Those of you who routinely follow us, here at Mind Over Motor, may have noticed that my posts last week were a bit light. It wasn’t because I was nodding off, it was because I was going through the process of purchasing my new (but used) daily driver, this beautiful 2012 Volkswagen CC Sport.
I, like many car enthusiasts, am seen as a sort of car guru by my friends and family, who often turn to me for advice on all things relating to automobiles. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back too much here, but they all know that I am quite well informed on many aspects of automobillia, especially when it comes to buying the right car. So when I actually wind up signing papers on a car for myself, I always get a lot of questions as to why I chose the car I bought.
My purchase of this Volkswagen CC is the result of over a year of serious consideration, as well as many years of playing “what if” games on Auto Trader. Given that this blog is largely about documenting our lives as they relate to our passion for automobiles, I wanted to do a post that shows you, the reader, my thought process for the purchase of my CC.
So, why the CC?
Just look at the thing, and ask yourself “why not?” I needed a somewhat normal car to do normal, everyday things with. As far as such things go, the CC is pretty much the creme-de-la-crop in terms of style and general desirability. We all know that the worst crime a car can commit is to be boring, so if I had to have a more normal car, I at least wanted one that would turn a few heads.
My love for the Volkswagen CC goes back to a point in time that I distinctly remember. It was August 2008 and I was at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Bugatti had just unveiled the Veyron convertible, the Gran Sport, to the world, and I was walking over to where it sat on the Concept Lawn to get a closer look. Naturally, there was a huge crowd around the Bugatti, so I couldn’t actually see it as I walked up. What I could see was a gleaming gold car with sleek, swoopy lines sitting just to the left of the crowd of people. I quickly lost my immediate interest in the Veyron Gran Sport, and made my way over to see what this other car was.
It was clearly a Volkswagen, but one unlike any I had ever seen. Volkswagens of the mid-2000s era were nice cars, but they were always a bit plain-Jane when it came to their outward appearance. Whatever this striking car was, it completely knocked my socks off. I asked the lonely VW rep who was standing there attentively, waiting for the inevitable question, “What on earth is this?” He told me it was called the CC, and that it was based on the Passat. I of course immediately connected the dots between the Mercedes CLS and the car I was looking at, and was then compelled to ask if it was for real or if the CC was just a design concept. He told me the first models would be hitting showrooms soon for the 2009 model year, and with that my interest was insatiably piqued.
You see, the Volkswagen CC has that extra touch of something that has been lost to most modern cars. Sure it may be just a Passat underneath, but the extra effort put into the design and sensation of the car makes it feel much more special by comparison. Instead of just making another car that fits the cookie-cutter mold, Volkswagen made the CC into a regular-style sedan that people will actually lust for.
The flavor of the CC makes me think back to the 1950s era when cars were fun. Cars had a lot of style for style sake, and that made them both exciting and inspiring. Much of that passion and excitement faded away in the last few decades and we now live in an era where most cars all look the same. The CC goes against the grain in the modern sea of similarity, bringing back some excitement with its sleek, sexy shape.
The credit surely goes to the Mercedes CLS for founding the modern car design renaissance, but I credit the CC with bringing it to the masses because it is a far more attainable car. For the price of a loaded Toyota Camry, you could have a CC that would seriously turn heads. Since the CC hit the market, other affordable cars, such as the Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Avalon, have followed suit with designs that are far more interesting to look at.
The CC is a car of substance. I have noticed that people’s reactions greatly differ depending on whether they have seen the car or not. If someone just asks, “What kind of car did you get?” they sort of just nod and move on with their life the minute they hear “Volkswagen.” The CC definitely doesn’t have the superficial badge status of a BMW, Mercedes or an Audi. Having said that, when people do see the car, they usually say something along the lines of, “Wow, nice car. Is it a Mercedes?” And they are always rather surprised when I tell them it’s a Volkswagen, pleasantly surprised that is.
What other cars did you consider?
My serious interest in the Volkswagen CC started about a year ago when I wrote a review of a 2010 CC Sport. In between now and then, I jumped around quite a bit. Here is how my decision process went.
VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI
A few weeks after I reviewed the 2010 CC, I went and reviewed a Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI with a manual gearbox. I found that the Sportwagen TDI is, indeed, the “enthusiast’s economy car” and it soon became my favorite option over the CC.
It’s allure: 10mpg better than CC and Wagon Swagger
It’s detractors: Expensive diesel fuel during winter, boring styling that would require customization (meaning money), infrastructure for diesels (while improving) still isn’t quite here in full force and I couldn’t tinker with it myself like I could with a gas car.
Ford Fiesta ST
It’s allure: Rave reviews from everyone, fun performance with 30mpg, brand new car with a full factory warranty… for what that’s worth.
It’s detractors: Very small proportions and cheap build quality. But really it was just too similar to my Subaru STi, and I felt the two would conflict.
This is where I decided I wanted a car more focused on luxury and comfort, something that would do what the STi can’t do for me. This is also the point at which I decided to go with an automatic.
