Full 2014 Volkswagen CC Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Volkswagen CC debuts a new midlevel trim, the Executive. New standard features have been added across all trims and VW's new Car-Net telematics service has been introduced.
Luxury cars have the ability to make a powerful statement about your place in the world. For some buyers, this is important, but there are other shoppers who are mainly interested in premium cars for their refinement and feature content. These buyers could easily do without the attention-grabbing cachet and steep price tags associated with certain elite brands. If this stealthier, more sensible approach to luxury resonates with you, the 2014 Volkswagen CC could be an ideal choice for a midsize four-door.
The CC's discreet charms begin with its sheet metal. The Volkswagen brand may lack the snob appeal of luxury marques, but the CC proves that this shouldn't be taken to reflect a lack of style and quality. Its sleek silhouette pleases the eye; this sedan is sporty-looking and low-slung, with a handsome coupelike roof. There is a trade-off for that style: Rear seat headroom is tight and trunk space is lacking, but the CC counters with a classic design and superior materials quality. There's also a generous array of standard features to enjoy along with a choice of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a V6 with available all-wheel drive.
With characteristics from a variety of categories and segments, the 2014 Volkswagen CC is something of an automotive melting pot. The 2014 Nissan Maxima is similar in that way, though it trades some style for a sportier driving experience. In both cases, loaded-up versions can end up being priced close to those more prestigious entry-level luxury sedans like the Acura TL or Audi A4. But if you simply desire more style and features than the typical family sedan and don't want to pay all-out luxury prices, the VW CC should be quite compelling.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Volkswagen CC is a midsize sedan that seats five people. There are four trim levels: Sport, R-Line, Executive and VR6 4Motion Executive.
The base Sport comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic wipers, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights, LED daytime running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, cruise control, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar), leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Volkswagen's Car-Net telematics, a navigation system and an eight-speaker sound system with a touchscreen interface, a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod interface. The R-Line adds 18-inch wheels and special exterior styling.
The Executive has the above equipment plus a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, a hands-free easy-open trunk, leather upholstery, a rearview camera and an upgraded navigation system with a slightly larger screen. Finally, the VR6 4Motion Executive adds standard all-wheel drive, a V6 engine, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding exterior mirrors, heated windshield washer nozzles, an upgraded trip computer screen, ventilated front seats, a massaging function and memory settings for the driver seat, a power rear sunshade and a premium sound system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Volkswagen CC Sport, R-Line and Executive trims come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the base Sport and R-Line trims. A six-speed automated manual transmission known as DSG takes the place of a conventional automatic transmission, and is optional on those trims and standard on the Executive trim. Front-wheel drive is standard on all four-cylinder models.
In Edmunds testing, a CC with this engine and the DSG went from zero to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds. This is better than average among entry-level luxury sedans, and more than a second quicker than most other four-cylinder-powered midsize family sedans. Fuel economy with the DSG is 25 mpg combined (22 mpg city/31 mpg highway); the manual is also rated at 25 mpg combined (21 city/32 highway).
A 3.6-liter V6 engine good for 280 hp and 265 lb-ft is standard on the VR6 4Motion Executive. A conventional six-speed automatic transmission is also standard, and it drives all four wheels through an all-wheel-drive system. In Edmunds testing, a V6 4Motion CC went from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. This is slow for an entry-level luxury sedan with an upgraded engine, though all-wheel-drive, V6-powered family sedans perform similarly. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg combined (17/25).
Every 2014 Volkswagen CC comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera comes on the Executive and VR6 4Motion Executive. The Executive also has front and rear parking sensors, though some newer safety features, such as blind-spot monitoring, aren't available on the CC.
This year's CC does come with VW's new Car-Net telematics system. It includes automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers). A Car-Net smartphone app lets owners control many of these functions on the go.
In Edmunds brake testing, a CC R-Line came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, which is a good performance for its class. The heavier VR6 required 127 feet to come to a complete stop.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the CC its highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. In the small-overlap frontal-offset test, however, the CC earned a "Marginal" score, which is the second-to-lowest rating. The CC's seats and head restraints earned a "Good" rating for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
From the base Sport model to the top-of-the-line VR6 4Motion Executive trim, the 2014 Volkswagen CC shows off the luxury amenities and workmanship normally associated with luxury brands. The standard vinyl-leatherette upholstery is not only convincing but also looks and feels better than some of the genuine leather found in other cars. Other interior materials are well-textured, and the majority are soft to the touch. The CC is also a notable step up from the Passat.
We're less fond of the CC's touchscreen displays. The Sport and R-Line models have a lower-cost navigation unit with a small touchscreen display. You get a usefully larger screen in the Executive, but we've found this higher-end interface slower to process commands whether you're searching for songs on your smartphone or entering a destination.
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. The rear middle seat that was added last year (increasing the CC's seating capacity from four to five) is certainly welcome, as it allows you to make that desirable spot a semi-permanent location for a child's car seat or squeeze in an extra person on occasion.
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 additional luggage.
The 2014 Volkswagen CC's turbocharged four-cylinder engine offers reasonably quick acceleration, and we suspect it will be the engine of choice for most buyers, given its superior fuel economy. While the V6 model's acceleration times trail those of many entry-level luxury sedans, it feels acceptably peppy around town and on the highway.
Most drivers will find that the CC neatly splits the difference between sporty handling and a comfortable ride quality. The ride is on the firm side for a midsize family sedan, but it should be OK for those used to German cars, as the suspension still isolates passengers from most road imperfections. Driven around turns, the Volkswagen CC doesn't feel as sharp and controlled as more traditional sport sedans, but as family sedans go, its handling is certainly respectable. The steering is light in effort at parking lot speeds and weights up nicely as speed increases, but it lacks the desired feedback for sporty driving.