2008 Cadillac CTS, 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe, 2010 Cadillac CTS Wagon. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Justin Pritchard
Vehicle Type: Luxury Sedan, Coupe or Wagon
History/Description: The second-generation of CTS expanded from its initial offering as a sedan to include both a Sport Wagon and Coupe in response to competing products from Mercedes, BMW and Audi. Big draws to the CTS, besides the variety of body styles, were the classy and cutting-edge design, relatively high features-to-price ratio, and a lengthy factory warranty coverage period.
There’s a new CTS coming soon, meaning the second-generation model is moving into used-car territory. Mainstream versions of the CTS are the focus of this week’s used-car review.
Feature content in the gen-two CTS included Bose audio, panoramic sunroof options, climate-controlled leather seats, a full multimedia interface with hard-drive audio storage and Bluetooth, navigation, automatic everything, and more.
Winter driving enthusiasts tended to gravitate towards some of the CTS’s snow-busting features including AWD, adaptive xenon lighting and automatic Rain Sense wipers, all of which boosted confidence and visibility in inclement weather. The remote start was tied into the CTS’s climate control system, automatically pre-heating or pre-cooling the CTS’s cabin in advance of a ride.
To the five-seat cabin, the CTS Sport Wagon adds a power tailgate, enhanced cargo capacity, and some 720 L of space behind the rear seats. That figure more than doubles when the rear seats are folded flat, while a long, flat roof and load floor team up to maximize capacity. This makes the CTS Sport Wagon ideal for transporting cargo, pets, sporting goods or gear. A variety of roof-mounted carriers are available, too.
The 2011 model year saw the striking CTS Coupe added to the model range. A sleek, high-style two-door variant of the CTS, it boasted a classic 2+2 layout for a more personal driving experience.
Standard OnStar functionality across the board made the CTS a confidence-enhancing choice for many owners, too.
Engines / Trim: All three body styles were available with All-Wheel Drive (AWD), which is referenced by a ‘4’ at the end of the model’s name. Thus shoppers after an AWD-equipped model are looking for a CTS4 coupe, sedan or wagon. Then, the engine’s displacement (namely 3.0L or 3.6L) followed.
Most CTS variants offered the choice between a 3.0L or 3.6L V6 engine. The popular up-level 3.6L engine made 304 hp, while the smaller unit made 270. Both were direct injected and featured Variable Valve Timing (VVT).
Six-speed transmissions in the driver’s choice of manual or the commuter’s choice of automatic were available, depending on the model in question.
Note that later in the CTS’s life the larger V6 engine was tweaked to generate 318 hp – an increase of 14 – along with a weight reduction of 9.3 kg to the powerplant, with no fuel consumption penalty.
Available were base or performance suspension calibrations, as well as a summer-tire performance package with upgraded wheels, or an all-season tire performance package with upgraded wheels.
The performance packages not only deliver more responsive and crisp handling, they add hardware like shift paddles, fog lamps, brake cooling ducts and a limited slip differential.
Cadillac CTS, 2008–2013. Click image to enlarge
What Owners Like: Classy looks, a rich and high-tech cabin layout, AWD confidence and overall ride, handling and performance are typically rated highly by CTS owners. Ditto noise levels and the lengthy list of technology options. This appears to be a car that’ll satisfy drivers after comfortable travels with a distinctively sporty side. Performance from the larger V6 engine is rated highly, too, as is the performance from the adaptive xenon lighting system. On past test drives of various CTS models equipped with said xenon lighting system, your writer noted fantastic performance as well.
What Owners Dislike: Owners of models with the smaller engine typically wish for better performance, and many owners say they wish for more rear-seat space and a wider opening to the trunk. Many owners of models with AWD report heavy fuel consumption that far exceeds the rating for the model, too. Note that taller drivers and passengers are likely to find limited headroom an issue. Other common gripes include ‘weak’ paint that’s easily chipped, and limited at-hand storage inside.