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    Review: 2015 Cadillac CTS VSport


    • Cadillac To Other Automakers: You've Been Put On Notice

    Cadillac has changed a lot during the past decade and a half. Once considered the brand that old folks would buy for their comfort and plushness, Cadillac has grown into a real competitor for the Germans. To see how the brand became a threat, all you need to do look at the CTS. The first and second-generation CTS models showed real promise as Cadillac got the handling and design characteristics right. But there was always something lacking that kept it a few rungs down, whether it be the interior, drivetrain, or something else. Enter the third-generation CTS and Cadillac appears to have taken the lessons it learned from past models, along with a lot of development work to get to this point. Is it a real threat? We spent some time in the CTS VSport model to find out.

     

    In terms of design, the current CTS is toned-down when compared to the last-generation model. There is a fair amount of sharp lines and angles throughout the body, but it doesn’t quite have that shock and awe look that the previous CTS had. Instead, the current CTS’ design is much more fluid and complete. Every panel and line seems to flow and makes the model seem like it was sculpted from a block of steel, not bits and pieces. The only downside to CTS’ design is the rear end as it looks like it was done at the last minute and doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the vehicle.

     

    Cadillac has also gotten the details right with the CTS. Little things such as LED lighting, headlights that extend into the front fenders, rear spoiler, and chrome exhaust ports. A set of nineteen-inch wheels adds some aggression for the VSport.

     


    2015 Cadillac CTS VSport 9


    Step inside the CTS’ interior and it's clear to see that Cadillac finally understands how to craft a luxury interior. The last-generation model featured a modern-looking interior, but it was let down by questionable material choices. Cadillac finally has both in the CTS. The interior is meant to be an intimate experience with the dashboard flowing into the door panels and high window sills. Swaths of leather are paired with real aluminum and wood trim. This might be one of the best interiors in the midsize luxury sedan class.

     

    The CTS VSport gets a set of leather seats with extra bolstering to keep you in place when you decide to play. Whenever you decide to stop playing around, you’ll find the seats provide excellent support and comfort for long distances. The back seat may seem small when compared to competitors, but it’s a different story when you sit back there. Even for taller passengers, the rear seat provides more than enough head and legroom.

     

    Infotainment duties are handled by CUE (Cadillac User Experience) and it sadly hasn’t gotten any better. The capacitive touch buttons still don’t always recognize a finger press and you’ll need to hit them a few times for a response. The system is slow to respond to simple tasks such as changing a station or bringing up the navigation. I know criticizing CUE is now at the ‘kicking the dead horse level’, but this is a key part of the vehicle. If it doesn’t work smoothly, you’re going to lose people who are interested in the car.

     


    2015 Cadillac CTS VSport 7


     

    For power, the CTS VSport employs a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 with 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is quite a revelation when you first take it out. It feels more like a V8 in how eager the engine is to get up to speed. Cadillac says 90 percent of the torque is available between 2,500 to 5,500 rpm, giving the engine strong power in most driving conditions. It shows as the CTS VSport was eager to get up to speed at a rapid rate. Also, the engine had a lot of power in reserve for times when it was called on. The eight-speed automatic performed fast gear changes.

     

    Fuel economy for the CTS VSport is rated at 16 City/24 Highway/18 Combined. I saw an average of 20.1 MPG in mostly city driving.

     

    Aside from the twin-turbo engine, the VSport boasts some other goodies. There is a sports-tuned suspension with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system, electronic limited-slip differential, and a set of performance tires. This combination makes the CTS VSport one of, if not the best handling sedan in the class. Put the vehicle into Sport and it hunkers down onto the road. Body motions are nonexistent when cornering and the steering provides excellent feel and weight. When you’re not horsing around and just doing the daily grind, the CTS is a pleasant and comfortable place. Put the CTS VSport into Comfort and suspension will soften to glide over most bumps. Road and wind noise are kept to levels that are considered to be silent.

