Volkswagen Passat CC came on the market in 2008 and was built on the basis of Volkswagen Passat B6. However, for the most part it was sold in parallel with the Volkswagen Passat B7 and can be considered its more refined sibling. In 2012 there was a mid-life restyling that brought minor changes to the design and some modernizations on a technical level and in the interior. After the facelift the name changed from “Volkswagen Passat CC” to “Volkswagen CC”. Its production ended in 2017 when it was replaced by the new model – Volkswagen Arteon. Let’s see the Volkswagen Passat CC review with the most important information, faults and common problems.
Table of Contents
- Impressions and Description
- Reliability and Issues
- Engines and their Problems
- Conclusions and Advice & Tips for buying used
Impressions, Interior and Comfort
Volkswagen Passat CC is a medium-upper class car which is defined as a 4-door Coupé. The acronym CC stands for Comfort Coupe.
The German manufacturer Volkswagen had in its range the Volkswagen Passat which is part of the D-segment and is a medium class car. The top of the range was the Volkswagen Phaeton which is part of the F segment. At a certain point they decided to create a model that will be introduced in the middle, filling the void that has formed. Thus, in 2008 the Volkswagen Passat CC was born.
Platform and Body
The platform is the same used by the Passat B6. The PQ46 platform is used on the Passat CC which is an extended version of the PQ35. This means the basic presence of front-wheel drive, with the possibility of optionally having 4Motion all-wheel drive. The engines are installed transversely.
Volkswagen Passat CC received 4Motion all-wheel drive which offers the additional traction to the rear axle via a Haldex coupling. This system ensures optimum driving stability, maximum wheel grip, as well as an additional dose of sporting thrills.
It must be admitted that with more powerful engines, all-wheel drive certainly comes in very handy (it ensures better acceleration dynamics).
The front axle of the Volkswagen Passat CC is equipped with simple McPherson suspension. The rear axle, on the other hand, features a not too complex multilink suspension.
The aesthetics of the Volkswagen Passat CC leave no one indifferent. At first glance it gives the impression of a much more expensive car than it really is. A really good job has been done in terms of body design. Even if you lose something in terms of practicality, you gain a lot in terms of style.
Thinking only of the frameless windows, you can guess that it belongs to the 4-door coupe class. The interesting proportions, the large dose of style and elegance, tell us that the Volkswagen CC is positioned slightly higher than the classic Passat. Cars produced after restyling are especially beautiful and modern. On these you immediately notice the new headlights and taillights.
Aesthetically, the car is attractive, both before and after the restyling, especially in the more equipped versions.
Volkswagen Passat CC is present in only one body version. Although it is based on the same platform as the classic Passat, it has slightly different dimensions (it is longer, wider and lower). The German car has a length of 4800 mm, a width of 1850 mm and a height of 1430 mm. The wheelbase is 2710 mm. The weight of the car varies from 1430 to 1632 kg depending on the version.
Comfort and Practicality
It had to give way in terms of interior space and practicality to achieve a similar design. Only 4 mature people will be comfortable in the Volkswagen Passat CC. You can also travel in 5, but only for short distances. In addition, there are versions with 2 separate seats behind, so there really isn’t room for the fifth person.
On the front seats everyone will be comfortable. You can easily find the right position thanks to the large number of adjustments. There is also enough space for the rear passengers, provided they are not too tall. People with above average height may feel a little lack of space in the head area. This is due to the fairly low roofline.
The trunk/boot volume is 532 litres, this is a very good result for this class of car.
Thanks to the pleasant suspension and comfortable interior, even longer journeys won’t be particularly tiring.
Interior and Equipment
The interiors are well done, they are aesthetically beautiful, they are still modern and keep the actuality. The style is severe, elegant and welcoming at the same time. The ergonomics are very good and everything is easily accessible. The quality of the materials and the assembly are very close to what can be found in premium cars. Over time, however, small noises and creaks may begin to appear. On versions with panoramic roof, noises also come from this in winter.
