2010 CC New Car Test Drive
The CC was a surprise to the market, and the reviews of its styling since its launch have been very favorable. It achieves what it sets out to do: look like a really expensive car. Namely like a Mercedes coupe, in particular the CLS, also a four-seater.
The CC takes the Passat platform, and rips off the skin (then guts it like a big fish, see Interior Features). The new sleek roofline seemingly came straight from a hotrod chop shop, lower by a couple of inches (a mere 56 inches tall) and swept back as if the car were racing into a 200-mph wind. The C pillar is wide, but barely visible because it flows back, not down. On the same wheelbase as the Passat, the CC has a slightly wider track and is only 1.2 inches longer, but the shape makes it look bigger. But it's only 62 pounds heavier than a Passat.
It's unmistakably Volkswagen from the front, because of the big VW in the grille, but mistakable from other angles. It's hard to see that the track is only .4 inches wider in the front (.6 in the rear), because of the width of the chrome grill with two horizontal bars, and the wraparound headlamps with arrowhead corners front and back. The air intake under the grille gives the CC a strong jaw, with foglamps each side, under long thin amber slivers for turn signals (with amber slits on the mirrors, very cool). The whole nose says upscale.
The profile says upscale too, but it sure doesn't say Volkswagen. Think of the Beetle, and you see that we've come a long way baby. The CC looks more upscale than even the $80,000 Phaeton. Just not as big.
Out of the bold front fender flares, character lines zoom rearward and upward like speed lines, most dramatically the top lines that nearly touch the taillights. The lower line has a chrome strip pasted over it, and it wraps around the rear of the car over the rear bumper. Next you notice the chrome rocker panels and sigh, and know that this is someone's perception of style.
The standard 17-inch standard alloy wheels with 10 heavy spokes are fairly good looking, but the optional 17-inch alloy wheels with 10 thinner spokes make the car look stunning, chrome strips notwithstanding. There are a total of four styles.
Did we say the interior of the CC was a Passat gutted like a fish? The other half of the story is that the innards were expertly and expensively (to VW if not to you) replaced as if by a taxidermist. Upgraded to the nines.
The four-passenger seating is controversial, which is curious, because it's not like an owner would drive one home from the showroom and look back over his shoulder and discover only two seats and go, huh? That's the way VW made it, and if you need three seats in the rear, so go buy another car.
If the CC looks like a luxury coupe from the outside, it feels like a luxury racecar from the cockpit. The windshield is steeply raked, the doorsill high and the seat low, although it doesn't have to be that way because height is one of the 12 ways the seat is adjustable. So visibility out the front is not compromised. It's not bad out the rear either, although the headrests don't help; and blind spots from the wide C pillars are reduced by fixed triangular rear door windows behind the passengers' ears. Which are perilously close to the steeply sloping roofline. Rear seat headroom is something that definitely has been compromised by the lower roof.
The two seats in the rear are bucket-like, ergonomically designed like the fronts, with wide thigh bolsters, separated by the space taken up by a rolltop cupholding console, as well as a fold-down armrest (behind which is a pass-through hatch to the trunk for skis and such). Not just cupholders in there, but small triangular bins for poker chips or peanuts or whatever. There's a decent but not sumptious 37.3 inches of rear legroom.
Each seat is a cozy compartment that makes a passenger feel special, to have his or her own space, like a space ship. It's perfect if you have two kids, separated from fighting by the barrier, although a bulkhead would be better. It's a safety thing, because you won't have to turn around while you're driving and smack them. Plus, there's an emergency medical kit in that console. You never know.
The perforated leather is two-tone and handsomely done, not always the case with daring two-tones. Ours was Cornsilk Beige and looked great, with stitched inserts. The four doors are totally stylish, with leather armrests and grab handles and swoopy brushed aluminum trim (optional).
The instrument panel feels far away, because it's not very vertical. There's a lot of leather up there, but sure enough there are gauges: with white-lit needles that stand up and fly around when you start the car. They're clean enough to read, and the layout of the center stack is not nearly as complicated as other German carmakers like to make it. It's a driver's compartment made for relaxing, with good vents to control the climate.