_MUCH _ like Madonna Ciccone and Beyonce Knowles, the Passat CC is now known only by one name.
Volkswagen has decided to dub its four-door coupe is simply the CC and, while it may have lost part of its name, the car has lost none of its style or quality.
Bi-Xenon headlights, sat-nav and a rear-view camera plus optimal parking system are among the many features which come as standard, though the 2.0-litre diesel front-wheel-drive 125TDi provided for testing was also equipped with driver-assist and sports packages.
They may have bumped the price up to about $61,000 plus onroads but the driver-assist package, in particular, is worth the extra cash.
It offers blind-spot monitoring, emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, but it's the Lane Assist feature which was most notable during a week spent in the State's South West.
Sensors detect when you are close to veering out of your lane and will automatically steer the vehicle back into the centre of the lane.
At first it's disconcerting but after a while you find yourself with a far more relaxed grip on the wheel and allowing the technology to assist with steering, making long-distance trips far less arduous.
Admittedly, on the tighter, windier parts of Caves Road and when inching into the next lane to look for overtaking possibilities it often felt as though I was wrestling with the car but the feature was easily turned on and off.
In fact, most of the CC's many features are easy to control, with navigation, multimedia, travel log, phone, oil temperature and more all usable via simple steering wheel controls and a monitor alongside the tachometer.
The adaptive cruise control is also less severe than in other cars - you can adjust the distance between the vehicle in front before it kicks in, while the optimal parking system shows where obstacles are all around the car, which makes squeezing into tight spaces a piece of cake.
Perhaps the best example of the cumulative effect of all these features was when I hopped into another car at the end of the trip - having to steer all by myself, brake when coming up behind cars and needing to turn my head when reversing rammed home just how much mental and physical energy the driver-assist package saves.
Of course, there are other cars out there of a similar size offering similar technology - the cheaper Mazda6, for one. So what do you get for your extra money?
First, there is a distinct air of luxury about the CC. The interior is plush, cabin noise is a minimal hum, and while the "four-door coupe" description may have many rolling their eyes, it's a beautiful car. The ride is uber-comfortable, even on gravel, with a choice of sports, normal or comfortable ride modes. The sports mode may be better enjoyed in the 3.6-litre petrol FSi all-wheel-drive version, though the diesel has plenty of pick-up.
Its 350 Newton metres of maximum torque is available at low revs meaning acceleration is swift.
The diesel is also, as expected, very economical. VW claims to get 5.7L/100km from the 125TDi, which is the exact figure I recorded after more than 1000km of urban and highway driving.
Throw in a huge boot which handled luggage for four adults with ease, and you've got a car which is a dream for road trips.
Admittedly, the coupe-style roofline doesn't leave a heap of headroom in the back for taller folks, and the low entry point will be tricky for older and less-nimble people to negotiate.
But the CC is a car you look forward to jumping in to, and with the styling of a coupe, convenience of a sedan and economy of a small car, it could well attract buyers away from some of the higher-end marques.
- VOLKSWAGEN CC *
- Model * 125Tdi
- Price * $54,990 (as tested: $61,090 plus on-road costs )
- Engine * 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel
- Outputs *125kW/350Nm
- Transmission *Six-speed dual-clutch automatic
- Thirst *5.7L/100km
- Safety * Five stars