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Edmunds Reviews CTS

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http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...icleId=115503#8

Vehicle Tested:

2006 Cadillac CTS Sport 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6M)

MSRP of Test Vehicle: $41,625 Price It!!

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What Works:

More powerful 3.6-liter engine, upgraded interior, XM traffic avoider integrated with navigation system.

What Needs Work:

Handling falls short of top competitors, option packages drive price up quickly.

Bottom Line:

The 2006 Cadillac CTS earns a reputable name for itself among an elite group of sport sedans.

Cadillac's bread and butter deserves jam

By Kelly Toepke Email | Blog

Date posted: 05-24-2006

If sports cars are from Mars and minivans are from Venus, the 2006 Cadillac CTS comes straight from the manly red planet. With all that hyper-aggressive styling and sharp edges, there's little doubt that this sport sedan was designed to appeal to the Y chromosome.

Although initial sales exceeded Cadillac's goal of 40,000 vehicles per year, the original 2003 CTS lacked the muscle to match its chiseled, masculine design. Its 3.2-liter V6 had the punch of an elderly woman.

Caddy was already planning to add the Corvette-powered 400-hp CTS-V to the lineup, but it still had to make an engine change on the standard CTS if it was really going to challenge the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G35 sedans. So in 2005, Cadillac offered the CTS with a torquey 2.8-liter V6 and an all-aluminum 255 hp 3.6-liter V6 and essentially gave it a new lease on life.

Smooth V6 power

The larger V6 is a dual-overhead-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder design. It has variable valve timing and a dual-stage variable intake manifold, and cranks out 255 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 252 pound-feet of torque at 3,100 rpm, a 35-hp and 34-lb-ft increase over the old 3.2-liter.

Although the CTS received a new standard six-speed manual transmission in 2005, our 2006 test car came equipped with the optional (and more popular) five-speed automatic. This transmission was in the original CTS and remains basically unchanged, except for the manual-shift mode that was also added last year.

This crisp combination is the setup the rear-wheel-drive CTS should have come with from Day One. It's powerful off the line and offers a smooth resonance at full throttle. With a 15.1-second, 92.3-mph quarter-mile, the CTS is slower than the G35's 14.7 seconds, but not embarrassingly so. That half-second difference keeps the CTS in the same sport-sedan ballpark.

Comfortable, if not sporty

Underneath, the CTS's architecture was good enough to be stretched for the Cadillac STS, and it does an admirable job of keeping the entry-level Caddy stable through everyday twists and turns. Our test car was equipped with the $1,640 17-inch Wheel Sport Package, which includes sportier suspension tuning, stability control, special aluminum wheels, a limited-slip differential and high-intensity headlamps. It's a step up from the standard suspension and 16-inch wheels, but falls short of the "V-Series light" stiffness that comes with the 18-inch Wheel Package.

Overall, the chassis feels good and tight, but the variable power-assisted rack and pinion steering, which is generally fine, would feel sharper without the CTS's big ol' steering wheel.

In our slalom test at the track, however, the CTS didn't perform as well as we had hoped. When pushed, its suspension was slow to react between the 100-foot cone gates, and its P225/50R17 Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires overheated after the fifth run. In the end, the CTS threaded the course at 61 mph, which is substantially slower than both the G35's 66.4-mph run and the 330i's 68.6-mph speed.

It was closer to its competitors when it came to braking performance, turning in a stop from 60-0 mph in 122 feet. That's nearly 7 feet shorter than the G35, but still not as good as BMW's very impressive stop of 111 feet. It might have made a smaller gap if we had the 18-inch Wheel Package that also includes high-performance brake pads. The standard four-wheel vented disc brakes felt pretty good to us, even with a slightly mushy pedal, but if you want more than average performance, you'll need the upgrade.

Interior upgrade, better materials and controls

Interior elements also received some criticism in the original Cadillac CTS, but the current interior is more Euro and less Camaro than the first model. Soft-touch plastics aren't as yielding as the Pillsbury Doughboy's belly, but you won't injure your funny bone with accidental contact.

Simple, large gauges span the instrument cluster, with white letters and numbers that are easy to read. The dual climate control buttons make short work of adjusting the cabin's temperature, and well-padded front seats and the most rear legroom among the G35, 330i and Acura TL sedans help all passengers get comfortable.

