Looking for a long-term fix

imageMaria Fitzpatrick asks five experts for their home improvement advice

What’s in a name? Not much if you are Volkswagen, which trades model names like Top Trumps. As from this year, the 39-year-old Passat name graces the rumps of two entirely separate models, the first in Europe, the second in North America and the Far East. The larger American Passat is built at VW’s new Chattanooga plant in Tennessee, whereas European Passats continue to be built in Emden, Germany.

This leaves the niche models from the European platform in a bit of a spin. The Passat CC, for example, is a four-door, four-seat coupé, launched in 2008 and well received in the US and Europe. But which Passat should form the basis for a CC upgrade, US or European? VW has stayed with the European Passat as a base. The Passat name has been dumped though, so that the new “Passat” coupé is now called simply CC.

How new, then, is the new CC exactly? As we established with the revised Passat last year, there wasn’t a lot of reason to relaunch this car, other than VW Group Purchasing demanding that its new electronic architecture was adopted across the entire group. Since the old (Passat) CC coupé had upgraded electronics and additional refinement over its old Passat basis anyway, there was even less reason to upgrade other than a new satnav screen and a host of electronic whizz bangs of dubious merit.

And so it transpires. The new CC gets new wires and a new nose and tail, but keeps its frameless doors, roof and wings. It is the last VW to receive the Walter de Silva corporate grille, while the headlamps and tail lamps are sleeker and narrower. In truth, it doesn’t look much different: this car is as smooth as a lounge bar pianist, without a bum note along its 15ft 9in of coachwork. There’s quite a wedge look to it and the roofline sweeps across the compound curved rear screen and into a gently tapered tail. This is still a quietly handsome car.

Inside, the fixtures are standard Passat with upgraded trim, instruments and steering wheel. It sets high standards: the fancy double-curved dashboard top, the soft-touch plastics, the Teutonically concise sans-serif typefaces on the instruments; a lot of thought has gone in here. Accommodation is generous and the whole cabin has a simple, attractive, almost transatlantic design that rivals BMW and Mercedes and even the vanguard of German interiors, sister company Audi.

Gearbest TS - BT35A08 Bluetooth 3.0 Car Audio Music Receiver with Handsfree Function Mic
TS - BT35A08 Bluetooth 3.0 Car Audio Music Receiver with Handsfree Function Mic only $2.99