2013 CC delivers refined interior, sporty exterior
By ANDY MIKONIS For Sun-Times Media December 31, 2012 1:54PM
2013 VOLKSWAGEN CC SPORT
ENGINE: 200-horsepower 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: front-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 22 city/31 highway
BASE PRICE: $31,710, plus $820 destination
AS TESTED: $32,530, including destination
Returning for 2013 with a significantly restyled front and rear end, the Volkswagen CC could be the best-looking thing Volkswagen has done. It’s distinguished by a refined coupelike roofline and the lack of window frames on the doors.
While the front-end styling shares similar austere qualities with other four-door VW offerings, the lighting package sets it off with cool headlights and trendy LED marker lights; redesigned taillights carry an interesting light signature evoking hieroglyphics. This lighting package is part of the nicely appointed entry level CC.
A few swipes of brushed aluminum trim tastefully accent the silhouette. I wouldn’t have thought I would like the tester in a brown shade — the new-for-2013 Black Oak Brown Metallic — but the light plays intriguingly with the dark metallic paint over some nicely done character lines on the side of the car.
A subtle lip on the deck lid and some meaty-looking five-spoke wheels add to a sporty edge. The no-seam treatment on the sides of the roof makes for a quality look.
A dramatic high-contrast two-tone treatment really setsoff the tester’s interior. A light beige on the seat centers is juxtaposed with black borders, which struck me as kind of different in a good way. It’s also black in all the right places to reduce glare and hide dirt. A layered look to the dash pad is broken up by a straight piece of brushed silver trim.
Top surfaces are rubbery but soft. Super clean gauges are surrounded by chrome bezels and some brushed trim. Controls have a simple layout, and the radio head has two knobs where you expect them.
The CC does make a few sacrifices in the name of style. While the front felt roomy enough, outward visibility was pretty awful. Thick windshield posts and side mirror mounts obscure the front-to-side view. The back view isn’t any better. My wife said the triple rear headrests blocked her rearward perspective (three-across rear seating is new).
The front seats had supportive bolstering on the bottom cushions without feeling too confining at the top. I found the front headrests to be well-positioned as well. The leather-wrapped steering wheel was not too thick, with an extra bump to grip at 10 and 2 o’clock. A tilt steering column helps one get comfortable. Outer foot wells suffer from some structural intrusion typical of front-wheel drive cars with a transverse mounted engine and transaxle.
Rear seats felt cramped. There is a cool cantilevered armrest with retractable cup holders and a little storage area that can be folded down. I have been calling for all cars with a trunk to have fold-down rear seat backs for increased cargo carrying versatility, but here’s an idea: The CC’s can be locked with a key. Seems in a lot of cars anyone with access to the passenger compartment, such as a valet, can fold down the rear seats to get in the trunk. Even the small pass-through in the center has a key lock.
The CC Sport had a pleasant driving character worthy of a Volkswagen. The 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injected four-cylinder felt coarse off idle, though it cruised smoothly with an impressive 200-horsepower kick. My tester featured Volkswagen’s DSG transmission, another of the automatically operating units with the internals of a manual. An occasional delay in engagement and clunk at some stops clued me in that it was not traditional automatic. These quirks are found in some competitors as well.
The powertrain combo did return an indicated average of 23.2 miles per gallon over a week of primarily city driving, exceeding the not very ambitious Environmental Protection Agency estimate of 22 mpg.
All in all, I rather liked the CC Sport; the 2013 updates really hone its design. It delivered high style and a premium feel that belied its sticker price.
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