VW Passat CC 1.8 TSi

Can VW's base-level four-door coupé impress as much as upper-spec models?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

For CLS style on a Ford Mondeo budget, look no further than the Passat CC. With its eye-catching styling, impeccable build and excellent turbocharged motor, the newcomer is a very desirable proposition. However, it’s not much fun to drive and is best suited to relaxed motorway cruising. It can’t equal the versatility of the standard Passat saloon, but for style there’s little to match the Comfort Coupé.

Traditionally, buying a coupé has meant sacrificing practicality for style. With the arrival of the Mercedes CLS and BMW X6, however, things are changing. And VW is joining the revolution with its Passat-based, four-door Comfort Coupé (CC).

We were impressed by the range-topping GT (New Cars, Issue 1,008), but does the entry-level 1.8 TSI retain the glamour of the more expensive versions? To find out, we drove the first CC in the UK.

The low-slung coupé profile is similar to that of the sleek CLS, while the nose has a bold grille and swept-back headlamps. Pillarless doors and LED rear lights add extra class.

The beautifully built cabin, meanwhile, resembles that of the saloon, although it’s more sophisticated here. Fresh-look dials, plus a new steering wheel and switchgear, add to the ambience. There are two individual chairs in the back, making the Passat a strict four-seater, and despite the rakish roofline, only those over six feet will feel cramped.

On the road, however, the VW struggles to match more sporting, prestige-badged rivals like Audi’s A4, even with suspension that is stiffer and 15mm lower than the saloon’s. Nevertheless, the Passat is a great motorway cruiser.

The turbocharged 1.8-litre powerplant is a highlight. Punchy and smooth, it gives the car a decent turn of speed, while returning a frugal 37.2mpg.

At £21,040, the CC costs nearly £2,000 more than the equivalent saloon. On the other hand, it’s half the price of the similarly styled CLS. As a result, the CC could almost be considered a bargain.

Rival: Audi A4 1.8 TSI The A4 can’t match the CC’s design, yet it’s still a fine-looking car, with even better build. A sharper chassis makes it more fun to drive.

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