The Volkswagen CC is a sleek and upscale version of the Passat that offers comfort and poise.
Volkswagen boldly called the CC a four-door coupe when it first came out as a 2009 model, inventing the description and distinction that other sleek sedans have since taken. Today, the Volkswagen CC competes with cars such as the Nissan Maxima, Lincoln MKZ, Volvo S60, Acura TLX, and Audi A4.
The CC comes as the 2.0T with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 200 horsepower, or the 3.6-liter VR6 4Motion model with 280 horsepower. The 2.0T feels significantly lighter and more nimble, and the smaller engine makes a good 207 pound-feet of torque with no turbo lag, matching the response of the more powerful V6.
New for 2016 is a base model called Trend. Also new: an upgraded infotainment system with a USB port; forward-collision warnings, lane-departure warnings, automatic braking. VR6 models offer adaptive cruise control.
Safety equipment includes rearview camera, front side airbags, and curtain airbags, with rear side airbags available. The CC has not been recently crash-tested by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which rates it only for rollover resistance, four stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the CC as Good in its tests, its top score, with a Marginal rating for its challenging small-overlap test, which is like hitting a telephone pole.
The Volkswagen CC 2.0T with manual transmission is EPA-rated at 21/32 mpg City/Highway, or 25 Combined miles per gallon. With the twin-clutch automatic manual it’s the same. The thirsty all-wheel-drive VR6 4Motion gets about 5 mpg less.
The 2016 Volkswagen CC comes in Trend, Sport, Executive, and R-Line trims. There’s also a super efficient model called the DSG PZEV.
The front-wheel-drive Volkswagen CC has been favorably compared to sleek rear-wheel-drive vehicles such as the Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS.
The CC’s coupe-like look partly comes from having no window frames. The roofline is sleek and handsome, with its long arc over the low fast angles of the windshield and rear glass. Details are understated, and upscale touches include LED lighting.
The CC’s visibility suffers from the stylish design of its raked windshield. The short side windows don’t make looking over your shoulder easier. The fast backlight creates a narrow rear window, so the view in the rearview mirror isn’t much better than in a real coupe with only two doors.
The front seat is somewhat low, yet front headroom is still a bit tight. Same in the rear, for three adult passengers, who will have to duck under the curvy roof to climb in and out.
The interior trim looks and feels like luxury, and the trunk is huge.
The CC 2.0T has good power at both high and low rpm, with no significant turbo lag. Standard transmission is a reliable 6-speed manual, but the available Audi-developed twin-clutch DSG transmission is aces, with its snappy shifts even in Auto mode. There’s a Sport mode that quickens the shifts even more.
The 3.6-liter V6 makes 80 more horsepower but it’s heavier; add the all-wheel-drive system, and the VR6 lacks the nimble handling of the 2.0T. Not only that, the gruff V6 is shy on torque at low rpm, and acceleration is not snappy, its 6-speed automatic transmission suffering from poor timing and slow kickdowns. The 2.0T nearly matches the VR6 in acceleration, while shifting better and getting five more miles per gallon.
With either engine, the ride is absorbent and controlled, and the brakes are strong and capable.
The 2.0T handles better than your average midsize sedan, although not like a German sports sedan, as the body leans in corners when it’s pushed hard. Still, it’s not out of its element on a curvy road, as the electric power steering loads and unloads smoothly, and gives the car a relaxed demeanor on the highway, although it can feel a bit airy around town.
The Volkswagen CC offers sleek looks, sedan practicality, excellent handling, and good power and economy from a four-cylinder. All engines use gasoline.