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New CC shrugs off Passat name to go up a class

THERE was a time when the Passat was as middle class as a conservatory, decking or a holiday home in Brittas Bay.

Taking pride of place on the cobble lock driveway it told envious neighbours 'I'm doing fine, thank you very much.'

Owners of such a fine machine all came with the customary smug grin, condescending manner and that touch of utter aloofness.

Like life in 'keeping up with the Jones' suburbia, VW decided the 39-year-old brand needed an upgrade for their more "discerning customers" and the Passat CC was born.

Of course that was early 2008 when it became evident that middle Ireland was hurtling toward the edge of a financial cliff.

Sales were sluggish and the four-door, four- seat coupe failed to reach the dizzy heights imagined during the boom.

Fast forward four years and not only is the Passat name missing, so is the opulence of the 3.6 litre, V6 petrol option.



Called simply the CC, it's still targeting middle Ireland but in a more measured, less ostentatious manner.







UNRIVALLED



Available in two diesel offerings -- the 2.0 litre, 140bhp, Tax Band A (€160 a year tax), the more powerful 170bhp Tax Band B (€225 annual duty) or an all-wheel drive 4Motion.

The three are classified as BMT (Blue Motion Technology) and these super efficient oil burners are returning an unrivalled 70mpg (we managed only 55mpg) or an eye-watering 1,200kms to a tank of fuel.

So other than the name, what's new about this latest offering?

Other that the obvious revised front end with massive chrome grille, sleeker headlights, snazzy LED fog lamps and similarly sexy scooping rear lights -- most of the changes are what VW call "electronic re-engineering".

These are mainly safety features including Lane Depart Warning, Auto High Beam Control (dims the lights when it detects on-coming traffic) and Driver Fatigue which senses a lack of concentration in the cockpit which in turn sounds a warning alarm.

It now also comes with a fifth pew, albeit the most uncomfortable and unpractical, it seems more of an afterthought rather than a genuine improvement.

Standard kit is generous though with lots of goodies including half leather heated sports seats, cruise control, Hill Hold and separate daytime running lights with leaving/coming home function to mention but a few.

But one can't help but wonder whether all these gizmos have taken the edge off what should be a really fun driving car.

OK, at 1.5 tonnes and almost 15feet long, it's no rally machine, but the lack of feel and feedback from the electronically powered steering is a tad disappointing as is the absence of that little bit of a hooliganism which VW invented.

It's a great shame as everything else hits the mark as a big comfortable cruiser with a hugely desirable sporty sexy look.

Considering the market and price, this Coupe should have a bit of GTi in there somewhere. Prices for the CC start at €34,910.


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