HIGHLIGHTING the display for Volkswagen Philippines at the 6th Philippine International Motor Show held September 14 to 18 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, the 2017 CC sedan is a delightful new addition to the German automaker’s line-up here in this country.
It is a bit ironic that the CC’s introduction to the Philippines will be the last model year for the hard-to-define package, which seems to fall somewhere between the four-door coupe and sports sedan descriptions. Originally developed for the 2009 model year as an evolution of Volkswagen’s more staid Passat sedan, the CC underwent a cosmetic upgrade for 2012, and has been refined again for 2017, which Wolfsburg says will be the last year of production, although the model will have full after-sales support long beyond the ordinary lifespan of the vehicle, as is Volkswagen’s usual habit.
The debut model featured at PIMS was a fitting centerpiece to Volkswagen Philippines’ display, which also featured the new-to-the-Philippines Caddy minivan, and the latest iterations of Volkswagen’s popular Golf GTI, Beetle, Jetta, Polo hatchback, the Tiguan SUV – in this case, all decked out in a stylish “Business Edition” trim and accessory package – and the Touareg.
Shown in pure white, the first impression one has of the CC is that it is a sports car on the outside, and a respectably luxurious executive sedan on the inside. One of the skeptical observations of reviewers when the CC was first introduced in New York in 2008 was that the development of a sportier sedan from the Passat platform had resulted in less rear headroom; however, this 6,3” writer found space in the rear compartment not only comfortable, but generous. Room up front is even more abundant, thanks in part to the provision of 12-way power seats for both passenger and driver, the latter equipped with additional memory and massage functions. The front seats have been ‘tropicalized’ for the local market as well, featuring individual seat cooling.
The CC is powered by Volkswagen’s reliable 2.0-liter 4-cylinder TDI (Turbo Direct Injection) diesel engine, which generates 177 horsepower, a fairly potent punch for a car in the mid-sized weight class. The CC is equipped with the 6-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) twin-clutch transmission system; while the specific performance of the latest CC is still subject to hands-on review, Volkswagen’s version of the now commonplace hybrid auto-manual gearbox package in its other models is as smooth and responsive as anyone’s.
Drive and ride performance is also enhanced by the CC’s Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) and the DCC Adaptive Chassis Control, which offers three settings in its Drive Profile Selection ranging from “sport” to “comfortable.” Other performance technologies include Engine Drag Torque Control and the Electronic Differential Lock (XDS) system, which both work to ensure good traction and stability.
The 2.0l TDI also features a stop-start system, which is worth a special note for the benefit of those who may not be familiar with this thoroughly European idea (fuel tends to cost roughly five to seven times more in Europe than it does in the Philippines). The stop-start system actually shuts down the engine to prevent excessive idling, and in tests can result in as much as a 10- to 12-percent gain in fuel mileage. In other VW models, particularly quiet runners like the Jetta and Passat, the stop-start system is virtually unnoticeable, once one gets past the mental stumbling block of feeling his engine has just died, but here in the Philippines where we necessarily rely heavily on air conditioning, the fuel savings are not likely to quite as impressive, only about 3 percent. Nevertheless, every little bit helps, and is a small benefit to the environment as well.
As well as watching out for the environment and owners’ wallets, the CC also surrounds its driver and passengers with safety features. Eight airbags are standard equipment – front driver’s and passenger’s, and front and rear side and curtain airbags – and the CC is equipped with a Driver Alert System, which includes blind spot and proximity sensors.
Three versions of the CC – mainly differentiated by having 17-, 18-, or 19-inch wheels – will be offered here in the Philippines, according to Volkswagen Quezon Avenue’s Argel Tolentino, who explained that the new models will likely begin to arrive soon. At this point, pricing for the new CC is not yet available, but will probably be comparable to the Passat, in the P2.3 million to P2.8 million range.
VW expanding its footprint
A relative newcomer in the Philippine market, Volkswagen is pleased with its success thus far, the company’s PR and Events head Timmy De Leon said in an interview. Established here in 2013, VW will this year see dealerships outside the Ayala Group’s Automobile Central Enterprises Inc., which manages the four dealerships around Metro Manila (Bonifacio Global City, Quezon Avenue, Alabang, and Highway Hills, Mandaluyong) and one in Cebu. A sixth dealership is already open in San Fernando, Pampanga, and VW will soon expand its coverage in the provinces, De Leon explained, with dealerships being built in Iloilo and Bacolod.