After the restyling, the passenger compartment of the Volkswagen Passat CC has not undergone radical changes compared to the past, but there have nevertheless been some improvements. First you notice the new analog clock in the center of the dashboard. The general quality of the interior has increased both in terms of materials, as well as in terms of assembly and ergonomics.
The first signs of wear in the interior should not appear before 100 – 150,000 km (60 – 95 k miles), but it all depends on the style of use.
Serious signs of wear may appear on some elements at high mileage. First of all, of course, the most used elements wear out: the steering wheel trim, the gear knob, the climate control buttons and more. At high mileages, wear and tear on the seat upholstery is also unavoidable.
The good part is that all traces of wear and tear present in the cabin can be eliminated if desired. Some pieces can be replaced, others can be repainted or restored.
Soundproofing is quite good, but it’s not ideal. In some situations, noise can penetrate the passenger compartment. However, it must be said that there are versions with double-layer windows on which the soundproofing is really excellent.
Even in terms of equipment and accessories, the situation is quite good. The great complexity of the electronic system allows for a large number of modern and useful systems. This especially applies to cars produced after restyling. These include, for example, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, driver status monitoring systems, emergency braking system, a keyless entry system and many multimedia possibilities.
The multimedia system can be quite modern and functional in top versions. Of course there are also “poor” versions with strictly necessary functions. The “rich” versions, on the other hand, have a large display, a navigator, are compatible with Apple CarPlay / Android Auto and have many other useful functions. You can also have the Dynaudio high quality audio system.
In the EuroNCAP safety test, the Volkswagen Passat CC got 5 out of 5 stars. Crash safety is quite good, but to decrease the risk you need good tyres. Tires are almost the most important thing for safety on the road.
Reliability and Issues
Gearbox and Transmission
The Volkswagen Passat CC was fitted with manual gearbox or DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The DSG is present in two versions: 6-speed DQ250 and 7-speed DQ200. On markets other than Europe, you can find the classic Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission.
The manual gearbox does not give any particular problems and will last a very long time if treated well. This can be from the MQ250 series or from the MQ350 series.
The MQ250 series has good strength and the manufacturer claims it can handle up to 250 Nm of torque. A feature of these gearboxes is their relatively noisy operation. At large mileages there will be wear of the differential bearings. If they are not replaced in time, they will also ruin the secondary shaft bearings. Gearboxes treated well shouldn’t cause major problems before 300,000 km (185 k miles).
The MQ350 gearbox is very reliable and is the most resistant mounted here. Serious problems can only appear at very large mileages. Among the first elements to fail will be the rear bearing of the primary shaft. Too aggressive driving style will ruin the synchronizers and gear selection mechanism.
On some cars already at 100,000 km (60 k miles) it may be necessary to change the dual mass flywheel and together with this also the clutch. These elements are not very durable, especially with powerful diesels. You have to spend a lot of money to replace them. However, it must also be said that on some lucky cars, these elements can even reach 200,000 km (125 k miles).
It is very important to always have the flywheel in good condition. If it begins to make noises, it will be better to intervene immediately to avoid damaging the gearbox or the starter motor. To save money, you can opt for the repair of the old flywheel instead of buying a new one, but the long life will not be guaranteed.
To improve the operating conditions of manual gearboxes, it would be perfect to change the oil at least every 80 – 100,000 km (50 – 60 k miles).
DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox
The automatic Volkswagen Passat CCs in Europe are equipped with the DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The DSG (Direct-Shift Gearbox) has a bad reputation (not at all reliable). However, there is an important distinction to be made between the DQ250 6-speed gearbox with wet clutches and the DQ200 7-speed gearbox with dry clutches. We immediately introduce that of the two, the 6-speed one is more reliable. In reality they are 2 very different gearboxes and it is wrong to generalize when talking about DSG.
DSG-6 DQ250 dual-clutch automatic gearbox
The 6-speed version (DSG DQ250) was mounted on cars with more powerful engines (2.0 TSI, 3.6 FSI and 2.0 TDI).
This gearbox proved to be reliable enough. DQ250 is an “older” gearbox than the DQ200 and as well as being more resistant, it has also had time to work out its initial problems (which occurred on older models of the brand that fitted it).
