Volkswagen CC TDI 2012 Review

July 18th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

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


  • Brake pedal feel

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham


Volkswagen Tiguan 2011 Review

November 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen’s updated Tiguan 4×4 has new TDi diesel technology driving through a six-speed Tiptronic transmission making it more frugal by 0.5l/100km and with less emisions (by 10g of CO2 per km). Other performance figures remain the same, with the Tiguan taking 10.7 seconds to reach 100kph. With the 4Motion all-wheel drive and 235/55 tyres on 17-inch wheels it’s got plenty of grip on all surfaces, and it’s capable of towing up to two tonnes (as long a the trailer is braked). It also comes, as standard, with a trailer stabilization system to stop any speed wobbles.

So, it’s a city-style compact 4WD SUV, but with the toughness credentials to back it up. Our test car was brown, which seems to be staging a resurgence in popularity. You might remember the brown Ford Cortinas and Escorts of 30 years ago with moderate disdain, but the new metallic brown hues look quite sharp.

Volkswagen has designed the Tiguan to appeal to small families. There are fold-up tray tables behind the passenger and driver’s seat which have integrated cup holders. These seats are ‘cinema style’ – they’re slightly raised to give the rear passengers a better view. The seats are covered in hard-wearing upholstery. Continue reading “Volkswagen Tiguan 2011 Review” »

Volkswagen Golf GTI Edition 35 2011 Review

November 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s been 35 years since Volkswagen’s Golf GTI trail blazed a new automotive sub-genre – the hot hatch. To celebrate the birthday of the iconic GTI badge VW has released a special anniversary model named the Edition 35 and the good news for kiwi Golf fans is that 60 of the 5-door cars are heading down to NZ.

So what’s so special about the Edition 35? Well, it’s built for true GTI enthusiasts and comes packing a boost in power, some subtle styling treats and an air of exclusivity. It’s for Golf GTI junkies who crave just a little bit extra GTI. Car and SUV took a dose of the Edition 35 to test if its effects are mellow or mind mashing addictive.

Any special edition will find itself graded in three core areas over the standard model it’s based on. These are; how much harder it goes, how much sleeker it looks and what extra features are included. The Edition 35 improves on the Mk VI Golf GTI in these three areas but by varied strengths.

Visually, it’s a ‘Spot the Difference’ game to find every exterior styling tweak the Edition 35 has over its stock sibling. Perhaps most noticeable are the new “Watkins Glen” alloy wheels, which at 18-inches fill out the guards and are well suited to the Golf shape. Harder to spot is the remodeled front bumper and bi-xenon headlights with LED running lamps. Along the flanks there are discrete “35” badges on the front fenders, there’s lower side skirting and gloss black wing mirror caps. The unique exterior design is finished at the rear with darkened tail lamps. Overall, the updates are subtle but fitting for the GTI, a model known for deft styling touches and a sleeper aesthetic. The Edition 35 is available in four colours – Tornado Red, Deep Black, Carbon Steel Grey and our sweet-looking test car was finished in Candy White. Continue reading “Volkswagen Golf GTI Edition 35 2011 Review” »

Facelifted VW Tiguan receives R-Line treatment

November 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen is stepping things up on its recently facelifted 2012 Tiguan SUV with the release of the R-Line trim specification.

Making your new Tiguan and R-Line is possible with the choice of two packages – one for the interior and one for the exterior. Both packages include a range of visual tweaks.

Opt for the exterior package and you receive more aggressively designed front and rear bumpers, a hatch spoiler, a black rear diffuser, aluminium door sill plates and R-line badging. Filling the wheel guards are freshly designed 19-inch alloys with 255/40 tyres.

If you want to dress up your interior appointments the R-Line cabin package includes sports seats up front, unique trim, sports steering wheel, aluminum pedals and more R-Line logos. Continue reading “Facelifted VW Tiguan receives R-Line treatment” »

New Volkswagen Phaeton on track for 2015

September 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The first-generation Volkswagen Phaeton didn’t achieve the sales VW desired but the carmaker is ready to give it another go. In 2015 VW will unveil its second-gen Phaeton flagship and according to reports it will be a substantially different machine.

The new Phaeton will be developed under the VW631 codename and is expected to use Audi’s new MLM Evo platform which should be lighter and offer much improved handling. While the current model is offered in sedan form only, the MLM Evo platform could lend itself to a variety of body styles including an S-Class Coupe rival, a five-door hatch and even a ‘shooting brake’ variant.

Little is known about what powerplant options VW will offer under the bonnet but it’s likely engine offerings will be much smaller than the current V8 and W12 mills. Possible options are four-cylinder units, six-cylinders and plug-in hybrid powertrains. Continue reading “New Volkswagen Phaeton on track for 2015” »

VW Amarok 8-speed auto transmission arriving next year

September 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When Volkswagen’s Amarok ute launched earlier this year it was heaped with praise and Car and SUV was impressed by its ability on, and off the tarmac. But without an automatic transmission option the Amarok was always going to miss out on some sales in NZ.

Now, VW has announced that the Amarok will be available with an 8-speed automatic transmission from the mid 2012. The new gearbox is expected to be a smooth unit that will assist with overall fuel economy figures for the 1-tonne ute.

The automatic transmission will work with the Amarok’s permanent four-wheel drive and new 132kW/420Nm Twin Turbo TDI engine. Amaroks with the new automatic gearbox will also have an increased towing capacity of 3.2 metric tonnes (up to 12% gradient).

With the auto box the TDI engine will work even more effectively in every rev range, and 8th gear has been configured as a fuel-saving overdrive gear that operates at reduced engine speed.

The new automatic transmission with its maximum torque of 420 Newton metres offers a top speed of 179 km/h and takes just 8.5 seconds to accelerate from 80 to 120 km/h. Towing capacity has been increased to 3.2 metric tonnes (up to 12% gradient). Continue reading “VW Amarok 8-speed auto transmission arriving next year” »

Volkswagen reveals single-seater Nils concept

September 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Volkswagen Group is backing small electric cars in the future with the proof being two ‘pod’ style concepts unveiled before the Frankfurt Auto Show.

Audi’s Urban concept features a two-seat configuration but VW’s recently revealed Nils concept is strictly a single seater. The tiny concept uses two polycarbonate gullwing doors (plus a rear hatch) in a unique shape that envisions a future style of transportation for European commuters.

The Nils weighs just 450kg and rides on four exterior wheels with individual guards. The concept is powered by a 15kW electric motor that allows a range of around 64 km, but it has a overboost feature which takes output up to 25kW. This can move the Nils from 0-100kph in 11 seconds, top speed is rated at 128kph. Continue reading “Volkswagen reveals single-seater Nils concept” »

VW drops covers off production model Up!

August 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen has just given the motoring world the low down on its up! The up! is VW’s new compact city car and will become the brand’s entry-level machine in many global markets.

As you’d expect the up! is a very small machine being just 3.54 metres long, 1.64 m wide and 1.48 m tall with a wheelbase of 2.42 m. There’s 251 litres cargo capacity in the hatch expanding to an impressive 951 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Under the bonnet there will be two variants of VW’s three-cylinder, 1.0 litre petrol engine with BlueMotion technology. Power output will be either 44kW or 55kW respectively. Economy is extremely frugal at just 4.2 litres/100km and 4.3 liters/100 km, depending on power grade.

A special feature of the up! will be optional City Emergency Braking – a safety system that works at speeds under 30 km/h, detects an imminent collision and apply the brakes automatically. Continue reading “VW drops covers off production model Up!” »

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