2010 cadillac CTS Wagon

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Date Posted: February 17, 2010
By Zack Spencer

The Cadillac CTS has been a big hit and now we get a European inspired wagon version

 The interior is well designed but the seat bottoms are too short
 Built to be sold in Europe, the CTS wagon offers a practical option for the Cadillac buyer

The Scoop

Are you the type of buyer that puts a premium on handling? Do you like a powerful and classy car but you also need some utility for family duties? Well have we got a car for you...a station wagon. What, you never even thought of a wagon? Well, I'm here to tell you that cars like the new Cadillac CTS Wagon offer all of the above, and in many ways are better than a utility vehicle. In the past I have owned a BMW 5 Series station wagon (Touring) and a BMW X5 SUV and I can say that I preferred the wagon, it was one of my favorite cars. Why? It handled like a dream; it had a bigger cargo area than the SUV and it looked much more stylish than any SUV could hope for. Wagons are extremely popular in Europe and the real competition for this Cadillac are European wagons from BMW and Audi. In fact this Cadillac was developed for the European market and is offered here to help round out the Cadillac line.

The Skin

This is a very unique looking car, unique in a good way. The very popular and well-crafted CTS sedan has been adapted into a wagon with good results. The rich paint, chrome accents and polished wheels convey luxury and the signature vertical Cadillac rear lights look slick, as do the duel chrome exhaust tips. The chunky rear end and wide fenders give this CTS wagon a meaty stance. Wheel sizes range from 17-inches on the base model up to 19-inches on the top model, in a polished alloy look. Some might find the North American obsession with chrome a bit overpowering compared to clean European designs, but there is no doubt that the CTS wagon stands out. The CTS wagon competes with the BMW 3-Series Touring and Audi A4 Avant on price, starting at just over $44,000, but it is larger than both those vehicles, almost as large as the BMW 5-Series Touring.

The Cockpit

The interior is a standout in my opinion. The materials look first class with a nice complement of chrome, satin-look metal, wood, soft touch materials and elegant stitching that all come together to make the CTS a strong competitor. The navigation screen doesn't dominate the dash if you don't want it to. With a touch of a button the screen neatly retracts into the dash with only a fraction visible to provide a radio readout. The placement of the controls for the heat and heated seats are low on the centre consol, so the driver or passenger can reach them very easily. My main complaint about the interior is the driver's seat bottom is a little short and doesn't support my thighs; this is something the BMW 3-series does better than most. The back seats, however, are scooped out, so the passengers sit fairly low. Since the CTS wagon has larger dimensions that the cars it competes against, it offers a good back seat room this class of car.

The Ride

Unlike the European wagons, the CTS offers more than one engine choice. The base engine is a 3.0L direct injection V6 engine with 270hp. The BMW 328 Touring has 230hp and the Audi A4 Avant has just 211hp. But unlike the BMW and Audi, Cadillac also has a second option, a higher output 304hp 3.6L direct injection V6. BMW doesn't offer their 300hp turbo engine in their Touring and Audi has dropped the 3.2L V6. Both the Audi and BMW come standard with AWD and the CTS can also be ordered with AWD with a price premium of about $2600. Cadillac has done a nice job of packaging the CTS wagon to offer both engines and all trim levels in rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, providing a high level of customization. What I have always liked about the CTS sedan, and it holds true for the wagon, is the very inspiring suspension. It has no roly-poly feel to it at all; this is a connected car with great road feel with firm spring and shock settings. Potential buyers who might be shopping for a BMW will feel right at home in this Cadillac. The AWD system has a bias to the rear for true performance driving dynamics. Unlike the sedan, there is no manual transmission offered in the wagon, just a smooth and quick 6-speed automatic.

Verdict

So is this Cadillac worth a look if you are in the market for a European wagon? Absolutely yes. It is bigger than the competition; it has more power and can also be equipped with AWD. Many buyers might not know that Cadillac sits right near the top of the initial quality study from JD Power and Associates, so it is a well-made car. Cadillac knows that North American buyers love utility vehicles and because of that this wagon isn't going to become a mainstream vehicle. The CTS wagon is for the discerning buyer who knows that a wagon is a superior choice to a utility vehicle. The sedan-like handling, large cargo area and sleek lines make for a better vehicle. It might not have the rugged attitude of a traditional utility but for most city dwellers it offers plenty of practicality. I'm a big fan of the CTS sedan but if I were in the market for that car, the choice to go for the wagon would be a simple one.

The Good, The Bad

Good:

This European designed wagon is a bargain compared to the German competition. It has more room and power for the same money.

Bad:

I do wish there were paddle shifters behind the steering wheel because the optional 304hp engine is a ton of fun to drive and drive hard.

The Lowdown

Power: 3.0 L V6 with 270hp or a 3.6L V6 with 304hp

Fill-up: 11.3L/7.2L/100km (city/highway) AWD

Backup: 4-year/80,000km

Sticker price: $44,325

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