Tom Crosby: 2017 VW CC is recovery sedan from scandal

Tom Crosby

Volkswagen’s 2017 CC is one of many vehicles the company hopes will restore faith in the German automaker following its diesel emission scandal.

Sold as either a 2.0T sport coupe or a four-door R-Line Executive with coupe-like design, the luxury VW CC (Comfort Coupe) is built on the midsize Passat platform but labeled a compact vehicle by EPA. The now gas-powered Passat is a competitor but without the looks or sport-like performance of the CC.

The sedan has stunning good looks that make it an easy visual choice over more staid profiles of competitors such as Acura TLX, Infiniti Q50 and Nissan Maxima.

The base price (without options) is wallet competitive. Entry level is the 2.0T Sport coupe followed by two identically priced Executive trims. The top Executive CC with Carbon – our test drive – elicits an expensive interior vibe with smooth carbon fiber trim often found in the cockpits of such luxury cars as Ferrari and Lamborghini. This year VW eliminated Trend, R-Line 2.0T and V6 Executive CC models.

Prior options for cutting-edge safety features are now standard in 2017 R-Line Executives – adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, etc. The only CC engine is a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder generating 200 horsepower using a six-speed, direct-shift, dual clutch gearbox for automatic.

Manual paddles max out acceleration once underway. Handling is excellent with a sport-tuned suspension that keeps steering crisp and confident and the ride firm yet comfortable on 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.

Outside, the sharply sculpted lines, wide front grill between cat’s eyes headlamps and above a wider air dam, frameless side windows, raked windshield and sleekly tapered rear end provide the attractive profile. However, the slanted roofline constricts rear mirror vision and creates tight seating space for average size adults.

Cargo space increases with an easy 60/40-rear seat fold down. There is a spare tire. No grab handles exist inside, making entry a little more challenging for older adults. Telematics connectivity comes via a MIB II infotainment system and VW’s Car-Net® App-Connect technology compatible with Apple CarPlay®, Android AutoTM and MirrorLink®. Gauges are readable and the 6.3-inch touch-screen easily reachable. Navigation is easily calculated via good voice recognition. Ribbed, V-Tex leatherette front seats are comfortable.

Neat features include headlights twisting up to 15 degrees for cornering visibility, cabin humidity control, speed alerts/boundary limits for teen drivers, adjustable head restraints and a brake disc wiping feature for solid stops in wet weather.

Like: Handling, mileage, looks, occupant comfort, ride, quiet DISLIKE: No grab handles, rear-seating space
Bottom line: Stylish, ample-sized four-door coupe with much eye-appeal

Fact File

VW CC R-Line Executive/Carbon

Base price with destination fee: $38,685 (no options added).
Curb weight: 3,369 lbs.
Wheelbase: 106.7 inches.
Length: 189.1 inches.
Width: 73 inches.
Engine specs: 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder, DOHC, turbo, direct injection.
Horsepower: 200 hp at 5,100 rpm.
Torque: 207 lbs.-ft. at 1,700 rpm.
Transmission: 6-speed automatic/with manual paddles.
EPA rating: 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy.
Range: 8.5-gallon tank, premium.
Performance: 0-60 in 7.5 seconds.

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.