2013 Volkswagen CC R-Line FWD Sedan

2013 CC I

Volkswagen’s CC is a derivative of the Passat sedan that has existed in one form or another for 40 years.  The CC was introduced as a 2009 model and was first viewed at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  With the same wheelbase as the Passat (106.7”), the CC is an inch longer (188.9”),  two inches closer to the ground (5”), and an inch and a half wider (73”) with what Volkswagen likes to call “sports car” dynamics.  Weight of the five-passenger, front-wheel drive sedan is 3,450 lbs.

I recently tested a CC, one with an M.S.R.P. of $33,020, including freight charges and a base price of $32,195.  The vehicle was the “R-Line” version of the CC, which meant it had the turbocharged, intercooled 2.0 liter 4-cylinder (200 hp/207 lb. ft.) direct-injected engine and a six-speed manual transmission.  The R-Line has specific fascia on the side of the car and on the bumpers, as well as 18”, ten-spoke alloy wheels.  Tires mounted on this CC were Continental 235/40R18 95H Conti ProContact m & s radials.  The grill with its fog lights and the trunk with its built-in spoiler were particularly attractive.

Acceleration of the R-Line is reportedly zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds with a top speed of 126 mph.  Rear wheel drive would be nice for stomping on the gas because the mud and snow tires like to break loose, but on snow the entire setup would provide pleasure, I’m sure.  I enjoyed the maneuverability of the CC as well as highway manners and sound level.  EPA ratings for the drive train is 21 and 32, city/highway, and overall rating is 25 mpg.  I observed 24 mpg during my 300 miles in the Volkswagen.CC Cartoon

The CC seating is covered in V-Tex black leatherette upholstery, and the buckets were heated and supportive.  The five passenger classification does not allow for three full-size rear passengers, in reality, but the safety gear is on hand, nonetheless, for such travel.  All the expected power equipment and connectivity was installed in the CC, including backup camera and navigation, but no moon roof was present.

I drove the CC to the Greeley KELS FM radio studios for a showing, and five individuals came out and made very positive remarks about the car.  They jumped in the driver’s seat, peeked into the 13.2 cubic foot trunk, and gazed at the turbocharged power plant; pretty much all positive.  This was the fifth Volkswagen I have tested, and once again I’d have to say it belongs on the mid-size sedan shoppers’ list of prospective purchases (or leases).

CC Interior

2014 Buick LaCrosse FWD 1SL Sedan


    For 2014, Buick has made a number of modifications to the popular LaCrosse, including a waterfall grill, new front fascia, redesigned head- and tail-lights, built-in trunk spoiler, and active lower grill shutters for enhanced fuel economy.  Last week I tested such a car, a 1SL “Leather package” equipped four-door in Champagne Silver Metallic with Light Neutral leather-appointed seating.  It was loaned to me by Ryan Green, internet manager at Weld County Garage in Greeley.

Shaquille O’Neal actually fits into a LaCrosse, as I understand it, due to the front head- and legroom dimensions of 38” and 41.7”, respectively.  With those dimensions being virtually the same in the rear, I guess that means that four men the size of Shaq could ride in the LaCrosse.  Amazingly, that would represent over 5% of the U.S. population of men over seven feet tall.  Shaq, of course, is a spokesman for Buick, as is Colorado’s beloved Bronco, Peyton Manning.

The M.S.R.P. of my test Buick was $36,135, including freight charges of $925.  The “Leather package” LaCrosse has heated power front buckets, rear camera, Buick Intellilink phone/audio with voice activation and 8” screen, satellite radio, tilt wheel, power windows/locks/mirrors, and OnStar from GM.  Additionally, the car had a five-passenger leather interior and a very attractive dashboard.  Interior space, as mentioned earlier, is good and the trunk holds 13.3 cubic feet of cargo. LaCrosse Cartoon     At no additional charge on this model, Buick provides the 3.6 liter V-6 (304 hp/264 lb.ft.) with E85 capability.  EPA ratings for the V-6 are 18 city, 28 highway, and the tank holds 18 gallons of regular gasoline.  Coupled to the V-6 is a six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive plus driver shift control with a tap switch on the shift tower.  The two-ton car will go zero to 60 in 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph.

