- We like...Looks, drive, space
- We don't...Only a four-seater
New Passat-based four-door coupe is a stunner. But is it good enough to tempt buyers away from BMW's 3-series?Can the words ‘sexy-looking’, ‘diesel’,’Volkswagen’ and ‘coupe’ ever keep company happily in the same sentence? Here they can, because the Volkswagen Passat CC is a diesel-engined coupe and, yep, it’s sexy looking.
VW’s designers have taken the engine, running gear and basic cabin structure from the sober-sides Passat saloon and reworked them around a swoopy-roofed body that looks good. However, where most coupes are two-door, this keeps all the saloon’s doors but loses a seat along the way, so there’s room for just four aboard.
Still, they’ll sit in almost ridiculous comfort in its big glossy cabin. Those in the back have huge space and even the sloping top dsn’t impinge on headroom unless you’re really long in the body. Meanwhile, those up front have great space and comfort, thanks to exceptionally well shaped sports chairs that hold you firmly but gently.
The cabin will look familiar to anyone who’s spent time in the current Passat saloon. But that’s no bad thing, because it’s one of the best-looking interiors this side of a Mercedes or Audi, and VW has changed the blue back-lit dials to glow white and added chrome rings at their edges. The wheel and gearshift are new, too – or at least, they’re pinched from the make’s seldom-seen luxury saloon, the Phaeton.
Unusually for this type of car, the boot is a monster – box-shaped and with a loading lip that’s nice and low. As is the fashion now, there’s no latch button on the boot lid – you can open it only using a button inside the cabin, or else by pressing the keyfob.
The engine here is the 140bhp 2.0 diesel that also propels other VWs and Skodas, Audis and Seats, too. It’s among five – three petrol, and one other diesel - to pick from and VW believes two out of three CC owners will choose it. They’d be wise, because it zings what’s a hefty car along sweetly, feeling in ours even more lively than when we’ve driven it in other cars. Fuel economy is superb and exhaust emissions are low.
The CC sits noticeably lower than the standard Passat and the CC has the same adjustable damping as the Scirocco, so a button lets you pick ‘comfort’ or ‘sport’. You’ll notice the difference, because ‘sport’ ties the car down more firmly through bends, but it keeps its absorbent, composed ride in either setting.
It’s never a quick car with this engine but you can push it along swiftly thanks to its easy controls and light, reasonably precise steering. That said, this is no sports coupe: it’s more about covering distances smoothly and rapidly than leathering through curves, fast as you dare.
For the money, it compares well against the cars the VW says it’s pitched against. It’s a pretty alternative to a BMW 3-series and while it has little of that car’s sharp responses it is nevertheless a treat to drive. But it is still a Volkswagen, albeit a toned and polished one. And badge snobbery may mean that too many potential buyers pick sure-fire prestige over understated class.
- Engines2.0 diesel
- 0-60 mph9.8secs
- Insurance groups11
Motors.co.uk value verdict: