2008 Cadillac CTS V6 DI Performance Sedan Review


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By Mark Gordon
Rocky Mountain Editor
The Auto Channel

When reading a review the reader has to be aware of so many things. Don’t take it for granted that what you are reading is the natural truth. There is no such thing. Every reviewer comes at a car with a flock of biases and pre-judgements. This doesn’t mean that it is useless to read reviews and even to judge our buying habits on them. But what it does mean is for you, the reader, to always consider the source.

I will always try to make my prejudices known to you. But even after writing an incredibly artistic and thourough disclaimer, you still have to be aware. So now that the preface is over let’s get down to the meat and bones of what I’m trying to say.

My job is to write a review of the 2008 Cadillac CTS V6. Many of the reviews of this vehicle that I’ve read have an origin in a press event at Laguna Seca race track. I wasn’t at that event. I’ve been driving the car around Denver and in the Rocky Mountains. I’m also predisposed to not like Caddys. Call me an elitist snob; you wouldn’t be completely off base. Call me too cool for school, you would be completely wrong. But I just don’t picture myself riding around in a CTS. It isn’t me, whatever “me” is (I’m still working on that small detail). We usually do a pretty good job of defining things by what they aren’t. We are such negative creeps (Nirvana reference—see I’m an elitist snob). I can tell you I’m not a Caddy guy. My Grandfather was. My Grandfather never listened to Nirvana.

Now as a cultural consumer, I’m painfully aware that Caddy is “not my Grandfather’s Caddy” anymore. I know that Caddy is supposedly cutting edge. I want my car to turn me on when I turn it on. I know I know I know. I’m still not convinced. But I was open to be blown away. I wanted to get in the car and admit that I still don’t know who or what I am...but I do know that I love this car. Didn’t happen. Maybe if I was at Laguna Seca....

That being said, let me tell you what I did like about the car because it wasn’t all bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact you could probably discount all my criticisms and chalk them up to the aforementioned snobbery.

I really liked the sound this car made when you punched it, even though the sound was really the only effect of punching it. Sort of sounded like the big V8 in the Caprice Station Wagon we had when I was a wee tike. Big full barrelled sound. America, pre gas crisis. The sound of freedom. This car had that sound. Made me nostalgic.

I loved the fact that the seats weren’t just heated, but they were cooled as well. I will forever judge every car I drive from now on by this incredible feature. No sarcasm intended here. I loved this. The touch screen navigation and radio were wonderful. I’ve always been amazed at how poorly designed the interface is on most of these navigation systems. This car was one of the best. Even the super deluxe $77,000.00 VW Touareg didn’t have a touch screen. Hopefully the manufacturers of these devices will begin to learn some lessons from Apple and the iPhone. Give me a well thought out interface. I don’t want to have to read manuals to figure out how to turn on a radio. It was way cool to plug in my iPod and be able to control it on the touchscreen. Good job GM.

I thought the interior of this car was very nice. Plush and well designed. Not neccessarily my taste, but it was very nice. What the hey, I actually liked this part. It felt good to sit in the cockpit. It felt familiar in a very comfortable way. I liked getting in. I thought the design of the keyless operation worked very well. I liked that the doors locked automatically when you walked away. I do have a little pet peeve about locking doors though. I hate, hate, that the horn sounds to confirm that the doors are locked. It is just so obnoxious. I’ve noticed that some cars are starting to make a much more tasteful sound to confirm the security of the vehicle. Please Caddy, use a better sound.

The CTS handles like I expected. As a big American car. Not quite the boat of my boyhood, but big and still soft. Great on the straights once you are up to speed, and not so good in the tight turns. Rough road doesn’t exist in this car. All bumps and road bruises are absorbed effectively. Road noise is only a whisper.

The rainsense windshield wipers worked well. The wood trim was very smooth and luxurious. I will say without hesitation that if you are a Caddy guy or gal you will love this car. If you are predisposed to like American Luxury cars you will love this car. But if you aren’t, and I’m not, you will find this car OK. And I think that for almost $47,000.00 OK just isn’t enough.

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