The most frugal version of Volkswagen's Passat CC might just take the title of "the sleek sedan with a coupe-like styling" from the Hyundai Sonata with its innocuous, slab-sided exterior which is undeniably elegant. However apart from a new styling on the grille and additional electronic whizz bangs, the 2013 Volkswagen CC might not be largely different from its predecessors. The car still holds its economical position with even lower pricing for American models without compromising on comfort, reliability and the desire for adventure that arises in enthusiastic drivers sometimes.
No longer referred to as the "Passat," the Volkswagen Group decided to drop the name and go with "CC" alone. This is not a wonder if you are living in the Eurozone where everything is being cut off to deal with the economic crisis, but a name drop wouldn't offer much reprieve - maybe they would have replaced the leather with the remains of the California wildfire that managed to take up much of Fisker Karma's interior. However if you have much "real baggage" fear not, for the car's boot size is large enough as well as the interior which is elucidated below.
If you have been inside a Volkswagen Group vehicle before, then you understand the instant inviting attitude of the dashboard even before you start the car - the VW Passat CC is no different. The leather seats are comfortable and seemingly luxurious, with handsome appointments here and there for a more "touchy" feel in its competition against the highly priced Mercedes CLS. The plastics are soft to the touch, the typefaces admirably concise and the entire cabin simple but distinctly attractive to the simple but attractive man. Head-room might not rival that of the Mercedes CLS but there is enough leg-room for a dwarf's party. The driver's legs are offset towards the centre and the power seats configure in 12 different dimensions, but the party doesn't end there. There are drinks for those going for the intermediate trims and desserts for those getting the upscale trims. If you feel lost, this is what I'm talking about:
Five different trims are available for the VW Passat CC: Sport, Sport plus, Lux, V6 Lux and VR6 Executive. The car's 12-way power seats and climatic control begin with "Sport" while "Sport plus" adds DSG transmission and a satellite-navigation system. "Lux" boasts of an aluminium trim, ambient lighting and a sunroof, "V6 Lux" bakes a back-up camera, bigger screen and memory seats all into one package while the show-stopping "VR6 Executive" combines a rear sunshade, parking sensors, all-wheel-drive and front seats that heat, cool and massage.
I have always been on the front seats for VW Passat's support but when it comes to entertainment I can only hung my head. Bad resolution on the 5-inch touch-screen (400 by 200 pixels), no voice command anywhere in this car, no USB plug for non Apple devices and the audio player is the very basic CD player with AM/FM Sirius radio only spiced up with iDevice integration. The only commendable component is Bluetooth audio streaming and the 600-watt 10-speaker Dynaudio system in the VR6. The navigation system is low end with minute improvement on screen size in the Lux and V6 trims from 5.0 to 6.5-inches and a colour LCD in the VR6.
The Volkswagen Passat CC's 2.0L TDI engine with 139 horsepower and a combined economy of 60 mpg will leave you almost fully satisfied if you are not going for a road race. The good mileage is as a result of VW's BlueMotion fuel saving technology using an intelligent alternator that makes Prius' ETCS-i yesterday's news. The gearbox is a 6-speed manual that transmits with nicely spaced ratios for driving efficiency but again, not for road racing! The steering wheel though is well weighted and the ride is very quiet but higher-powered versions of 158 bhp and 207 bhp are a bit noisier. The ride height is a bit lower than in the standard Passat but most parts can be interchanged. The Sport trim however lacks DSG transmission that begins with the Sport plus trim and is more ideal in traffic but a bit high on the fuel bills. Driver engagement is not offered as the ride remains housed in traditional austerity and it will take a lot of hard work to achieve a chassis balance as accorded by BMW. Jagged surfaces are a bit responsive making it non ideal for off-road and this is worsened by the 18-inch wheels which "The Telegraph" describes as "deleterious." The car's lane departure system also does not always pick up on road markings and the boot switch activated by feet movement beneath the bumper is highly inefficient. It is yet to be understood what VW was thinking to suggest opening the boot by flipping your feet under the rear bumper, what is known as "air kicking" but if this is the direction innovations are taking us I bet we are yet to see more.
- Price: £24200 - £30100
- Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
- Power: 138 horsepower @4200 rpm / 236lb-ft @ 1750 rpm
- Drivetrain: 6-speed manual, FWD
- Top speed: 133 mph
- Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 9.8 seconds
- Fuel economy: 60 mpg