The fewer gears means fewer gear changes and therefore the mechatronics are less strained. Wet clutches tend to overheat less and consequently wear less (even in heavy traffic).
With correct use and maintenance, the DSG 6 gearbox can easily reach 200,000 km (125 k miles) with a single replacement of the clutch kit at around 110 – 120,000 km (70 – 75 k miles). However, there are also cases in which the clutches exceed 200,000 km (125 k miles).
Normal clutch wear makes the oil dirty and it is important to replace it regularly to avoid damaging the mechatronics and solenoids.
The cooling system of this gearbox is not always sufficient due to the thermostat and the heat exchanger which allow the temperature to rise above 120 degrees (Celsius). At these temperatures there is an accelerated wear of the mechanical parts and of the electronics.
With too aggressive use, the differential can be damaged even at relatively low mileage. The dual-mass flywheel does not always last very long and when it is in bad condition it begins to cause large vibrations which can damage the clutches and the oil pump.
DSG-7 DQ200 dual-clutch automatic gearbox
The 7-speed version (DSG DQ200) could be mounted on cars with weaker engines and a maximum torque of 250 Nm.
This version of the DSG gearbox really turned out to be very problematic. In the early production period, critical problems could occur as early as 30,000 km (20 k miles). Fortunately, these were almost always resolved under warranty. The manufacturer has modernized the mechanical parts, the electronics and the management software several times.
Already modernized versions were mounted on the Passat CC. These should already have modernized mechatronics, improved clutches, optimized software (you need to check that there is the latest version) and much more. However, only the DQ200s produced since 2013 can be defined as relatively reliable.
The modernized versions of the DSG 7 DQ200 are also not ideal. Owners still complain about clutch wear already at 70,000 km (45 k miles) and other malfunctions on gearboxes manufactured before 2013. After 2013 they live at least 120 – 160,000 km (75 – 100 k miles) when the clutches need to be replaced. Clutch replacement can cost a lot.
The DSG gearbox, although very smooth and fast, may not work properly in heavy city traffic due to overheating. To avoid this type of problem, it is advisable to keep the gearbox in manual mode and not change gears often.
If the car is used aggressively, there is a risk of “killing” the differential which in turn can completely ruin the whole gearbox. To improve operating conditions, it would be perfect to change the oil at least every 30 – 40,000 km (20 – 25 k miles).
Common problems with DSG gearboxes
The first symptoms of DSG gearbox problems are knocking between first and second gear. In some cases reverse gear may not engage. Vibration occurs when accelerating with second gear engaged.
Gearboxes on which the oil is never changed are particularly at risk. The oil must always be fresh and in the right quantity. It is important to pay attention to the integrity of the gaskets and oil seals to avoid oil leaks.
Aisin 6-Speed automatic gearbox
The classic automatic gearbox mounted is the 6-speed Aisin. As already mentioned, this gearbox is generally encountered outside the European market. Aisin gearbox is simple and has proven to be quite reliable, but it also has weaknesses.
Among the most serious problems are the high operating temperatures which can overheat the gearbox. Almost all versions of this gearbox are equipped with a weak cooling system, which over time becomes dirty and clogged with residues caused by normal wear on the clutch packs. A clogged and dirty cooling system immediately leads to overheating. These can deform the body, decrease lubrication pressure and accelerate overall gearbox wear.
The torque converter locking system has a fairly aggressive operation which contributes to the rapid wear of the lock-up clutch. In addition to fouling the oil, a worn clutch causes large shaft vibrations that will break the oil pump bushing.
To avoid problems it is recommended to change the oil in the gearbox at least every 40 – 60,000 km (25 – 35 k miles) and if possible add an additional radiator to lower the operating temperatures. In this way the gearbox will be able to live for many miles.
Drivetrain and Transmission System
The drivetrain is quite reliable. It is important to pay attention to the integrity of the protections (dust covers) of the constant velocity joints. It is not uncommon for them to start leaking before 50,000 km (30 k miles).
