Top-spec VW CC offers a comfortable and stylish experience, though its cabin is beginning to look dated in places

What is it?

The top-spec version of Volkswagen's CC and a car that we currently rate well alongside the Volkswagen Passat from which it is derived. 

Interestingly, although the stylish four-door would appear to slot well into the compact executive category alongside the likes of the BMW 3-series, Mercedes-Benz C-class and Audi A4, it also looks quite unlike anything else currently available in that class. Picking a direct rival is hard, but perhaps the closest thing is Audi's A5 Sportback.

It's no volume seller for VW though, with 5600 units registered last year and around 8000 in 2012, when the model received a mid-life refresh. If you're looking for a more distinctive option, however, this could well be it.

This R-Line version was announced late last year. It sits above the older GT trim level, which means that along with the generous equipment already offered with that trim, R-Line CCs get a bespoke grille and bumper, new side skirts and special 18-inch alloys. Inside, there are plenty of R-Line logos dotted around, plus a new leather steering wheel.

It's generously equipped, too, with cruise control, stop-start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a touchscreen navigation system and a DAB radio all included in the £31,685 list price.

Extra options on our car including an upgraded navigation unit, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and go and VW's Park Assist. These took the total price to just north of £35,000.

What's it like?

Comfortable and quiet, just as you'd expect from an executive model.

Even two years after the CC's restyling in 2012 the VW still looks good compared to the best in this class. Its large corporate front end is pleasing to the eye, and although the gently sloping rear hampers back-seat headroom, it does help permit a spacious 452-litre boot.

The car sits low to the ground and that means getting in is combined with a sizeable step downwards. It's fine once you're used to it, but for the first couple of tries be prepared to bang your head on the roof if you're a taller driver.

Once in, though, you'll find a spacious and premium-looking interior. Drivers and front-seat passengers won't be complaining about space, although taller passengers in the back seat may find themselves short on headroom, if not legroom.

The cabin is also very quiet, even when driving at speed on rough roads. The hum from the 2.0-litre diesel up front barely noticeable and there's only a small amount of tyre and road noise. We found the engine's performance to be more than adequate, and even under load it's a solid performer. 

Helping with that performance is the six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. Its ratios are well spaced and flipping over to manual mode is quick and easy thanks to wheel-mounted paddles – which you won't find elsewhere in the CC range.

VW won't be offering the CC with the seven-speed DSG any time soon, though, which is something of a shame given how highly we rate it in the firm's other offerings.

With an overall length of 4802mm (compared to the 4624mm 3-series and 4701mm Audi A4), the CC can feel like a hefty car to manoeuvre, especially in an urban environment. Its steering is quick, lightly weighted and accurate, though, and its handling smooth for the most part.

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We say mostly, because this version of the CC comes with a pretty firm suspension set-up that spoils its ride somewhat. The edge can be taken off by putting the CC's Dynamic Chassis Control into Comfort mode, but in Normal or Sport modes every bump and imperfection is felt through the cabin.

Most fixtures and fittings inside are well thought out, and as you'd expect are almost identical to those found in the Volkswagen Passat. A particular highlight is the R-Line multi-function steering wheel, which looks and feels premium. Don't let the sporty wheel fool you into thinking this is a real driver's car, though, because while the CC feels competent on the road it isn't engaging.

Some parts of the interior are also beginning to look dated alongside more recent competition. The driver's digitised display, for example, looks old and is a bit clunky to use. It's still functional, but not at the level we'd expect for a £30,000-plus model.

Should I buy one?

The Volkswagen CC is a refreshing take on the executive saloon, and its styling continues to win fans – us included. It might be a little boring to drive, but it remains a comfortable, economical and stylish choice.

Volkswagen CC R-Line 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Technology 177 DSG

Price £31,685 0-62mph 8.4sec Top speed 137mph Economy 54.3mpg (combined) CO2 137g/km Kerb weight 1582kg Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel Power 175bhp at 4200rpm Torque 270lb ft at 1750rpm Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch automatic

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Will86 3 July 2014


That's a lot of money for a tarted up Passat with an interior design dating back nearly 10 years. I liked the CC when it first came out, but the facelift didn't do it any favours and now the competition around the £30k mark is so strong, I can't really see the case for it any more.