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Tested: Volkswagen CC

2010-03-24 08:31
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer VW
Engine 2 TDi
Power 125kW
Torque 350Nm
Transmission Six-speed auto
Zero To Hundred 8.6 sec
Top Speed 225km/h
Fuel Tank 70l
Tyres Self-sealing Mobility tyres
Front Suspension McPherson struts
Rear Suspension Multi-link
Price R356 000

Hailey Philander

At the risk of inviting the ire of Volkswagen SA, when the Passat CC was first revealed as a derivative of the very middle-of-the-road mid-sized sedan, I rolled my eyes in agony.

Do we really need yet another four-door coupe? I grumbled. But wait! Is the term “CC” not usually used with reference to something with a folding hard top? And is that not the place in the Volkswagen line-up reserved for the over-priced and under-performing Eos? Confusion was me…

I breathed a silent sigh of relief when it never made it to South Africa.

However, following a mid-lifecycle facelift early last year, the model finally made it to the local market, but without the cumbersome “Passat” title attached to its nomenclature.

Going by the name Volkswagen CC, or Comfort Coupe, the car’s introduction has given the usually dowdy large sedan (or in this case, four-door coupe) segment a welcome injection of vibrancy.

As is often the case with these modern cars, the CC’s form does not translate well on screen or paper. Viewed in the metal, though, its rather awkward appearance does take on a more pleasing form.

The bonnet’s shutline grants the headlights a decidedly squinted appearance and makes the front end seem a lot squatter than what would be deemed necessary for an "old man’s car"...  The grille is also different to those seen on other VW models; here twin struts and a large, centrally mounted logo within an oversized metal surround dominate the front end.

The CC is just a few millimetres short of the 4.8m mark. When viewed in profile, this size is not lost on the eye.

A definite shoulder line with a deep crease sweeps from just behind the front fender all the way through to the rear light cluster to break what would be a one-dimensional look. While largely uncomplicated, this crease adds structure to the softer shape given by the gently sloping coupe-like roofline. Side windows bordered by chrome give the car a sportier edge, while chrome strips wrap about the doors and provide further detailing on the rear bumper.

The unusual rear light cluster does provide a talking point for this car, with the twin ovoid structures appearing to melt together in a mix of red and clear lens coverings. A rear spoiler has been stylishly worked into the design of the bootlid.

They say it's a coupe, yet those four doors tell another story...

Fair compromise?

Despite it instantly gaining the name “old man’s car,” the CC slowly endeared itself to the wheels24 test team with a prompt display of its “comfort coupe” properties.

Astounding to some, given the car’s generous exterior proportions, the CC is a strict four-seater. This means, though, that all four occupants are guaranteed of high levels of comfort. The two front occupants, in particular, are spoiled with six-way power operation for the newly developed sports seats. Passengers at the rear have the use of a central armrest and two cupholders in a centre console that can be concealed with a sliding cover when not in use. 

We spent time some time with the entry-level 2.0 TDI mated to the DSG. If you’re not given to racing to your destination and prefer the laidback approach to most things, this would be the CC for you.

Dynamic engineering principles

All South Africa-spec CCs come standard with a sports chassis linked to independent McPherson struts on the front axle and a multi-link rear axle (which goes some way to explaining the squat appearance of the car). Aluminium components feature prominently and aid in keeping the mass as low as possible. 

CC sits low to the ground and wide (1.42 m tall, about 1.5 m wide), creating a very sportscar-like silhouette that indicates the makings of a truly dynamic mover. Notwithstanding the sport suspension and its hunkered down stance, the ride quality remained very comfortable on a range of road surfaces.

Volkswagen offers its DCC adaptive chassis control as an option with three programmes for normal, sport and comfort settings, although this option would probably prove to be altogether unnecessary for the even-tempered TDI.

Of course, the turbodiesel is not spineless in the least. The 2.0-litre mill produces 125kW and torque of 350Nm on tap from 1 750 r/min and it covers the 0 – 100 km/h sprint time in 8.6 seconds and tops off at 225 km/h. It does all this while sipping approximately 6.1 l/100 km of fuel.

Although it is not unsettled by the occasional sense of urgency, the TDI/DSG match is happiest when gentle shifts upon gentle acceleration is required.  When called upon to move things along a bit, the CC is surprisingly sporty, given its size. The sports suspension is mostly to thank for this, though and the big-boned coupe is extremely composed showing surprisingly little body roll.

The assistance of electro-mechanical power steering means the CC always responds with agility and nimbleness, even though I would have preferred heavier weighting for more feedback.

Cabin ergonomically efficient, with subtle design touches. Six-speed DSG transmission excellent in terms of shift patterning and throttle response.

Cosseting cabin

A range of tweaks beneath the metal contribute to CC’s cabin providing a very pleasant environment with top notch sound insulation. Compounding the sense of luxury is the high standard of equipment on offer, even on the entry-level TDI.

Park assist front and rear is available (and very useful given the CC’s lengthy overhangs take a while to become accustomed to), along with a 300W radio/CD/MP3 playing audio system, 17-inch alloy wheels, leather trimmed multifunction steering wheel, ambient lighting for the centre console, Climatronic climate control and an auto dimming rear view mirror are among the standard features listed.

Standard safety equipment is extensive too, with an array of airbags, ABS with braking assist, ESP, ASR and trailer stability assist, a tyre pressure monitoring system and hazard lights that are automatically activated under hard braking.

Any confusion concerning the Coupe status easily settled when you get in the back and realise it remains strictly a four-seater...


Seems like another confused niche model, but the VW badge does seem to capture bystanders’ imaginations. Looks infinitely better in the metal where coupe-like roof line translates well.


A host of nice-to-haves and typically logical arrangement of Volkswagen facia give the cabin a stress-free quality


Standard sports suspension is very cosseting and not as jarring as one would imagine. Overall ride quality is impeccable.


This CC creates a bit of a conundrum. Riding on the Passat platform, it is essentially a tarted-up version of the sedan, but sports a few adjustments such as new instruments and a range of additional features.

CC does not have any natural competitors and is probably a viable option for someone who would prefer something different but appreciates the residual benefits of piloting a car with the VW badge perched atop its nose.

The existence of the CC is as inexplicable as the existence of the other, albeit perhaps more premium, “four-door coupes” available on the market. They are meant to appeal to someone wanting something a little different. Although, with CC prices starting at the R350 000-mark you could just as easily graduate to the more premium option within the Volkswagen Group.

Another senseless niche model, perhaps, but it does stay true to its name – Volkswagen’s CC certainly is a comfortable “coupe”.


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