The 158bhp 1.8 TSI pleases with its crisp, eager delivery and decent mid-range pull, while the 207bhp 2.0 turns the Volkswagen CC’s performance distinctly sporting. The best-selling 138bhp TDI diesel is notable for the breadth of its power delivery, a quality shared with the more potent 168bhp TDI.
Being sleeker than the more upright Passat, you’d expect the CC to be quite sporty. However, while the handling is safe and secure, the car feels a little reluctant to turn into bends and the steering has a slightly artificial feel. The ride can also be unsettled on patched urban roads, but the CC is a comfortable motorway cruiser.
Both the petrol and the diesel engines are generally smooth and quiet. Unfortunately, the suspension tends to clonk over bumps and some wind noise builds up around the sides of the CC at motorway speeds.
You pay a premium for style – with some of its more powerful engines, the Volkswagen CC is in Audi territory – so the CC looks pricey compared with the Passat and Ford Mondeo. However, the CC is expected to hold its value better than both. The 140 TDI’s low emissions and fuel consumption make it the best choice for company car drivers, although it still attracts a higher tax rating than the Passat with the same engine.
In terms of fit, finish and aura of quality, the CC looks and feels excellent. The cabin feels special enough to justify the car’s price premium over the Passat on which it’s based, although it's less impressive against the Audis that cost much the same as dearer CCs. Also, VW’s reliability record is shinier by reputation than in the real world, but unforeseen problems should be few and far between.
The CC is offered with blind spot monitors, lane assistance, a drowsiness monitor, traffic sign detection, high beam assist and emergency city braking as options. Standard kit includes six airbags, stability control and brake assist. The CC does not have an NCAP rating, but the Passat upon which it’s based scored five stars for occupant protection.
The Volkswagen CC has the same dashboard layout as the Passat, meaning the controls are simple to use. The driving position is good, but some may find the front seats a little small, and visibility could be better front and rear. Ultimately, though, this is an efficient working environment for the driver.
It might be slightly coupe-like, but the CC loses little to the taller Passat by way of space. Sure, taller passengers may find their heads grazing ceiling in the back, but leg- and elbow room are good. The boot is lengthy, there’s a split folding rear backrest and in-cabin oddments storage space is good.
The CC is available with standard and GT trims, but comes adequately equipped in basic form with touch-screen navigation, a DAB radio, sports suspension and dual-zone climate control. The GT pack – unavailable with the 1.8 engine - provides electronically adjustable suspension, bigger alloy wheels, cruise control, heated front seats, parking sensors and leather.
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This is the version most people will go for, and for good reason.