The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2014 Volkswagen CC Executive Review By Steve Purdy +VIDEO


By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

Some of us have criticized the VW Passat as a bit too conservative in exterior styling, content and overall image. This week’s test car – the VW CC Executive – is not. It is essentially a mid-size Passat under the skin but it is a visual treat outside and an elegant environment within.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Modestly updated for 2013 the front-wheel drive, 5-passenger CC boasts a lower, wider, longer look than its Passat sibling. The low, sleek, coupe-style roofline flows from a steeply raked windscreen to similarly raked rear window. Frameless side windows contribute to the coupe look in spite of the four doors. Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights offer just enough panache to combine with strong character lines and sexy five-double-spoke wheels to make a visual statement that says this car is something special. This sleek style measures an excellent 0.30 coefficient of drag.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Inside we find an elegant but simple design with predominantly horizontal lines. The faux wood and metal parts along with plastics of excellent quality come together with excellent fit and a style that is not overdone. An analog clock fits nicely into the center of the dash and the dash itself looks like it floats closely over the instrument panel and center stack. Redundant HVAC controls reside both within the navigation screen and in the form of traditional knobs low on the center stack. Two-tone leather seats and door panels add another level of interest to the interior design without overdoing it.

Navigation is standard in all the CC trims. We found the system fairly easy to use but it’s not the most intuitive. I figured it out, and certainly someone who buys the car will learn these systems without too much consternation, but a learning curve will confront you. We found no USB port but an auxiliary input is hidden in the console. We found the audio controls more complex than necessary and the tuner was painfully slow to respond. The car’s information screens, accessed by buttons on the steering wheel and displayed between the analog speedo and tach, were difficult to understand and use. We never did find an mpg readout.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Under the hood is VW’s trusty 2.0-liter turbo engine making 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. We have the six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission in our test car but a six-speed manual comes standard. (The 280 horsepower, 3.6-liter engine comes in the top-of-the-line VR6 version of this car.) Independent testing indicates a 7-second 0-to-60 mph time for this 3,350-pound car.

The EPA rates our four-cylinder turbo CC at 22 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway and 25 mpg combined using premium (93 octane) fuel. We managed close to that, I contend, even though we could not find the mpg readout anywhere in the cars data banks. With an 18.5-gallon fuel tank the cruising range is impressive.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Part of the downside of this car’s design is the difficulty of ingress and egress for those of us who are bit broad or tall. The low roofline requires an awkward twist and duck for me, both getting in and out. That’s the same for the rear seat. Once in, front or rear, the car feels roomy and comfortable. No grab bars are provided at any of the door positions, which will be a deal breaker for many oldsters. The rear seatbacks fold easily with a one-hand release adding a bit more cargo flexibility. The deep but narrow trunk holds a decent 13.2 cubic feet of our stuff.

Driving dynamics are good, but less than excellent. The 2.0-liter turbo has plenty of power but the torque band feels a bit irregular. This is one of those cars you’ll want to keep the rpms up if you’re in a spirited driving mood. The DSG transmission is capable of lightning-fast and butter-smooth shifts but does not do that all the time. On gentle, stop-and-go driving the shifts tend to be a bit less smooth up or down. We did not push it particularly hard this week so did not engage the high-tech chassis dynamics – stability control, ABS, traction control, brake assist, differential lock – but rest assured in the right circumstances these systems will keep you out of trouble if you’re experiencing bad road conditions, pursuit by terrorists or whatever the crisis.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Normal driving in the CC is reasonably entertaining. Steering is quick enough, suspension is firm enough and feedback from the road is clear enough to satisfy the driving enthusiast without being too intense for the rest of the motoring public. VW struck a nice balance with this car. It is also one of those cars you’ll continue to admire aesthetically when you return to it in the parking lot.

Our test car is the third of four trim levels and shows a starting price of $37, 395. That price includes: the powertrain described above, leather seating and trim, panoramic sunroof, automatic Bi-xenon headlights, 18-inch wheels, rear seat armrest, keyless entry with push-button start, rear view camera, lots of airbags and other safety equipment, plus two years of free maintenance. We have no options on this car but I noticed nothing it was lacking. The bottom line on the sticker, with the $865 destination charge, is just over 38 grand.

VW’s new car warranty covers the whole car for 3 years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years or 60,000 miles.

I would have enjoyed the CC much more if I were an average sized guy. Squeezing in and out was a struggle. Those of you not so unconscionably broad in the beam should take a look at this one if you’re in the market for a good-looking, efficient, entertaining sport sedan.

Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved