Used 2016 Volkswagen CC Sedan Review
Attractive and well equipped, the 2016 Volkswagen CC presents an appealing middle ground between workaday family sedans and entry-level luxury sedans.
It's easy to see the appeal of the 2016 Volkswagen CC: Just look at it. The compelling center of a Venn diagram between sport coupe and a four-door sedan in terms of design, the CCs exterior is one of the best executed for the money. And since going on sale in 2009, this stylish sedan has also continued to impress with its near-luxury offerings.
The Volkswagen CC gives the air of a luxury car without the baggage that can come with a luxury car badge.
The CC's interior offers pleasing upholstery and excellent build quality. The new-for-2016 infotainment system, which promises to be larger and faster, helps add a modern touch. Likewise, its standard 200-horsepower turbocharged inline-4 and automated manual transmission feel refined, though making a case for the optional 280-hp V6 is more difficult than it used to be, as the engine is beginning to feel its age.
Like the V6, the CC is getting on in years, and other automakers have introduced luxury elements into vehicles at lower prices. The closest is the similarly priced 2016 Nissan Maxima, boasting dynamic styling of its own and a focus on fun from behind the wheel. Basic family sedans like the 2016 Ford Fusion and 2016 Honda Accord come very well-equipped at the CC's base price and offer broader option choices and safety features. On the other end are luxury cars like the 2016 Acura TLX and 2016 BMW 320i with option packages that do the same. While there might be a few better choices depending on how you feel, the Edmunds.com "B"-rated CC offers an inarguable package of style for those who don't want the luxury car badge.
Much of the Volkswagen CC's visual elegance comes from the raked rear window. Alas, this hurts rear headroom and cargo storage.
trim levels & features
The 2016 Volkswagen CC is a midsize sedan that seats five people. There are six trim levels: Trend, Sport, R-Line, R-Line Executive, R-Line Executive with Carbon, and V6 4Motion Executive.
The base Trend comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, manual transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights with separate daytime running lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 12-way power adjustable front seats with lumbar support, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, heated front seats, vinyl (leatherette) seating, rear mounted second-row air vents, carpeted floor mats, a rearview camera, VW Car-Net smartphone integration, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a Composition Media 6.3-inch touchscreen, an eight-speaker surround system, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable and heated sideview mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and automatic variable windshield wipers with rain sensor.
Every Volkswagen CC has a welcoming and smartly styled interior regardless of trim.
Sport trim adds an automatic transmission (Volkswagen calls it "DSG"), different 17-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting, LED daytime running lights, foglights, more VW Car-Net features, navigation, a Discover Media 6.3-inch touchscreen and keyless access.
The R-Line trim adds 18-inch wheels, special exterior styling and unique door-sill plates, along with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters when the automatic transmission is specified.
R-Line Executive adds different 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof and leather seating. Opting for R-Line with Carbon adds new interior material to the dash, doors and seat inserts. It also adds a black headliner.
The 4Motion Executive adds the V6 engine, all-wheel drive, yet another 18-inch wheel design, front and rear park distance control, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, lane-keep assist, heated front washer nozzles, an upgraded trip computer screen, ventilated front seats with driver massage and a 10-speaker Dynaudio sound system.
performance & mpg
All 2016 Volkswagen CC trims except the 4Motion Executive come with front-wheel drive and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 200 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard for the Trend. Optional on all other trims is a six-speed automated manual transmission (DSG).
The 4Motion Executive steps up to all-wheel drive and a 3.6-liter V6 good for 280 hp and 265 lb-ft. A conventional six-speed automatic transmission (not the DSG) is the only transmission offered.
In Edmunds testing, a CC with the four-cylinder engine and DSG accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds. This is merely adequate for an entry-level luxury sedan, and just slightly quicker than similarly priced midsize family sedans. The heavier 4Motion Executive was barely better at 6.8 seconds, a disappointing performance given its elevated price point.
EPA estimated fuel economy with the DSG is 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway); the manual is also rated at 25 mpg combined (21 city/32 highway). The 4Motion Executive brings up the rear at a mediocre 20 mpg combined (17 city/25 highway).
Every 2016 Volkswagen CC comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. The top 4Motion Executive is the only model to offer collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. This is disappointing considering these features are available on less expensive compact cars. This is also the only trim with front and rear parking sensors, though a rearview camera comes standard on all trims.
Also standard is VW's 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 electronic 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 compared to similar sedans with all-season tires. The 4Motion Executive required an unimpressive 127 feet.
In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the CC earned the highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. In the small-overlap frontal-offset test, the CC was rated "Marginal" (second-lowest). The CC's seat and head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
The 2016 Volkswagen CC's four-cylinder engine provides respectable acceleration and fuel economy. The V6 is stronger, but the step up in cost doesn't seem worth it to us given the minimal improvement in acceleration. Unfortunately, if you want all-wheel drive, springing for the V6 is the only way to get it.
Most drivers will find that the CC strikes an agreeable balance between engaging handling and a comfortable ride. In typical Germanic fashion, the ride is on the firm side, but the suspension still takes the edge off of most road imperfections. When cornering at reasonable speeds, the Volkswagen CC doesn't feel as sharp and controlled as a pure-bred sport sedan, but it's more than respectable as family sedans go. If you prefer additional athleticism in spirited driving, something like the aforementioned 320i should hit the spot.
The 2016 Volkswagen CC comes in a few different trim levels, but even the base Trend model treats you to the same interior materials and build quality as most other trims — not to mention some other luxury cars. The trade-off for the lower entry price means Trend doesn't have items like keyless access, navigation or adaptive front lighting.
As with many European models, there's no shame in the CC's standard leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery. It exceeds some genuine leathers in both texture and appearance. The firm and supportive standard front seats provide the same power adjustments on both sides, a refreshing departure from the common practice of giving the passenger fewer toys. In the back, headroom is limited due to the CC's sleek roof line, but legroom is surprisingly ample.
The Volkswagen CC uses a new, larger infotainment system that supports both Apple CarPlay (pictured) and Android Auto.
A new infotainment system called MIB II boasts faster operation, a larger screen and better integration with smartphones through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But while the primary controls and gauges are perfectly functional on their own merits, they might seem a little too minimalist if you compare the CC to newer models fitted with the latest hardware.
The CC's trunk measures a rather modest 13.2 cubic feet, and its pinched shape may complicate the loading of larger items. On the bright side, the rear seatbacks fold flat to increase cargo capacity, and there's also a pass-through for skis and such behind the rear center armrest.
The downside to that sharp exterior styling is tighter trunk space than you might expect from a midsize sedan.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.