Who likes Brussels sprouts? Seriously, who among you eats this little mini-cabbage? When we were kids our moms tired to get them to disappear from our plates, and not under the table to the dog who would eat anything including the cat if given the opportunity. The Brussels sprout was kind of representative of all the vegetables our well-meaning mothers tried to get us to eat; we didn’t really like them and that was only partially due to the fact that carrots would allegedly give us better eyesight.
So it was then that a certain disdain for all things once covered in dirt carried over into adulthood. It wasn’t until perhaps our early 30’s that we tried the Brussels sprout and found out that it really was actually quite good.
Okay, you ask, what the heck does this have to do with cars?
This: In the recent past, we have driven several models offered by Volkswagen. While we liked the Beetle, the Passat and Touareg left a bad taste in our mouth, pun intended. Both the Passat and Touareg ensured that we would not be visiting a VW dealership anytime soon. The Beetle, maybe, but sorry Germany we won’t be contributing to your gross national product rating by purchasing one of your imports that have a “Passat” or “Touareg” badge on it anytime soon.
My, how things can change.
Several weeks ago we were delivered a 2014 VW CC sedan. We would have to live with this car for two weeks. Two weeks that included a road trip from Florida to North Carolina to work the NASCAR race over the Memorial Day weekend. There were already several things working against the VW prior to its arrival; we had already been spoiled by the Cadillac SRX for road trips. In fact we called it the best vehicle going for a road trip. The CC was also a VW, which like those Brussels sprouts from our childhood was already on our “we don’t like list.” And did we mention it was a VW?
The first impression of the outside was, by begrudging admittance, a good one. The CC was once a Passat only a little larger. Now it is a sedan of its own; it now has its own distinct profile, and that profile is long, lean and sleek. In short, this is a very good-looking car. Ok, so it looks good, but like adding garnish to a plate, looks aren’t everything. When we first slipped inside though we found a rather comfortable and roomy interior. It’s not large, but certainly not cramped. The eight-way power adjustable and heated seats can be moved to a good position for anyone, and the gauges are well laid out and easy to read. But ah, we saw a problem. The touch screen in the center seems small, really small, as in 5 inches of too small. So there you have it, here’s another VW that will be slid under the table when mom’s not looking.
Then we drove it.
On the road the 200-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to the 6-speed transmission delivers great performance. The ride is smooth and although it does take a little getting used to the throttle response (the transmission sometimes seems to wait a split second at times before waking up) the more we drove the CC, the more we liked it.
In 2013 the CC got a mid-cycle refresh. VW kept the distinct profile but tweaked some of the details in front and in back like adding LED lamps, among other upscale touches. They also added a third seat in the back doing away with the two-seat arrangement that many disliked.
The 2014 CC is offered in four trim levels, the base Sport model, the R-Line, Executive and VR6 4Motion Executive.
The base Sport comes packed with standard features like 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights, LED taillights and daytime running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, cruise control, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar support). The good-looking interior has leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio, Volkswagen's Car-Net telematics, a navigation system and an eight-speaker sound system with a touchscreen interface, a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod interface. Like mentioned the screen is a bit small and there is a little annoyance at the lack of a USB port; Germans are Apple people we guess. However, overall there are a great deal of standard features, all well made.
Our test model was the R-Line, which adds 18-inch wheels and special exterior styling.
The Executive adds a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, a hands-free wave your foot under the back bumper easy-open trunk, leather upholstery, and most importantly an upgraded navigation system with a slightly larger screen. The VR6 4Motion Executive adds all-wheel drive, a V6 engine, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding exterior mirrors, heated windshield washer nozzles, an upgraded trip computer screen, ventilated front seats, a massaging function and memory settings for the driver seat, a power rear sunshade and a premium sound system.
Here’s an issue: The R-Line we had tops out at an MSRP of $34,990. For that you get a lot for your money. The more we drove it, especially when we hit the open road, the more of a great value the CC seems to be. On the highway, the CC cruises with ease, has phenomenal range, near 500 miles with a 31 highway mpg and has we learned, turns out to be a great highway cruising machine; a great cruiser as in if you don’t need the SUV size of the Cadillac SRX, the CC is a perfect choice.
When you move up to the Executive line, the MSRP goes over $40,000. Then the value may not seem as good.
On our road trip the CC was a comfortable car that turned heads and impressed everyone who rode in it. We found ourselves smiling and saying,” Yup, it’s a VW.” A trip up US highway 52, a twisting curvy perfect piece of mountain road followed by a short jaunt on the Blue Ridge Parkway on a perfect sunny day sealed the deal: VW has a winner with the CC, but only if you stick with the Sport of R-Line. At those levels, you get a great sedan loaded with features that rival Audi, Lexus or BMW. Unlike the Audi, Lexus or BMW however there is no snobbishness here; it’s like getting a great European luxury performance sedan with all the bells and whistles and none of the arrogance; and at a great price.
We now love Brussels sprouts by the way. And now have a reason to like Volkswagen, it’s called the CC.
The 2014 Volkswagen CC (R-Line)
Engine (Base as tested): 2.0 L 4-cylnder, 200 hp @ 5100 rpm, 207 ft-lbs. torque @ 1700 rpm
EPA Estimated: 22 city, 31 highway, 25 combined
MPG (as tested, mixed conditions) 29 mpg.
Base Curb Weight (lbs) 3358
Front Head Room (in) 37.4
Second Shoulder Room (in) 54.7
Passenger Capacity 5
Second Head Room (in) 36.6
Front Leg Room (in) 41.6
Passenger Volume (ftÂ³) 93.6
Second Leg Room (in) 37.3
Front Shoulder Room (in) 56
Width, Max w/o mirrors (in) 73
Wheelbase (in) 106.7
Track Width, Rear (in) 61.4
Height, Overall (in) 55.8
Length, Overall (in) 188.9
Min Ground Clearance (in) 5
Track Width, Front (in) 61.1
Cargo Area Dimensions
Trunk Volume (ftÂ³) 13.2
Basic 3 Yr./ 36000 Mi.
Drivetrain 5 Yr./ 60000 Mi.
Free Maintenance 2 Yr./ 24000 Mi.
Roadside 3 Yr./ 36000 Mi