The Volkswagen Passat has always been a reliable, if slightly dull estate or saloon option that's great for families and executives without ever really going the extra mile and becoming something truly desirable.
VW changed all that back in 2008 when the Passat CC was revealed. Based on the sixth generation standard Passat, it arrived at a time when the saloon market was being squeezed and buyers were looking for an excuse to seek their automotive thrills elsewhere.
The Passat CC is not a random assignment of letters, but actually stands for 'comfort coupe', which might lead you to assume that this is a two door sportster. In reality you still get the full four door experience for easy access to the rear seats, but this Passat turns heads thanks to its sleeker, smoother design and lower, road-hugging profile.
It's mostly an illusion, because the differences between the CC and its standard sibling are relatively minor. However, perception is incredibly important and VW has managed to exploit this ever since its 2008 debut.
The Volkswagen Passat CC initially only had two seats in the rear, but this was boosted to three in 2010 when a revised model was launched, making it much more practical for family buyers.
Bang for your buck
The used Volkswagen Passat CC is a little longer and wider than the basic model, although it retains the same styling cues, but with a bit more of a sporty edge. On the inside you'll find that VW has gone to work on the trim in order to make it feel a bit more premium than that of the standard Passat. Sat nav became standard from 2010 and there is plenty of other equipment on offer, along with reassuringly luxurious materials used for the upholstery and dash. Electronic seats, 17 inch alloys and a CD autochanger are offered even on the bottom level trim and if you pick the GT edition you get extras such as beefier rims and tinted windows.
In short, the Passat CC is well equipped and a suitable step up from VW's entry level saloon options.
What you'll pay
Early 2008 models of the Passat CC are now pushing close to the £7000 mark if you are going to buy from a private seller. You'll pay a little more for the GT iteration and the TDI engine is particularly common at this price point, although the 1.8 litre TSI petrol power plant is the bog standard engine used on the entry level CC.
What to check
The Passat CC is deserving of its reputation for reliability, perhaps more so than previous generations of this particular VW range.
The engines are rock solid and you're unlikely to find that a used CC has been driven into the ground or ragged to within an inch of its life, because this is a sensible car for sensible people.
Make sure that if you pick the V6-toting edition with the sequential gearbox that this component is in tacked, because replacement can be seriously expensive.
A pair of brake pads for the front wheels of the Passat CC will set you back £75, with £40 cover the cost of the rear pads.
The exhaust system is a hefty £1250 and a new headlamp will force you to hand over £275, so parts for this model can be costly. Hopefully the reliability will minimise maintenance costs in the long run.
How it drives
The approved used VW Passat CC isn't that different from the standard saloon when it comes to looks, so it is unsurprising to find that it also matches its sibling closely when you are behind the wheel.
The driving position is a little lower and the car hugs the road better, but this doesn't translated into a great deal more connectedness with the tarmac.
That's not to say that driving the Volkswagen Passat CC for sale is a dull experience. In fact the car is very refined, living up to the ethos of 'comfort' after which it is partially named.
Even the basic 1.8 litre TSI engine can develop 158bhp, while the 2.0 litre alternative pumps out almost 200bhp and the V6 pushes this closer to 300bhp, albeit at the expense of fuel economy.
The VW Passat CC is a worthwhile used buy because it is relatively affordable and reassuringly manufactured, with a driving experience that should make you smile.