Volkswagen Passat CC coupe de grace

Iain Dooley checks out Volkswagen's elegant Passat coupe – the desirable CC.

Engines – Despite the CC being pitched by Volkswagen as a premium model, you do get a wide choice of 'regular' engines. All the VW units are a known quantity and it's really hard to find an underachiever. The main issue will be how you use the car – if you plan to rack up the miles then go for one of the excellent diesels, if not then a quieter petrol motor should be your choice.

Exterior – It might have a boot and four doors but Volkswagen would like you to think of its Passat CC as a coupe. It certainly possesses the swooping profile, yet all the familiar VW traits are present – the 'family' nose, clean lines and impeccable build quality.

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Interior – The car's roofline might be low at the back but you can still get adults inside the CC without too much complaint. Granted, the company's Passat does a better job, but the CC looks much prettier. And while the two cars' cabins might be similar, the CC comes with a better grade of materials, illustrating its higher original asking price.

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Driving – With a torquey diesel under the bonnet the Passat CC flies. It also rewards keen drivers if you're that way inclined. Petrol variants display a hushed character, and one better suited to making steady, unhurried progress. Ride quality is equally polished, and does much to reinforce the car's premium standing.

Ownership – Like any other premium saloon – or coupe – you'll need the space to park and store it. If that's not an issue, living with a CC is pretty painless. This is the case for VWs in general, and the CC makes it doubly satisfying thanks to the subtle but welcome touches inside and out. It's also surprisingly practical, and there's no reason why it couldn't be used as an executive family car if required.

What to look for – The Passat CC isn't your average high-mileage ex-company car, so you can expect most examples to have been respected and, sometimes, pampered. You'll still need to be on the lookout for parking dents and kerbed wheels, but evidence of a patchy service history or damaged interior trim will be unlikely.

Model history – 2008, Volkswagen introduces new Passat CC variant – designed to look like a four-door coupe. Positioned above the conventional Passat saloon and estate models, cabin ambience was more luxurious thanks to the choice and grade of trim and upholstery materials. Running costs are on a par with the regular Passat thanks to the wide choice of familiar petrol and diesel engines.

Reasons to buy – Elegant alternative to a conventional saloon, Volkswagen brand image, good to drive.

Reasons to beware – Cabin not as spacious as regular saloon, snobs will look down on the VW badge.

Pick of the range – Passat CC 2.0 TDI CR.

What to pay – 2008 08 �16,295; 2008 58 �16,805; 2009 09 �18,310. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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