Category Archives: VEHICLE REVIEWS

Cadillac ELR Review | Globe and Mail

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Posted on May 22, 2014

Cadillac ELR Review

 

By Dexter Ford, Globe and Mail

 

In explaining the new ELR plug-in hybrid, a Cadillac spokesman offered this rationale: “Mercedes-Benz doesn’t have anything like this.” So true. As a corporate statement in the 21st century, the ELR makes a certain amount of sense. It’s unique, beautiful, efficient, serenely comfortable and electronically avant-garde. At a $78,250 base price, it’s also bracingly expensive.

 

The expense seems even higher when one realizes that beneath its lovely, high-cheekboned skin, sculpted under the watchful eye of Bob Boniface, Cadillac’s exterior design director, the ELR is a sister of the Chevrolet Volt.

 

This is Apollo’s own Volt, to be sure, with a thick, creamy layer of running-gear refinements, noise-absorbing touches, handcrafted interior and a long list of luxury, safety and technology gizmos. If the Chevy Volt is a four-wheel incarnation of, say, Ed Begley Jr., think of the ELR as an automotive George Clooney.

 

The ELR’s recalibrated electronic control unit extracts significantly more power from its Volt-spec hardware: a 16.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, a primary electric-drive motor and a 1.4-litre gasoline-powered motor-generator. In EV mode, the ELR sends 157 horsepower to the front wheels, compared with 133 in the Volt. In extended-range mode, the gasoline motor-generator adds 24 more, for a total of 181 horsepower, versus the Volt’s 151.

 

With a full battery charge, the ELR has an estimated driving range of 60 km in all-electric mode. That charge takes from 12.5 to 18 hours with a standard 120-volt outlet, and about five hours at 240 volts. When the battery is discharged, the gasoline engine fires up to keep the car humming. Car and Driver drove the ELR from a standstill to 97 km/h in nine seconds in EV mode, clocked 8.1 seconds in gasoline-powered extended-range mode and reached a top speed of 172 km/h.

 

I experienced 48 to 56 km of all-electric range in real-world (well, California) driving and Cadillac estimates total range – on batteries and the gas range extender – at 547 km.

 

The ELR performs swimmingly in the feeding frenzy of urban commuting. The Volt’s electric motor creates gratifying initial thrust but loses steam quickly as speed increases. The ELR comes on stronger at first and keeps accelerating longer, with smoother overall power delivery.

 

The ELR is not fast compared with its gasoline-powered coupe competition. Or compared with the similarly priced all-electric Tesla Model S. But the ELR is sufficiently lively for almost all real-world driving, including an occasional uphill pass.

 

The ELR chassis uses GM’s HiPer Strut front suspension to reduce the torque steer that lurks in front-wheel-drive cars and to align its wider, 20-inch-diameter wheels with the road. All four dampers adapt continuously to driving conditions and selectable driving modes. The ventilated front disc brakes are bigger than the Volt’s, to handle the ELR’s added weight and speed.

 

The rear suspension shares the Volt’s twist-beam design, with a Watts link added to enhance lateral stability. This is an improvement, but even with its understeer-prone front-drive layout, the ELR can wag its tail in hard cornering if the front tires suddenly gain traction while turned.

 

With the standard electronic stability control engaged, this is not a problem. With the stability control switched off, it can be disconcerting. The ELR is more capable of going quickly over a twisty road than most of its drivers ever will be, or most of its passengers will ever allow.

 

The ZF Servoelectric power steering is programmed to raise steering effort when the driver selects Sport mode, and to increase effort and on-centre feel with increasing speed and cornering force. It works so well one wonders why the Volt’s steering, which uses the same system, is so lifeless. Hackers, while you’re at it…

 

My test car’s interior was a rich combination of leather, olive wood, carbon fibre and Alcantara. To exploit the silence of the electric powertrain, the ELR has hydraulic suspension bushings, thick window glass and ample sound-damping insulation. Bose’s active-noise-cancelling technology helps to keep the cabin calm when the gasoline engine fires up, but the increase in ambient noise is still pronounced. At freeway speeds, the generator sound is largely masked by the muted road and wind noise that slips through the ELR’s soundproofing armour, but at slower speeds and at stoplights the thrum of the genset under the hood is more intrusive.

