Full 2009 Volkswagen CC Review
What's New for 2009
The 2009 Volkswagen CC is an all-new sedan based on the Passat.
The 2009 Volkswagen Passat CC is not a Passat for the hearing-impaired. Instead, the name stands for Comfort Coupe, but it's not a Passat coupe either -- it has four full doors. No, the CC is a sleeker, restyled version of VW's midsize sedan, intended for folks who want something more stylish and different than the typical family four-door. What's in a name, anyway?
Like the Mercedes CLS, the VW CC was created by taking a rather practical sedan with humdrum styling (E-Class and Passat, respectively) and transforming it into a ravishing looker. In the case of the CC, VW took the basic Passat architecture -- same wheelbase, same powertrain, same basic interior -- and stretched out the overhangs by 0.6 inch and lowered the roof line by 2 inches. The front-end styling was made sleeker, a dramatic side character line was added and the rear end was tapered down from the radically sloped roof line in an almost Porsche-like way. It all combines to create a car that is remarkably better-looking than the car upon which it's based, one that could actually be described as sexy. You can't say that about most midsize sedans.
Inside, the CC mostly carries over the Passat's cabin, complete with high-quality materials and well-designed controls. The CC adds a bit of flair, though, with sharp two-tone seats available on every trim level -- tan seat centers and door trim surrounded by black. The seats have also been upgraded to be more supportive and feature attractive cross-stitched upholstery (in leather or convincing leatherette vinyl). Volkswagen's new touchscreen navigation system is another welcome upgrade.
With this influx of style, though, come a few drawbacks. Most notably, the backseat can only hold two passengers in bucket seats, which are nevertheless extremely comfortable. The reason for the four-person capacity is that sleek, tapered roof line, which chews into rear headroom -- any middle passenger sitting on the bump would've been miserable anyway. As it is, those taller than 6 feet will still need to slouch down a bit in the outboard positions (or lay off the hair gel). The trunk is also shorter and narrower -- golf clubs will need to fit diagonally.
So there are practical drawbacks to the 2009 Volkswagen CC. If a big trunk and five-passenger capacity is important, then a regular Passat or well-equipped versions of top midsize sedans like the Honda Accord, Mazda 6 or Nissan Altima will likely be better choices. However, with its high level of style and premium feel throughout, the CC is a very appealing sedan with the base turbocharged engine, which produces a good mix of fuel economy and power. The luxurious VR6 Sport trim is less impressive, however, given its eye-popping price of $38,000 and the fact that its 280 horsepower provides a negligible acceleration advantage over the turbo-4. For that type of money, you could have an Audi A4, BMW 328i or Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport -- albeit with less equipment.
The VW CC certainly won't appeal to everyone, but it's an attractive alternative for those who don't want a plain old midsize sedan. So while the name doesn't make a whole lot of sense, for a specific type of buyer, the car certainly will.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Volkswagen CC is a four-door sedan available in Sport, Luxury and VR6 Sport trim levels. The S comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, cruise control, auto up/down windows in all doors, a tilt/telescoping steering column, power front seats with lumbar and driver memory functions, heated front seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, split-folding rear seats, automatic climate control, a trip computer and an eight-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack. The Luxury trim adds front and rear park assist, automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a large tilt-only sunroof, automatic wipers, upgraded alloy trim and satellite radio (optional on the S).
The VR6 Sport trim level includes a V6 engine and all the S Luxury Package equipment, plus 18-inch wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, a power rear sunshade, steering wheel paddles and a 10-speaker premium sound system (optional on the VR6 Luxury).
The Technology Package (available on the Luxury and VR6 Sport) adds a hard-drive navigation system, digital music storage capability, iPod integration and a back-up camera.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive VW CC comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 200 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. Volkswagen estimates a 0-60 time of 7.4 seconds with this engine. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined with the automatic.
The CC VR6 Sport is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 280 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is standard. VW's estimated 0-60 time is 6.6 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated to be 18 city/27 highway and 21 combined. All-wheel drive (known as 4Motion) is optional on the CC VR6 Sport and with it, fuel economy drops to 17/25/20.
All Volkswagen CCs come standard with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear-seat side airbags are optional on all trim levels. In government testing, the 2009 Volkswagen CC scored four out of a possible five stars in frontal crash protection. It received five stars for driver-side crash protection and four stars for passenger protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
Even in its most basic form, the 2009 VW CC is well-equipped and beautifully finished. In particular, the standard cross-stitched "V-Tex" leatherette/vinyl upholstery looks and feels better than the genuine cow-sourced stuff in many cars, while other materials throughout the cabin are of a similar outstanding quality. Items like driver memory functions and heated seats are often optional or not available in this class, but they're standard on the CC. It all adds up to a car that warrants its small price premium over other midsize sedans.
Because of the car's tapered roof line, headroom is tight in the back and 6-footers may need to slouch a bit. Legroom is quite spacious all around, though, and the very supportive driver seat provides a wide range of adjustment. The CC comes with only two rear bucket seats; in place of a center position, a covered bin and cupholders reside with a flip-down armrest. At 13 cubic feet, the trunk is on the small side for a midsize sedan.
Despite its slick styling, the 2009 Volkswagen CC is not quite a slick-handling sport sedan. The electromechanical power steering is welcome in parking lots and weights up in a linear fashion as speeds rise, but there's not enough feel and communication sent back to the driver's hands for the CC to be considered on par with true German sport sedans or even the Mazda 6 and Nissan Altima. However, most drivers will find that the CC strikes a nice balance between ride comfort and real-world handling. Although certainly on the firm side, the CC's sport-tuned suspension isolates passengers from harsh impacts and imparts a feeling of solid construction by soaking up bumps with a typical Germanic thump. Along with the car's torque-rich turbocharged four-cylinder engine and posh interior, this ride quality further imparts a premium feeling to the CC that domestic and Japanese sedans can't match. That's the base model, though; the VR6 Sport's lofty price puts it into competition with luxury-branded German sport sedans, which it struggles to keep up with.