Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars
Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars
Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars
2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Simon Hill

When Mercedes-Benz launched the CLS for the 2005 model year it sparked a bit of a niche segment and caught its luxury rivals flat-footed. Audi didn’t answer with the A7 four-door coupe until 2010, and BMW took until 2013 to get its 6 Series Gran Coupe to market. Volkswagen, meanwhile, was quick to leap into the fray with its own everyman answer to the latest style: the CC or “Comfort Coupe,” which was introduced in 2008.

While the German-built CC is based on the previous-generation Passat (indeed it was originally called the Passat CC and has the same wheelbase as the European Passat), its measurements differ substantially from the current North American Passat at 66 mm shorter, 70 mm lower and 20 mm wider. Combined with its swooping coupe-like roofline and sloped trunk this gives it a distinctly sporty and luxurious look compared to the U.S-built Passat.

The CC was given a mild update for 2013 and carries over into 2014 essentially unchanged, with three trim levels: Sportline, Highline, and V6 Highline, the latter featuring all-wheel drive. While manufacturers often try to dazzle automotive journalists by putting them into top-of-the line models, Volkswagen took the opposite tack with the CC and set out to impress me with a base Sportline CC.

At first glance it’s hard not to be impressed. The CC is a good looking car, and while I’ve never been one for calling four-door cars “coupes,” (Exhibit A: my four-door coupe rant) the CC does pull off the look well. My one criticism would be the grille and front fascia, which was updated for 2013 to offer a family resemblance to the rest of the Volkswagen lineup. It’s not a bad-looking front end, and the CC spices it up with LED accent lighting at the outer edge of the headlights, but given that the CC is to a large extent a styling exercise, a Passat in sleek clothing, why not give it a more distinctive front end to go with its swoopier bodywork?

As might be expected, the CC does exact some penalties in order to maintain its rakish profile. For starters, the back seat doesn’t offer as much headroom as the Passat, although I was pleasantly surprised to find that at 5’11″ I fit just fine in the outboard seats with even a bit of headroom to spare. The trunk is also smaller than in the Passat, at 374 L compared to 430 L, but while this might mean that golf clubs have to go in diagonally I found it plenty big enough for everyday use (which for me includes hauling enormous sail bags back and forth to the marina), and there are 60/40 split-folding seatbacks for those occasions when you have excess or oversize cargo (the three-across seating in the back is another change that was made for 2013 – earlier CCs had twin bucket seats in the back).

Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars
2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline. Click image to enlarge

Perhaps the steepest penalty is the somewhat restricted outward visibility imposed by the CC’s low greenhouse, thickish roof pillars and rather bulky headrests. Most Volkswagens offer better-than-average outward visibility, but driving the CC in the city I found that my visual awareness was hampered to the point that I’d occasionally end up looking at cars in my rearview mirror and wondering where they’d come from and whether I’d just accidentally cut them off. In fairness I should note that the CC has better visibility than a lot of two-door coupes, and I did get somewhat better at knowing where to look as my week with the CC went on. Backing up isn’t a problem either, as the CC has a standard rearview camera.

Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline volkswagen car test drives luxury cars
2014 Volkswagen CC Sportline. Click image to enlarge

Under the hood the CC Sportline and Highline models get Volkswagen’s proven 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, hooked up to either a six-speed manual transmission or, as in my test car, a six-speed DSG gearbox. This is a jewel of a gearbox, offering quick, crisp shifts and a nice hooked-up feel, but I’d love to see Volkswagen add a third automatic mode. As it is, I’ve always found D (drive) to be a little too upshift-happy and eco-minded, and S (sport) a little too aggressive and sport-oriented, holding the revs too high once you achieve a steady-speed cruise. I call the modes “Dawdle” and “Scoot”, and would love to see some sort of middle-ground “Normal” mode added. In practice, I tended to accelerate using Sport mode, shifting to Drive once I’d achieved a cruising speed (I’d have used the paddle shifters, but these only come with the Highline trim).




About SimonHill

Simon Hill rebuilt his first engine, an air-cooled Volkswagen, at 14. He started writing professionally about cars in 2009 and is also the editor of Boat Journal magazine. He lives in Vancouver, BC.