 

Front-seat room is ample, but the cramped rear seats, with their limited headroom and leg space, are best reserved for the young and the restless. The front-seat shoulder belts are a significant obstacle to rear-seat access.

 

Standard safety equipment includes frontal-collision and lane-departure warning systems. The Safety Alert Seat vibrates through the left, right or forward seat bolsters if you drift from your lane or come up quickly behind another car. It feels vaguely as if you’re running over Botts’ dots – or as though you’ve found that long-lost cellphone.

 

The Cadillac ELR is an intriguing engineering effort and a striking piece of modern automotive art. Whether it inspires buyers remains to be seen. Is there a significant group of well-heeled drivers who crave the efficiency and subtle environmental cachet of a long-range plug-in hybrid, and who are willing to pay far more than they would ever save in energy costs?

 

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/reviews/new-cars/new-car-reviews/silence-is-golden-and-priced-accordingly/article18694633/

 

Motor Trend tests the new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

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Posted on Apr 22, 2014

 

On this episode of Ignition, Carlos Lago and his team travel to Alabama to drive the hotly anticipated 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. With 505 horsepower from a high-revving 7.0-liter V-8, a 6-speed manual transmission, sophisticated suspension, and the widest front tires of any production car we know of, this Camaro is focused on one thing: Track domination. To find out how well it works, we subject the Z28 to our battery of tests, including a lap with race driver Randy Pobst.

 

Source:  Motor Trend

 

Motor Trend tests the 2015 Subaru WRX STI

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Posted on Apr 22, 2014

 

On this episode of Ignition, Carlos Lago tests the latest generation of the perennial rally car favorite: The 2015 Subaru WRX STI. Much like the new WRX, this STI has an entirely new and significantly stiffer body structure, but unlike the WRX, it still uses the same 305 horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four that’s powered the car since 2008. Our introduction to the car occurs at the press launch at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. From there, we test the STI to see the performance improvements and drive it on one of our favorite mountain roads.

 

Source: Motor Trend

JD Power Awards Cadillac and Buick Best Customer Service for 2014

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Posted on Apr 21, 2014

J.D. Power's latest Customer Service Index Study

 

Cadillac and Buick have taken the trophies in JD Power’s latest Customer Service Index Study examining satisfaction with dealer service. Surveying more than 90,000 owners and lessees of 2009-2013 model-year cars, the study found that those with pre-paid maintenance packages were ten per cent more likely to buy their next car from the same brand.

 

Dealer satisfaction scores have improved overall, Cadillac nabbed the luxury segment ahead of Audi and Lexus, taking the crown that Lexus held last year. Buick keeps the mass-market dealer satisfaction win in the family, finishing ahead of Volkswagen and last year’s winner GMC. The study also found that service department use of tablets increased customer satisfaction, as did “best practices” like “providing helpful advice.” Who knew?

 

Source:  http://ca.autoblog.com/2014/04/20/best-dealership-service-survey-jd-power-award/

 

2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI Review

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Posted on Apr 17, 2014

Subaru WRX STI 2015 Photo

 

By Rob Beintema, Toronto Star

 

Buttonwillow Raceway finishes with a flourish by ramping you over a butt-clenching blind corner before a long sweeper spits the car into a series of high-curbed, back-and-forth esses.

 

I eased off the accelerator and exhaled for the first time in a long time as I turned in toward the pit lane entrance.

 

“What do you think?” the driving instructor asked me.

 

Frankly, I hadn’t exactly found the time to pick apart every new nuance of the 2015 Subaru WRX and its 2015 Subaru WRX STI stable mate, even though I had now put in a few laps in both new models, along with comparo drives in their 2014 predecessors.

 

We pulled up to a stop in pit lane and Masuo Takatsu, who is in charge of the project, seemed to silently echo the instructor’s question with an inquisitive lift of the eyebrows.

