A mid-size entry level luxury car, the Cadillac CTS was introduced in 2003 as a replacement for the Catera. Five years, later it’s become the manufacturer’s first success story in recent market campaign to sell vehicles to younger buyers. The CTS, in fact, is credited with rekindling the popularity of the Cadillac, whose sales dipped heavily in the 1990s in favor or Lexus, BMW and Mercedes.
After its debut at the North American International Auto Show, success arrived quickly for the CTS after its public debut last August. Motor Trend magazine selected the CTS as its 2008 car of the year. After five years of the first generation CTS, it was redesigned for 2008, and it’s easy to see and feel why the car has generated glowing reviews.
The base model features a 3.6-liter variable valve timing V6 with 258 hp. My weekly drive was the more powerful option, a 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 VVT engine with 304 horsepower.
It has a six-speed automatic transmission, which is standard on all models. On-demand, all-wheel drive is also offered with both engines when equipped with an automatic transmission.
The new model is wider and longer. It’s 191.6 inches long, 72.5 inches wide and 58 inches in height. The wheelbase is unchanged at 113.4 inches.
Like its predecessor, the 2008 CTS is offered with rear or all-wheel-drive, a new choice for 2008.
Standard features include: a BOSE 8-speaker sound system (XM radio/3 months of free usage, CD and MP3 players), heated leather seats, stabilitrak, tire pressure monitoring, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and dual-zone climate control. The car has power everything — outside heated mirrors to eight-way adjustable seats.
The optional features on my test vehicle included: iPod integration, ventilated seats, swiveling headlights, navigation system with 3D mapping of major U.S. landmarks and real-time traffic and weather data, BOSE 5.1 Digital surround sound upgrade and remote start.
Also featured is OnStar’s audio turn-by-turn, audio navigation. It’s a new component of the system that includes stolen vehicle assistance to vehicle diagnostics. The navigation features is easy to use: push a button, tell the OnStar representative where you want to travel and you’ll receive the direction via audio.
There’s little to not like about the CTS. Its interior is plush and handsome and the every attribute of the vehicle, with two exceptions, is superior.
The CTS accelerates well, maneuvers beautifully and has a quick, confident presence on the road. Its interior is spacious and the trunk capacity is cavernous, described by one auto publication as able to “swallow four golf bags.”
I had two small issues with the CTS: The front air dame rests particularly low and it scrapes on even the smallest driveway or road bumps, even a low speeds. And amid the $3,550 in option charges is $250 fee a compact spare, which replaces the previous tire inflator kit. It’s the first time in more than five years, I’ve test-driven a vehicle that included an extra fee for a spare tire.
Safety Features — Driver and front passenger front and side and side curtain air bags.
Fuel Mileage (Estimates) — 17 mpg (city), 26 mpg (highway).
Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 6 years/unlimited miles.
Base Price — $34,545.00
Article Last Updated: December 3, 2007.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.