     

    Cadillac has a real world-beater on their hands with the CTS. In VSport form, the CTS gives all of the midsize luxury sedans a real run for their money in terms of handling and power. The CTS also boasts one of the nicest interiors and unique exteriors in the class. CUE is still a problem for the CTS and Cadillac need to address this system ASAP.

     

    But there are still some issues for Cadillac as a whole. Perceptions of the brand still linger and the dealership experience still doesn’t quite match what you might find other luxury automakers.

     

    So while the CTS is now at a point where it can be considered best-in-class, the rest of Cadillac needs to catch up.

     

    Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the CTS VSport, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Cadillac
    Model: CTS
    Trim: VSport
    Engine: 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5,750
    Torque @ RPM: 430 @ 3,500 - 4,500
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/18
    Curb Weight: 3,952 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
    Base Price: $59,340
    As Tested Price: $60,435 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Performance Brake Linings - $100.00

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    Awesome right up, I agree with everything you have posted about the CTS. They have a world class car, now the dealerships need to step up to make the rest of the experience world class leading.

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    The one thing GM has done totally ass backwards on the CTS is trim level pricing. A midlevel N/A V6 model costs as much as a V-Sport. That's idiotic. I can see the top trim doing that, because then the equivalent V-Sport is $10k higher.

     

    Cadillac needs to get their pricing strategy under control. A base CTS V6 shouldn't cost $54,000. Especially now that CT6 pricing has been revealed at just a hair more with standard AWD.

     

    Just for reference:

     

    ATS base pricing:

    2.0T - $36,240 (Standard)

    3.6L - $42,335 (Luxury)

     

    CTS base pricing:

    2.0T - $46,555 (Standard)

    3.6L - $54,280 (Luxury)

    3.6T - $60,950 (V-Sport Base)

     

    CT6 base pricing:

    2.0T RWD - $54,490 (Standard)

    3.6L AWD - $56,490 (Standard)

    3.0T AWD - $65,390 (Luxury)

     

    Now why in the world is the CTS 2.0T Standard and V6 Luxury $10,000 to 12,000 more than the exact same ATS trims? Cut that in half and things make a lot more sense. Why does the CT6 2.0T RWD base model even exist? What person spending that kind of money can't finance that additional $2000 for a V6 + AWD? What business case is there for a full size luxury car stripper model?

    Edited by cp-the-nerd
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    Question William. Was this CTS using the updated CUE system that was supposed to be much more responsive and snappy?

     

    That's tough to say. It didn't feel more responsive to me during the week I had it.

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    The one thing GM has done totally ass backwards on the CTS is trim level pricing. A midlevel N/A V6 model costs as much as a V-Sport. That's idiotic. I can see the top trim doing that, because then the equivalent V-Sport is $10k higher.

     

    Cadillac needs to get their pricing strategy under control. A base CTS V6 shouldn't cost $54,000. Especially now that CT6 pricing has been revealed at just a hair more with standard AWD.

     

    Just for reference:

     

    ATS base pricing:

    2.0T - $36,240 (Standard)

    3.6L - $42,335 (Luxury)

     

    CTS base pricing:

    2.0T - $46,555 (Standard)

    3.6L - $54,280 (Luxury)

    3.6T - $60,950 (V-Sport Base)

     

    CT6 base pricing:

    2.0T RWD - $54,490 (Standard)

    3.6L AWD - $56,490 (Standard)

    3.0T AWD - $65,390 (Luxury)

     

    Now why in the world is the CTS 2.0T Standard and V6 Luxury $10,000 to 12,000 more than the exact same ATS trims? Cut that in half and things make a lot more sense. Why does the CT6 2.0T RWD base model even exist? What person spending that kind of money can't finance that additional $2000 for a V6 + AWD? What business case is there for a full size luxury car stripper model?

     

    That what something I was going to address in the review, but I thought it would be better as an Afterthoughts piece since I go in a bit deeper. I agree, Cadillac needs to rethink the pricing structure to give the CTS some breathing space.

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    Question William. Was this CTS using the updated CUE system that was supposed to be much more responsive and snappy?

     

    That's tough to say. It didn't feel more responsive to me during the week I had it.