 

Even Tommi freakin’ Makinen, for Pete’s sake, the four-time WRC champion, was fishing for feedback.

 

“Handling is neutral, yes?” he asked, coming over to the car and leaning into the cockpit window.

 

Subaru first spiced up their small car Impreza lineup with a WRX (World Rally Cross) derivative that was angled towards World Rally Championship competition.

 

They followed this up with an even more dedicated WRX STI (Sport Technica International) high performance version later. But as the years passed the design team’s focus shifted to tarmac competition with entries slated for the 24 hours of Nurburgring and other racetrack challenges.

 

It’s all part of the evolution of the product.

 

And, although even minor changes can cause anxious swooning in the ranks of the faithful, for 2015, Subaru has introduced major modifications to help keep the WRX and WRX STI models on top of the boy racer ranks.

 

Both cars, available in sedan form only, start with a more rigid platform and body reinforcements, stiffer suspension bits and lighter, stronger wheels. New, tighter steering ratios and Subaru’s torque-vectoring system (braking an inside wheel during cornering maneuvers) complement the go-kart-like handling.

 

Across the board changes include a 25 mm wheelbase stretch. Both models are 15 mm longer and 10 mm lower. Thinner, stronger “A” pillars with added partition glass have been pulled forward 200 mm for a faster windshield rake. And those dimensional changes have added a little more shoulder room inside along with 900 mm more legroom for rear passengers. Door openings are larger, step-in height is lower and even the trunk space has increased, growing from 320 litres to 340 litres.

 

Interior changes include a smaller diameter, thicker and softer D-shaped steering wheel, taller and better bolstered sport seats with new tilt-adjustable headrests, a lowered instrument panel, a lower shoulder line and too many enhancements to list here, everything from a standard rear vision camera, a new boost gauge readout on the driver info display and an available Harman Kardon audio system.

 

And all this is wrapped up tidily in a more dramatic exterior presentation with a reworked hexagonal grille and strong nosecone treatment, aluminum hood, more pronounced fenders and air ducting treatments, side mirrors moved to the doors, a lower but familiar trademark profile and a rear diffuser accented with a quad tipped exhaust system and a choice of either the WRX’s subtle lip spoiler or the big wing treatment available with the WRX STI.

 

Let’s touch on some individual model traits.

 

WRX

 

The 2015 WRX harnesses a brand new 2.0-litre four-cylinder, direct injection turbocharged boxer engine making 268 hp and 258 lb/ft of torque.

 

It can be mated to a brand new six-speed manual or a new optional CVT transmission (Subaru prefers to call it a Sport Lineartronic transmission) automatically shifting through six preset simulated gear points or, in manual mode, through eight paddle-operated shift points.

 

The mainly male customer base might just talk their spouses into this seemingly more moderate choice.

 

WRX STI

 

The 2015 WRX STI carries over with the more powerful 2.5-litre multi-port injection turbocharged boxer engine making 305 hp and 290 lb/ft of torque.

 

This is the no-apologies performer of the lineup, in essence, a street-legal racecar. A new ECU enhances throttle response with engine revs singing through a new sound creator system. Modifications to the one-choice 6MT transmission complement the WRX STI’s exclusive Multi-Mode DCCD track-oriented symmetrical all-wheel drive system.

 

“So, what do you think?” they asked again.

 

Well, I think we’ve got a winner here. Or, should I say, two winners.

 

I think the WRX with the added Sport Lineartronic automatic transmission should broaden the appeal and customer base to at least the 20 per cent of sales that Subaru is expecting.

 

I think the very real steering, handling and performance tweaks of the WRX STI will keep that ultimate Subaru true to its high performance mantra, even with all the added niceties.

 

“And I think,” I finally answered with a grin, “that I need to take a few more laps.”

 

Subaru WRX and WRX STI 2015 at a glance

 

BODY STYLE: four-door, compact sport performance sedans

 

DRIVE METHOD: symmetrical full-time all-wheel-drive.

