2010 Volkswagen Passat CC 2.0

What do you think the letters “CC” represent in the Volkswagen CC? Cunning Coupe? Classy Car? A Volkswagen representative assures me that the correct answer is: Comfort Coupe. Whatever the letters stand for, the CC represents an elegant offshoot of the Passat, another solid offering from VW.

The handsome outline of the CC calls to mind the Mercedes-Benz CLS, with its sloping roof and coupe-like profile. No matter the source of inspiration, Volkswagen has turned out a slinky-looking product that’s priced far lower than the CLS, which will nick your wallet for a lofty $88,500. Volkswagen is pricing the CC at a very reasonable $33,075 for the base model, but you can spend more than $45,000 for the 3.6-litre V6 version equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Be advised, though, that you are not getting a “stripper” should you choose the Sport or Luxury trim levels.

With the CC Sportline (my test vehicle), you get the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission and sports suspension. My test car had the optional six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox automatic, which added $1,400 to the total. The standard equipment list is lengthy: 17” alloy wheels, automatic climate control, leather-covered multi-function steering wheel and shifter, driver and passenger power comfort seats with leatherette seating surfaces, ABS, anti-slip regulation and yaw control, brake assist, electronic differential locking, six airbags and split folding rear seats. There’s an AM/FM stereo with eight speakers and a six-disc in-dash CD changer plus Bluetooth connectivity, as well as an electric parking brake, power exterior mirrors and cruise control.

The exterior design features a lowered roofline, a clean-looking chrome grille up front with a prominent VW logo. Its four doors are frameless. Viewed from a distance, the car appears to be crouching, ready to leap like a big cat.

Volkswagen is considered among the best when it comes to executing vehicle interiors, and the CC does not disappoint. The placement of gauges, displays and operating controls contribute to an ergonomically pleasing and functional cabin. The materials used and the manner in which they fit together is up to standard. The seats of the test vehicle were supportive and comfortable.

Outward visibility is somewhat compromised by the low roof and sharply slanting rear window. That low roof does not appreciably cut down rear seat headroom, by the way. And speaking of the rear seats, there are two of them, not three. This is a four-passenger car with the rear seats formed to the backsides of a pair of adults. There is a solid console between the seats to further discourage a third person from climbing aboard. All in all, the CC interior is thoughtfully designed and nicely executed.

As to performance, think of the CC – at least the 2.0-litre version – as a Grand Tourer. Two hundred horsepower doesn’t propel the car on quite the same trajectory as the heartier 3.6-litre V6 (280 hp). According to VW figures, zero to 100 km/h times are 7.8 seconds for the automatic and 7.3 for the four-cylinder with the manual gearbox, while the V6 model gets to 100 km/h in a brisk 6.8 seconds. Fuel efficiency for the four-cylinder version is estimated at the EPA equivalent of 11.2-city and 7.6-highway. Expect a bit of a jump at the pump for the V6.

I’ll describe acceleration on the tested Sportline model as “respectable,” quick enough to merge onto a freeway without endangering yourself or others. The CC is a nimble handler, sticking nicely in turns. The ride is firm, but not jarring. The cabin is fairly quiet, with the four-cylinder engine becoming audible, but not obtrusive under hard throttle. It’s the sort of environment that allows you to cover a lot of miles in a day and do so in comfort. The six-speed automatic provides quick, smooth gear changes. The brakes are easily modulated and very good.

The CC includes 24-hour Roadside Assistance for four years or 80,000 km (whichever comes first), a five-year/100,000-km powertrain limited warranty, a four-year/80,000-km new vehicle limited warranty and a 12-year unlimited distance limited warranty against corrosion perforation.

The Volkswagen CC’s snazzy looks combined with its attractive interior, good gas mileage and reasonable price should make it a hot seller. But in these economically distressed days, it may be that a worthy product goes begging. That would be a shame, because it’s the nicest sedan package I’ve run across this year.

Photograph by:Staff, Canadian Auto Press