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2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon vs. 2010 Cadillac SRX - A Tale of Two Wagons

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SEE ALSO: Cadillac Buyers Guide, Including Rank and Compare

Cadillac: A Tale of Two Wagons
CTS Sport Wagon vs. SRX
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Whether you are brand-loyal to Cadillac, loyal to GM, want to support the Domestic auto industry or among the 25% of new car buyers in the market who are willing to switch brands according to a recent Consumer Reports survey, here are two “wagons” to consider.

I recently had the chance to evaluate both the 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon and the 2010 Cadillac SRX back-to-back, on the same day and on the same roads. And yes, 25% of new car buyers or 3.24 million sales in a 12 million market will switch brands for the right reasons. In the mix, are many folks who no longer need (read: want) an SUV or a minivan but still want a vehicle that provides some versatility and carrying ability.

Crossovers like Cadillac’s SRX, by the way completely redesigned for 2010, have been flowing into the market for a couple years now. However, we are also seeing more station wagon offerings such as Cadillac’s CTS Sport Wagon in a segment that has had offerings from the European brands for as long as I can remember.

This is Cadillac’s first-ever North American wagon and “is a progressive take on the classic wagon body style that delivers significant functionality and fuel efficiency” according to Cadillac. I prefer station wagons over SUVs or crossovers with their car like ride and handling, easy of entry without having to climb up---especially challenging for ladies wearing certain fashions and also the elderly, low lift-over height into the cargo area and typically better fuel economy. One last point, many folks bought SUVs because of 4-wheel or all-wheel drive. Well now A-W-D is offered on most all station wagons, and of course, on crossovers.

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Looking at the CTS Sport Wagon and the SRX, they each have about the same footprint with fairly similar exterior length and width, with the SRX being taller and having more ground clearance. Price wise, the SRX starts at $33,830 vs. $38,265 for the CTS Sport Wagon. The SRX comes in front drive and the CTS in rear drive and both are available with A-W-D starting at $39,905 and $40,165, respectively. The top-of-the-line SRX is $51,860 and that of the CTS Sport Wagon is $50,565.

Two V-6 engine variations are offered in both models with a 3.0L base engine in each and a 3.6L in the CTS and a 2.8L Turbo in the SRX. Comparing the two up-engine variations, I think the 3.6L is better at its task. Six-speed automatic transmissions back both engines.

Fuel economy is better in the CTS Sport Wagon with the 3.0L engine at 18mpg city/27mpg highway and the 3.6L at 18/26, both on regular fuel, vs. the SRX at 18/25 front drive model, 17/23 with a-w-d and 15/22 with the optional premium-fueled 2.8L Turbo.

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When it comes to hauling people and stuff, both are 5-seaters and have nearly the same cargo volume. Folks naturally think that crossovers are much bigger but when you look at the numbers with the rear seat folded the SRX holds 61 cu.ft vs. 58 cu.ft for the CTS Sport Wagon. Unless you are still moving one of the kids back and forth to college and need to squeeze in every last thing, active lifestyle empty nesters will not see any practical difference. In the 5-seat configuration with the rear seat up, the SRX holds 29 cu.ft. and the CTS Sport Wagon holds 25 cu.ft. Quite enough space to carry the groceries, golf clubs or luggage for that weekend drive to your pied-a-terre.

While we’re in the hauling subject, when it comes to trailer towing here we see a big difference. The SRX can tow 3500 lbs. while the CTS Sport Wagon is limited at 1000 lbs. So if you need to frequently pull a U-haul trailer, a jet-ski or snowmobile trailer, or whatever, this is a consideration to watch. I said frequently, because I believe for that occasional need to haul something big we should be renting a vehicle to do that job rather than suffering the consequences---increased fuel consumption…all year long.

Coming back to the Consumer Reports survey I mentioned, 75% of buyers will switch brands for improved quality and 73% for improved fuel economy. Cadillac, as GM’s luxury brand, is doing great things with design quality and build quality. Fit and finish, choice of interior materials and the vehicle overall is worthy of every car buyers consideration. I give a lot of weight to the ownership experience in choosing a vehicle and the dealer plays a very important role here.

Trade-in allowance and dealer reputation weigh heavily with buyers and dealer location to a lesser extent. The ease of getting regular scheduled maintenance performed should be taken into consideration when making the purchase decision therefore to me dealer location is important. If you are living or working in a more rural area or perhaps relocating, think about the service aspect when deciding on a vehicle brand. The greater number of Cadillac dealers over other brand dealers might have an influence.

The CTS Sport Wagon and the SRX both offer increased versatility over a 4-door sedan while still able to transport 5 people. The decision on which is yours to make, but you can now make a Cadillac wagon something other than your last ride!

© Larry Nutson