 

ENGINES: WRX: 2.0-litre DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder boxer direct-injection engine (268 hp, 258 lb/ft) with twin-scroll turbocharger mated to 6MT or CVT; WRX STI 2.5-litre DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder boxer multi-port injection engine (305 hp, 290 lb/ft) with twin-scroll turbocharger mated to 6MT.

 

CARGO: 340 litres

 

FUEL ECONOMY: WRX 6MT 9.8/7.0L/100km (city/hwy); WRX CVT 11/7.9L/100km (city/hwy); WRX STI 12.3/8.6L/100km (city/hwy)

 

PRICES: WRX $29,995 – $36,795 (depending on trim, $1,300 for CVT); WRX STI $37,995 – $44,995 (depending on trim)

 

Source: http://www.wheels.ca/car-reviews/first-drive-rb-subaru-wrx-and-wrx-sti-2015/

 

2014 Cadillac ELR Review | Toronto Star

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Posted on Apr 16, 2014

2014 Cadillac ELR Review

 

By Jim Robinson, Toronto Star

 

The 2014 Cadillac ELR offers an elegant solution to having your electric car cake and eating all the range too.

 

But for some reason, the benefits of this electric propulsion system (also used in the Chevrolet Volt) hasn’t gotten through to enviro-conscious buyers.

 

The ELR, like the Volt, is an EREV (extended range electric vehicle) meaning it has a huge lithium-ion battery pack to propel it for the first 55 km or so. After that, a 1.4-litre gasoline engine kicks in seamlessly and acts as a generator to produce electricity for the drivetrain. That provides another 425 km, for a combined 480 km (300 miles), before filling the tank and/or plugging in again.

 

ELR is not an all-electric car, having a range of maybe 140 km on a good day, or a plug-in hybrid that uses a mix of battery and gasoline where it is dependent on the engine for anything beyond 30 km in normal traffic.

 

And unlike a battery-only electric car, you don’t have to feather the accelerator pedal to eek out range. With the ELR you can drive as normal where and when you want.

 

Trying to use horsepower, kilowatts and torque doesn’t really work because the gasoline (turbocharged) engine is not connected to the wheels, only to an electric generator.
To put it simply, it’s like a locomotive where it’s all about electrical torque. In the case of the ELR, it is 295 lb/ft or about 10 per cent more than the 3.6-litre V6 used in the Cadillac CTS.

 

According to the Energuide fuel rating system, running on ELR strictly on the engine results in 7.6/6.7/7.2L/100km (37/42/39 mpg) city/highway/combined, which is about average for a small luxury car. But in electric only, it’s 2.8/2.9/2.9L/100 km (101/97/99 mpg) city/highway/combined.
The trick, of course, is to learn to get the best from the system and the ELR does that with four different modes that can be selected by a switch on the centre console. Tour is the default mode. Sport tightens the suspension and re-maps the torque delivery. Mountain adjusts for more power needed for climbing. Hold shuts off the battery and uses the gas/electric generator only for long distance driving on the highway, thus saving the battery for in-town use after arriving at a destination. And to help a bit on charging the battery, the ELR comes with paddles on the steering wheel which, when depressed, add extra regenerative braking when operating in battery mode.I tried it several times on a short run around Toronto and it really works.

 

Battery charging time with a 120-volt outlet is about 13 hours, but that drops to five hours with a 240-volt charger, a buyer can obtain from Cadillac/Bosch.

 

I was on an afternoon wave of the ELR launch in Toronto so the car I drove was used in the morning and was charged over lunch, so it had only a two-hour refresh.
Nevertheless, I covered about 60 km on a mix of battery and gas/generator power and averaged 2.1L/100 km. In the process I used 13.5 kWh and 0.75L/100 km of gas – not bad at all.

 

Cadillac prides itself on its ride and handling which rivals the best sports coupes from Europe. While you wouldn’t expect it on an electric car, the ELR is equipped with Continuous Damping Control that adjusts the suspension every two milliseconds for optimum handling depending on road conditions and driver inputs.

