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2008 Cadillac CTS Review

Wednesday July 9th, 2008 at 9:77 AM
Posted by: Francois

By Francis Cebedo

2008 Cadillac CTS

Pros:

  • Good, distinctive exterior styling
  • Excellent interior design and build quality
  • The 300 hp V6 engine is a great balance of power and efficiency
  • Handling is very capable
  • GPS system is the one of the best we’ve used to date
  • Clean and powerful audio system
  • UltraView sunroof is a very nice touch
  • It is an excellent family car with luxurious room for four

Cons:

  • Rear window visibility is limited
  • Accelerator pedal is very heavy
  • Steering is not tight and responsive enough
  • The car feels heavy when cornering

2008 Cadillac CTSIntroduction
And so it hit me… I could see myself owning this car. As I viewed the pop-up navigation screen, with its 3-D mode and split screen with the XM® Satellite Radio information; as I opened up the huge sunroof that lit up the bright and luxurious interior; as I put 300 hp down on the pavement after confidently taking the onramp to highway 280, I realized that I could own this Cadillac and enjoy it.

I’m far from the typical Cadillac customer. My peers and I dream of getting an Audi, an Infiniti or a BMW when we put our mark in the corporate world. In our 30s and 40s, a Cadillac is not one of the cars we covet. I had no expectations with this car and was simply going through the motions of reviewing the cars in the roster. But from the first moment on, the Cadillac CTS surprised me and it continued to do so after a week of driving it.

Driving Impressions
Initially, the CTS seemed sluggish and it felt like it was going to plow through tight corners. After a few days of driving it though, we realized the accelerator pedal gets progressively heavy and the driver has to really stomp on the pedal to get full power. This effort gave us the impression that there was less power than actually available. Once we got used to it though, we got the 300 hp out of the enthusiastic V6 engine. This engine truly felt like a V8 without the thirst for gas.

Build
The exterior build seems very good. The chassis is solid and the body panels fit together very well. Our minor complaints are the visible wire harness on the trunk door and the low-cost materials in the gas cap area. The interior is very impressive indeed and it is very hard to tell if you’re inside a luxury Japanese, German or American car. The design is impeccable, reminiscent of the flowy lines of the new Honda Accord. The electronic controls have a very solid and tactile feel to them. The gauges are attractive and easy to read. And finally, the lighting is excellent as even the door handles are nicely lit.

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The most striking feature of the the interior is the 8″ diagonal pop-up touch screen with voice and text guidance. In ‘stealth’ mode, the navigation screen is 75% hidden and only a 1 inch high screen is in use. This mode is sufficient for vital information about the radio and electronics. When needed, the full screen rises above the dashboard and all the mapping and audio options become available.

2008 Cadillac CTS - front cockpit 2008 Cadillac CTS - pop-up touch screen OnStar turn-by-turn navigation

The navigation screen itself is a breakthrough because it seems to use a high resolution monitor with many colors. Most navigation screens these days seem to be stuck in the 90’s with crude graphics and colors. This display actually looks like a modern laptop screen. The screen is touch sensitive so entering text and selecting spots on the screen is easy. The screen has tabbed browsing for easy navigation and it supports split-screen modes where it can display a navigation map and XM® radio information at the same time.

2008 Cadillac CTS UltraView SunroofAs we entered the freeway, the navigation detected it and filled the right side of the screen with green signs depicting the next four exits ahead of us. And when it detected a live traffic incident on our route, it asked us if we wanted to avoid the incident and change the route. Wow, we didn’t know these features existed today!

The Bose stereo was extremely clean and powerful. Listening to Jazz or The City channels on XM® Satellite Radio was excellent both at low and very loud levels.

The UltraView Sunroof is one of the best we’ve seen. It has two glass panels, one above the driver and one above the rear passenger. It is covered by a tan shade that provides nice ambient light to the cabin. One press of a button and the shade retracts all the way back. One press of another button and the driver’s glass panel sunroof slides open.

(Continued on next page – Performance | Handling | Styling | Value | Conclusion and Ratings )

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