Four-wheel drive is ensured by a Haldex coupling which activates the rear wheels. At not too exaggerated mileage it performs well. It is important to replace the oil in the coupling at least every 40 – 50,000 km (25 – 30 k miles). Even without maintenance, the pump lives at least 120 – 180,000 km (75 – 110 k miles). After 200,000 km (125 k miles) the whole system will have to be checked well, some interventions will probably be necessary.
The situation changes with powerful petrol engines or tuned diesels (with increased power), especially if the driving style is aggressive. Here the stress on the transmission system is greater and the duration is consequently shorter. Also added are possible problems with the cardan shaft and the rear differential.
Suspensions, Steering and Brakes
The suspension of the Volkswagen Passat CC in general is quite reliable and long-lived. However, it must be said that they were designed to travel on roads in good condition. On bad roads, they don’t always last very long.
After about 80 – 100,000 km (50 – 60 k miles) the rear silent block of the lower arm on the front axle of the car will have to be replaced. Around the same mileage the stabilizers may also need to be replaced.
Very important is that now the replacement of the silent blocks and ball bearings can be done separately from the arm. This allows you to save considerably. The price of the kit with the arm included is much more expensive.
The multilink rear suspension shouldn’t cause problems before 100,000 km.
The ball bearings usually reach 150,000 km (95 k miles) without problems. Shock absorbers last 150 – 200,000 km (95 – 125 k miles) on good quality roads.
On Volkswagen Passat C with more powerful engines, the hub bearings are short lived. This happens because of the wide tires and aggressive driving that these cars undergo. Generally it is necessary to intervene at around 100,000 km (60 k miles), but the unluckiest ones have to replace them already at 50,000 km (30 k miles). Even large diameter rims do not help lengthen life.
To maintain good comfort and good stability on the road for a long time, it is important to fit original or perfectly compatible parts.
After 150,000 km (95 k miles) the steering box may start knocking. There is rarely a need to replace it. To replace it, you have to pay a large sum in official Volkswagen workshops. Luckily there are third party garages that can fix it for a much more reasonable price.
Sometimes the electric power steering may stop working. The steering wheel becomes very stiff and the red steering wheel icon appears on the cluster. It often helps to turn the car off and on again. The problem is in the software and is often fixed by updating it. Sometimes the cause is some oxidized contacts.
If you hear strange noises coming from the rear axle of your car, it is probably the brake calipers to blame. They will have to be repaired.
The braking system in general performs well, is reliable and does not create any particular problems. There may be some inaccuracies in the functioning of the ABS system, but this is usually resolved by updating the management software.
The prices of pads and discs are acceptable. On older cars it is advisable to periodically check the brake fluid channels. The latter wear out rapidly if the brake fluid is not replaced regularly.
Electronics and Electrical System
The electronics of the Volkswagen Passat CC do not give many problems. Although the electrical system is quite complex, it also proves to be quite reliable. For now, the serious problems are caused by third-party factors: water infiltration, accidents that have damaged the electronic system or interventions by incompetent persons.
In general, the electronics could play little tricks. For example, the doors or one of the windows can be opened by themselves. The seats on cars equipped with electric adjustment can move spontaneously. Similar minor problems can also occur with central locking and multimedia. These are not too serious problems, but they can be very annoying.
It must also be said that similar problems are rarely encountered and even if they do happen, they are unlikely to repeat themselves.
One of the known problems is with the power windows. Sometimes they may work jerkily. To solve this, you usually have to delete the settings from the control unit and rewrite them again. After that, the problem shouldn’t come back. If this does not resolve it, the mechanism will need to be lubricated and adjusted.
Some owners have experienced problems with the air conditioning first getting loud and then stopping working. Generally the fan is to blame, the life of which is on average around 100 – 120,000 km (60 – 75 k miles).
The alternator lives at least 150 – 200,000 km (95 – 125 k miles). You have to keep it in good condition because the stability of the electronic system depends a lot on it.
The positive part is that the great complexity of the electronics makes them easy to diagnose by computer. However, if some malfunction cannot be recognized by the computer, a very good electrician will be needed to solve it.
