► We revisit the Volkswagen CC
► A swoopy Merc CLS on the cheap?
► Full CAR road test of 2.0 TDI
Coupe Cabriolet? Cubic capacity? Cricket-loving 1970s chart-toppers? It’s almost a disappointment to learn that Volkswagen CC actually stands for Comfort Coupe. An inane name but, to the car’s credit, an accurate one.
It used to be called the Passat CC of course, before the nameplate went solo when this current-generation model was facelifted in 2012. For a Passat is exactly what it is under that swooping four-door coupaloon bodywork. The old Passat, to be precise; VW is readying a fresh CC based on the all-new (and very good) 2015 Passat for next year, but in the meanwhile the old(ish) stager must hang on a little longer.
Does the current VW CC feel dated now, then?
A little, yes, but not as much as you might expect. It’s still a relatively handsome machine, the elongated bodywork managing to turn the humdrum Passat into something almost glamorous. Brushed aluminium, great-looking grooved leather seats and faultless fit and finish do the same for the interior, even if they can’t disguise its generation-behind architecture and infotainment.
Here we’re testing the most powerful diesel version, the 2.0-litre 175bhp TDI, with the optional six-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox.
What’s it like to drive?
Just as it should be, relaxing and laid back. Apart from surprisingly lovely steering, direct and full of feel, this otherwise isn’t a particularly involving car to drive – and arguably nor should it be.
Our test car was fitted with VW’s ACC (Adaptive Chassis Control) switchable damper settings, with a choice of Normal, Comfort (slightly too wallowy) and Sport (slightly too firm). Seemingly more a gimmick than a useful tool, we’d wager most owners will use it once out of curiosity and then park it in Normal mode, where the car seems happiest.
The DSG auto ’box suits the CC’s cruisy character more than a manual, although it did transmit the occasional unexpected jolt through the car when setting off. It partially disengages drive when coasting off-throttle to save fuel, but is clever enough to avoid doing so when going downhill to maintain engine braking. Neat.
There’s a healthy 280lb ft of torque on offer from the top diesel powerplant, but with 1.5 tonnes of car to move about it never quite feels fast. Nor does it feel slow, its performance in keeping with the CC’s fuss-free manner of making progress.
Is the VW CC still a practical car, with that swoopy roof and all?
It’s a bit tricky to duck under the low roof as you climb into the back, but otherwise this remains a very usable car. There’s a huge amount of space inside – it’s a very long car, after all – and the boot stretches back a long way. It's not that high, though; the tapered tail means this is a car good at carrying long boxes but not tall ones.
You can fit three people in the back but it’s a squeeze as the rear seats’ stylised bolstered edges push passengers’ bodies closer to the centre of the car. There is plenty of space for two passengers though, and enormous legroom.
The CC is a big car (to the point that the 18-inch wheels on our test car actually looked a bit lost) and longer than some parking spaces. The one we drove had the optional Park Assist self-parking system, which to its credit actually swivelled the CC’s bulk into tight spaces spookily well.
It’s very much a niche product of course, but the particular niche the VW CC occupies is a more valid one than first appearances might suggest. It’s more desirable than a Passat, still relatively practical and offers a more affordable alternative to the likes of the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4-series Gran Coupe. Even as this generation approaches the end of its innings, it’s not without appeal - although prospective punters would probably be well advised to hang on a few months for the new one.