The 2015 Volkswagen CC straddles the middle ground between midsize and entry-level luxury sedan markets with a compelling package and good looks.
The 2015 Volkswagen CC could be considered a hidden gem. Not really publicized by Volkswagen, this sleek model provides the luxuries of many entry-level luxury sedans, minus the luxury badge and price tag. It may look like a coupe, but the four-doors give away its true identity.
Even though the 2015 CC is one of the oldest models in Volkswagen’s lineup, the overall look is still as fresh as the day it first rolled off the assembly line. The low-slung roofline is characteristic of four-door coupes, and in the case of the CC, it flows into a short rear end with large taillights and a VW emblem that conceals a backup camera.
The front-end was changed in 2013 with a new grille, air intake and trapezoidal headlights with LED daytime running lights. It helps bring the CC in line with other Volkswagen models and makes the overall design look younger.
The feeling of a luxury car continues inside as the CC boasts brushed aluminum trim and black soft-touch plastic on the dashboard. It may not be fancy as on the inside as some competitors, but simple materials paired with excellent fit and finish make the CC’s interior quite a nice place to be. Controls are within easy reach and have a nice feel to them.
Leatherette comes standard, while higher trim models get leather. The front seats are very comfortable and provide excellent support thanks to power adjustments. Also, heated seats come as standard.
Previous CCs were criticized for only having two seats in the back. Volkswagen fixed this in 2013 when they added a bench that now allows three people. Legroom is decent, while headroom is at a premium due to the sloping roofline. Also, you might feel slightly cramped due to the high beltline and limited glass area.
Trunk space measures 13.2 cubic feet, which is slightly smaller than what comparable midsize sedans offer. At least Volkswagen offers split-folding rear seats and a pass-through hatch to make the CC a bit more practical.
Most CC models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes paired with either a six-speed manual or Volkswagen’s DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The top-of-the-line CC gets a 3.6-liter V6 with 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with Volkswagen’s Tiptronic manual mode comes paired with 4Motion all-wheel drive.
The EPA rates the CC at 21/32 mpg city/highway, or 25 mpg combined for the base engine and manual transmission.
Choosing the DSG means the CC will get 22/31 mpg city/highway, or 25 mpg combined, while models with the V6 get 17/25 mpg city/highway, or 20 mpg combined. Premium fuel is recommended with all engines.
My test CC was equipped with the turbo 2.0-liter and six-speed manual. This pairing proved to be fantastic. Despite the small numbers, the turbo 2.0-liter was able to get the CC moving at a very reasonable pace. Whenever you needed to make a pass or merge onto a freeway, the engine has more than enough grunt to pull it off. The six-speed manual provided smooth shifts and it was a joy to work. This pairing also pulled off an impressive fuel economy average of 27.2 mpg for the week.
Ride comfort and handling can be best described as balanced. For day-to-day duties, the CC’s suspension takes the edge off most road imperfections. The CC mostly excels at keeping engine and wind noise out of the cabin when driving in the city. Out on the expressway, the CC has a lot of wind noise coming into the cabin. Taking the vehicle out on a curvy stretch, the CC stays planted. Steering has excellent feel and weight, giving a driver the confidence to push the CC.
Most CCs come equipped with a five-inch touch screen that provides navigation, phone and media capability. The system gives away how old CC is with cartoony graphics, a confusing menu layout and a hit-and-miss voice recognition system. Higher trim levels get a larger 6.5-inch touch screen with a more modern interface.
Also there is no USB port or auxiliary input jack. Volkswagen uses a proprietary connection that you can plug a USB or auxiliary cord into, and then plug in your MP3 player. If you happen to lose the cord, you’ll pay a hefty sum from dealer for a replacement.
Volkswagen’s Car-Net telematics system comes standard across the CC range. This system allows you to call for emergency help and concierge services. The system also has automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle assistance, roadside assistance, and remote vehicle access from your smartphone.
As of this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) only performed rollover tests, where the CC earned 4 stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the CC its highest honor of Good in front, side, rear, and roof impact test. However, the CC got the second lowest rating of Marginal in IIHS’ newest small overlap crash test.
All CCs get a full-suite of air bags, stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist and a backup camera. Disappointingly, parking sensors are only available on the top trim model and blind spot monitoring isn’t available. These are two key items that should be standard due to poor visibility.
A base price of $32,995 puts the Volkswagen CC between fully loaded midsize sedans and entry-level luxury sedans, which is a tough place for any model to stand out. But Volkswagen does give the CC impressive looks and quite an impressive amount of features for the price. However, the CC becomes less of a value when you opt for a higher trim. The CC equipped with the V6 and 4Motion comes in at $43,575, which puts it directly in line with well-equipped entry-level luxury sedans that boast more premium features.
The Volkswagen CC is an excellent alternative to getting a midsize sedan or an entry-level luxury car as it has a rich feature set and impressive driving dynamics. Just be sure to stick with base or mid-level models as they provide a better value.