It may be disappointing that the prices for some components are exaggerated. Simple original sensors and motors are relatively expensive.
The metal has good corrosion resistance. Small traces of rust are acceptable, especially on cars used in places with severe climates. If, on the other hand, there is a lot of rust, the car most likely suffered accidents and was then badly repaired.
The quality of the paint is good, although its layer is not too thick. The chrome elements and plastics tend to lose their shine over the years.
The headlights of pre-facelift cars can lose their waterproofing over time. This is a defect in the headlight ventilation system. Xenon ignition modules are also easily wetted, so if the connector is not completely waterproof, problems can appear.
Adaptive headlights after six to eight years can malfunction due to wear of the movement mechanism or due to the failure of body position sensors.
As we have already said, the doors of the Volkswagen Passat CC have frameless windows, which means that each time the door is opened, the glass lowers slightly to release itself from the seal. To do this, there is a microswitch in the handle which activates the electric window. Obviously this mechanism can begin to give way after so many years of life.
In cold periods of the year, the lock on the tank cap can give out. This usually happens due to moisture entering the mechanism. You always have to be careful to dry it well and possibly it would be perfect to lubricate it periodically.
Engines and their Problems
Diesel engines list :
|Version||Engine||Power||Top Speed||Acceleration||Fuel Consumption|
|2.0 TDI||2.0 l EA189||140 hp||214 km/h or 132 mph||9.8 s||5,8 l/100 km
US: 40,5 mpg
UK: 48,7 mpg
|2.0 BlueTDI||2.0 l EA189||143 hp||214 km/h or 132 mph||9.8 s||5,3 l/100 km
US: 44,3 mpg
UK: 53,2 mpg
|2.0 TDI||2.0 l EA288||150 hp||218 km/h or 135 mph||9.1 s||5 l/100 km
US: 47 mpg
UK: 56,4 mpg
|2.0 TDI||2.0 l EA189||170 hp||227 km/h or 141 mph||8.6 s||6 l/100 km
US: 39,2 mpg
UK: 47 mpg
|2.0 TDI||2.0 l EA189||177 hp||227 km/h or 141 mph||8.4 s||6 l/100 km
US: 39,2 mpg
UK: 47 mpg
|2.0 TDI||2.0 l EA288||184 hp||234 km/h or 145 mph||8.1 s||5 l/100 km
US: 47 mpg
UK: 56,4 mpg
Petrol/Gasoline engines list :
|Version||Engine||Power||Top Speed||Acceleration||Fuel Consumption|
|1.4 TSI||1.4 l EA111 Twincharger||160 hp||222 km/h or 137 mph||8.5 s||6,6 l/100 km
US: 35,6 mpg
UK: 42,8 mpg
|1.8 TSI||1.8 l EA888 Gen0/1||160 hp||222 km/h or 137 mph||8.6 s||8 l/100 km
US: 29,4 mpg
UK: 35,3 mpg
|1.8 TSI||1.8 l EA888 Gen2||160 hp||222 km/h or 137 mph||8.6 s||7,5 l/100 km
US: 31,3 mpg
UK: 37,6 mpg
|2.0 TSI||2.0 l EA888 Gen1||200 hp||235 km/h or 146 mph||7.6 s||9,5 l/100 km
US: 24,7 mpg
UK: 29,7 mpg
|2.0 TSI||2.0 l EA888 Gen2||200 hp||235 km/h or 146 mph||7.6 s||8,5 l/100 km
US: 27,6 mpg
UK: 33,2 mpg
|2.0 TSI||2.0 l EA888 Gen2||211 hp||240 km/h or 149 mph||6.5 s||9 l/100 km
US: 26,1 mpg
UK: 31,3 mpg
|3.6 FSI R36||3.6 l EA390||300 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||5.5 s||10,2 l/100 km
US: 23 mpg
UK: 27,6 mpg
The only diesel engine is the 2.0 l TDI. However, this is present in different generations and in different power versions. The 2.0 l TDI engine was initially from the EA189 family, but was later replaced by that of the EA288 family. Among these there are some differences.
