Friday, December 20, 2013

2014 Volkswagen CC R-Line test drive review. Much better at delivering to a food pantry than a Camaro

My 10-year-old son has a December birthday, and we usually throw a party for him.  But instead of asking for presents, I am very proud to report that for the past five years, he has asked his friends to bring canned food items instead of gifts.  Last year, he collected a record 442 items.  This year, he shattered his own record with 674 items!  People are really getting behind his efforts, and he gets a good feeling from taking his donations to the St. Vincent DePaul food pantry each year. 

There is one issue, though.  We have to get all those cans, bags, and boxes out of our basement and over to the food pantry.  My car is a 2012 Camaro.  If you’re familiar with those, you know that they have a comically tiny trunk opening.  And the old HMC pickup already went into winter hibernation at my sister’s house.  There is no way that 674 food items were going to fit in a Camaro.  Luckily, the folks at Volkswagen helped us out by providing a 2014 CC R-Line.  This might not seem like a big car at first glance, but it swallowed up everything we fed it.

The CC is essentially a Volkswagen Passat with a sweeping fastback body design.  I think it looks way better than a Passat, but there is a penalty in regards to rear headroom.  That’s what everyone says, anyway.  I suppose if you’re tall, you might notice it.  But it wasn’t an issue for BHo, and it certainly didn’t limit our ability to cram in food from the seat to the ceiling.  Up front, things are roomy and airy.  The instrument panel is, for lack of a better term, kind of old-fashioned, which means you won’t suffer from claustrophobia by being tightly surrounded by technology and cup holders.   My dad said it reminded him of his Buick Lucerne in there, which really isn’t that strange of a comparison.

I liked the interior environment.  The seats were sporty lookin’ two-tone numbers made from genuine fake leather.  The driver’s seat hunkered down to the floor the way I like it.  The telescoping steering wheel extended back pretty far, just the way I like it.  I had a little trouble acclimating myself to some of the controls.  Why is the cruise control control on a separate stalk under the turn signal control?  Why does the steering wheel button where the radio controls belong change the digital gauge cluster display?  I think this was mostly me trying to get used to the way business is done in a German car.  Once you got used to it, it obviously wouldn’t be an issue.

This one had the R-Line package, which doesn’t add any performance, but does offer some sporty appearance touches.  This trim upgrade features larger front fog lights, 18-inch wheels, rocker panel skirts, and stainless steel pedals, along with R-Line badging on the grille and door sills.  It would also offer paddle shifters if you had an automatic, but this car had a beautiful-shifting six-speed manual transmission.   “Bi-Xenon” headlamps and LED hockey stick taillights added to the high-tech appearance.

Motivation comes from a 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 207-lb/ft. of torque.  This is not an aggressive setup.  It runs fine, but isn’t going to pin you back in your seat.  It is smooth, though.  There were a couple of times that I was driving on the highway in fourth gear at 70-mph, and never even noticed it until I glanced at the tach.  Everything is just so quiet and understated that you really don’t notice how hard it’s working.  Well, you don’t notice most of the time.  I did feel the pinch a little bit when we were hauling 674 canned food items uphill out of our neighborhood.

I was actually really surprised at how good of a car this is.  For an as-tested price of $33,890, I would definitely consider it before I’d go buy a humdrum Camry or Accord.  At least this Volkswagen is pretty fun to drive for a front-wheel-drive car.  And from an appearance standpoint, it blows those cars out of the water.  I’m not going to permanently replace my Camaro with it, but for people that want this type of car, I can definitely see why they would like the CC.

I was sure glad to replace the Camaro with it this week, though.  It did everything we asked of it in comfort, roominess, and style.  You really can’t want much more than that.  Pictures are in the slideshow belowA better version is at this link.


  1. Nice review, and great story!

  2. agree this is better looking than the standard passat. like the instrument cluster and dash, and while that interior is a bit jarring at first, i like it. defintely agree at that price point, a great alternative to the camry (ugh) and accord. - mike t.