Review: 2017 Volkswagen CC

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Engine
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$0
City MPG
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OVERALL RATING 4.3 of 5.0
  • Performance
    4.7 of 5.0
  • Comfort
    4 of 5.0
  • Interior
    4.1 of 5.0
  • Exterior
    4.4 of 5.0
Iraj Khan
0

Volkswagen's CC might be getting old, but it's surprisingly quick and it's rather attractive

It’s now bowing out for 2017 with a final model, and although it looks like there may be a replacement model in the pipeline, it’s now-or-never if you want the current-gen CC.

Never a huge seller, the CC is now restricted to a single upper-level trim line, dubbed the Wolfsburg Edition, at $41,990. The sole available option, not included on my tester, is an R-Line Package that adds a panoramic sunroof, sports steering wheel, unique bumpers, and side skirts, and gloss black or aluminum trim items for an additional $3,690.

The CC is based on the Passat and looks similar to it from the front, but at the rear, its roofline and pillars swoop down elegantly to the trunk lid. It’s a gorgeous profile, but it does make it trickier for tall passengers to get into the rear without bonking heads on the doorframe.

The exterior styling is the main draw. Inside, the cabin’s simple design and ample use of hard-touch surfaces mean it’s a little underwhelming for a car that sits north of $40,000. The brushed-aluminum accents look good on their own, but they need more than the wide expanse of plain plastic around them to set them off. A strip of plastic panels highlighted with chrome bars to the right of the gearshift lever is supposed to give the console some flair but instead looks too much like a row of blank buttons for various options that weren’t ordered.

2017 Volkswagen CC

That said, I like that the controls for the climate and infotainment are also very simple, with big buttons and dials to handle most of the functions. The center touchscreen has a proximity sensor, and functions appear as if by magic when your hand comes close. One jarring note is the cruise control, operated by a short stalk that’s hidden behind the steering wheel. You have to memorize which way to push or pull it to activate the functions because it’s virtually impossible to see from the driver’s seat. The brake and throttle are also set close together, and those with wide feet may end up catching a foot on the corner of one when moving to the other.

Those accustomed to cushy seats may initially be disappointed with the CC’s firm ones, but don’t write them off just yet. They’re supportive rather than soft, and I find seats like this reduce the back strain that I often get after an hour or so in a less-supportive chair. The rear seats are equally comfortable and legroom is good in both the front and back seats, although the sloping roofline reduces rear headroom.

The CC’s list of features includes a sport-tuned suspension, but don’t expect a visceral canyon-carver. Instead, it’s a near-perfect balance of tight handling with a ride that’s smooth and pliable, but never too-soft or wobbly. Road noise and bumps are soaked up long before they make their way into the quiet cabin. It’s mid-level luxury done right, including the communicative steering feedback, linear acceleration, and barely noticeable transmission shifts. Should you want a bit more engagement, there are paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

2017 Volkswagen CC

The single trim line includes such items as adaptive bi-xenon headlamps that turn with the wheels to better illuminate around corners, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a 10-speaker sound system, a rearview camera (with a pop-up rear lens that stays clean in bad weather), a blind spot monitor, auto-dimming mirror, a trunk that opens when you kick your foot under it and rain-sensing wipers. Still, the top-of-the-line V6-powered Passat also has automatic wipers, an auto-dim mirror, and the hands-free trunk, and while it had lesser headlights, front-wheel drive and only eight-way seats, it had heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control and a self-parking feature missing on my CC – and for $4,245 less.

However, if it’s the styling that primarily moves you, the similarly swoopy Audi A7starts at $75,950 while getting into the Mercedes CLS 550 begins at $93,500. No reason why you can’t look good on a bit of a budget, at least in comparison.

The CC costs more than a Passat and isn’t quite as practical, at least if you’re going to be stuffing tall people into the rear seats. But it looks fantastic, it’s a decent performer and its low volumes give you that little whiff of exclusivity. Hey, if you’ve got it, might as well flaunt it.

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Iraj Khan

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