Roadshow Video Reviews
2013 Cadillac CTS-V WagonThere is something oddly American about the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Supercharged V8 wagon, even if you will pay for it at the pump.
What we have here is an ambitious dud, the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. The CTS part is popular. The V part is popular, but the Wagon thing no, doesn't really work. Let's find out the story behind this car as we drive this 2013 CTS-V Wagon, last of its generation in Check the Tech. We have a trivia to start with. This is Cadillac's first and so far only station wagon that wasn't designed to carry dead people. Although the way it sells, they could welcome a couple of corpses coming in the show round. They persist with this model because Europeans love this style of highly sort of chamfered urban wagon form, Americans don't. The Cadillac has big ambitions on Europe so it persists. Now inside our CTS again an outgoing generation, it's kind of like a flashback a few years in car tech. Once you get over this toaster slice pop-up 8-inch screen which I still think is kind of cool, I like to have it down when I'm not using the map. You realized it's missing a lot of things. That navigation interface while perfectly functional, it doesn't offer a lot of interesting stuff. There's no satellite views, certainly no Google Earth, no Google search. No search to nav and it's just an old school kind of map. It is touch-based primarily. You can get on this thing and move things fairly easily, but let's get into our audio sources. You can do AM or FM but not HD radio, not on this car. That dates it. Satellite radios there we have are iPod connector in here and I mean an iPod connector, a 30-pin which goes into one of these double-harness things but noticed the console is so small and a modern iPhone requires an adaptor because that's 30-pin. You end up having really nowhere to put this thing once it's connected. Again, it's feeling little dated. 10 gigabytes of hard drive space to rip CDs and such too and under the auxiliary tab here is where I'm gonna bring up my iPod as you can see. There's the USB connection. You could also put a thumb drive in there. Now the Bluetooth system is interesting. You do have Bluetooth calling on this guy, but you either don't or don't simultaneously have Bluetooth streaming, depends on what part of the manual you read. I couldn't get it to pair as a media player at all and the manual says you certainly can't use this as a media player and a phone at the same time. Now we have General Motors rather curious audio Tevo in here. That's not their name for it. That's mine but it's pause and play of radio. I think it's a 1-hour buffer and this pause/play button is what activates it. So you got a radio station on, satellite or broadcast to push this thing here and see what it does as it starts to buffer up to a 60-minute max. Now I noticed what we're missing as we go through audio or navigation or configuration screens or any of this. This is not Cadillac's CUE system which we've seen. It's still fairly early in its deployment. We like it a lot. This is the old outgoing rig. You're not gonna see this on any other Cadillac products. This is what we're coming from, CUE is where we're going to. Now a quick look at some of the other controls in this car, you got really 2 ways to influence this car's personality. You can pull it back in the drive on this automatic and then either go over here to the Sport mode where you can also shift. For the suspension you got 1 button here with 2 positions. You're either in Touring mode or Sport mode, and that's it. It's very clean and simple. The paddles up here on the wheel for when you are shifting. Again this car is available with a 6-speed manual. The automatic is a no-choice pick. The only unusual doohickeys on the main instrument panel are a boost gauge with a supercharger there, 0 to 15 PSI and if you roll up here on one of these little information screens, you're gonna find a G force gauge for lateral acceleration. And we have the optional sunroof in this guy. It doesn't come standard even on a CTS-V which is a little unusual, but I guess some folks are gonna wanna sort of lighten up their vehicle or keep it more pure, but this one has got a nice big opening to it. The front half moves, the back half doesn't but it really opens up this relatively small cabin a lot. All right. This is why you really buy a CTS with a V at the end of it, to get this big engine 6.2-liter supercharged V8, that's how they used to do it, kids. That's a lot of displacement. It's also a lot of blower pressure coming off this Eaton supercharger, and that's gonna give you 556 horsepower, 551 foot pounds of torque. Those are big numbers. Now this car is not exactly a lightweight, 4400 pounds or so. It still gets to 60 in 4 seconds flat. Thank you, big motor. Here's the downside. You're gonna be stopping at every gas station 12/18 MPG. There's almost no car left that gets such ghastly gas mileage. In fact, this car has the dubious honor of being the worst MPG station wagons sold in America, period. Rear-wheel drive only and as I mentioned your choice of transmissions for no cost, you can get that automatic but you'd be a fool. Get the 6-speed because that kind of transmission and this kind of power are seldom seen in the wild, certainly at this price. One of the first things that you're reminded of in this car is how great a supercharger is. No lag, no delay, no vagueness or spooliness. It just gets right down to it. We've had other 500-somewhat horsepower cars in recently and a lot of them gets stuck in committee when you step on it. This is not one of them. Power is pretty much right now. What is getting in my way is this automatic which is really a tragedy. If you're gonna buy one of these, get it with a stick. It's gonna so dramatically unfilter the power coming out of this engine. And this god-sent by the way even with its limited slip differential, magnetic ride control active suspension and just about all the modern technologies, it does suffer from being rear-wheel drive in this case because there's just too much power to get put out to those 2 wheels. I'm able to get this thing loose and hopping and slightly airborne over anything but the very smoothest of pavement. It could use a little more compliance to keep the button down and keep the power getting to the road. There's a little bit of hop and squirliness back there, certainly under full throttle. The ride on this is also a bit of a miracle. This is one of the nice comfortable sort of cars that are out there today. It doesn't lose its CTS ride quality even as it gains its V, venom and that's I think largely attributed all to that magnetic ride control that is able to really modify things, although if I go to the Sport mode up here, I'm not feeling a huge difference to be honest. Not in road driving. Maybe it might show up on the track and of course similar thing goes for shifting over here into the sport gate of the shifter. It's not night and day difference. Getting on the manual paddles of course that is where you really get a difference and keeping this guy hot, keeping yourself around 2500 on up is where the boost is really nice and really available. Of course, here's something is if you look at your supercharger gauge, you're not into it all the time. Much of the time you're getting tremendous power out of this guy just because it's a 6.2-liter V8. The displacement alone gets you out of trouble all the time. Then once in a while you'll see that boost needle kick in but that's not running most of the time. This is a barn burner of an engine. Wheel blower on top of that and yet very civilized. In general I don't consider this car to be a wagon but I think it should just exist on its own as a bigger sedan that will carry 1 or 2 more suitcases and if you think the look of a body style that's wagonesque is cool, that's all the reason it needs to exist, but don't buy it because we're gonna bring home sheets of plywood, unless you're gonna put them on the roof. All right. Let's price our little black beauty 64 one out the door is a CTS-V Wagon delivered. Not a lot to add to go CNET style. As I told you it's all in there such as it is. You do wanna spend $1150 for that nice big spacious sunroof. That's money well-spent. 1300 bucks on a gas guzzler tax, that's money not well-spent. About 664 out the door. Here's the thing. This thing makes no sense at all. However, as an interesting almost future collectible a 6.2 supercharged V8 with the available 6-speed manual in a wagon shape, you kind of gotta like it.