All in the style

Affordable eye-catchers



Driving a car that looks a million bucks needn’t cost you a fortune to buy. Volkswagen’s CC is a great example of a new breed of sveltely styled passenger cars that look more expensive than they actually are. The key is technology sharing. Underneath the four-door “coupe” body – as the marketers insist such sedans should be dubbed – is componentry from the mainstream and humdrum Passat. Indeed, until a mid-2012 makeover, the CC was actually known as the Passat CC.

Considering the CC is more expensive than the Passat and its slicker roofline means rear headroom isn’t as generous, you might wonder just why anyone would opt for it. That styling has a lot to do with it. Four-door coupes are usually priced in the hundreds of thousands while the CC’s price starts at $54,990 – and it doesn’t look that much less exotic. And while the price didn’t go up with the update a whole lot of new high-tech equipment became available.

VW isn’t the only player looking for upmarket appeal from a mainstream car. Peugeot’s new 508 has a slinky French style to it, while VW’s prestige brand Audi offers the A5 Sportback in some relatively affordable guises.



The CC comes as a four-cylinder diesel or V6 petrol (with all-wheel drive), both versions employing a six-speed dual-clutch transmission as standard.

Pros: Extensive luxury equipment list, eight airbags and five-star safety, diesel economy, petrol performance, high-quality interior presentation.

Cons: Terse ride, limited rear headroom.


Audi A5 Sportback

Sportback means hatchback and A5 means A4 mechanicals, including a wide variety of petrol and diesel engines.

Pros: Spacious and high-quality interior, massive boot with easy access, frugal drivetrains, cheapest (four-cylinder front-drive) models nicest to steer.

Cons: The more expensive the model the less satisfying the drive, equipment for the price, no middle-rear seat.


Peugeot 508

The big new Pug is a real return to form after the disappointing 408. Comes with a choice of turbo-petrol and turbo-diesel engines driving the front wheels.

Pros: Appealing pricing, high equipment level, poised on-road behaviour of GTI model.

Cons: Still doesn’t ride like the plush Peugeots of yore.


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