A Bose in-dash six-disc CD stereo unit is part of our car's California Luxury Package, and although we appreciate its posh sound, the coolest stereo gadget is the steering-wheel-mounted volume control wheel that is not limited to the Bose package, but comes with the standard stereo. A flick of your thumb mutes the volume in an instant, or brings Toto's "Rosanna" to life on XM's '80s channel.

Traffic avoidance

Another nice feature is XM NavTraffic, which provides continuously updated traffic information in selected cities. The CTS is the first GM vehicle with this system and it comes standard in cars equipped with the DVD navigation package.

Offered exclusively by XM Satellite Radio, NavTraffic is fully integrated with the CTS's GPS navigation system to display current information about traffic incidents and average traffic speed. Enter a destination into the navigation system and a color-coded display will provide instant traffic data along a preferred route. The driver can see how fast traffic is moving and see symbols that identify crashes, construction and road congestion, ultimately choosing a faster route if necessary.

It costs how much?!

Four feature packages and the optional automatic transmission tacked $9,715 on to the CTS's base price of $31,190, bringing the cost of our 2006 Cadillac CTS test car up to a whopping $41,625 with destination. That's just a grand short of our long-term 330i, which, although less roomy, is a more compelling sport sedan. However, if you want more space than sport, and are a manly man who can live without heated seats, the CTS, sans a package or two, now deserves your attention.

Model Year: 2006

Make: Cadillac

Model: CTS

Style: Sedan

Base Price: $31,970

Price as Tested: $41,625

Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive

Transmission Type: Five-speed automatic

Displacement (liters): 3.6

Engine Type: V6

Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 255 @ 6,200

Torque (ft-lbs @ rpm): 252 @ 3,100

Braking System: Power-assisted vented disc

Steering System: Power-assisted rack and pinion

Suspension Type (front): Independent, short/long arm, coil-over shock, antiroll bar

Suspension Type (rear): Independent, modified multilink, coil springs, antiroll bar

Tire Size (front): P225/50R17

Tire Size (rear): P225/50R17

Tire Brand: Goodyear

Tire Model: Eagle RS-A

Curb Weight (lbs): 3,509

Recommended Fuel: Regular unleaded

Fuel Tank Capacity (gal): 17

EPA Fuel Economy (mpg): 18 City 27 Highway

Edmunds Observed (mpg): 17.4

Conditions for Testing

Temperature (Fahrenheit): 61

Humidity: 83%

Elevation (ft): 75

Wind: 1

Performance

0 - 30 (sec): 2.3

0 - 45 (sec): 4.2

0 - 60 (sec): 6.6

0 - 75 (sec): 9.8

1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 15.1 @ 92.3

30 - 0 (ft): 30.73

60 - 0 (ft): 122.01

Braking Rating (Excellent, Good, Average, Poor or Very Poor): Good

Slalom (mph): 61.10

Skid Pad (g-force): N/A

Handling Rating (Excellent, Good, Average, Poor or Very Poor): Average

Db @ Idle: 46.1

Db @ Full Throttle: 82.4

Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 68.6

Acceleration Comments: Traction/Stability Control off: Although wheelspin is possible, that wasn't the quickest launch. Basically, it's a "slap-n-go" launch: off the brakes and wide-open throttle simultaneously. Engine noise is very evident through the firewall and there's a panel gap on the center console that buzzes at a certain engine frequency. Annoying! Gearshifts are quick but 4th is a giant hole in the otherwise energetic run.

Braking Comments: Mushy pedal that goes almost to the floor isn't particularly confidence-inspiring.

Handling Comments: Traction/Stability Control off: There just might be a better run in this car; however, there are two things that limit the slalom speeds: tires and a slow-to-react suspension. It takes (in relative terms) forever for the CTS to settle after each cone. In other words, the car is still pitched over when the next cone arrives. Also, the tires began to give up by the fifth run once I figured out the best "less-is-more" technique.

Specifications

Length: 190.1 inches

Width: 70.6 inches

Height: 56.7 inches

Wheelbase: 113.4 inches

Legroom (front): 42.4 inches

Legroom (rear): 37 inches

Headroom (front): 38.9 inches

Headroom (rear): 36.9 inches

Maximum Seating Capacity: 5

Cargo Volume: 12.8 cubic feet

Maximum Cargo Volume (rear seats down): N/A

Edited by empowah

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A good review for a car almost in its last year. The next CTS will address those shortcomings and then some.

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Moved.

It would be interesting to see what the numbers would be with the Performance Package (the 18" wheels they were talking about) but overall the numbers aren't too bad considering it's at the end of its lifecycle.

