The Volkswagen CC:
We picked up our cars outside the Hotel Sax’s front door and had a little time to review the exterior and interior styling before heading out on the first leg of our drive. The exterior strikes a distinct contrast from pretty much any VW I have seen before. The low stance and elongated form separate it from the older, boxier, rotund shapes of the Beetle and Passat. The car looks smooth and refined as opposed to muscle-y or flamboyant. Design moves we liked included the frameless doors, wraparound rear light arrays, the mini-spoiler, the spoke-like narrow rims, and the long, sweeping shadowline across the side panels.
The interior details pick up on the thoughtfulness of the engineers and designers. Before getting into the car, the windows automatically retract about a 1/4″ to clear the seals in order to allow the frameless doors to open. Once inside, the bucket seats are firm and adjustable in every imaginable way. Contrast stitching on our model was a nice touch as well. The wheel, transmission and dash integrate nicely. I was not a huge fan of the directional chrome panels – a more monochromatic experience would distract less. The key is a fob to be inserted in the ignition, a press starts the engine. The touch-screen navigation and media player were pretty easy to use. The nav had a bit of a learning curve, but worked well once figured out. The sunroof above is huge. It extends from the windshield to behind the front seats.
Being first to arrive downstairs, we had our pick of the litter. I didn’t know that there were different models for the drive so we just picked one randomly. It was the 2.0T. Looking back, I would have chosen the 3.6L for the bigger engine, but the 2.0T was still fun to drive. I drove the first leg out and Anna drove the second leg back. My thoughts on the car were pretty positive. The suspension and seals were great so the ride was quiet and smooth. It was easy to speed because the sensation of speed was not very apparent when driving. It looked like everyone else had the same idea, because we all moved quickly on the highway. The dash is easy to read while driving, and the next turn/street name from the nav system into the HUD between the speedometer and tachometer was a helpful detail. The steering is power-assisted, making it light and responsive. I am not a big fan of the power-assist steering, believing it to be too far removed from experiencing the handling of the car. I drove most of my leg with the Tiptronic shifter, which is fun as a videogame-ish type of driving. I wish the throw of the Tiptronic were longer, like the older Passats, which made that shifting feel a little heavier. The interface of the car was pretty intuitive. I was not searching for any information or dials while driving, adding to the safety of the car.
All in all, I really liked the VW CC. The 2.0T gets ~30mpg on the highway, placing it at the higher end of fuel efficient cars. As a design object, the thought and detail given to its form and interaction with the body is impressive. As a machine, it is a lot of fun to drive, as you would expect from a luxury car of its class. It is fast and comfortable with refined styling and appointments. The CC strikes a balance between luxury and performance. Now if only it came with orange or green leather interiors…