The Volkswagen Passat has always been safe, solid and sensible, but before 2008 it could never have been accused of being stylish. That was when this handsome four-door coupé — aimed at families wanting dash with their dependability — first appeared.
The Passat CC (CC stands for Comfort Coupé) went on sale alongside the saloon and estate versions and looked much more dynamic than them. With a lower roofline, a wider stance and longer body than the saloon, it exuded a more upmarket, less pedestrian feel.
At first VW offered the CC only as a four-seater with individually sculpted rear seats separated by a generous armrest and storage area, but an April 2010 facelift included an upgrade to three rear seats. Under the skin the Passat CC has the same mechanical ingredients as its saloon sibling, which means it is safe, efficient and largely unremarkable to drive. VW offered Dynamic Drive Control — an adaptive suspension-damping system — as an option on base models and as standard on the GT, providing the three suspension settings of comfort, normal and sport.
The Passat came with a good range of engines — a 2-litre turbodiesel tuned to either 138bhp or 168bhp, and three petrol units. These consist of a 158bhp 1.8-litre, a 197bhp 2-litre turbo (which offers the best blend of power and economy) and a non-turbo 296bhp 3.6-litre.
Regardless of engine choice, all Passat CC models come well equipped, with alloy wheels, electric windows, dual-zone climate control, a touchscreen radio/CD player and speed-sensitive steering as standard, while popular optional extras include leather upholstery and satellite navigation. The Passat CC GT gets larger wheels, darker tinting for the rear windows and front foglamps.
Good value, good looking and undeniably well built, a second-hand Passat CC proves that motoring for the masses need not be a bland-looking business.
Reliability and servicing
There are two routine maintenance options for the Passat CC. Owners who regularly subject their car to short trips, where the engine is often started from cold, or those using the car for towing, can choose an annual or 10,000-mile (whichever is the sooner) service. Higher-mileage users who do a lot of steady, motorway miles should choose condition-based servicing, in which the car monitors the condition of the engine oil, filter elements and brakes, and which is ultimately more economical. The choice of servicing regime is set in the engine management system, and when you buy second-hand you need a VW dealer to set it to your choice if it differs from the existing selection. A minor annual service costs about £220 and a major third-year service costs £320.
VW’s standard new-car warranty covers two years of unlimited mileage, extending to a third year or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. One recall has been logged against the CC, for unexpected loss of drive caused by the control unit of the dual-clutch DSG gearbox.
Finally, a warning about wheel size: while 18in wheels look great, they push tyre price above £200 apiece; 17in wheels keep that down to about £120.
The CC holds its value better than the standard Passat, thanks to a degree of exclusivity. The five-seat version is the most sought after and commands a premium of up to £2,000 over the last of the four-seat models.