When you think about Volkswagen, if at all, the one word that never comes to mind is pretty. Charming, even funky, like the original Beetle. Functional but ugly, like the old hippie microbus. Engaging, even exciting, like the hot hatchback Golf GTI.
But not pretty—that is, until the CC. It could stand for Cute Car, or maybe you can invent your own moniker. But the 2014 Volkswagen CC R-Line is the pretty Volkswagen, with sleek, coupe-like lines that mimic the Mercedes-Benz CLS and any number of other luxury cars like the Jaguar XF and Audi A7.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2014 Volkswagen CC R-Line||$34,990||$35,025||200 / 207|
|EPA MPG||As Tested MPG||Curb Weight LBS|
|22 / 31 / 25||N/A||3,369|
It is not anywhere in the same league as those expensive hyper machines. But it is a nifty, affordable compact sedan that can carry four people in comfort—five if you don’t mind knees in the air and hard, fanny-pinching close quarters. It might even fool some neighbors into thinking you spent more money than you did.
That’s especially true with the 2014 Volkswagen CC R-Line version, reviewed here, which comes with special alloy wheels and distinctive bumper and fog lights. It’s not even the top of the line, an accolade that belongs to the VR6 4Motion model with all-wheel drive and 280 horsepower from its 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine.
But the VR6 has a sticker price of $43,760. The tested R-Line checked in at $35,025, eight grand less, and likely will satisfy a host of buyers who seek a dollop of pizazz with their cars.
Sure, you don’t get leather upholstery with the R-Line. But the perforated V-Tex is a high quality leatherette that looks good and can barely be distinguished from leather.
You have to settle for 200 horsepower from the R-Line’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That setup comes with Volkswagen’s DSG dual clutch six-speed automatic transmission, where the pricier VR6 has a standard six-speed automatic.
The DSG, done properly as it is in the 2014 Volkswagen CC R-Line, actually is a slick manual gearbox that shifts automatically. With the two clutches, it is poised for the next shift, with one clutch handling first, third and fifth gears and the second handling second, fourth and sixth.
Shifts up or down are nearly imperceptible, yet you feel the power transitions—unlike continuously variable transmissions, which are seamless with no shift points.
Even when using the steering wheel paddles to manually shift the DSG, it uncannily knows whether the driver plans to shift up or down and then simply does it. One clutch engages while the other lets go. VW says the shifts happen in 4/100s of a second, like Olympics timing.
All of this conspires to deliver the overall feeling of a sports sedan instead of a stylish family car. That said, the 2014 Volkswagen CC falls somewhat sports short because its suspension system and electric steering are subtly biased toward a soft ride and comfortable handling. It’s a compromise that should be appreciated in daily driving.
Except for a surge off the line when the turbo kicks and in a noticeable growl from the engine under hard acceleration, the CC cruises relatively quietly on the highway, with some resonance inside contributed by variations in road surfaces. Though noticeable, the ambiance is not tiring.
You’ll find standard navigation, a backup camera and sun visors that slide on their support rods to block sun from the side. The electric parking brake switch handily sits next to the shift lever. There’s a pushbutton start system, sort of. You must insert the key fob in a dashboard slot and then push it in. It pays homage to the modern fad of pushbutton starting but is no better than a regular key.
There are two shift modes for the DSG transmission. In the normal mode, the transmission shifts at lower engine rpms for better fuel economy, contributing to the CC’s city/highway/combined 22/31/25 mpg rating from the EPA.
For more aggressive sprints off the line, the Sport mode holds higher rpms before shifting and even sometimes doesn’t get into sixth gear for cruising. It makes for quick throttle response at any speed and delivers more aggressive engine braking.
The front bucket seats, power operated, offer a myriad of adjustments and solid support for long distance cruising. Surroundings in the 2014 Volkswagen CC R-Line, while not opulent, are simply and tastefully rendered with soft touch surfaces and trim that mimics brushed aluminum.
There’s also a big, nicely finished trunk out back with C-hinges isolated from luggage and rear seatbacks that fold 60/40 to expand the cargo space.
Check out this video review of the 2013 Volkswagen CC R-Line…
Without skipping a week, Frank A. Aukofer has written a motor vehicle review column since 1975. It is distributed to newspapers and web sites around the country. He spent the bulk of his career as a mainstream newspaper reporter and Washington bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal. The column started as a sideline at the Journal and over the years spread to other newspapers and web sites. He is a member of the judging panel for the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year. Aukofer is the author of two books: “City with a Chance” (1968), a history of civil rights in Milwaukee, and “Never a Slow Day” (2009), an autobiography/memoir. With the late Vice Admiral William P. Lawrence, a decorated former Vietnam POW, Aukofer co-authored a Freedom Forum study of the military-media relationship called “America’s Team: the Odd Couple” (1995).