Review of: 2017 Volkswagen CC 4dr Sdn Wolfsburg Edition
2017 Volkswagen CC: The last hurrah
By Jil McIntosh
Jan. 4, 2017
First seen at the Detroit Auto Show in 2008, Volkswagen’s CC has to rate as one of the loveliest cars the company has produced. Its sweeping roofline became known by the nonsensical name of “four-door coupe,” originally coined to describe the Mercedes-Benz CLS that preceded it. The design also appeared on Audi’s A7, but Volkswagen was able to bring in this champagne styling with more of a craft-beer budget.
The 2017 version is the last for it, although it is expected to return as an all-new model. In the U.S., buyers get the CC in front-wheel drive only, and with that configuration’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder. But Canadian buyers prefer all-wheel, and so our CC powers all four wheels, fed by a naturally-aspirated 3.6-litre V6 engine.
It comes in a single trim line, the Wolfsburg Edition, at $41,990 as my tester was equipped. The only available option is an R-Line Package, at $3,690, which adds such items as a panoramic sunroof, sport steering wheel, R-Line bumpers and skirts, and black accents.
Pros & Cons
- + Front seat space
- + Quiet, serene cabin
- + Attention-getting styling
- - Cool standard features for Canada
- - Rear seat access
- - Conservative interior design
The CC is based on the Passat and so follows the family’s basic styling, which I’ve always thought is elegant and timeless. The two look similar at the front, but at the rear, the CC’s roofline and C-pillars swing down in a graceful arc to the trunk lid.
As you’d expect, there’s a price to be paid for the look. Tall folks will have to be sure to dip their heads when getting in the rear seats, lest they bonk their noggins on the doorframe.
The 18-inch “Talladega” wheels are the sole choice for this last-of-the-line model, but they do a good job of setting off the side profile. Also standard on the exterior are automatic and adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, a rearview camera that’s hidden under the trunk logo to keep it clean when not in use, and an easy-open trunk lid that pops up when you kick your foot in the sweet spot under the bumper.
As with the Passat, the CC’s cabin is simple and perhaps a bit underwhelming for a car that tops $40,000. Adding a few more soft-touch surfaces would have sent it a little more upscale, while what’s meant to be a decorative panel of plastic and chrome accents to the right of the gearshift lever just looks like the blank buttons that many cars receive when extra options haven’t been ordered.
The seats are typical Volkswagen chairs, with a firm feel that ultimately translates into excellent support for long-distance driving. Rear-seat headroom is compromised somewhat, as you’d expect given the car’s profile, but legroom is excellent both front and rear. The trunk can be extended by dropping the fold-flat rear seats.
While the centre stack’s stark simplicity may look a little sparse, it means that the controls are straightforward and easy to use. Large buttons and dials handle the tasks for the automatic dual-zone climate control and infotainment, along with controls on the steering wheel. The only sour note is the cruise control, set behind the wheel on a short stalk that’s almost impossible to see. You’ll just have to memorize which way to press or tap it to make it work.
The single-trim configuration means everyone gets the same goodies in the touch-screen system: satellite navigation, CD player, rearview camera, and phone app integration through Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Mirror Link. The premium Dynaudio system includes a 600-watt amplifier and ten speakers, four of them woofers.
The screen uses a proximity sensor, which brings up the functions whenever you put your hand close to it. The navigation system got to me to my destination accurately, but only after I entered it using the touchpad. For some reason, despite several tries—and an attempt by my passenger—the voice recognition system was never able to figure out just what I was trying to say.
The 3.6-litre V6 churns out 280 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission, which can be sequentially shifted with wheel-mounted paddles. Acceleration is effortless and linear, and while it would be nice to have the quick snap of the dual-clutch gearbox that comes in the Passat, the CC’s six-speed handles the task just fine, and without the odd downshift stumble that a dual-clutch can occasionally exhibit.
The 4Motion all-wheel system doesn’t distribute torque to all wheels across the board. Instead, it runs primarily in full front-wheel under normal conditions, and shifts power to the rear axle when needed to maintain traction.
The driving experience is that of the Passat, which is a good thing. It’s more sedate than sporty, but steering response is quick and communicative, and the ride is pliable for comfort but without a hint of too-soft sloppiness. It’s a pleasure to drive, and it performs as good as it looks.
Published fuel economy numbers come in at 13.9 L/100 km in the city and 9.3 on the highway, while I ended up with 10.8 L/100 km in combined driving. The CC takes regular 87-octane fuel, too.
The CC does hand over a lot: styling that belongs on a pricier nameplate, a decent list of higher-end options, and a V6 engine with an all-wheel system. But it can feel a bit steep at $41,990, especially with that stark interior. I recently drove a top-line V6-equipped Passat, in front-wheel drive and with a dual-clutch gearbox. It included a few items missing on my CC, including a remote starter, adaptive cruise control, self-parking feature, and heated rear seats, but rang in at $37,745. It seems the CC’s exclusivity comes at a cost.
Pricier and less practical than its Passat sibling, the CC nevertheless makes a great styling statement along with its decent driving experience. It’s certainly not perfect, but there is a lot to like. It should be interesting to see what’s waiting in the wings to replace it, but until then, it’s still among the best-looking mainstream models on the road.