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Moved.

It would be interesting to see what the numbers would be with the Performance Package (the 18" wheels they were talking about) but overall the numbers aren't too bad considering it's at the end of its lifecycle.

R&T had a comparison test of entry-luxury-sport sedans quite some months ago (to coincide with the new 3-series intro) and the CTS in that test was a red one equipped with the 6-speed manual and the 18-inch Sport Package.

I am not home so I can't find the mag....but if you research online, you can probably find the article on R&T online.

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R&T had a comparison test of entry-luxury-sport sedans quite some months ago (to coincide with the new 3-series intro) and the CTS in that test was a red one equipped with the 6-speed manual and the 18-inch Sport Package.

I am not home so I can't find the mag....but if you research online, you can probably find the article on R&T online.

Same with C&D...

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I really like the 18" sport package grille design... not crazy about the body-coloring, though.

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MSRP of Test Vehicle: $41,625 Price It!!

I did... and I can't get the price that high even with the engine block heater checked.

The only way I could get that number was to go with the 18" wheel option package.

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Nice review. The car is great--I'd like my Caddy to have a slightly more upscale interior for the 41K pricetag, but the NG CTS will take care of that.

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I did... and I can't get the price that high even with the engine block heater checked.

The only way I could get that number was to go with the 18" wheel option package.

CTS 3.6 Sport = $35,570 + $720 (destination) + $2,995 (navigation) + $1,200 (automatic) + $1,200 (sunroof) = $41,685

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Same with C&D...

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I really like the 18" sport package grille design... not crazy about the body-coloring, though.

Sorry...it WAS the C&D comparo I was thinking about.

I think the 18-inch Sport Package would look TITS in Diamond White....with Ebony interior! In fact, that's a combo (with the 6-speed) that I'd even consider buying.

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CTS 3.6 Sport = $35,570 + $720 (destination) + $2,995 (navigation) + $1,200 (automatic) + $1,200 (sunroof) = $41,685

I was able to configure and price one for about $41K and change....withOUT navigation. The Diamond White paint that I like does add almost a grand though....

That was loaded with the 18-inch wheel/sport package, luxury package, moonroof, paint, but was with the standard no-cost 6-speed manual.

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Comparison references to the g35 and 330 were made repeatedly. Everyone knows the CTS doesn't compete with those vehicles... because it's a few inches longer than them! It's handling & roadability is compromised by those few extra inches, but there isn't a single reference to the overall length or the detriments that accompany that in the text!

I was all set to believe the article but obviously it's a joke piece. Nice try.

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Sorry...it WAS the C&D comparo I was thinking about.

I think the 18-inch Sport Package would look TITS in Diamond White....with Ebony interior!  In fact, that's a combo (with the 6-speed) that I'd even consider buying.

wtf kinda slang is TITS? Last I checked that's the name of something that's probably not allowed to be shown in the forum :lol2:

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Comparison references to the g35 and 330 were made repeatedly.  Everyone knows the CTS doesn't compete with those vehicles... because it's a few inches longer than them! It's handling & roadability is compromised by those few extra inches, but there isn't a single reference to the overall length or the detriments that accompany that in the text!

I was all set to believe the article but obviously it's a joke piece. Nice try.

Everyone knows that the CTS does compete with those vehicles... even Cadillac says so in their website comparisons.

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Everyone knows that the CTS does compete with those vehicles... even Cadillac says so in their website comparisons.

Yep, isn't the NG CTS gonna be a bit smaller to fit the size class better?

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Yep, isn't the NG CTS gonna be a bit smaller to fit the size class better?

Shaving off at least 3 inches, from what I've heard.

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3 inches less is still not exactly the same overall length of the 3-series; when is Cadillac going to get serious about the CTS??

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cadillac needs to get back into lemans racing or some other kind of competitive road racing. they were in alms a few years back running prototype cars along with the audis. they were relatively decent, especially since they were against the most respected and arguably greatest racecar auid r8 and also as newcomers.

i think they learned some valuable lessons and gained good experience which translated into their street cars(im guessing).

i would venture to guess thats why they got involved in the first place.. but they need more.

edit: just to clarify, the prototype racing program was underway at around 2000 (after 50 years of nothing.) They no longer run that class, just the cts-v's. i think they gain more from prototype racing than any other form. thats where they should be racing.

Edited by Mr.Krinkle

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Going back into prototype racing for le mans would be a very good thing, especially now that Audi is racing diesels, which Caddy could do as well.

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