Style on a Budget? The 2013 Volkswagen CC Isn't It

There are many reasons I'm drawn to the Volkswagen CC. On the outside, its sloping roofline and sweeping headlights give it an exotic look. Inside, its high-quality cabin also impresses. One of the biggest reasons, however, is that VW's "four-door coupe" always looked like a much more expensive car than it was … until now.

The sleek, swoopy sedan was refreshed for 2013, but a significant price increase has been attached to the minor styling update. The new CC — based on the previous generation — still offers owners a dose of style compared to the more mainstream looks of the redesigned Passat and Jetta, but not as much as before.

Styling tweaks for 2013 make it look more like the new Passat, but that full redesign led to a bigger yet more affordable car. The CC's higher price and new lean toward family styling make it standout less in VW's lineup, so why choose one over a Passat?

Looking at the numbers, it's hard to find a reason. The 2012 CC with its delightfully zippy 200-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder started at $29,335. The 2013 version with the same engine starts much higher: $31,075. V-6 versions climb to $38,555; add all-wheel drive for a steep base price of $42,245 (all prices include an $825 destination charge). Aside from the cosmetic tweaks, the only big difference between model years is in the backseat. The 2012 had a two-passenger backseat; the 2013 offers seating for three.

On the other hand, the 2013 Passat sedan with its respectable but unexciting standard 2.5-liter five-cylinder starts at just $21,640. If you want the potent and efficient 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, it starts at $27,020. At the top, V-6 versions begin at $30,030 (all prices include a $795 destination charge). The Passat is also several inches longer than the CC, with much more passenger volume (102 cubic feet compared to CC’s 94) and cargo space (15.9 cubic feet compared to 13.2).

True, the CC's evocative silhouette still reminds me of much more luxurious cars like the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and Audi A7, but paying more money for a less distinctive design doesn't add up. Yes, the CC is more fun to drive than the Passat and the switch from a four- to a five-seat layout may broaden its appeal, but is updated styling and a usable back-row center seat worth the cost? Although the CC's flirty curves and posh cabin still speak to me, its new price tag speaks louder.

Research the 2013 Volkswagen CC
2013 Volkswagen CC R-Line Starts at $33,020
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