Why Volkswagen doesn’t advertise its CC sedan is beyond me. This sporty family sedan has been on the market seven years and is nearly invisible in the marketplace. I’ve never seen a magazine or TV ad for it.
That’s particularly weird at this time when VW is looking for good news to wash the bad taste of diesel from its corporate mouth. The CC is a performance gem. I tested one, the R-Line model, on a roundtrip to Louisville, Ky., and the sedan was a delight on the highway, and around town.
First, it looks good with a sleek profile and low rounded roofline that puts most other family sedans to shame from a styling perspective. The only drawbacks are somewhat limited headroom in back, although a 6-footer rode in the car and fit, but admitted he’d like a tad more air over his noggin. The other is a slim trunk opening, yet the CC has a deep trunk overall and yes, the rear seats split and fold down to create additional storage.
But it’s the CC’s performance that puts it cams and pistons ahead of most sedans. The CC is light, just 3,358 lbs., and its eager 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 generates a healthy 200 horsepower and slightly more torque. The result is a car that feels fast getting onto a freeway and nimble overall.
And get this … this family sedan comes with a 6-speed manual transmission that slickly slips through the gears to allow the driver the fun of shifting. Few cars of any ilk, especially those that carry five adults, even offer a manual anymore. One minor annoyance, the gear shift lever repeatedly squeaked a bit in the test car when shifted into fifth gear.
The VW handles well, corners well and while it features a firm ride as befitting a German car, it’s mostly smooth enough to manage city streets without inflicting pain. On the highway it’s a premium cruiser.
Braking is first rate from four discs, the clutch pedal is fairly heavy and gas mileage is excellent. I got between 31.9 miles per gallon and 34.9 mpg, that higher figure in a purely highway drive. The EPA rates the CC at 21 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. Sadly the CC prefers premium fuel.
Beyond performance, VW gives the CC a handsome, elegant interior with black dash and leather seats with a gray headliner overhead. Plus there’s brushed silver trim along the dash, doors and center stack. Seats include gray stitching and are well formed with good back support.
Naturally the seats are powered too and include a power lumbar for the driver, and both front seats include three levels of heat for winter morning bun warming. While comfort is good overall, for short drivers the front edge of the seat bottom will not lower enough to allow an optimum angle for depressing the clutch. Not a problem on long highway drives, but in town the lack of lower seat angle adjustment could prove tiring to drivers with short legs.
Note too that shorter drivers may find that the steering wheel partially obscures the top portion of the main gauges in front of the driver. I discovered this after adjusting the seat upward and the tilt/telescope steering wheel down a bit to create a more comfortable driving position.
In any case, the interior is comfy and quiet and the CC comes with most the features we’d all want, such as dual climate controls, rearview camera, navigation system, satellite radio, auto-dimming mirror, keyless entry and push-button start with a port to hold the key fob. Wish more cars had that feature.
The nav/radio screen is a tad small, but easy to work and senses when your hand is near the screen, which then highlights additional functions, such as channel selection. The VW also includes a 3D nav system and small radio volume and tuning knobs. Cruise control, which is not adaptive, is located on a lever to the left of the steering wheel.
Overhead the visors slide and there’s an emergency SOS information system. Also inside, on the driver’s door are trunk and fuel door release buttons. The VW features twin cup holders in the console, plus two mysterious triangular holes that, due to their shape, seem to have no obvious use.
VW also includes Car-Net, which features an app-based interface, nav, infotainment system with security and emergency assistance feature. A few other features include heated and foldable side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers and fog lights.
There are several trim lines for the CC, the base Trend model starting at $32,435 with the 6-speed manual and $33,535 for the automatic version. The Sport model starts at $35,340 and the tested R-Line at $34,655, plus an $865 delivery fee for a total of $35,520.
Hard to imagine the 200-horse turbo isn’t powerful enough for everyone, but the CC also is available with a 3.6-liter VR6, a six-cylinder that boasts a kick-butt 280 horses. This model also includes all-wheel drive and sells for roughly $45,000.
At its various trim levels with the 2.0-liter turbo the CC is a relative bargain for the performance, room and looks it delivers.
Hits: Sleek looks, good power, sharp handling and a slick 6-speed manual in a family sedan. Comfy, quiet, handsome interior, front seats have good back support and three-speed heat. Car’s trunk is deep trunk. Gas mileage excellent.
Misses: No sunroof, rear seat headroom a bit tight due to sloped roofline, gear shifter repeatedly squeaked going into fifth gear. Driver’s seat front edge too high for comfy shifts and steering wheel blocks top of main dash gauges when adjusted down for shorter driver. Prefers premium gas.
Made in: Germany
Engine: 2.0-liter, TSI turbocharged I4, 200 hp
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Weight: 3,358 lbs.
Length: 189.1 in.
Wheelbase: 106.7 in.
MPG: 21/32 (EPA)
MPG: 31.9-34.9 (tested)
Base Price: $34,655
Invoice: $34,099 (includes delivery)
Major Options: None
Test vehicle: $35,520
Sources: Volkswagen, www.kbb.com
Photos: Mark Savage