 

The HiPer strut front suspension uses forged aluminum components that not only lessen weight over steel, but also make for a quicker steering response. At the rear is a Watts-link system with weight-optimized trailing arms designed to absorb lateral inputs for better forward, rearward and vertical motions. All this was appreciated in Toronto’s east end where streets are narrow, and after this winter, littered with potholes in all sizes and depths.
Like a streetcar, which is also electric, all the torque is immediately available so launch is swift. It also gathers speed like a streetcar – smooth and linear with no sound.
An interesting feature is a beeper that can be turned on during all-electric mode. Because the ELR is so quiet, it helps let people know if it’s coming, especially anyone who is hearing impaired.
The ELR is also one of most attractive looking cars GM makes. Based on the Converj concept car, it has dramatic lines, LED headlights and one of the most aero-efficient bodies of any small car in the market.

 

One of the challenges in turning the Converj into the production car was keeping the 20-inch alloy wheels that made the concept look so great. These were retained on the ELR and are fitted with specially engineered low rolling resistance tires that are also grippy and add to the premium sports coupe feel of the car.

 

The signature vertical LCD taillights, if you look close enough, have a hint of tailfin, which set Cadillacs apart in the past.

 

The interior is equally as stunning with cut-and-sewn accented leather incorporating suede, microfibre, chrome, wood and available carbon fibre finishes throughout.
Programmable charging schedules and energy efficiency reports can be made available online or through smartphones. The driver/owner can find out the level of charge and/or set the charging time for off peak hours or to be completed by the time he/she sets off for work.

 

The downside is price. The ELR starts at $78,250. As tested, the ELR had every option, which is probably how most will be ordered with a price tag of $84,805 not counting the $1,700 delivery fee. You can buy a 240-volt charging station from Bosch for $1,010.70 but you’ll have to pay for installation.
A bright spot is an Ontario rebate of $8,231. And if you keep your drives short and use electricity only, Energuide estimates it will cost $603 per year to run on hydro – a far cry from the usual $3,000 or more for gasoline.

 

It ain’t easy being green, not to mention costly, but there is a market for a premium electric car as Tesla has proved.  With its extended range and backing by GM this just could be the premium coupe of choice for the future.

 

Cadillac ELR 2014 at a glance…

 

BODY STYLE: Extended range premium coupe.
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, front-wheel-drive.
POWERTRAIN: 1.4-litre, four-cylinder gasoline engine range extender/electric generator; 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery for a combined 295 lb/ft of torque
FUEL ECONOMY: All-electric, 2.8/2.9/2.9L/100 km (101/97/99 mpg) city/highway/combined; engine only (Premium fuel), 7.6/6.7/7.2L/100km (37/42/39 mpg)
CARGO CAPACITY: 255 litres (9.0 cu ft)
PRICE: Base price $78,250, as tested $84,805 not including $1,700 freight and PDI or $8,231 Ontario green rebate

 

Source: http://www.wheels.ca/car-reviews/review-cadillac-elr-erev-going-green-in-a-super-lux-coupe/

 

 

2014 Cadillac ATS Coupe Review

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Posted on Nov 21, 2013

Cadillac ATS Coupe

 

The long-awaited Cadillac ATS coupe will be introduced on January 14th during the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

 

A trio of engines will be available in the ATS coupe: a base four-cylinder, an upgrade to a 272-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder, or a smooth 321-horsepower V-6. A Tremec six-speed manual transmission is available, pairing nicely with the turbocharged four-cylinder for enthusiast corner carving duties; a six-speed automatic finds better companionship with the powerful V-6. A high-performance V series coupe may beef up the lineup as well but we will need to waite for the official release for more information on this.

 

Styling of the ATS coupe will be unique from the larger CTS coupe, which offers a long, flowing fast-back roof line. Judging from spy photographs, the ATS’s roof line will be more conservative.

 

The ATS coupe eventually may be the only two-door model offered by Cadillac. While the CTS four-door sedan was redesigned for the 2014 model year, the CTS coupe and station wagon were carried over from the 2013 model year with little or no change. Both are expected to be phased out. However, Cadillac has not announced when the CTS coupe and wagon will be dropped.