     

    Maybe it's for the 2016 models. It's bummer if they don't have that worked out yet otherwise. Of course, the more sensible solution is physical buttons. All that touchscreen non sense would drive me bonkers.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

    GM should look at if the hardware can plug in and work with older auto's I am sure many people would love to buy a new NAV system for their older auto's. If I could figure out how to put in the current NAV that is in the SRX into my Trailblazer I would as it is a very nice system. 

     

    Then again, that is what the 3rd party manufactures are for.

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

    The XTS is on the way out, hence the existence of the CT6 that replaces it. Now, the only pricing gripe I have is with the CT6 2.0L being only $2K cheaper than the 3.6L. Personally I would just dump the 2.0L because I can't fathom anyone choosing a 4 banger when the V6 is only $2K more. 

    Edited by surreal1272
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    But the XTS is still here like 3 more model years.  So there is still an overlap problem for a while, and the XTS has a base V6, the other 2 do not.  It is just weird how they planned their sedans.  

     

    But at any rate, a challenge for Cadillac (and other luxury makers) is to get people to buy sedans.  Cadillac makes a good handling, fun to drive sedan, yet no one buys it.  And GM, Ford Toyota, etc are selling $40-50,000 crossovers and SUVs.  The average new car price is like $34k.  So people are out there spending money on vehicles, Cadillac has to convince more people to look at and ATS, or CTS.  I don't think it is as simple as try to steal sales from the German sedan buyers, I think they have to get people to think why pay $45k on some Ford or Chevy crossover when they can get a Cadillac instead.  Some how they need to make sedans cool again, because the crossover is killing the sedan.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

    GM should look at if the hardware can plug in and work with older auto's I am sure many people would love to buy a new NAV system for their older auto's. If I could figure out how to put in the current NAV that is in the SRX into my Trailblazer I would as it is a very nice system. 

     

    Then again, that is what the 3rd party manufactures are for.

     

     

     

    http://www.radio-upgrade.com

     

    http://www.sonicelectronix.com/cat_i466_factory-radio-improvement.html

     

    http://www.oemautopartsco.com/collections/ram-navigation

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

    Interesting as you have totally also described MB and BMW with all their crazy cross over of models and packages. So based on this, Cadillac has nailed the German Driving Machine of Luxury.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

    GM should look at if the hardware can plug in and work with older auto's I am sure many people would love to buy a new NAV system for their older auto's. If I could figure out how to put in the current NAV that is in the SRX into my Trailblazer I would as it is a very nice system. 

     

    Then again, that is what the 3rd party manufactures are for.

     

     

     

    http://www.radio-upgrade.com

     

    http://www.sonicelectronix.com/cat_i466_factory-radio-improvement.html

     

    http://www.oemautopartsco.com/collections/ram-navigation

     

    Thanks for the pointers, sadly they do not offer any 2008 Trailblazer nav upgrades. Will have to see what Car Toys has or keep looking around.

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

    Interesting as you have totally also described MB and BMW with all their crazy cross over of models and packages. So based on this, Cadillac has nailed the German Driving Machine of Luxury.

     

    BMW and Mercedes don't put 3 sedans in the same segment.  There is overlap with the 6-series gran coupe and 7-series, but the closest Mercedes comes is E-class and CLS, but one is a sedan, one is coupe-look, and the CLS was V8 only until a couple years ago.  BMW has too many 4-door coupe and SUV coupes that aren't really any different than the main product, but that is like having an ATS sedan, coupe, wagon, convertible.  It is multiple body styles of one product which makes sense. 

     

    The German way is take one platform and build several models on it.  Cadillac has Alpha, Epsilon, and Omega sedans all in the $50-60k segment and 1 crossover on a different chassis.    They are sedan heavy in a crossover market, and they don't have convertibles, or sports cars or the low volume halo models that most luxury brands have.  Hard to build an imagine without the hottest body style or an attention grabber product.  If not for the Escalade Cadillac would be dead right now, and luckily for them gas prices are the lowest since 2007 right now, so they can still sell those.  

