuel economy, observed: n.a.
Transmission: 6-speed manual
- Suspension, front/rear: strut-type / multilink
- Wheels: 17 x 8.0-inch alloy
- Tires: 235/45R17
- Brakes: 4-wheel disc; 12.3-inch dia. front/11.1-inch dia. rear
- Steering: electric power rack-and-pinion
- Turning circle: 37.4 ft.
- Wheelbase: 106.7 in.
- Length: 189.1 in.
- Height: 55.8 in.
- Width: 73.0 in.
- Curb weight: 3,358 lbs
- Trunk volume: 13.2 cu. ft.
- Fuel tank: 18.5 gal.
- Airbags: Front, front side, side curtain
- Anti-lock brakes: Yes Traction control: Yes Stability control: Yes Electronic brake-force distribution: Yes Brake assist: Yes
- Other: Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), Engine Braking Assist, Volkswagen Intelligent Crash Response System
Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper; 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain; 12-year/unlimited-mile corrosion, 4-year/50,000-mile scheduled service, 3-year/36,000-mile roadside assistance; 1-year/10,000-mile scheduled maintenance