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2013 Volkswagen CC (photos)

Volkswagen's CC is a good-looking midsize sedan trying to punch way above its weight. Volkswagen priced it to be competitive with cars from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, yet most people will compare it with the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET
Volkswagen came out with the CC in 2008, launching the car as a luxury variant of the Passat. The CC stands for Comfort Coupe, as the car's design is based on the idea of a four-door coupe. Unfortunately for Volkswagen, the CC's specs line up with cars that are substantially less expensive.

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For the 2013 model year, Volkswagen updated the CC's looks with the cross-hatched, three-bar grille it designed for the new Jetta and Passat, giving the model lineup a cohesive style.

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Volkswagen also includes bi-xenon headlights standard on the CC, which show off a clear, white light in a very controlled pattern.

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The CC gets Volkswagen's excellent direct injection, turbocharged 2-liter engine, which makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Higher trim level CCs come with a V-6. Each engine powers the front wheels.

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The four-door coupe design gives the CC a very good-looking roofline. Another change for 2013 is a less contoured rear seat, making it possible to seat three across, rather than the two for the car's first generation.

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The CC has a sunroof, but it only opens the trailing edge for ventilation. It does not slide back.

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The suspension of the CC is not high tech, but good turning results in a very comfortable ride and stability when cornering. Most CCs are front-wheel drive, although the top trim is all-wheel drive.

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The trunk does not have much vertical height, but it goes in deep. The rear seats can also be folded down, allowing an even deeper cargo area.

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The interior of the CC is well-appointed, which partially explains Volkswagen's pricing strategy.

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The rear seat area offers a decent amount of legroom and seating for three across.

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Volkswagen sets its trim levels with standard equipment, rather than offering a palette of options for buyers to choose from. This Lux trim car is equipped and priced at the midlevel.

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Volkswagen uses an electric-power-steering system, which is immediately apparent on turning the wheel. The feeling of the boost is different than with a hydraulic system, and there is a slight whirring sound from the electric motor.

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The microphone button activates a voice command system, but it only controls the phone system. There is no voice command for the stereo or navigation.

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The CC has basic, but elegant gauges. The monochrome display in the middle shows audio, phone, navigation, and trip information.

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Volkswagen fits the CC with its Direct Shift Gearbox, a dual-clutch transmission with six gears.

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This navigation head unit is Volkswagen's RNS 315. The maps are stored in flash memory and respond quickly. But the system does not show traffic data, a surprising omission for a car at this price.

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This semicircular menu works very well, controllable with the center dial and through touch.

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The onscreen keyboard also works well, with responsive keys and predictive text.

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The navigation system includes maps in perspective and plan view.

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The hands-free phone system is very good, including access to a paired phone's contact list and even a voice mail feature.

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The voice command system lets you place calls by saying the name of a person in the contact list.

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Along with terrestrial radio, the CC includes satellite radio channels.

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The Bluetooth audio screen shows complete track details.

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Other local audio sources include an SD card slot, CD slot, and the MDI port, which allows plugging in different types of adapter cables.

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The iPod music library screen provides the usual access to album, artist, genre categories.

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The MDI port is hidden away in the glove box, a position that makes it inconvenient to access from the driver seat.

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