Styling is the hallmark of the Buick lineup in general, and the LaCrosse is probably their prettiest offering.  My test car featured an acceptable grill, distinctive hood vents, chrome door handles and bodyside molding, plus the sculpted trunk lid with integrated spoiler.  Ten spoke, 18” silver-allow wheels were fitted with Goodyear Eagle LS2, 235/50R18 all-season radials – the wheels were included with the V-6 power package on the LaCrosse.  The rear end styling, reworked for 2014, has new fascia and a full-width chrome accent. Also at the rear are large dual chrome exhaust finishers.

Mid-size sedan shoppers would do well to take a hard look at the Buick LaCrosse for 2014.  If the price and equipment list is suitable for such an individual, selection of this car should be a slam dunk.              LaCrosse GrillLaCrosse Interior

2014 KIA Cadenza FWD Sedan


    The Cadenza, introduced in the U.S. by KIA in January of this year, is a full-size, front-wheel drive luxury sedan produced in Hwasung, South Korea.  Hyundai Motors owns KIA, and produces a version of the Cadenza named the Azera.  The Cadenza is KIA’s flagship automobile and is the sedan one model larger than the venerable Optima.

I just finished testing a Cadenza provided by Tom Cooney of STI Drive in Denver.  It was painted Smokey Blue metallic and inside it featured the white leather package.  Cadenza’s with white leather interiors also have the technology package ($3,000) and luxury package ($3,000), bringing total M.S.R.P. with freight to $41,900.  Such a loaded sedan was equipped, as you might expect, with smart cruise control, lane departure warning system, blind spot monitor, hydrophobic front window glass, 19” fancy alloy wheels, dual panoramic moon roof, adaptive headlamps (the best I have tested), and four heated seats.  Also on hand was power tilt/telescope steering column, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, memory power seats, power folding outside mirrors with heat elements, Infinity 12 speaker, 550-watt stereo with satellite radio, ventilated driver bucket, rear window power sunshade, and Nappa (full-grain/dyed) leather trim.  The navigation system was voice-activated, had an 8” screen, and Bluetooth/USB connectivity was included.

Cadenza Interior     Performance of the Cadenza was good, with power supplied by an all-aluminum 3.3 liter (293hp/255lb.-ft.) V-6 coupled with an electronically-controlled six speed automatic transmission with sport mode.  Acceleration is reportedly zero to 60 in 6.2 seconds and top speed is in excess of 150 mph.  EPA fuel mileage ratings are 19 city and 28 highway, not too bad for such a fast car.  The tank holds 18.5 gallons of gasoline.

Looking at the Smokey blue Cadenza is easy on the eyes, with bold chrome- trimmed lower doors and handles, “tiger-nose” chrome grill, dual chrome exhaust finishers, and a body designed by Peter Schreyer.  Schreyer is the German individual that left Audi and now designs cars and trucks for KIA and Hyundai.  He’s pretty good at it, too.  The 19” alloys were quite attractive and were fitted with P245/40R19 94V Hankook Optimo H426 all-season radial tires.

My driving impression of the Cadenza was fine, with nice ride, minimum wind noise, good visibility, and steady guidance.  Interior space is 106.8 cubic feet, which allowed four of us to drive to Loveland in the Cadenza in complete comfort.  The weather in Northern Colorado included sub-freezing temperatures on this night, and I pointed out the seat heat switches to all in attendance.  The Cadenza trunk holds 15.9 cubic feet of cargo.

Cadenza Engine

KIA is dipping a toe in the water relative to the luxury car market with this Cadenza.  Prospective shoppers for such a vehicle would do themselves a favor by including an inspection and test drive of this sedan.        Cadenza Headlight