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    All that refinement and power, yet CUE's still worse than a $35 Wal*Mart tablet. 

     

    YOU NAILED IT GM!

     

    Well it's no worse than some recently launched Ford/Lincoln models not being upgrade-able to Sync 3.

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    This model CTS is a lickable car. Lick the headlights.. I reccommend it highly, as uhh well let's just say it's an informed opinion.

     

    I mean, the cars in this segment, for the most part are pretty even on specs and stuffs.

     

    I mean in MT's Head2Head with the GS F Sport, they gave the GS credit for feeling just as nimble and they liked the interior a bit more, even though it was massively down on power...but similar in price. Chalk it up to the CTS being a base V Sport versus a loaded GS F.

     

    Anyways, I drool over this car, and even better I have a mental model of a poster of it in the back of my head and my desktop wallpaper every so often changes to a very pretty pic of this car.

     

    When I decide to finally splurge against my own self-imposed poverty thug life, this is a car that I would love to own.

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    All that refinement and power, yet CUE's still worse than a $35 Wal*Mart tablet.

    YOU NAILED IT GM!

    Well it's no worse than some recently launched Ford/Lincoln models not being upgrade-able to Sync 3.

    I don't doubt it. But Cadillac's a few tiers above either brand.

    CUE was supposed to be a breath of fresh air, better than all the other horrid systems, yet it's become an all-encompassing punchline for horrid systems everywhere.

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    Yeah, CUE still needs to improvement, but Cadillac has everything else pretty much on point.

     

    Now just get the pricing in line and make good on promise of more VSports and iterative improvements to interior trims choices, and they'll be more reasons than ever to get a Cadillac.

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    I thought the new system for Android and apple phones would replace CUE next year. So is this the 2017 models sold in 2016 or what?

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    I thought the new system for Android and apple phones would replace CUE next year. So is this the 2017 models sold in 2016 or what?

     

    Apply Car Play and Android Auto do not replace the infotainment system, they are add-ons for it. All Cadillacs with NewCUE have both.

