Contemporary and Classic: 2013 VW CC Restyled, Rejuvenated

The front-wheel drive CC has passion and emotion in the styling and behind the wheel.

The Volkswagen CC is a special car in a segment of sameness.

When this midsize four-passenger sport-roof sedan debuted in 2008, it was a mainstream entry in the wake of the Mercedes-Benz CLS. The CC had that same essence of luxury and freedom for not much more than a traditional sedan.

Volkswagen did a big “refresh” on the 2013 CC, and the exterior treatment returns the car to a statement of style. The new front and rear designs add a perception of strength and width while toning down the tapered tail.

The design team did its best to make this sedan seem like a coupe. The doors have frameless windows, the interior is swept back and flow-through, and it is an enjoyable long-distance cruiser. And back-seat legroom is uncouplike long at 37.3 inches.

Still based on the last-generation Passat (which was re-engineered for 2012), the CC has passion and emotion at the curb and behind the wheel, where the Passat is toned down and reserved. Competitors include the Acura TSX, Buick Regal, Hyundai Azera and Infiniti G25.

The front-wheel drive CC is sold in several trim levels with four- and V6-engine choices. The turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder comes with a six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox automatic, simply explained as an automated manual. All-wheel drive is available only on the V-6 model, which is standard with the DSG. Starting prices range from $30,435 to about $41,000. Pricing includes the $820 freight charge from Germany and free scheduled maintenance for the warranty, 3-years/36,000-miles bumper to bumper.

The CC Sport test car with 2.0T, DSG and lighting package was $32,530. The lighting package adds Bi-Xenon headlights (with white sharp beams at night), LED running lights integrated into the headlights and the Adaptive Front-lighting System, which turns the beams up to 15 degrees around corners. Once you see how beneficial this system is at night, you won’t go back to fixed-position headlights.

I drove the tester about 800 miles, including a 12-hour round trip to Las Vegas, and sniffed back a tear when the car went back to VW. The seats are supportive, there are no sightline issues and the ride is quiet with little tire or wind noise (the low 0.284 coefficient of drag is a big help). Braking is without question from 12.3-inch vented front discs and 11.1-inch solid rear discs.

The 2.0-liter engine isn’t overpowered, but the 207 foot-pounds of torque peak at 1,700 rpm, or about as quickly as the turbo spools up. There’s plenty of kick when needed. And the reserved curb weight of 3,367 pounds also benefits fuel economy, which is EPA rated at 22 mpg city and 31 highway on the recommended premium fuel. I was getting in the low 30s on the Vegas run and mid 20s around town. And the cruising range is wide with the 18.5-gallon tank.

The gracious interior is rewarding with its refined materials that appear to be high quality while resisting glitzy treatments. There is clean simplicity in the white-on-black gauges and matte Chromium trim. I appreciated the electric parking brake. The 12-way power passenger seat is a plus, and the two-tone V-Tex leatherette is a fine imitation of the real thing. It has attractive stitching and perforated center sections.

Connecting my phone to the Bluetooth was elusive, but I didn’t take time to read the owner’s manual for directions. Still, this technology has evolved so quickly that most systems sync in seconds without a tutorial. There also is no rearview camera, which as another set of eyes can be priceless. And in my wish book, this car (at this price) deserves a smart key and push-button ignition. The process streamlines entry by allowing the driver keep the fob in pocket or purse, and the doors unlock with a touch to the handle.

You can spend a few thousand more for a smaller entry-lux sedan and get a few more features, but you won’t get the CC’s style and presence.

2013 Volkswagen CC

—Body style: compact, 4-seat, front-wheel-drive sedan

—Engine: 200-hp, 16-valve, DOHC direct-injection 2.0-liter 4-cylinder; 207 foot-pounds torque at 1,700 rpm

—Transmission: 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox automatic

—Fuel economy: 22/31 mpg city/hwy.; premium fuel recommended

—Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons

—Trunk space: 13.2 cubic feet

—Front head/leg/shoulder room: 37.4/41.6/56 inches

—Rear head/leg/shoulder room: 36.6/37.3/54.7 inches

—Length/wheelbase: 188.9/106.7 inches

Curb weight: 3,367 pounds

—Turning circle: 37.4 feet

—Standard equipment includes: 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, power windows with 1-touch up/down on all windows, heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, cruise control, daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, single-zone automatic AC, electric parking brake with hill-hold, carpeted floor mats, Matte Chromium trim, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel and gear shift knob, analog clock, V-Tex leatherette upholstery with heated front seats, 12-way power adjustable front seats with lumbar, rear seat pass through, Premium VIII touch-screen radio with 8 speakers, HD radio, Media Device Interface with iPod cable Bluetooth connectivity and Sirius satellite radio.

—Safety features include: 6 air bags, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction controls, electronic differential lock and engine braking assist

—Base price: $32,530, including $820 freight charge

—Options on test vehicle: none

—Where assembled: Emden, Germany

—Warranty: 3-years/36,000-miles bumper to bumper with free scheduled maintenance and roadside assistance; 5-years/60,000-miles powertrain

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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