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Cadillac CTS review
ITS FUNNY how history can repeat itself. Not so long ago, Cadillac opted for a minimalist albeit rakish approach when designing one of its most important midsize executive saloons. Plaudits and brickbats arrived in equal measure, with some critics saying it didnt look enough like a Cadillac.
That car was the CTS. You might have heard of it or you might not. And that was part of the problem. Not only was the CTS still very much an American product in the way it drove, it was also the victim of a lowkey introduction to life on the lefthand side of the road.
> > >Now theres a new CTS. Big deal, you say. Well, actually it is. Although styled to appeal to a younger executive demographic, more emphasis has been put on incorporating traditional Cadillac design cues. Its now a bettervalue proposition and, crucially, its a more enjoyable and rewarding car to drive.
While still a bit on the rakish side, this cars appearance includes a bit more character. Theres no sign of the acres of chrome from Cadillacs past, but vertical lighting designs and a bold grille are a notsosubtle nod to years gone by.
All in all the new look suits the car. Its been cleverly positioned between the likes of BMWs 3 and 5 Series models sizewise. Not too big, yet not too small, the CTS appears wellproportioned. The car boasts some nice touches, including the aforementioned vertical design tail lights and intricatelooking headlamps. These, coupled with the angular nature of the cars boot, should ensure that it stands out for all the right reasons.
The CTSs cabin is no less impressive, largely because Cadillac has chosen to include everything bar the kitchen sink. First up, youre greeted by a bold fascia design. The various items of brightwork dotted around the place serve to boost the cabins light and airy ambience assuming you opt for lightcoloured upholstery.
From the drivers perspective, everything you see and touch is of an impressively high standard. The engineers and designers have obviously listened to the feedback about the old CTS. Fit and finish standards are high, and comfort levels are pretty good, too.
Key to the cars appeal for many will be the Japaneselevels of standard kit. Theres only one trim level and you get the same raft of kit regardless. Frankly it would be quicker to list what you dont get, but here goes: electric everything, climate control, cruise control, electronic stability aids, numerous airbags plus an allsigning alldancing multimedia system.
That system includes a colour touch screen that rises from the top of the fascia and boasts a satnav function, hard drive for navigation and media storage, r adio and TV tuner, CD player, USB drive and iPod connectivity, tenspeaker surround sound audio and the ability to transfer music from CD or USB drive. Try finding all that on a comparable European model.
Of course, not everyone will want or need those features, but the fact that it all works beautifully and should appease even the most technophobic of drivers is worth remembering. And to drive the car is to realise that the CTS has come a long way in a few short years.
As before, this CTS is a rearwheel drive. The sole gearbox option is a sixspeed auto, and if you opt for the 307bhp, 3.6litre engine you get gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel plus a sports suspension setup. The alternative is a 208bhp, 2.8litre V6 with a ride biased a little more towards comfort.
On the road theres an obvious difference between the two cars. The 3.6 model feels taut, keen and willing to entertain. The tradeoff is the firm ride, but this is a feature likely to attract keen drivers. Such a setup is commonplace on European cars, after all.
The 3.6 model is also pretty darn quick, which is largely thanks to the responsive direct injection engine. With around 100 horsepower separating the two cars, the 2.8 variant and its more cosseting ride should appeal to buyers seeking a more relaxed experience. For what its worth, on a good day you can have fun with either CTS youll just be doing it that bit quicker in the 3.6litre car.
There is no question that this latest CTS is a head turner: the reactions from passersby only serve to confirm you first impressions. Theres plenty of wow factor associated with this Cadillac, and its all positive. From the bold and dominating egg crate grille to the cars various straightedged panels and daring light fittings, theres a Buck Rodgers feel to the vehicle. Think 1950s American concept car.
Cadillac hopes this more modern, sophisticated, capable and generouslyequipped CTS will capture that hearts of buyers seeking a change from what Europe has to offer. With a car promising so much, lets hope this time it can succeed.