2014 Volkswagen CC 2.0T R-Line First Test
The Dapper Old Dog
Long before the 2014 Volkswagen CC 2.0T R-Line, something happened. Back when it wore a Passat CC badge, when the "four-door coupe" craze was just going viral, I accepted a lunch invitation. The hippest, most dapper Passat ever to arrive in the U.S. had just been delivered to our office on L.A.'s Miracle Mile. One eager staffer grabbed the key fob from our lockbox while another screamed "shotgun," so I, a believer in the Joyriding Code of Conduct, accepted my place on the back bench.
I opened the passenger-side door, aimed my rear end toward the surprisingly gaping entrance, lifted my left leg past the sill, and then swiftly hit the side of my head on the CC's fashion-forward roof. Obscenities – and sunglasses -- shot from my face. I needed an ice pack, not a Big Mac. Just like that, I vowed to never sit in its back seat again. And that's most of what I remember of the 2009 Volkswagen Passat CC.
Fast-forward nearly six years and you'll notice minimal changes to the CC. It has a shorter name and dons a refreshed physique, the latter of which is most recognizable in this Candy White R-Line trim. Much like another CC, Mrs. Cindy Crawford (sorry, Kim Reynolds, not Charlie Chaplin), the Volkswagen still looks as striking as ever.
In Los Angeles, the CC is somewhat of a rare bird compared to its ubiquitous Passat and Jetta siblings. With its terse list of "sport" elements -- 18-inch alloys wrapped in 235/40R-18 all-season Continentals, sculpted sills, and a more louvered front valance housing projector-style fog lamps -- the sexily clad sedan intrigued passersby galore.
Most of those stares occurred at dusk. Its standard bi-xenon headlamps with LED strips, plus the LED taillamps at the rear, screamed "cool," as if they were ripped from a "Tron" conveyance. Nifty low-speed corner illumination (the interior housings swivel 15 degrees), another standard feature, made trots through badly lit parking lots a breeze.
Unlike the racy exterior, the cabin humbly whispers "classy." It's covered in a black faux hide called V-Tex, and the simplicity of the space and its well-organized arrangement of pertinent controls (auto climate control, auto headlights, cruise control, central storage bin) radiate an almost Audi-esque lavishness. Titanium silver accents further the luxurious feel, as do the cushy 12-way heated power seats and analog clock. Finding my way around the RNS 315 touch-screen navigation's menus and Bluetooth device connectivity couldn't have been simpler.
But the CC represents much more than just dapper looks and soft-touch bits. Loads of VW practicalities were present. Multiple 12-volt outlets situated within passengers' arms' reach ensure devices never die, and rear-seat air conditioning vents keep passengers comfortable. Four cupholders successfully corralled all of our bottled liquids, and the 13.2-cubic-foot trunk has cargo organizers that came in handy when restocking the pantry. The 60/40 bench has a pass-through for larger items.
Unfortunately, our initial outings were marred with frustration. At slower speeds, particularly when rolling off from a stoplight, the CC's hair-trigger throttle and sluggish six-speed dual-clutch gearbox required significant sensory adjustments.
Volkswagen's wet-clutch DSG has evolved quite nicely since the days of our long-term 2011 Jetta TDI, yet it continued to stumble in its efforts to smoothly apply the 2.0-liter's turbo's 200 hp, as if it were second-guessing its gear selection. Apologies to my passengers, who occasionally were real-life bobbleheads. It was only after miles of driving that my foot was able to compensate for the powertrain's ways.
Said compensation went out the door as soon as the road curved. Calling upon the CC's 207 lb-ft had the tachometer's needle pretending it belonged to a Porsche PDK, jumping and sinking as subsequent gears got engaged and disengaged hastily and nearly imperceptibly. At a smidge more than 3400 pounds, the CC arrived 60 mph from a standstill in 6.7 seconds; wrung out, it ran the quarter mile in 15.1 seconds while speeding along at 93.2 mph. It jogged around our figure-eight course in 27 seconds flat at an average 0.64 g. Not rocket ship stats, but still, the CC's level of sportiness is decent.
Here's why: Dipping the steering wheel off center invited a progressive tug. The electro-mechanical setup is hardly communicative, but it stays nicely weighted thanks to the variable-speed-assist function. Following the adhesion of ContiProContacts with asphalt, the longish 189-inch laser-sealed body rolled and pitched like a dinghy on swells. But once its mass got righted by the tag team of struts and multi-link underpinnings, consistent quick clips corner after corner, paddle flap after paddle flap, arrived effortlessly. As associate editor Benson Kong said, noting the CC's love for inducing wheelspin and straight line speed: "It feels like it has more power than it's rated."
The old dog with a new title, luxurious innards, Botoxed seductiveness, and a Golf-like peppiness sipped fuel judiciously (I saw 30-plus mpg trip averages and 400-mile ranges. Granted, the 18.5-gallon tank helped a bit). It was equipped with a long list of amenities, and held its own on mildly twisty paths. The Volkswagen CC is an entry-level luxury sedan that has many more memorable assets than annoying gripes, namely that awkward rear-seat ingress height. I broke my vow and jumped in the back seat without a head thud or headache, by the way.
|2014 Volkswagen CC 2.0T R-Line|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$34,990|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||2.0L/200-hp/207-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed twin-clutch auto.|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3408 lb (59/41%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||189.1 x 73.0 x 55.8 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.1 sec @ 93.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||121 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.85 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.0 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||22/31/25 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY/COMB||153/109/133 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.77 lb/mile|