2.0 l TDI CR EA189 diesel Engine
The fitted engine is the 2.0 l TDI EA189 Common Rail.
The first thing to say about the 2.0 TDI engine is that it is not the same engine originally fitted to the Volkswagen Passat B6. It’s not the old 2.0 TDI PD with unit injectors. As already mentioned, the Volkswagen Passat CC is fitted with the 2.0 TDI CR Common-Rail on which the old problems have been resolved. The new 2.0 TDI is much more reliable (especially after 2009), but even it could have problems.
The versions of the first production period (until 2009) have maintained the problem of the oil pump and its drive system. However, this only applies to versions equipped with balancing shafts. In addition, the piezoelectric injectors of the Common Rail system proved to be capricious. In general, the 2.0 TDI EA189 Common Rail diesel engine is sensitive to the quality of the fuel. At mileages close to 100,000 km (60 k miles) you may have difficulty starting the engine when it is hot. The fault generally lies with the delivery valve or the pressure reduction valve.
The Bosch CP4 high-pressure injection pump could be damaged due to the worn fuel pump in the tank. If the car has suddenly turned off while you are on the road or if the car simply does not start, in no case should you force it trying to start the engine several times. The diesel-free high-pressure injection pump will run dry and therefore wear out. Metal shavings caused by dry running can foul the entire injection system and damage the injectors. The injectors are not repairable (in most cases). The final repair cost will be very high.
In addition, the initial versions of the engine were equipped with an intake manifold with swirl flaps. The drive mechanism of these has not proved too reliable.
Since 2009, these engines have been modernized. The injectors became electromagnetic, the swirl flaps were eliminated, the oil pump problem was solved and other improvements were made.
On all engine versions, leaks may appear from under the valve cover. Often the owners consider this problem insignificant, but then regret it when the oil spoils the timing belt and it breaks.
2.0 l TDI EA288 diesel Engine
The new 2.0 TDI of the EA288 family arrived in 2015. These are also quite reliable, offer good performance, consume little and pollute less. Even here, however, there are some weaknesses.
Among the most famous problems are those with the cooling system pump. The pump is made of plastic and has a relatively short life.
Some engines also encountered problems with the timing belt tensioner. To solve it, you need to replace the old tensioner with a new, modernized one. Then there will be no problems again.
There have been some cases where the metal gasket under the cylinder head has blown on 2.0 l TDI EA288 engines. This can generally already happen after 100,000 km (60 k miles) due to aggressive use. In other cases it happens with larger mileages (about 150 – 200,000 km or 95 – 125 k miles). The gasket is too thin and does not hold up to aggressive revs. You will understand that this has happened when the engine starts making loud noises as if you have a sports exhaust. The cost of the repair is not low.
Common problems of diesel Engines
On diesel engines equipped with a DPF filter, there are the usual problems with this. If you drive mainly in the city, the filter gets dirty very quickly and therefore the regeneration process often starts. This makes driving the Volkswagen Passat CC more difficult and significantly increases fuel consumption. If you continue to circulate in the city, the filter will get more and more dirty to the point of having to clean it in specialized centers or change it completely. It happens that the regeneration process starts too frequently and this also causes the turbine to suffer as it overheats.
Another annoying and widespread diesel problem is that of the EGR valve. Sometimes the electronics that control the valve get blocked. Also, over time the valve can become completely blocked due to accumulations of dirt.
The petrol/gasoline engines mounted on the Volkswagen Passat CC are almost all with a turbine. The only exception is the large 3.6 l FSI. The bad part is that none of these engines have tremendous reliability.
It is not recommended to install LPG systems on TSI petrol engines. The engines will malfunction and over time large sums will have to be invested in repairs.
Common problems are those related to loss of impermeability in the intake, dirt of the radiators and leaks from the cooling system.
1.4 l TSI EA111 Engine
The 1.4 l TSI engines are from the EA111 family (first generation). Only the version with double supercharging (Twincharger) is encountered here. They are very popular and widespread on many models of the VAG group.
