By Bob Plunkett
With its wide track and squatty stance for knife-edge sharp skin that ripples over wheelwells and amplifies a blunt in-your-face prow capped by a toothy grille, this four-door tourer is the first-ever car-based wagon out of Cadillac and General Motors. Dubbed the CTS Sport Wagon, the way-cool and agile set of wheels is derived from Cadillac's premium mid-size CTS sport sedan.
Essentially, the overall package size of the wagon is the same as the sedan, yet inside there's nearly double the cargo capacity due to the wagon format at the rear. The five-seat sedan has a trunk capacity of 13.6 cubic feet, while the wagon's cargo bay aft of rear seats measures to 25 cubic feet but expands to 53.4 cubic feet when the rear seatback folds down. Tail treatment for CTS Sport Wagon shows a slick slab bumper in monochrome flanked by tall vertical tail lamps, a Cadillac hallmark, with twin round pipes in chrome protruding below the body-colored bumper.
Inside a spacious cabin with room for five, the exterior theme of chiseled forms and angular features is expressed in a monochromatic treatment with hand-cut, hand-sewn and hand-wrapped surfaces. Vivid analog instruments are housed in three tubular binnacles and the dashboard center stack of controls is trimmed in a high-tech satin metallic finish or genuine Sapele Pommele wood.
Front bucket seats, optionally heated and ventilated, are contoured to fit the body with firm side bolsters to hold you in place during quick-cut pavement maneuvers. The soft leather upholstery comes with French stitching, which also shows up on top of the instrument panel, door inserts and the shifter boot.
Extensive safety measures apply, including air bags surrounding front-seat riders and stretching like curtains in concealment above front and rear side windows. The four-wheel disc brakes score big high-performance aluminum brake calipers and link electronically to an anti-lock brake system (ABS) and traction control system (TCS) plus GM's StabiliTrak skid controls. Steering, through a rack and pinion device enhanced by a variable-assist power system, feels dead-on precise and entirely quick in response.
Powertrain options begin with the base aluminum 3.0-liter V6 rigged with dual overhead cams, direct injection technology and VVT (variable valve timing). With direct injection, the fuel goes directly into the engine's combustion chamber and fosters a thorough burn of the mix of air and fuel. This plant generates 270 hp at 7000 rpm with the torque pushed to 223 lb-ft at 5700 rpm.
Optional power comes from a direct-injection dual-cam 3.6-liter VVT V6 that generates the power of a V8 but earns better fuel economy numbers. The 3.6-liter V6 for CTS makes 304 hp at 6400 rpm, with torque peaking to 273 lb-ft at 5200 rpm.
Traction options include standard rear-wheel-drive (RWD) or optional on-demand all-wheel-drive (AWD). Three levels of suspension tuning include standard FE1, FE2 for the 3.6-liter engine and a RWD-only FE3 sport suspension with summer tires.
Various equipment packages dress the CTS Sport Wagon. The Luxury Level One Package brings a retractable cargo shade, theft-deterrent alarm system, accent lighting and an audio kit with 6X CD changer upgradeable to a hard-disc navigation system and Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround 300-watt premium audio system with ten speakers. Luxury Level Two Package adds heated/ventilated front seats, a split-folding rear seat, power for the telescopic steering column and a keyless passive entry device. Then the Performance Package installs foglamps and HID headlights, aluminum wheels with multi-coat painted finish and P235/50R18 V-rated all-season blackwall tires.
Pricing for Cadillac's 2010 CTS Sport Wagon starts at $37,500.