2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe – Dinner Out Test

I took the CTS Coupe last night for an important test — dinner out with the Wife.  We went to Pasado’s in Plano, very near Crest Cadillac who were kind enough to provide the CTS Coupe for me to test this week.  You can find my earlier posts about the Coupe here and here.

The test drive with the Wife is a very different and unique test.  Wives frequently have an entirely different frame of reference and set of sensibilities about automobiles.  Really important, gee-whiz features to me may be ho-hum features to Her, while things that seem pedestrian to me may be deal-makers to Her.   It is all a matter of perspective, and luckily my Wife shares her opinions freely.

First, the Cadillac CTS Coupe is a formal, luxury automobile and fits the bill well for romantic transportation.   This cannot be overstated as an advantage in ‘setting the mood’ for a nice meal out.    I recall leaving a dinner with some friends; as the valet brought my Cadillac, then another couple’s Cadillac, then the imported sports car for the 3rd couple, his Wife asked, “Aw, why don’t we have a Cadillac too?”.  Priceless.

One advantage of the keyless entry on the CTS Coupe is that it senses the presence of the driver key, and allows the doors to open if the key is near.   So my Wife didn’t need to spend time waiting for me to unlock her door as we departed, arrived, etc.  Actually I grabbed her door at each stop, but in day to day use the unlock on proximity would eliminate an occasional irritant.

My Wife is not sold on the hatchback configuration for the CTS Coupe.  I explained how exciting the sculpted shape is to everyone, but it doesn’t do anything for Her.  The new CTS interior was a hit, and the pop-up Nav and XM radio display were well received.  We didn’t discuss the direct ipod connection, but I know that would be a feature she would find useful.

She was pre-sold on the Crystal Red Tintcoat exterior, since she is a Red fan.

Overall the CTS Coupe made a great dinner out car and contributed well for a date experience.   Two doors and two people made it a good fit; if we had another couple along then of course the getting in and out would have added a bit of gymnastics.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Day 2

This week I’m testing a 2011 Cadillac CTS Performance Coupe provide by Crest Cadillac of Plano.

You can find my short summary after pickup here.

Cadillac CTS Coupe Console

Cadillac CTS Coupe Console

The test car is a Cadillac CTS Performance Coupe with the luxury and navigation package, so it has all the extras and the pop-up nav system.  I prefer a couple of stations on XM radio, including Watercolors Jazz (71); I was pleased to find that the test car had XM turned on, so that I could enjoy my music during the test.  Thanks XM!

For my next Cadillac I am shopping for a 2010 Cadillac CTS Sedan — the 4-door version of the CTS as opposed to the test model, which is the 2-door Coupe.  The Coupe has some beautiful styling touches, and I only *need* 2 doors most days.  So a Coupe could fit for my current empty nest lifestyle.  However, the Coupe started production in 2011, and the budget I care to spend on my next Cadillac only stretches to a 2010 model.

So how does the CTS Coupe drive in real life?  It is a marvelous car.  Beautiful, stylish exterior, with plentiful acceleration, and an amazing 6 speed automatic.  My 2005 CTS has a Corsa aftermarket exhaust, and so is louder, but the new CTS is much more refined in general as well.  I would prefer a bit more exhaust note, but I appreciate the work Cadillac has done in refining noise, vibration, and harshness.

The 304 hp LLT 3.6L V6 is an ideal power-plant for this car especially if you are the one buying the gas.  Now, that said, I do recall that during my CTS-V test drive I wrote that any gas that car needed served its purpose, due to the high level of fun the V generates.   At my house the difference between a Sedan budget and a V budget is significant, so I’m focused on the sedan or coupe.  If the V ever comes within reach, then I’ll figure out how to pay for the gas too perhaps.

The view out the back of the Coupe is supplemented by a rear-view camera that displays on the navigation system screen.  I find that this is useful for an initial review of what is behind the Coupe before moving, but then prefer to look directly out the back window while backing.  The Rear quarter windows are smaller in the Coupe, and I have to lean forward to peer to the rear quarters, but that is probably a familiarity thing that would become natural with use.

The CTS Coupe makes a perfectly delightful daily driver.  I love the Crystal Red Tint-coat on this car and highly recommend it.


The Surprising Result of Test Drives

Recently I have done weekend test drives of the Cadillac CTS-V, the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, the Cadillac Escalade ESV, and the Cadillac SRX 3L.  You can find all of my test drives under the ‘Test Drive‘ tag.

I have enjoyed each vehicle.  A part of testing each vehicle is trying to understand that individual design, what the Design Team had in mind, who the target audience for the vehicle is.    With the Cadillac CTS-V, I fit within the demographic that the team is targeting.   People who want maximum sport, with all the luxury appointments of a Cadillac.   That one was easy for me to ‘get’ and to understand.

The Cadillac Escalade ESV offers amazing space and storage ability, along with 3 rows of seating.  It is a terrific vehicle for when you need to tow, or carry a large family, or frequently carry large items.  It drives well, and is extremely well mannered regardless of size, but especially for a large vehicle.

The Cadillac Sport Wagon offers the feel of the sedan — lower weight, lower center of gravity, more sporty handling — while providing easy access storage space and utility.  The Cadillac Team has carefully engineered the cargo storage and seat configurations with actual uses of the Sport Wagon in mind.

The Cadillac SRX was a real surprise to me.  The inherent goodness of this vehicle is very high.  The package as a whole is delightful.   Integration of a digital display in the dash, along with thoughtful features like folding mirrors and predictive pathing on the back up camera display push this Cadillac very high on my list of desirable vehicles.  Before I drove one, I was pleased that the SRX was selling well for Cadillac, but would never consider it as a daily driver.  After driving one, I not only appreciate why they sell so well, but would consider purchasing one.

And therein lies the interesting side-effect of my test drives.  My palate is expanding.  I have come to appreciate an even wider variety of Cadillac designs and choices.  While I am fond of pointing out that “every Cadillac does not have to be a CTS-V”, now I feel that more than ever.

I have been shopping for a low-mile 2008 Cadillac STS-V as my next vehicle.   Now I plan to consider a low-mile 2009 Cadillac CTS Premium Model as well until the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V prices come down to my budget.  Before I valued the V-series packaging and absolute acceleration/braking/cornering; now I appreciate the balanced packaging of the current Cadillac line.