Full 2011 Volkswagen CC Review
What's New for 2011
The V6 engine is now available only with the top-level equipment trim, the pricey VR6 4Motion Executive trim (the VR6 Sport model has been eliminated). Other than this, features have simply been shuffled between trim levels.
The 2011 Volkswagen CC attempts to blur the line between coupe and sedan by fitting four doors under the sweeping arc of a coupelike roof line, an attempt to deliver the comfort and convenience of a sedan along with the evocative styling of a sporty coupe. For the most part, the CC (short for Comfort Coupe) succeeds.
Underneath it all, the 2011 Volkswagen CC owes much to the Passat sedan, because it shares a fair number of chassis and drivetrain components. The CC is slightly longer and wider than the Passat, and also sits about an inch lower. Interior styling is by and large the same as the Passat as well, so it's safe to consider the CC a reskinned Passat. (Outside of the U.S., this car is actually called the Passat CC.)
The CC is available with the 3.6-liter V6 and all-wheel drive, however, while the Passat is offered only with front-wheel drive and with the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the base CC. The differences don't all fall in favor of the CC, though, as its coupe styling reduces rear headroom by more than an inch and trunk space by more than a cubic foot. The CC can also only accommodate just four passengers to the Passat's five.
For those who are attracted to the CC's more graceful lines, though, the drawbacks are likely a small price to pay. The CC is a more stylish alternative to regular family sedans like the 2011 Honda Accord and 2011 Nissan Altima, while a loaded-up CC can match entry-level luxury-branded vehicles like the 2011 Acura TL, 2011 Audi A4 and 2011 Buick LaCrosse. Of course, if some of the CC's drawbacks are deal-breakers, you can still take a look at the regular VW Passat.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Volkswagen CC is a four-passenger sedan that is offered in five trim levels. Starting with the base 2.0T Sport, standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, full power accessories, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, air-conditioning, a trip computer, hill-hold assist, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with multifunction controls, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, 12-way adjustable front seats and split-folding rear seats. Also standard are Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with six-CD/MP3 in-dash changer, auxiliary audio jack, iPod connectivity and satellite radio. The optional 2.0T R-Line package adds 18-inch wheels, foglights, shaded taillights and a sportier front spoiler and side skirts.
The 2.0T Lux trim augments the Sport model by adding 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, dual-zone climate control, brushed aluminum interior trim and a navigation system. The 2.0T Lux Plus tacks on a sunroof, a rearview camera, interior ambient lighting, wood interior trim, an upgraded navigation system and a 30GB music server. The Lux Limited trim adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights and a closable cupholder.
The VR6 4Motion Executive trim features a more powerful V6 engine and all-wheel drive, along with polished 18-inch wheels, headlight washers, heated outside mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, a power rear sunshade, parking sensors, driver seat memory, leather sport seats and a premium 10-speaker audio system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Volkswagen CC offers buyers the choice of two powertrains: front-wheel drive with a turbocharged inline-4 and all-wheel drive with a V6. The turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Sport trim models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while a six-speed automated manual transmission (DSG) is available as an option. Other trim levels featuring the 2.0-liter turbo are only offered with the DSG automatic. The 3.6-liter V6 engine is only available on the all-wheel-drive VR6 4Motion Executive. It generates 280 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque and is connected to a traditional six-speed automatic.
For the 2.0T engine, Volkswagen estimates a 0-60 time of 7.4 seconds. The EPA estimates fuel economy for the DSG automatic at 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 25 mpg in combined driving. The manual rings in at 21/31/25 mpg. The V6-powered CC reaches 60 mph in only 6.3 seconds but fuel economy drops to 17/25/20 mpg.
All Volkswagen CCs come standard with antilock disc brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, hill-hold assist, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Last year's optional rear-seat side airbags have been discontinued.
In government testing, the VW CC scored four out of a possible five stars in frontal crash protection. It received five stars for front-passenger side crash protection and four stars for rear-passenger side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the CC its top rating of "Good" for frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
From the base Sport model to the top-of-the-line Executive trim, the 2011 Volkswagen CC comes stocked with plenty of luxury amenities and displays, workmanship we normally associate with premium luxury brands. The vinyl leatherette surfaces are not only convincing but also look and feel better than some of the genuine leather found in other cars. Other interior materials are well textured, with the majority being soft to the touch.
The front seats offer a plethora of adjustments to fit nearly any body type. Rear seat headroom is limited by the sloping roof line, so taller rear passengers will find themselves slouching to fit, but average-sized adults should find these seats supportive and comfortable, with ample legroom. Rather than cram a center seat in the back, the CC's designers used that space to provide the two rear passengers with a covered bin, handy cupholders and a flip-down armrest.
The split-folding rear seats feature a center pass-through to add to the 13 cubic feet of trunk space, which is a bit small for a midsize sedan. As a result, a golf bag will need to lie diagonally within the trunk, limiting the ability to accommodate more cargo.
The 2011 Volkswagen CC neatly splits the difference between sporty handling and luxurious comfort for a ride quality that should be agreeable to a majority of drivers. The sport-tuned suspension is on the firm side, but still ably isolates passengers from all but the harshest of road imperfections. Compared to more traditional sport sedans, the CC exhibits more body roll, but handling is admirable nonetheless. The steering is light at parking lot speeds and weights up nicely as speed increases, but it lacks the desired feedback for sporty driving.
The base 2.0-liter turbo is energetic, and should suffice for most drivers. We're particularly fond of the DSG transmission, as it shifts quickly and smoothly. Those with an appetite for more power will likely be impressed by the 3.6-liter V6, which brings the 2011 CC's acceleration closer to other AWD rivals.