Sometimes when we gaze at the graceful 2014 Volkswagen CC (which stands for Comfort Coupe) we think this is the way all Passats should look. But while the CC tempts with shapely lines and a smooth turbo 4-cylinder, the minimized interior room, awkward sight lines and higher-than-average price have us eying mundanely-styled alternatives.
PerformanceThe CC 2.0 TFSI's performance is perfectly acceptable. The problem is that cheaper, more pedestrian midsize cars like the Honda Accord V6 and Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T are quicker and put up similar handling numbers.
Hesitant leaving stoplights thanks to the 6-speed DSG transmission, but the 2.0-liter turbo-four is a smooth and eager revver. 200 hp gets it to 60 mph in 7.0 sec., but some rival turbo-4s and V6s are quicker.
Panic braking distances were about average at 120 feet from 60 mph. But the brakes never feel all that powerful, especially when you're trying to haul it down from highway speeds.
The electric-assist steering is precise enough and turns in nicely. But it lacks the kind of feel to the front tires that enthusiasts desire.
The CC R-Line was sloppy, both at our test track and out on the road. The suspension feels under-damped and there's too much body roll. It doesn't handle near as sporty as it looks.
The transmission's low-speed clunkiness is annoying, but once you're above parking lot speeds it shifts smoothly and quickly. We like that the instrument panel always shows what gear you're in.
ComfortThe ribbed covering on the CC's seats doesn't look inviting, but the buckets are actually quite comfortable. This is a generally quiet cruiser, but there was more tire and suspension noise during urban driving than we were expecting.
Front seats are well-padded with good bolstering. Low-positioned rear seats cause an uncomfortable, unsupported knee bend. Middle seat is hard and nearly unusable. Nice padding on armrests.
We were surprised by the vibrations that crept into the cabin over the pothole section of our drive loop. The suspension absorbs most abnormalities well, but big bumps can be harsh and loud.
A mixed bag. During highway cruising, wind and engine noise are nearly nil. But around town there's a noticeable amount of tire and suspension noise as the CC crashes over road imperfections.
InteriorYou'd think the CC's low-slung roofline would mean a neck-wrenching lack of headroom, but low-placed seats help here. The interior is well put together and looks nice, though cubby space could be better.
VW's small nav/infotainment screen isn't the most intuitive, looks dated. Longer-than-usual phone pairing. Cruise control stalk hidden by steering wheel, but climate controls are nice and simple.
Front doors open wide, only have to duck slightly to enter. Generous rear doors, but seriously sloping roof makes entry space so small that you actually have to turn your body to slide in.
Front headroom is reasonable, decent door-side elbow room, narrow center armrest. Rear headroom limited, but not as much as the car's shape suggests. Chopped side windows lend to claustrophobia.
Thick windshield posts hinder ability to look through turns. Rear three-quarter view marred by sloping rear side windows. Rear window is slit-like, backup camera doesn't come standard.
Front door pockets are small but grippy. No front bin but easy-access center armrest bin. Cupholders have anti-tip. Basically zero rear-seat storage. Trunk has large opening but at 13.2 cu-ft is small for midsize class.
ValueThe CC gets high marks for its finely-crafted interior, good fuel economy from the turbo-four and two years of free scheduled maintenance. At this price it should come standard with a USB port and backup camera.
Build Quality (vs. $)
This is a well-done, quality interior with plenty of soft-touch items. We did notice a creak from within the cabin that we never pinned down.
While the CC R-Line, which is mostly a body kit, comes with navigation, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control and heated front seats for $34,990, it's missing items like a backup camera and a USB port.
The CC R-Line is several thousand dollars more than the Honda Accord V6, many thousands more than the Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T. Audi's slinky A7 performs much better, costs much more.
The EPA rates the CC 2.0T at 25 mpg Combined (22 City/31 Highway). We averaged 25.1 mpg overall, and 26.2 mpg on the Edmunds test loop. So even with its turbo, the mileage ratings are achievable.
The CC comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5 years/60,000 miles for the drivetrain, identical to the Accord. Both cars pale compared to Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile drivetrain coverage.
Owners will appreciate the 3-year/36,000-mile roadside assistance and, probably more important, free scheduled maintenance for 2 years/24,000 miles.
Fun To DriveWe wish the CC R-Line handled better. Its suspension tuning doesn't quite match the car's sporty styling. But the 2.0-liter turbo is one of the slickest-performing engines in the world. It's smooth and sounds terrific.
Aside from the DSG transmission's low-speed jerkiness and the less-than-stellar outward views, the CC offers a decent and markedly upscale driving experience.
With its fun turbo power, paddle shifters with throttle blipping and, of course, the sleek shape, the CC R-Line has considerably more personality than its competitors.