2013 Volkswagen CC Sedan - FROM $30,250
The 2013 Volkswagen CC presents an attractive and higher-quality alternative to other midsize sedans, though its smallish backseat and trunk may be deal-breakers.
What's New for 2013
The Volkswagen CC gets revised front and rear styling for 2013 along with the addition of five-passenger seating and a new R-Line trim level.
Volkswagen recently switched its focus for the American market by putting a greater priority on vehicle size and thriftier prices. This can best be seen in the redesigned Passat and Jetta, both of which are larger and cheaper than before. To Volkswagen's credit, it's been a successful strategy. But not all of its vehicles fit that trend, and for folks willing to spend a little extra coin for a nicer car, there's the 2013 Volkswagen CC.
The CC is a step above most other midsize sedans. You can see it in profile, as it combines the lower body of a sedan with the tight roof line of a coupe. It's fractionally smaller inside and more expensive overall than the conventional Passat sedan, but it also boasts higher-quality construction, a more advanced base engine, sharper driving dynamics, better overall refinement and sleeker style. It also costs considerably more, as this is an entry-level luxury car with a commensurate level of comfort and convenience features.
For 2013, the CC gets its first thorough update since it was introduced for 2009. The front and rear styling have been altered to more closely resemble its VW family members, but the distinctive coupelike roof and the rest of the car's mechanicals go unchanged. Most importantly, the CC now features five seats versus its previous four. The newly added middle slot for the rear seat is far from spacious, but it does offer an added dimension of utility that VW buyers apparently demand.
In many ways, the 2013 VW CC bridges the gap among multiple vehicle types. With its sleek profile and emphasis on style, it inhabits a middle ground between sedan and coupe just like the Audi A7, BMW 5 Series GT and Mercedes-Benz CLS. At the same time, it exists in a similar position in the automotive marketplace. The earlier comparisons to the Passat also apply to family sedans like the Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata, while the CC's less prestigious VW badge and lower price slot it below entry-level luxury models like the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Similar middle-ground choices include the Acura TL and Hyundai Genesis.
In general, the closer the CC's price is to the $30,000 mark, the better it compares on paper with all groups. The base model's abundance of features and powerful, efficient turbocharged four-cylinder make it arguably the most appealing choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Volkswagen CC is a midsize sedan that seats five people. There are six trim levels.
The base Sport comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic wipers, a Lighting package (automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights), keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear vents, cruise control, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar), leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker sound system with a touchscreen interface, a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod interface. The Sport Plus adds a standard automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels and LED running lights. The R-Line can be had with either transmission, but adds special exterior styling, different 18-inch wheels, foglamps and LED running lights.
The Lux adds to that a sunroof, interior ambient lighting and an upgraded touchscreen interface that includes a navigation system. The V6 version of the Lux obviously comes with the V6 engine, plus bigger brakes, heated windshield washers, headlight washers, auto-dimming and heated side mirrors, leather upholstery and a rearview camera.
Finally, the VR6 4Motion Executive adds standard all-wheel drive, front and rear parking sensors, massaging and ventilated front seats, a power rear sunshade, an upgraded trip computer screen and a premium sound system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Volkswagen CC Sport, R-Line and Lux trims come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the base Sport and R-Line trim, but a six-speed automated manual known as DSG is optional on those trims and standard on the others. Front-wheel drive is standard on all four-cylinder models. In Edmunds testing, a CC with this engine and DSG went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. This is average among entry-level luxury sedans, but more than a second quicker than most other four-cylinder-powered midsize family sedans. Fuel economy with the automatic is 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined; the manual changes those to 21/32/25.
A 3.6-liter V6 good for 280 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque powers the front wheels in the Lux V6 and all four wheels in the VR6 4Motion Executive. A conventional six-speed automatic transmission is standard. In Edmunds testing, a V6 4Motion went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. This is slow for an entry-level luxury sedan with an upgraded engine, but above average for a V6-powered family sedan. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17/27/21 with front-wheel drive and 17/25/20 with 4Motion.
Every 2013 Volkswagen CC comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes (larger with V6), front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera comes on the Lux V6 and Executive, while the latter also gets front and rear parking sensors.
In Edmunds brake testing, a CC Sport came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is an average distance. A VR6 was virtually identical.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the CC the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
From the base Sport model to the top-of-the-line Executive trim, the 2012 Volkswagen CC shows off the luxury amenities and workmanship normally associated with premium luxury brands. The vinyl-leatherette surfaces are not only convincing but also look and feel better than some of the genuine leather found in other cars. Other interior materials are well-textured, with the majority being soft to the touch. The CC is also a notable step up from the Passat.
The front seats offer a plethora of adjustments to fit nearly any body type. Backseat headroom is limited by the sloping roof line, so taller rear passengers will find themselves slouching to fit, but average-sized adults should find these seats supportive and comfortable, with ample legroom. The newly added middle row seat is certainly welcome, as it allows you to squeeze in an extra person on occasion. It's certainly not the most spacious middle seat in the world, but at least you won't have to take a second car.
The split-folding rear seats feature a center pass-through to add to the 13 cubic feet of trunk space, which is a bit small for a midsize sedan. As a result, a golf bag will need to lie diagonally within the trunk, limiting the ability to accommodate additional luggage.
The 2013 Volkswagen CC neatly splits the difference between sporty handling and a comfortable quality that should be agreeable to a majority of drivers. The sport-tuned suspension is on the firm side, but it should be OK for those used to German cars and still ably isolates passengers from all but the harshest of road imperfections. Compared to more traditional sport sedans, the CC exhibits more body roll, but handling is admirable nonetheless. The steering is light at parking-lot speeds and weights up nicely as speed increases, but it lacks the desired feedback for sporty driving. Both of the CC's available engines provide quick acceleration, and we suspect most buyers will be happy with the turbo-4 given its superior fuel economy.