So, here is where we normally talk about how a new Cadillac drives.
Well, the new CTS Sport Wagon drives exactly like its sedan counterpart. It is a lovely combination of sporty handling along with a smooth, not too soft, ride. This isn’t a sports car and isn’t trying to be. However, it, especially in this AWD form would be just about the ideal daily driver – though we’d like to see a sportier suspension tuning, especially for hard-core mountain driving.
With regard to punch, especially after driving forced induction engined Cadillacs, the effects of high altitude begin to show themselves. While rated horsepower on this 3.6l DI V-6 is technically higher than the turbo 2.8l V-6 in the SRX we drove earlier this year – the SRX would leave this CTS in the dust by a measure of seconds simply due to the thinner air and a turbo’s ability to maintain rated horsepower as altitude increases.
Using the rule of thumb of 3% lost per 1000 feet elevation and the CTS is putting out about 20% less hp than rated at tCE headquarters – so less than 245hp. Turbo engines, however, often lose much less hp due to the fact that they can be tuned to let the boost climb higher to compensate for altitude (since this is programing based, it is hard to know exactly what the percentage lost in the SRX might have been – but it felt much stronger than the CTS and in our pseudo-official acceleration tests was at least a couple seconds faster to 60mph). On top of this, the 3.6 is a bit thirsty, giving us about the same 21mpg that we saw in the Escalade Hybrid – a bit shocking since we often match or beat EPA estimates (18/26 on the sticker of the wagon) in normal driving.
So, what did we learn from our time with the CTS Sport Wagon? Well, the CTS has worn quite well and is, ultimately, one of the bright spots in the domestic auto industry. It is well built, drives and handles well, and looks great doing it. The wagon simply takes all the positives in this platform and gives you the ability to haul bulky items while arguably looking better than the sedan on which it is based. At 6500 ft above sea level, we’d love to see Cadillac make the 2.8l turbo the upper level engine, though potential buyers that don’t often spend time a mile or more above sea level likely won’t mind.
Now, if we could just get our hands on the upcoming V version…