DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: I’ve been relatively cool toward the Volkswagen CC since its launch -- it’s always seemed like the brand took a perfectly serviceable Passat, eliminated the back-seat headroom and made the rear doors long and pointy so they’re impossible to open when parked. Call me a stickler for function over form, but it all just came off as rather silly.

This time around, though, I warmed up to this 2015 Volkswagen CC 2.0T Sport. What’s changed? I suspect it has more to do with the variety of entry-luxury German cars I’ve driven lately, along with a recalibration of what constitutes value.

Existential arguments aside, the CC continues in the grand tradition of great-driving Volkswagens. The car gets handling, brakes and manual-transmission feel just about perfect, though I found the steering a little slow, particularly after a few days in the Mercedes-Benz C300. Still, for driving dynamics, the CC is head and shoulders above generic Japanese midsize sedan competitors and close enough to an Audi A4 to make those three extra rings look really expensive.

The effect continues inside, where the CC upgrades the standard Passat furnishings with more elegantly sculpted seats upholstered in a pleated, perforated material. Sure, it’s leatherette, but it’s really good stuff. There’s navigation, a rear-view camera (finally) and dual-zone auto climate control. It’s actually a comprehensive standard equipment package in a base-model Volkswagen -- a refreshing change.

Base-model CC, that is…our 2.0T Sport is as cheap as you can get the CC, yet it’s still $11K more than a stripper Passat (which you wouldn’t want, BTW). That said, there’s a lot of car for the money here, and you won’t see yourself at every stoplight. The CC is quiet on the highway, fun to drive with the manual transmission and, though the roofline compromises the rear accommodations, there’s an enormous trunk. It’s still not my first choice in the segment, but for the first time the VW CC is high up on the list.  

The 2015 Volkswagen CC 2.0T Sport is a cool alternative to the Volkswagen Passat.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: Well, I’m on the other side of the fence. I’ve always like the CC as a cool alternative to the boring Passat, if not more expensive. Styling is off the charts. The profile looks like a damn Mercedes!

Like most VWs, the seats leave a lot to be desired, though the heaters work well. The interior feels more upscale than probably any others in its stable. Headroom is definitely reduced compared to the Passat, but it still seemed like a decent amount of room. Good-sized trunk, too.

Power is just right from the 2.0-liter turbo, anything that’ll spin up the front wheels around a turn is more than enough, at least for the normies. You’ll have no problem passing on the expressway or getting ahead of other drivers at red lights.

Steering is fine, better than most of the Japanese, probably not as good as the German luxury marques. Brakes were solid, with only a little movement before they bite. The suspension is on the stiff side, with only the bigger bumps bouncing you around in the cabin.

Would I buy one of these? No, but anyone looking for a cool sedan in the $30K range would be wise to check it out. Compare it to the Ford Taurus or Nissan Maxima; looks-wise, it blows them away. 

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