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CC remains distinctive Volkswagen

| Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

Volkswagen's upscale CC compact sedan is nicely put together with a coupe silhouette, pretty lines, a taut, refined ride, well-crafted interior and, for 2013, seats for five.

In response to dealer and customer feedback, VW removed the two rear bucket seats, with console between, and replaced them with a padded and sculpted bench seat that has a resting spot and seat belt for a middle passenger.

It's the first time since the CC debuted in the 2009 model year that the car has the traditional five-seat configuration of other sedans. A five-seat option was offered in previous model years.

Further changes for 2013 include restyled front and rear with standard bi-Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps that swivel up to 15 degrees as the car goes through corners. The 2013 CC also gets light-emitting diodes for its taillamps and license plate illumination.

The interior is upgraded, too, with new head restraints that can adjust fore and aft and automatic climate control with humidity sensor that helps keep window glass free of condensation.

Best of all, the CC includes free scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever happens first. This Carefree Maintenance Program is on all new VWs.

CC pricing rises slightly from the 2012 model year. Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, for a base 2013 CC Sport is $31,435 with manual transmission and $32,535 with dual-clutch automatic. The base CC features a 200-horsepower, turbocharged, direct-injection, gasoline four cylinder.

A 280-horsepower gasoline V-6 is available on the upper level Executive model that starts at $42,245. It has an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Note: All-wheel drive is offered only on the V-6-powered CC.

The CC started life as a VW with standout aesthetics, and the distinctive styling continues with the new hood, grille, lights and bumpers. The sides now have more prominently sculpted lower sills, and the CC looks somewhat low to the ground.

The test CC, a base model with six-speed manual transmission, handled emergency maneuvers as well as day-to-day driving with confidence and composure. Highway travel was pleasant, too.

The test car rode with its 15.75-foot-long body well-controlled and tamped down over road bumps.

There was never any wallowy or loose feel in the CC motions. And, most road bumps were well-managed below the car, leaving passengers to feel mostly mild vibrations.

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