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      BOOK by Cadillac members will have app-enabled on-demand access to the latest premium trim Cadillac models to keep in their possession. The vehicles will be delivered via white-glove concierge to members’ requested locations and exchanged at their leisure or as their needs change. Members can just as easily take to the winding roads in a performance V Series and enjoy a back-mountain winter ski trip in an Escalade in the same week. Alternatively, they can keep an SUV during the winter months and switch to a performance sedan during the summer, with each vehicle picked up and delivered to their doorstep.
      With maintenance, insurance and detailing of the vehicle handled by Cadillac, members are freed from the baggage that comes with traditional vehicle ownership and given the freedom and flexibility to fit their lifestyle.
      BOOK by Cadillac will launch first in the New York metro area, with plans to debut in other markets. 
      The Details:
      A flat monthly fee of $1,500 eliminates the hassles of car ownership so members can experience uninhibited driving. Membership is month-to-month with no long-term commitment required. Members can use a mobile app to reserve vehicles that will be delivered to their specified locations via a white-glove concierge service. Certain location restrictions apply. Members will have access to the current year Platinum Level Trim Cadillacs, including the XT5, CT6, Escalade and V Series. Registration, taxes, insurance and maintenance costs are included in the monthly rate and there is no limit on mileage.
      Other fees may apply. For detailed information on all the benefits of membership and how to join, please visit www.BOOKByCadillac.com.
    • By William Maley
      Last fall, I had the chance to drive a Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack for a week and fell in love. It was basically an SRT Charger, minus a few items for just under $40,000. This fall, another high-performance Charger came in a week’s stay and it was packing more heat. 707 horsepower to be exact. Yes, I finally got my hands on a Hellcat. What was it like? It was fast, but you want more information than that.
      That 707 horsepower figure comes courtesy from a 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8. Torque is rated at 650 pound-feet.This is backed up by an eight-speed automatic only. If you want a manual, then you’ll need to get the Challenger Hellcat. Trying to explain just how fast the Charger Hellcat is difficult. This is a car that you need to drive or sit in to experience the ferocity of the V8 engine. The best way I can use to describe the Hellcat’s power delivery is engaging warp drive. Step on the accelerator and the supercharger whirrs into life and the V8 produces a roar very few vehicles can dream. Blink and you’ll be at an illegal speed before you know it. Taking turns in the Hellcat is somewhat difficult because of the accelerator. You need to roll on it if you want to do it smoothly. If you step on the accelerator pedal like you would on a standard vehicle, the back will become very loose and the stability control will kick on to get the vehicle straightened out. This is especially important due to the tires fitted to Hellcat, a set of Pirelli P-Zeros. These tires need to be warmed up before they begin to bite the road. The Hellcat will be a regular at the fuel pump with fuel economy figures of 13 City/22 Highway/16 Combined. I got about 14.3 mpg during my week in mostly city driving. Handling? That’s the surprising part as the Charger Hellcat doesn’t embarrass itself. Fitted with an adaptive suspension system, the Charger Hellcat shows little body roll when put into Sport and provides a smooth ride when in comfort. The steering system provides the right amount of feel and heft you want in a performance vehicle.  Bringing a 707 horsepower vehicle to a stop is no easy task, but a set of massive Brembo brakes is up to the task. It brings the Charger Hellcat to a quick halt. The Charger Hellcat looks like your standard SRT Charger with a new front clip and lowered stance. There are some slight differences such as a new hood, 20-inch wheels finished in a dark bronze color, and the requisite Hellcat emblems on the front fenders. Inside, the Hellcat isn’t that much different from the standard Charger aside from the speedometer going 200 mph. It would have been nice if Dodge could have done some sprucing of the interior to not make it feel so dank and dark. A little bit more color on the dash would not be a bad thing. The front seats have extra bolstering to hold you in when you decide to let loose all 707 horsepower or take a turn a bit too fast. As I mentioned in my Ram 1500 Quick Drive last week, the Charger’s UConnect system is beginning to show its age. The interface is still easy to use but is beginning to show signs of aging. Performance isn’t as snappy either as in previous FCA models. Hopefully, the 2017 model is able to get the updated UConnect system that debuted in the Pacifica. The UConnect system in the Charger Hellcat does come with SRT Pages. This allows you to record 0-60, quarter-mile, and reaction times. It also allows you to change various performance settings such as gear changes, suspension, and whether you want the full 707 horsepower or 500. The last one pertains if you happen to have the red key. In terms of pricing, the Charger Hellcat kicks off at $65,495. With options and a $1,700 gas guzzler tax, our tester came to $72,820. Compared to other high-performance sedans, the Hellcat is quite the steal. If it was my money on the line, I would go for the Charger R/T Scat Pack. I get most of the enjoyment of the Hellcat, minus the supercharger whine. But I would have a fair chunk of change that I could spend on hopping it up. But I understand why someone would go for the Charger Hellcat. It is a four-door sedan that provides explosive acceleration and engine note that no other vehicle can dare match. There’s something magical about stepping on the accelerator, being flung back into the seat due to power on tap, and then laughing like a four-year old after what happened. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Charger Hellcat, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      (Author’s Note: That’s a wrap for the 2016 review season. We’ll be back with the first batch of 2017 model year vehicles after New Years. But I will be picking my favorite vehicles I drove this year. Expect to see that before the year comes to a close.)
      Year: 2016
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Charger
      Trim: SRT Hellcat
      Engine: Supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8
      Driveline: Eight-speed automatic, Rear-wheel drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 707 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 650 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/22/16
      Curb Weight: 4,570 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $65,945
      As Tested Price: $72,820 (Includes $995 Destination Charge and $1,700 Gas Guzzler Tax)
      Options:
      Customer Preferred Package 23T - $1,995.00
      20-inch x 9.5-inch Brass Monkey SRT Forged Wheels - $995.00
      275/40ZR20 P Zero Summer Tires - $595.00
      Redline Red Tri-coat Pearl Exterior Paint - $595.00

      View full article
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