Traveling in the Family Way: 2008 Cadillac CTS
Beauty Beyond the Eye of the Beholder
There are no two ways about it: The 2008 Cadillac CTS is a gorgeous car and you will feel gorgeous when you drive it.
It doesn't matter if your blouse is spotted with spitup and you have dark circles under your eyes from late-night feedings, when you sit behind the wheel of this incredible sedan, you will feel beautiful. Surrounded by sumptuous leather, and soothed by its quiet cabin and exquisite sound system you will forget your mother's worries and travel pampered by absolute luxury.
I found nothing disappointing about my rendezvous with this splendid sedan - except that I had to return it at the end of the week. By then, I had fallen in love with its delicious ride and handling, smooth-shifting six-speed transmission, and powerful performance.
When creating the new CTS, Cadillac's designers and engineers focused their attentions on building a luxury sport sedan intended to give such vehicles as the BMW 3- and 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus GS, and Audi A4 a run for their money. And that it does. Quite well.
Outside, it features stunning exterior lines, bright LED "lightpipes" in the headlights and taillights, and an edgy stance that promises athletic performance. Exquisite interior upgrades include hand-sewn leather trim, Sapele Pommele wood, lovely ambient cabin lighting, heated and cooled seats, and an incredible double "ultraview" sunroof that opens to allow both front and rear passengers a sky view. And even though it proves itself to be indulgent in every way, the premium interior also offers such practical features as 60/40 split rear seat access to its enormous trunk, rear park assist, two LATCH mounts and three tethers, powerpoints front and rear, four cupholders, keyless access and ignition, and remote start.
The dash features an optional 8-inch multi-function popup touch screen that operates the AM/FM/CD/MP3 Bose Audio system, navigation (including XM real-time traffic), integrated USB access for iPods and MP3 players, and a 40-gig harddrive which allows you not only to import your music library, but to pause and rewind live radio in much the same way a DVR allows you to timeshift television. A push of a button tucks the LCD screen discretely away, while still leaving a functional strip of key control icons within view.
Underhood is a 304-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine mated to a standard manual or optional automatic six-speed transmission. Its variable-effort steering makes piloting this powerful sedan a delight, while the new transmission shifts seamlessly, even when accelerating up hills at midthrottle. Its spirited performance often tempted my throttle foot around town, where I averaged about 17 miles per gallon. I was impressed to watch the onboard computer calculate economy of 30 mpg when cruising the freeway at 60 mph.
The back seat is roomy for two adults or three younger passengers, and offers several small storage pockets, as well as a fold-down center armrest that holds two cups and provides a flat surface for writing. The interior of my test vehicle was light grey leather, which while lovely, was unfortunately easily dirtied by my son's sneakers as he climbed in and out of his booster seat.
Safety features include Cadillac's StabiliTrak electronic chassis control system with four-wheel vented ABS brakes, full-function traction control, hydraulic brake assist, and tire pressure monitoring system. The litany of airbags includes dual-stage driver's bag, dual-depth front passenger bag, driver and front side seat-mounted pelvic/thorax side airbags, and roof rail side curtain airbags front and rear. And of course, one year of OnStar with Turn by Turn Navigation.
All in all, the new Cadillac CTS delivers what it promises: beauty and luxury from your first glance at the outside to divine comfort and power once you settle into the inside. Just because you're wearied with kids on the brain doesn't mean you don't also deserve to feel beautiful behind the wheel.
By Brandy Schaffels