When asked to describe a Volkswagen, I think many people would call them solid, reliable, German-engineered automobiles.
If those same people were asked about a Mercedes-Benz, they might use the words luxurious, stylish and upscale.
But, if we asked them what they thought of the new 2009 Volkswagen Passat CC, I would be quite surprised if the words luxurious, stylish and upscale didn’t creep into the conversation, just as they would with the Mercedes.
In fact, the Passat CC has more than a passing resemblance to the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, a coupe-like sedan starting at $93,500. But the CC (it stands for Comfort Coupe) starts at less than half that and is equally as stunning.
In their advertising literature, Volkswagen calls its new CC “a car with curves that hugs the curves.”
It couldn’t be said any better.
The CC didn’t take long to get the attention of automotive journalists — it was selected Best New Family Car over $30,000 by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada during voting last fall. It was up against some pretty good competition as well, including the redesigned Nissan Maxima, the Pontiac G8 and the Volvo V70.
I’ve been a fan of the CC since I first saw it at the North American International Auto Show a year ago January and couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel. I thought to myself ‘if it drives as well as it looks, it’s a winner.’
Well, it is.
When it came time to select a car for our late spring drive down to Vermont for our annual getaway to the Green Mountain Inn in Stowe, the CC was an ideal choice.
The CC is available with two engine choices, a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder, producing 200 hp and 207 lb/ft of torque. It starts at $31,975 with a six-speed manual transmission and $33,375 with a six-speed automatic with Tiptronic.
My tester was an upgraded Highline model (Sportline is the standard fare) with six-speed automatic, pricing out at $39,375. At the top of the line is a Highline V6, featuring a 3.6-litre V6 engine with 280 hp, 265 lb/ft of torque and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. It starts at $44,975.
However, even the base Sportline model is well turned out, offering features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, 12-way power adjustable front driver’s seat with lumbar support, auto-dimming mirror, automatic headlights, cruise control, digital compass, six airbags, halogen headlights, eight-speaker premium audio system with in-dash six-disc CD changer, sport suspension, tire pressure monitoring system, and heated front seats and washer nozzles.
The CC Highline adds leather seats, dual zone electronic climate control, Panorama vent sunroof, sport seats, Sirius satellite radio, brushed aluminum interior trim, Bi-Xenon headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels and 12-way driver’s seat.
In my first experience with the Passat CC, I found the heavily bolstered driver’s seat to be a touch uncomfortable. However, this time around, I was able to get it adjusted for a perfect fit, and I was never uncomfortable during the 12 or so hours we spent in the car travelling to and from the Green Mountain state.
The CC cruises nicely and the turbo four-cylinder is quiet at speed, but with a bit of a whine on heavy acceleration. During AJAC’s Car of the Year testing last fall, the CC posed acceleration numbers of 7.9 seconds (0-100 km/h) and 5.9 seconds (80-120 km/h).
The ride is more sport sedan than luxury sedan, meaning it’s on the firmer side. Nevertheless, it handled the winter-scarred roads you find in parts of Vermont without jarring the passengers out of their seats.
2009 VW Passat CC
Type: Four-door mid-size sedan
Price: from $31,975
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder inline turbocharged (200 hp, 207 lb/ft); 3.6-litre DOHC V6 (280 hp, 265 lb/ft)
• Family car with luxurious looks
• Smooth ride