I know, itís a contradiction. A coupe has two doors, a sedan has four.

But then again, marketing folks have their own set of rules.

While the Volkswagen CC is a sedan (because it has four doors), it also features a sleek, sweeping muscular design thatís more common on a coupe ó which is why Volkswagen's marketing team calls it "a four-door coupe."

Itís sporty.

Itís elegant.

Itís affordable.

And since it was first introduced nearly five years ago the Volkswagen CC has sold more than a quarter-million units ó creating a new niche and an ever-growing fan base.

With a base price starting around $31,000, the 2013 Volkswagen CC is available in front- or all-wheel drive.

Consumers have their choice of two engines, as well as the option of five trim levels.

As I mentioned earlier, the CC is a very elegant sedan (the VW marketing folks will just have to forgive me on that one).

Even though it is classified as a compact model, I was extremely impressed with how spacious the interior is, providing an abundance of head, shoulder and leg room for all five seating positions ó as well as 13.2 cubic feet of trunk room.

The base CC 2.0T Sport ($30,965) is powered by 2.0-liter turbo I-4 engine (200 horsepower) and mated to a six-speed manual transmission with an EPA fuel economy rating of 21 mpg city, 32 mpg highway.

Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels; Bi-Xenon headlights; LED daytime running lights and taillights; rain-sensing wipers; Climatronic automatic climate control system; heated 12-way power front seats; premium audio system with touch screen, HD Radio with Satellite Radio connectivity, eight speakers, six-disc CD changer, Bluetooth technology and iPod connectivity; leatherette seating surfaces and chrome interior trim.

It is also available with six-speed automatic transmission ($32,065).

The CC 2.0T R-Line ($32,195) adds 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, R-Line body components and sill plates and navigation system. It is also available with automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters ($33,295).

The CC 2.0T Lux ($35,635) adds 18-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels, dark brushed-aluminum interior trim, power tilt/slide glass sunroof and ambient lighting.

The flagship CC 3.6 VR6 4Motion ($41,835) is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 engine (280 horsepower) and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and features Volkswagenís 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Riding on 18-inch wheels, it includes a headlight washer system, rearview camera, 6.5-inch touch screen navigation system, leather seats with massage and ventilation, park distance control with proximity sensors, power rear sunscreen and premium audio system.

At the risk of getting into an argument with the VW marketing folks, the CC is an outstanding sedan. For those in the market for an upscale ó yet affordable sedan ó itís a must for the test drive list.

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.

The Nuts and Bolts

MODEL:

2013 Volkswagen CC

5-seat compact sedan †

Front-, or all-wheel drive

Trim packages:

2.0T Sport, 2.0T R-Line, 2.0T Sport Plus, 2.0T Lux, 3.6 VR6 4Motion

PRICE RANGE:

$31,000-$45,000

ENGINE:

2.0L turbo I4 (200 hp/207 T)

3.6L V6 (280 hp/265 T)

TRANSMISSION:

6-speed manual

6-speed auto w/paddle shifters

EPA: 21/22/17 mpg city, 32/31/25 mpg highway (2.0 MT/2.0 AT/V6)

FUEL: Premium unleaded

STABILITY CONTROL:

Electronic stability control

BRAKES: ABS

LENGTH: 188.9 inches

WHEELBASE: 106.7 in.

WIDTH: 73 inches

HEIGHT: 55.8 inches

WEIGHT: 3358-3609 lbs.

TRACK: 61.1/61.4

(front/rear)

FUEL TANK: 18.5 gallons

TIRES: 17-, or 18-inch

CARGO: 13.2 cubic feet.