2015 Volkswagen CC 3.6 4Motion First Test
Entry-Level Lux Not So Entry-Level Anymore
When we tested the Volkswagen CC R-Line early in 2014, we found it had quite a bit of gusto coming from its standard 2.0-liter 200-hp engine. So what happens when you stick in an upgraded 3.6-liter V-6?
For one thing, it makes this car even harder to classify. The four-cylinder Volkswagen CC we first tested was an entry-level luxury car without the badge. At just over $34,790, the mid-level trim R-Line competed with the likes of the Buick Regal Turbo, BMW 320i, and Mercedes-Benz CLA. But once you check the box for the V-6 engine, the price automatically goes up around $10,000. Our tester, jam-packed with standard features and no options, came to $44,005, flirting in C-Class territory but not directly comparable to that model at the same price.
The contradictions don't stop there. Volkswagen markets the CC as a midsize sports sedan, although the EPA classifies the car in the compact category because of its interior volume. Its fastback shape also makes it more of a coupe than a sedan, helping it stand out among a sea of more traditional four-door models.
Whether you think of it as gussied-up Passat, a full-fledged luxury sedan, or something else entirely doesn't matter in the long run. Get behind the wheel of this identity-challenged car, and it's hard not to appreciate its generous power delivery and stable ride. On the road, it feels like a true luxury car.
Riding inside the CC is perfectly comfortable. We felt well-insulated from wind and road noise even on the freeway, with a sweet hint of engine growl reaching our eardrums. Like a good luxury cruiser, the CC gradually glides out bumps in the roads for a plush ride.
The VW CC has no problems passing other cars on the highway and handles well, staying pretty planted to the ground during fast turns. And despite its large 3.6-liter V-6 and extra 80 hp over the standard model, the compact CC 4Motion doesn't feel ostentatiously overpowered. Hitting 60 mph takes 6.3 seconds, compared to the four-cylinder R-Line's 6.7 seconds. This time difference doesn't provide much of an advantage over the four-cylinder, at least on paper, and that is largely due to added weight in the V-6 model. It weighs a hefty 3840 pounds, or 432 pounds more than the R-Line.
All that power and weight come at a nonmonetary price, too. The EPA rates the V-6 sedan at 17/25 mpg, below average even among six-cylinder competitors such as the Chrysler 200 V-6 AWD or larger Kia K900 V-6. Our real world MPG numbers for the CC came in slightly lower than EPA estimates at 16/25 mpg. We also noticed that while its ample power makes it feel like a small car, its dual personality shows when turning at low speeds, and we had to make a few more three-point turns than expected.
The comfortable interior partially makes up for these faults. Leather seats, heated/ventilated front seats with driver massage seat, rain-sensing wipers, 10-speaker Dynaudio sound system, and dual-zone automatic climate control are just some of the standard creature comforts you'll find. A larger touchscreen navigation system is a unique V-6 model feature, but it was slow to respond to voice or touch commands. And while we enjoyed the rearview camera and park distance monitor, it took its sweet time before kicking into action while reversing, and when it was up and running, the picture appeared grainy.
Small touches -- like those gorgeous 18-inch alloy wheels and chrome detailing on the body -- move the CC towards luxury status. But are these enough to warrant a $44,005 price tag? Option out a Mercedes C-Class with the same equipment and the price would be more than $10,000 more. Go for a Passat V-6 and you'll get most of the same key features -- including leather seats, heated seats, rain-sensing wipers, power sunroof, and the same touchscreen/nav system, and more -- for a total of $36,480. The major difference? On the Passat V-6, all-wheel drive is not an option. The Passat is a better value if you can forgo all-wheel drive, that fastback shape, and a little bit of exclusivity. And that's probably why more than 81,400 of them have been sold in the U.S. during the first 10 months of the year, compared to just 8,750 CCs.
But after spending a few weeks with the CC and appreciating its quirks, we can't fault anyone who brings one home.
|2015 Volkswagen CC 3.6 4Motion|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$44,005|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.6L/280-hp/265-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,840 lb (57/43%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||189.1 x 73.0 x 55.8 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.3 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.7 sec @ 95.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||119 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.85 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.7 sec @ 0.69 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||17/25/20 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||198/135 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.98 lb/mile|