tCE 2008 CTS Review – electronics and entertainment – part 2

Part 1 – Overall impressions
Part 2 – Interior and Storage
Part 3 – Electronics and Entertainment – Part 1
Part 3 – Electronics and Entertainment – Part 2
Part 4 – Ride and Drive
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Convenience
Our loaded up test car had quite a few technologies aimed at making the CTS incredibly easy to live with day-to-day…of note:

Keyless entry and starting: Rather than a key hanging from a keyless entry transmitter ‘fob’ – Cadillac has joined the trend of offering a system that allows your car to recognize you as you approach.

Looking like a large-ish key fob with the standard buttons for lock/unlock/trunk open – you can leave this device in your pocket/purse and let the magic of computers and radio do their thing.

If the transmitter is within about 6 feet of the car, the door will unlock and open as you pull on the door handle. Walk up to the trunk and a simple press of the hidden pressure switch above the license plate recess will open the lid.

Get inside, grab the very key-shaped nub, found exactly where a normal ignition slot would be, and give it a very intuitive push and twist to start the car (after you’ve put your foot on the brake pedal as a safety measure).

Take the fob out of your pocket and put it in the cupholder? The CTS will notify you if the transmitter is left in the car and the driver’s door is opened and then closed (as if the driver forgot to take the transmitter with them).

As you walk away from the car, the doors will lock automatically once you’re about 15-20 feet away. It is quite an intoxicating experience having the car ‘know’ you and automatically let you do things with confidence that the car will secure itself once you walk away.

Where does the system fall down? Well, if you and a passenger both have transmitters – be sure to take both – otherwise it won’t know to lock up when you leave and will be perfectly happy to start for any bad guys that get in – a bad situation to leave a $48k car in.

What if the battery of the transmitter runs out? Well, access to the inside of the car is easy by pulling the base of the transmitter out to expose a physical key that lets you open the driver’s door. However, without a working transmitter, don’t push too many buttons or you will be greeted by all sorts of anti-theft noise that will attract your neighbors’ attention (not that I would know). So, be sure to have a spare transmitter battery available – just in case.

Also, it would be nice to combine the seat/mirror/steering wheel mirror positions (you can program 2) settings to your specific transmitter. That way the car could be driven by two people of varying builds without having to worry about the tall driver not being able to get into the car after ‘shorty’ drove it last. Of course, this would require the system to better differentiate which transmitter is nearest the driver’s seat – and would completely fall down in the case of a transmitter in the driver’s jacket or purse thrown in the passenger seat.

tCE CTS memory buttons

Despite some failings, another slick feature of the new transmitter is remote start. Press the ‘lock’ button and then press and hold the ‘start’ button and the car will fire up and run for 10 minutes (cooling or heating the interior as weather requires). When you get in the car, just press and turn the ‘starting nub’ to ‘on’ and away you go. This is sure to be a hit in climates that get either very hot in the summer or very cold in the winter (which is probably everywhere).

There are a couple trick features in the new CTS that can help you in tight maneuvers. Firstly, shifting into reverse causes both exterior side mirrors to tilt downward in order to give you a clear view of curbs and other obstacles that might cause damage to your expensive 18″ wheels. Also, you will see a series of lights above and at the center of the rear window that will give you feedback on the distance any obstacle might be to your rear bumper. Again, a nice feature to have to protect your investment.

tCE CTS HeadlightThe CTS also has a few interesting technologies to help visibility forward. Most important are the new high-intensity headlights that also steer into corners. This was my first experience with a system like this and I loved it. At any speed on the inky black mountain roads around our house – the system was always there giving that added degree of visibility. I want my next car to have these lights. Other visibility enhancements on the new CTS are Rainsense wipers – when moisture reaches your windshield, the wipers automatically take action to clear the view. Also, you have heated washer fluid at your disposal. In cold weather, heated fluid helps to clear frost and ice. Again, nice to have and sure to help reduce the chance of getting into trouble in your new CTS.

Combine this with other cool features like standard StabiliTrak stability control, ABS, traction control, and our test car’s all-wheel drive – and the CTS should be a great all-weather, every day luxury-sport sedan that would keep you entertained even when the road doesn’t.

Next up…ride and drive.