It’s still a Passat, but without the Passat name. Now it’s just the CC which is an odd name to choose seeing as cc is used in vehicle terminology all the time (cubic centimeters).
Strong lines are what characterize the VW CC’s external appearance, the strongest of which starts at the top of the front wheel arch and makes an arrow-straight crease right to the top of the rear light where it flicks up to join the integrated boot spoiler. Two other lines help create a three part harmony that draws your eyes down the car. They are formed by the door trim and sill line following through to the rear bumper. On the bonnet, the lines from the grille sweep upwards towards the A-pillars.
Viewing the CC from the side you realize that it could easily wear a larger wheel size – perhaps the optional 18- or 19-inch wheels rather than the 17-inch alloys that come as standard. These are shod in 235/45 self-sealing tyres. The width of these tyres helps the in-corner handling feel confident. There are two suspension modes – sport and comfort. There’s not a lot of difference between the two; sport didn’t feel uncomfortable or crashy like it can in, for example, an HSV, so it stayed in sport mode for almost all my driving time.
When the roads get twisty you’ll find this motorway cruiser starts feeling a little heavy at the front, but still supremely easy to place on the apex. Even with the suspension in sport mode the CC was comfortable over rougher back roads. Power is readily available from the two-litre turbodiesel – 125kW at 4200rpm and 350Nm between 1750-2500rpm. This is mated to VW’s excellent six-speed DSG gearbox which gives near-seamless, lightning quick gear changes.
Fuel economy is quoted at 5.5l/100km. This is helped by the CC’s Bluemotion technology: a start-stop system that shuts off the engine when the car is stationary, and a regenerative braking system that recycles braking energy.
There’s some extra soundproofing in the CC so the diesel doesn’t sound like a diesel. There’s still a little of the growly bassline, but none of the clattering rhythm section that characterizes oil burners. Take advantage of this by firing up the eight-speaker multimedia system. It supports iPod/MP3 players, 6 CDs and WMA files. It’s controlled using the large touchscreen.
Cars are taking over more and more in tricky situations where we’re incapable of correcting errors in time, and the VW CC pushes the boundaries. Its safety features includes Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) with counter steering assistance, brake assist, anti-lock brakes, electronic diff lock, traction control, EBC and trailer stabilization, electronic parking brake with hill hold control, and a fatigue detection system. Dynamic cornering lights (they illuminate around the corner more when you’re turning) were an installed option on our test car ($2500); recent research suggests they are one of the main new technologies that help cut accident rates.
Acceleration from a standing start feels strong through to around 70kph at which time it seems to tail off and seem a little wheezy (possibly a result of the lower rev range in diesel engines). You’ll get to 100kph in 8.6 seconds according to Volkswagen.
The electrically adjustable seats reek of quality with their stitched white detailing. This only serves to enhance the general cabin ambience where everything feels very well designed.
Before I found out the price ($61,750) I had jumped to the conclusion that there should be a reversing camera and satellite navigation. But once I found out the price, my opinion is that, even without these, the CC is reasonable value for money. If you buy the petrol V6 model you do get the reversing camera and a whole lot more, including some useful extra power (but you pay $73,250).
The only aspect of this car that needs some work is the brake pedal feel, or rather, lack of it. This is a problem with pretty much every car that has some kind of regenerative braking system. You can’t really fault anything else because it does what is says on the box: it’s the consummate mid-level executive sedan with strong design and a coherent and comfortable interior. There’s enough space in the back for a couple of adults, the ride is quiet and accomplished, there are safety features galore and the driving experience strikes a good balance between taught and compliant.
If you’re looking for a second hand Passat or new/near new CC, try here.
Price: from $61,750
- Strong design
- Well-appointed interior
- Smooth with good low range acceleration
Words and photos: Darren Cottingham