The 1.4 TSI EA111 is powerful and fuel efficient. It is a modern and technological engine, but it turned out to be too complex and consequently not very reliable. As long as it’s new it’s just fine, but as the mileage increases it can require a lot of investment to repair.
Initial production 1.4 TSI engines could give their owners big problems (especially those produced until 2010). Throughout the production period there have been several modernizations intended to improve reliability. Only engines produced after 2012-2013 can be called relatively reliable.
On engines older than 2012 the timing chain may fail as early as 80,000 km (50 k miles). On engines produced after 2012 – 2013 the life of the chain can be up to 120 – 150,000 km (75 – 95 k miles). The first symptoms of stretching are abnormal noises. If action is not taken in time, the engine will begin to run irregularly and in the end the chain may slip causing serious damage.
There could be problems with the turbine due to the unscrewing of the impeller nut. This problem doesn’t happen too often, but it’s always best to check. It sometimes happens that after 90,000 km (55 k miles) there are noises of detonation at low revs. The probable cause is the excessive pressure of the turbine, which can be resolved with an update of the management software in the control unit. The turbine itself is reliable, but the turbine management system sometimes disappoints.
On the 1.4 l TSI Twincharger engine, the pistons are at their limit. These are subjected to quite large loads and in certain situations the destruction of the pistons is probable. This usually happens due to detonation, so you need to use only high quality gasoline and keep the cooling system in good working order.
Oil consumption is also more pronounced. Generally already after 100 – 150,000 km (60 – 95 k miles) the piston rings can wear out and oil consumption increases significantly.
The 1.8 l TSI and 2.0 l TSI engines are of the EA888 series. Those mounted here can be Gen1 (first generation) or Gen2 (second generation). The differences are big enough.
1.8 l TSI and 2.0 l TSI EA888 Gen1 Engines
On the pre-facelift Passat CC you can find the 1.8 l TSI and 2.0 l TSI EA888 engines of the Gen1 generation which are actually quite rare. They were only fitted in the first months of production. These are pretty good engines, but very quickly they were replaced by the following Gen2 which proved problematic.
As already mentioned, the 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI Gen1 engines performed well. In general all EA888 engines have good power and also have good tuning potential. With a simple reprogramming of the control unit much higher powers can be obtained. Additionally, the Gen1 engines are also quite reliable, but obviously not ideal.
They may have problems with the timing chain which does not last too long (often even less than 100,000 km or 60 k miles). The initial versions of the engines had a fairly flimsy tensioner that could not handle the effort if the car was left on a slope in gear. Because of this, the chain could slip during ignition leading to serious damage. Over time the timing kit has been modernized and reliability has improved.
Due to the direct injection, accumulations of dirt form in the intake (typical defect of engines with direct injection). Due to soot accumulations, the flaps in the intake manifold can also become blocked. You need to pay attention to the ignition system and replace the spark plugs regularly. If this is not done, the ignition coils will have a short life. All of these factors can lead to erratic engine operation.
At high mileage there may be problems with the turbines and some sensors may fail (for example the detonation sensor). Quite large oil consumptions can appear, but this is usually simply the fault of the oil separator.
Despite the already good initial reliability, the EA888 Gen1 engines have been modernized many times and the main weak points have been eliminated. Well treated engines should not have fatal failures before 250-300 thousand km (155 – 185 k miles).
1.8 l TSI and 2.0 l TSI EA888 Gen2 Engines
The EA888 Gen1 series engines were quickly replaced by the second generation Gen2. The manufacturer had little time to adapt these modern engines to the new anti-pollution regulations, so he was in a hurry to present the new generation. The modernization works were done in a short time and this caused a significant deterioration in the reliability of the 1.8 l TSI and 2.0 l TSI EA888 engines.
As already mentioned, the Gen2 engines performed much worse from the start. This happened due to the rush that the manufacturer was in. In addition to retaining all the weaknesses of the Gen1 engines, some important flaws have been added here.
