From £23,6277

Keen to distance the swoopy four-door from its more conservative sibling, the Volkswagen CC now does without the Passat moniker. But while the name has changed, the car isn't radically different.

The looks have been brought up to date with VW's new trademark headlight and bumper arrangement, and there's an improvement in the amount of equipment fitted as standard, most noticeably a three-seat bench, rather than two individual seats.

The badge may have changed, but the CC is a comfortable, quiet, relaxing mile-eater that places the emphasis on refinement above all else, like the model it replaces.

Engine options include a 148bhp 1.4 TSI on the petrol side, with a 2.0 TDI with either 148bhp or 181bhp offered for diesel buyers. The main advantage of the 181bhp diesel over the more popular 148bhp version is the addition of the XDS electronic differential. It aims to provide greater traction for more engaging handling when cornering, thus addressing one of the Passat CC's main criticisms, it's lack of driver involvement, to a certain extent.

The diesel engines are well suited to motorway, and a tall sixth gear aids economy, with the official economy figure of 57.6mpg well within reach for the high-power diesel. The low-power diesel, predictably, is the running cost champion, with a claimed 60.1mpg possible on the combined cycle.

The interior is largely unchanged over the old Passat CC, so it retains that model's sophistication. The CC's dash is based on that of the standard Passat, but all touchpoints are bespoke. Equipment levels are good, with all buyers able to choose from five generous equipped trims.

The entry-level trim, otherwise known as CC, is the only trim available with the 1.4-litre TSI engine, and comes with 17in alloys, a full-size spare, sports suspension, bi-xenon headlights, automatic lights and wipers, electric windows, and front and rear brake discs. The inside is adorned with dual-zone climate control, sports seats, electrically adjustable driver's seat and a 6.5in touchscreen infotainment system complete with sat nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio and an eight-speaker audio system.

Upgrade to the GT models and you will find 18in alloys, front foglights, adaptive suspension and parking sensors, while inside there is cruise control, heated front seats and a Nappa leather upholstery, while the range-topping R-Line models get adaptive headlights and numerous R-Line detailings. The Black Edition of the GT and R-Line trims simply add more black trim, details and interior touches and include a sunroof.

There wasn't a lot wrong with the Passat CC before these mid-life tweaks, but it now has an identity of its own and is arguably the most desirable model in VW's range.

It still looks like nothing else in its class, and is hard to position directly next to a main rival. For these reasons, even eight years after it first launched, it feels like an antidote to the usual formulaic approach the four-door saloon market, VW's own Passat included.

However, 2017 will see a new generation of the CC join the market, with this generation leaning heavily on the design cues of the Sport Coupé GTE concept, rather than the Passat's.

 

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