I caught up with Kirk Bell this week of On the Road, and as invariably happens when two auto writers get together, we talked about what we'd driven recently, looking for a common denominator. We found it in the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon.
When I asked him how he liked it, he said: "It makes me angry."
Not quite what I was expecting. But let's go with it.
Let me start by saying Kirk is more of a techno-enthusiast type than I am. I like to see if the cup holders with a beverage in them will interfere with my shifting and if I can get a good driving position. Comfort and style are also important. And I do have to admit I like a certain punch in the acceleration arena.
But, angry? Well, I only felt that strongly once. And it didn't involve the engine, which was Kirk's main point of contention with the CTS Wagon.
He points out that previously the 3.6-liter engine was available in the
regular old CTS sedan at $34K. And goes on to mention that now, the
price difference between a vehicle with the the newly created 3.0-liter
and the old 3.6-liter is $11K and about 30 horsepower. According to the
Cadillac.com website, fuel economy is the same.
So, Kirk's anger center's around that $11K. It is a hefty jump for not
a lot of anything. And I get it. Kind of. But first, I'm going to tell
Kirk to check his math (or at least explain his math to me) because I'm
seeing the difference more as $5K.
Next, I'll simply say this: People who have money are sometimes willing to spend it on something that they perceive
is "better" -- even if it isn't. Does that make me angry? Nope. It
makes me laugh. I say if GM can get more money for an "up-level" engine
that doesn't do much more than the base, more power to 'em. Well done,
As for the rest of the vehicle, I actually mostly agree with Kirk. The
styling is well done, the seats are too stiff, the handling is great, and I would absolutely
recommend the AWD living in Chicago. I also had the chance to test the
cargo room in the rear with a trip to Ikea, and I managed to fit boxes
for two small ottomans, one side table and various and sundry
Another feature to point out for the petite folks among us: The optional power liftgate is height adjustable so that those of us in the 5th percentile don't have to jump to reach the button to close it.
My last point of contention with Kirk's blog entry: He implies that wagons can be cool. I'm letting my childless colors show here a bit when I say: Um, no, they can't. They hold a lot of stuff and drive better than an SUV, crossover or minivan. But cool? That's pushing it.