It’s allure: Proven hands-off reliability, fun to drive.
It’s detractors: Boring overall appeal, strained and peaky engine doesn’t suit relaxation well.
All that said, if for some reason this CC has a lot of issues and doesn’t work out, then I will likely get rid of it and buy myself an Acura TSX, saying “I guess this is why people are so damn boring, because boring works.” Hopefully that won’t occur.
Kia Optima Turbo
It’s allure: 100k warranty as standard, I liked it when I drove it, 2.0L Turbo package is what I really wanted.
It’s detractors: Known issues with build quality, track record of reliability issues.
The whole time I was looking at this Kia I just kept thinking to myself, “I’d much rather have a CC.”
It’s allure: Reputation for high quality, a fast hybrid, world-class luxury car
It’s detractors: Very mediocre fuel economy, battery replacement costs $5,000-$8,000 when out of warranty, and the whole reason you buy a Lexus in the first place is to not have expensive problems. The end..
At this point my mind started to turn back to toward European cars.
The last option I considered was if I were to sell my Subaru STi, I could spend another $10,000 and have myself a Certified BMW 335d or 335i.
The BMW 335d offers phenomenal performance with great diesel fuel economy. Problem is, it only comes as an automatic, and if I were to get rid of my beloved Subaru, I’d be needing a clutch pedal.
335i allure: A great mix of luxury and sport, 380whp capable from an intake and a chip.
335i detractors: It really just came down to me wanting to go the two car route, one for daily duties, and the other for fun. Had that not been the case, this article would be about my new BMW 335i.
You can never have total fun with a car you need to rely on, so it’s best to have your practical transportation needs covered, and then go all-out on a secondary vehicle.
How did the buying process go with the CC?
First, I found a nice example of a 2011 CC Lux with 36,000 miles, but the dealer wanted far too much money for it, and it needed a bunch of work (tires, brakes, body, etc). The market is absolutely flooded with off-lease CCs right now, so don’t let anyone try and charge you top-dollar. It is very much a buyer’s market.
After deciding to pass on that one, I went and found this 2012 CC Sport at another local dealer. It had 41,000 miles on it with new brake pads/rotors, new front tires, and the expensive 40k service all done. It’s price had been dropped to $17,500 from $20,800 as a CPO car because nobody has been buying cars with all the inclement weather we’ve had this winter. I decided to pounce, and wound up spending just over $22,000, all said and done, for this car with a full-coverage extended warranty up to 101,000 miles — a savings of at least $4,000 from the other CC I had looked at. Believe me, I’m quite happy.
How has the CC been so far?
I’ve only had the car for about a week, but so far I’m thrilled with it. It is just so comfortable and relaxed, very much the opposite character to my STi. I find myself content with just cruising in my CC, and paying attention to driving smoothly for fuel economy.
Speaking of which, the CC has been averaging around 10mpg better than my STi, overall, at 26-27mpg. I had a 35 mile trip with a little more highway cruising, and the car did 30.5mpg in sub-zero temperatures with crappy winter gas in its tank. If it can do well now, then I know it will be great once things really start to warm up. Even still, I’ve put around 220 miles on the car so far, and it has only used half of its tank. By comparison, I would usually have to fill up the STi right about now.
When performance is needed, the CC is happy to give it, though. Its 2.0L TSI engine makes a healthy amount of power and torque, and there is decent pull from low revs. This makes the CC feel relaxed on the road, even when I’m driving it fast, and that is exactly what I wanted.
Overall, I must say I am loving my Volkswagen CC. It is way more practical, way more comfortable, way more classy, and way more economical than my Subaru STi, and don’t even get me started on the difference in ride quality. What’s more, I always find myself compelled to look back at the CC every time I get out of it. What this car has is special, and it seems to be exactly the different kind of special that I was looking for.
Don’t get me wrong here, I love my Subaru STi, but the CC is undoubtedly better for the role of a daily driver. By fitting into that role, the CC will allow me to enjoy the STi more fully. This seems to be a win-win situation, and that is exactly what I was going for.
Now that you’re a V-Dubber, are you going to get addicted to Stance?
What are your plans for the CC then, if not to go low?
The CC, for me, is a luxury car that I plan to drive every day. I need it to be comfortable, efficient, practical, and just generally relaxing. I don’t want to have to worry about scraping on speed bumps, and I don’t want to deal with a leaky air suspension.
The only things I plan to do at some point are to get some nice summer wheels for the car, and maybe do some small aesthetic accents. Mechanically, I plan to leave the car alone so that I won’t void my warranty. If I get the urge to do modifications, that is what my other car is for.
Summing things up
So now I will drive my CC, and see how everything goes. My initial impressions are that it is exactly what I wanted, and I hope it continues to impress. I plan to check back after I’ve lived with the CC for a while to share more about what it is like. Having said that, I feel that this has been a nice welcome for the CC into my car-centric life.
-Article by Nick Walker