Best all-rounder in Passat CC range is a stylish, yet practical alternative to a BMW 3-series saloon

What is it?

The most frugal version of VW’s handsome Passat CC. The four-door Mercedes CLS-inspired is based on the underpinnings of the previous-generation Passat and this BlueMotion Technology version is part of a subtle realignment of the model’s engine and trim options for 2011.

So in this GT BlueMotion Technology trim, the Passat CC is powered by a 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine, which helps contribute to impressive combined economy and CO2 figures of 60.1mpg and 125g/km for a car of its size. And being part of VW’s BlueMotion range, it gets the usual fuel-saving tech including stop-start and an intelligent alternator.

What’s it like?

Looks are subjective, but to my eyes the Passat CC holds great visual appeal both inside and out even before you push the key into its dashboard slot to start it. The plush leather front seats are comfortable and look suitably luxurious, although the dashboard’s design will be familiar to anyone who’s ever spent time in a VW Group product.

When you do get out on the road, it’s a competent performer. Performance from the turbodiesel engine is reasonable, rather than outstanding, although you’re rarely left wanting more. The six-speed manual gearbox has ratios that are nicely spaced and ideally suited to motorway cruises.

Indeed, this is one car where the official combined economy figure is easily in reach if driven with a bit of consideration. We achieved an average of 57mpg on our 300-mile test route, with 64mpg being displayed on the trip computer on one section of motorway.

Around town, the stop-start system is unobtrusive, although you’d be better served speccing the six-speed DSG auto’ model if you can sacrifice some of the economy, as this gearbox is better suited to a car of the Passat CC’s character, particularly in traffic.

Problems? Well, the ride is the most prominent one. Although comfortable at higher speeds, more abrasive surfaces at low speeds have a tendency to be made even worse by the large 18-inch alloys clad in 235/40 tyres.

It’s also not the most engaging car to drive, its chassis feeling its age. It does feel sharper to drive than even the latest VW Passat, although it’s someway off the engagement levels of the BMW 3-series.

Should I buy one?

Even three-years after its introduction, this is a segment the VW Passat CC almost has to itself. The new Mercedes CLS is larger and almost double the price, while swoopy saloons-come-hatchbacks including the Vauxhall Insignia and upcoming Hyundai i40 lack the style and sophistication the Passat CC exudes.

It may not be as dynamic or practical as a BMW 3-series saloon, but it’s an interesting alternative nonetheless.

VW Passat CC BlueMotion Technology

Price: £25,780; Top speed: 132mph; 0-62mph: 9.8sec; Economy: 60.1mpg; CO2: 125g/km; Kerb weight: 1550kg; Engine: 4cyls, 198cc, turbodiesel; Power: 138bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 6spd manual

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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ronmcdonald 1 September 2011

Re: VW Passat CC 2.0 TDI 140 GT

greedymotion wrote:

Due to the Hideous front end on the new Passats

Agree with your post apart from the above. IMO it's the rear that's damn ugly, but the front of the new Passat is real classy looking. Admittedly it looks bad in photos, but in real life I think it's a massive improvement.

PS - Out of curiosity what editor / browser do you use to post comments? I just used the 'Quote' button to select your text and I've never seen formatting like it, got about four different spelling corrections for Passat !!!

greedymotion 1 September 2011

Re: VW Passat CC 2.0 TDI 140 GT

At the end of the day, it may have a desirable skin on it but that's the only difference. If I remember right, in real world money we were talking a near £5000 difference between an SE saloon and a SE CC - essentially the same car, albeit the CC only came with 4 seats, limiting it's appeal even further.

Due to the Hideous front end on the new Passats I can see why people are warming to the CC However it still smacks at Style over substance, nice Dinner Jacket but little changed inside over the Passat but you pay as though it should all be different, That Dashboard is rock hard in all the places close to you whilst the top half which you rarely touch is soft??

My neighbour who has the pre facelift Passat wants a low mileage one of these but has found them too expensive so will probably change to the 1980s styled new Passat...

So big question is has the CC paid for itself in tooling costs? (they charge enough) has it found its own market place? It all reminds me of the 1960s Ford Cortina and Corsair, same car underneath but trying to milk more sales from the same car (mk 5 Golf platform)

jer 1 September 2011

Re: VW Passat CC 2.0 TDI 140 GT

As this was GT spec I expected the VW AAC to be fitted. There is no mention in the review how satisfactory the various settings worked. I can only suppose not very well.