Pros: Customizable for driver, crisp handling and firm ride, Bose stereo, comfortable seat, nice features
Cons: no adjustable lumbar support, small console and glovebox, no water temp gauge
Decision to buy -I bought the CTS for my wife (I drive a Tahoe) instead of the other cars we were considering. We considered the Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4, Saab 9-3, Acura TSX, and Volkswagen Passat. Every car we drove had its strong points and weak points, but we settled on the Cadillac because of its features, styling, and value for the money. Feature for feature, the CTS is a hard-to-beat package.
Handling - The CTS rides and drive very well. We bought the Sport Touring package with the 17" low profile wheels and R225/50 W rated tires so we do not have a "cushy" Cadillac ride at all. What we do have is a solid feeling, road hugging car that gives the driver plenty of feedback about the road and is responsive to driver input.
Exterior appearance -The styling of this car is a bit controversial, but my wife and I like it. I liked it the first time I saw it and my wife decided later that she like it. One way or the other, the looks are very eye-catching. I believe my wife truly decided she liked it after we bought it and she drove it to her office the first time and got a very positive reaction from her coworkers.
Interior appearance -The interior is attractive and loaded with conveniences. The materials, colors and textures look expensive enough for a car of this price range and they are well laid out. I like the center column of controls, stereo, and HVAC controls.
Features -This car is loaded with features. We got everything but heated seats and navigation system. (We do have OnStar so I don't think we'll miss the nav system that much). I love the fact that the memory portion of the driver system is more than just the seat and mirror settings. This car remembers what radio stations I like, what security settings I want versus my wife, what AC or heater settings I want, and the list goes on. Speaking of the radio/stereo, I like the controls on the steering wheel and the fact thet they, too, are programmable.
Going and Stopping - I understand that the Opel engine is going to be abandoned for the automatic in 2004 in favor of a GM 3.8L V6 with more horsepower. That would be a nice improvement, but, in reality, the car is fairly peppy now. Acceleration is within an acceptable range and breaking is confidence inspiring.
Competition - It has been stated that the CTS doesn't quite measure up to some of the competition from Japan and Europe. One knock is that the CTS is larger than the BMW 3 Series so it doesn't feel quite as nimble as that car, and it's smaller than the Mercedes E Class so it doesn't feel as solid as that car. Well, I prefer to judge the CTS on its own merits. The CTS is a fine and capable car competing in a market where the bar is very, very high. It may not be the leader, but it deserves credit for being an all-around decent performer.
Conclusions - Overall, I think the CTS is a significant step forward for Cadillac and GM and I am willing to reward their efforts with my dollars. I am pleased that future Cadillacs will mimic the styling of the CTS and that will keep our car fresh looking for the foreseeable future. Maybe future generation Cadillacs will be even better and we'll buy one of those, too.