In addition to the short life of the timing kit, the soot in the intake and other malfunctions already seen, there was also the large consumption of oil. These are caused by the failed piston assembly with piston rings not doing their job well. What’s more, the problem with the oil separator hasn’t gone away, so oil consumption can increase even further.
The problem of very high oil consumption is more evident on the 1.8 l TSI Gen2 engines, but it should not be underestimated even on the 2.0 l TSI. The situation becomes even worse after overheating or due to long intervals between services. It would be perfect to change the oil maximum every 10,000 km (6000 miles).
Different piston modernizations have been made for both engines and therefore there are many versions of these. In general, over time, the situation has improved markedly, and engines produced after 2011 can be called reliable. There are not too many serious problems on the facelifted Volkswagen CC.
Large oil consumption can ruin the catalytic converter and generally clog the engine with residues and soot. If this dirt clogs the intake system, there will be erratic operation.
Another widespread problem of the EA888 series is the timing kit. On models built up to 2011, it was often necessary to change the timing kit already at 60,000 km (35 k miles). The most modern engines have a timing chain life of around 120,000 km (75 k miles), but in some lucky cases they can even exceed 200,000 km (125 k miles). We must not forget the chain that activates the oil pump. The pump itself is reliable, but if the chain fails the consequences will still be bad. There are cases where the pump chain breaks when starting the engine in very low temperatures.
Ignition coils, oil pump and coolant pump will not last too long.
As for the life span of Gen2 engines, it’s hard to say anything for sure. Early production engines are very capricious and can be in bad shape already at 200 thousand km (125 k miles). Modernized engines, on the other hand, can even reach 300,000 km (185 k miles) without major problems if treated correctly.
The positive parts of these engines are: the great resistance of the mechanical parts, the low fuel consumption, the great power and the possibility of increasing it easily. Tuning enthusiasts are able to bring the 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI to even double power without huge modifications (at most, the turbines and the fuel system change) and the engines continue to feel good. Slight power increases (for example remapping) do not affect engine life so much and in some cases even increase reliability (for example when they lower the operating temperature).
An engine with increased horsepower will need better oil and more frequent replacements. Furthermore, even if the engine resists well, we must not forget that the gearbox and transmission in general suffer from increases in power.
3.6 l FSI V6 EA390 Engine
The 300 hp 3.6-litre V6 EA390 engine turns the Volkswagen Passat CC into a rocket. With this engine and 4Motion all-wheel drive, the car brings great satisfaction.
Durability and overall engine strength are good, but there are a few problems here too. The timing chain does not have a long life (maximum 150 – 200 thousand km or 95 – 125 k miles) and the engine must be removed to replace it (a very expensive procedure). Accumulations of dirt on the valves and the pistons are not uncommon (typical for engines with direct injection). The intake and cylinder head of the engine are complex and this also increases maintenance costs.
Otherwise there are no major weaknesses. The engine may not start in winter due to condensation accumulating in the exhaust system. Ignition coils have a fairly short life span, especially on early production engines. Over time they have been modernized and the situation has improved.
Problems with the crankcase ventilation system are relatively frequent, usually it is sufficient to replace the membrane to resolve. Better not to delay with the repair of the membrane, otherwise the process of fouling the intake system will be significantly accelerated. Driving with a dirty intake is also dangerous, some fragments of dirt can end up in the engine and scratch the cylinder wall. It would be perfect to do regular cleanings and also clean the exhaust valves that get dirty with soot.
The large fuel consumption and large expenses of regular maintenance cannot be borne by everyone. In addition, Passat CCs with these engines may have problems with the transmission due to the large horsepower and aggressive use these cars experience.
Coolant leaks could occur, the problem is not serious and often it is enough to change a few pipes.
Conclusions and Advice & Tips for buying used
Volkswagen Passat CC is a very nice car. It manages to give the sensations of a premium car while having lower maintenance costs. The problems mentioned above are rarely encountered all on the same car. After the restyling the overall reliability is at a very good level.
As a competitor, the Audi A5 can be considered, the BMW 4 Series F32 is also very close. Although smaller, the Mercedes-Benz CLA C117 can be evaluated.
The most important thing is to find a car in good general condition.