There is no denying the pleasure brought on by a good road trip - made even better by the current sub-$2.00 per gallon gasoline. More than just a destination from point A to point B, road trips are a journey that should be enjoyed. The pairing of road trips and the vehicles driven is comparable to matching up a great steak and a complimenting glass of wine. Recently we had the opportunity to take the 2009 Volkswagen CC on a long-distance road trip from Tampa, Fla. to New Orleans, La., and our experience with VW’s new four-door coupe could easily be compared to enjoying a beautifully cooked medium-rare filet mignon paired up with the perfect glass of Pinot Noir. If an eight-hour trip on Interstate 10 isn’t enough to point out a car’s smallest flaws, nothing will.
On our weeklong journey with the new CC we quickly realized that if a person is looking to get noticed in a car without driving a Bentley or Mercedes-Benz, then VW’s newest model should do the trick. More than once along the highway portion of the trip, cars would speed up to get close the CC trying to figure out what it was. Other than two large VW emblems gracing the front grille and rear decklid, there are no other badges or emblems to be found. The sleek roofline and short decklid give the CC an identifiable look even when compared against the innovator of the four-door coupe segment, the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. Although the CC is a derivative of the Passat, the cars share no components inside or out.
Normally, I’d prefer to stay away from black cars due to the added maintenance (and difficulty in photography) that the color brings, but when clean, our test car’s Dark Black hue looked spectacular against the brightly contrasting chrome trim. The sporty 18-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels came wrapped in all-season rubber with the ability to self heal small punctures.
The 2009 Volkswagen CC we tested came decked out in the top-of-the-line VR6 4Motion trim, which combined comforting luxury with the latest technologies to help make the cabin a welcoming environment. The swept roofline equates to a four-passenger seating arrangement with seats that are shaped for optimal comfort but offer adequate bolstering and sit low for a sports car feel. Even after eight hours behind the wheel, the CC’s seats were comfortable, offering 12-way power adjustments and lumbar support for the two front seats.The two-tone leather seats and aluminum accents on the instrument panel and center console helped give the CC a stylish interior to match its unique exterior.
Despite the short decklid, the CC’s 13 cubic feet of trunk space is surprisingly large with the ability to fit about four golf bags lengthwise. For longer items, the 60/40 split rear seat offers both a small pass-through and the ability to fold flat altogether. While most cars are ditching the spare tire to shed precious pounds, the CC has a full-size matching spare under the cargo area.
Transversely mounted under the hood of the new CC we tested is a 280-horsepower version of Volkswagen’s 3.6-liter VR6. While a manual transmission is available only in the CC Sport, the fun-to-drive six-speed automatic offers a sport shift mode that holds each gear longer for increased performance or a Tiptronic manual shift for a more personable shifting experience. VW claims that the 2009 CC VR6 4Motion can run from 0-60 miles per hour 6.2 seconds, while attaining EPA fuel economy estimates of 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Cruising along at 80 mph on the flat and straight I-10, the CC we tested averaged well over 28 mpg.
Roads in northern states are notorious for their poor conditions but after the long weekend in New Orleans, the Crescent City’s roads are now the biggest loser in my book. The CC felt nimble on the few tight, winding roads we could find in Florida and it was smooth on long interstate highway runs, so the first glimpse of a Rabbit-sized pothole on St. Charles Ave. had me preemptively searching for tire and alignment shops in New Orleans. Fortunately, the quick-reacting steering helped navigate around most of the road hazards, while the sturdy suspension and tires took up the rest of the slack.
One area the new CC didn't excel in is the crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2009 Volkswagen CC received four-star ratings for front-impact protection, while the side-impact tests resulted in a five-star rating for front passengers and four stars for the rear passengers. Despite its low stance and all-wheel drive, the CC also received four stars for rollover avoidance. The all-new CC comes with a list of standard safety equipment and features that include:
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