Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

VW Passat CC: It's all in the detail

It has to be admitted that today’s crop of executive saloons is an exquisitely handsome collection. Gone or the quirky and often, to be frank, plus ugly styling gimmicks of he recent past to be replaced by clean flowing, smooth, lithe good looks.

The wind tunnels and computers have done their bit! The problem is, though, as I have remarked before in these pages, modern cars are looking increasingly as if they have been poured from the same jelly mould.

Today the differences are subtle, coming from the fine detail. Take the sleek Volkswagen Passat CC for example. The designers have lowered the roofline and increased the rake of front and rear screens to give a more sporting demeanour.

Unfortunately the priority given to form has pushed function to one side. For anyone taller than 5ft 9in or with exceptionally long legs, getting in and out of this German express is a singularly uncomfortable performance.

That said, once ensconced behind the leather-clad steering wheel, you’ll soon start to smile again. Here the priorities have been reversed: first of all make it all work in an ergonomically correct manner and then make it look good.

The dials and switchgear are a paragon of clarity and good design, Here’s a car the driver wears, like a favoured pair of shoes, rather than just sits in. Comfort and sheer driveability find harmony.

It might sound like a contradiction in terms, but the best way to describe the Passat CC and evoke it appeal is to call if a coupé with four doors. That appeal must be potent because VW have sold nearly 320,000 of this model since its first gednerartion introduction in 2008. Originally a four-seater, the CC now accommodates five and has been considerably updated and improved equipment wise.

As well as the standard CC trim there’s an even better equipped GT version. Across the range there’s sat-nav, two-zone climate control, bi-xenon headlights, and a comprehensive array of safety and security features.

The GT adds full Napa leather upholstery, with heated front seats, cruise control, parking sensors and heat insulating tinted glass from the B-pillar back.

Options include automatic dipping, blind spot monitoring, automatic distance control, front climate seats with massage function, rear-view camera and an electrically deployed tow-bar.

There’s a choice of four engines – 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol derivatives and two versions of a 2.0-litre common rail diesel, offering either 140 or 170 PS.

Notably economical, the CC GT 2.0-litre TDi BlueMotion I had on test will give an impressive 60.1-mpg in the combined cycle yet can get to 62-mph in under 10 seconds and will top 133-mph.

Prices range from £24,385 to £30,595 on the road.

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