 

Cadillac ATS Coupe

Subaru Levorg | Legacy Revolution Touring

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Posted on Nov 20, 2013

Subaru Levorg Legacy Photo

 

By Alain McKenna, Toronto Sun

 

Subaru will introduce a new version of its Legacy midsize sedan in Japan next year. Code name: Subaru Levorg, aka LEgacy reVOlution touRinG.

 

Obviously, the name will attract many sci-fi fanatics (or former Microsoft employees, wink wink), but the three words it represents actually tell us much more about this new model than Levorg does.

 

Those wondering why this is not an Outback have to know that the Levorg is actually shorter, somewhere in-between the Outback and the Impreza. Let’s just say that Subaru has a lot of focus…

 

Under the hood, a choice of two 4-cylinder boxer turbo engines is offered: a 1.6-liter and a 2-liter, respectively generating 168 and 296 horsepower. This little family wagon should be very quick. Both engines are paired with a CVT gearbox, Subaru’s own Lineatronic, and return an average fuel economy of 5.9 liters and 7.6 liters per 100 kilometers, which is pretty good, especially since this is a four-wheel drive wagon.

 

Subaru also updates its EyeSight multi-camera system. This time, the system can take control of the steering wheel when it feels the necessity to adjust the car’s course.

 

The Levorg will be sold in Japan. We don’t know what Subaru Canada’s plans are concerning this new model.

 

Source: http://torontosun.autonet.ca/2013/11/20/subaru-levorg-legacy-revolution-touring

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Preview

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Posted on Nov 20, 2013

 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Preview Photo

 

By Stephen Elmer, Autoguide

 

The midsize truck market has gone stale with products that have gone untouched for years, but Chevrolet is breathing some life back into the segment with the introduction of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado here at the LA Auto Show.

 

Two gasoline powertrains, a 2.5-liter inline four cylinder and a 3.6-liter V6 will be available when the truck hits dealers in the third quarter of 2014, but one year after launch, a 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine will become available. The base 2.5-liter puts out 193 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, while the larger 3.6-liter makes 302 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.

 

Output from the same 2.8-liter diesel engine in international markets is 180 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque, though those numbers are likely to change thanks to emissions standards that the engine must meet here in North America. Chevrolet did reveal that the diesel is likely to be an available option for every trim level, though there are no specifics on this as of yet.

 

All three engines will be linked up to a six-speed automatic transmission, and when properly equipped, Chevrolet says that this truck will be rated to tow more than the industry’s current best for small trucks, 6,700 pounds. Available as an option is Chevy’s G80 automatic locking rear differential along with the choice of four-wheel drive, as base model trucks are fitted with rear-wheel drive.

 

The Colorado shares few exterior design cues with its larger sibling the Silverado, adopting most of its design from the international version, save for the angular front end. Many other features on this truck however are borrowed straight from the Silverado, including the bumper integrated step, lane departure warning, inlaid doors, eight-inch touchscreen with Chevy’s MyLink infotainment and more.

 

Chevy’s Z71 off-road package has also been adapted for the Colorado and includes features like rollover mitigation technology, trailer sway control, hill start assist, hill descent control, an upgraded interior and unique styling.

 

Three configurations of Colorado will be available: an extended cab model with a six-foot bed, a crew cab with a five-foot bed and a crew cab with a six-foot bed. To match those three configurations, three trim levels will be available, starting with the base work trim, moving up to the LT and topping out with the Z71.

 

On the inside, the truck mimics the Silverado with its eight-inch center mounted touchscreen and 3.4-inch screen in the info cluster. Safety features installed on the 2015 Colorado include a standard backup camera, forward collision alert and six standard airbags.

 

Source: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2013/11/2015-chevy-colorado-reignites-midsize-trucks-with-diesel-power.html

 

2014 Cadillac CTS Review | Toronto Sun

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Posted on Nov 18, 2013

2014 Cadillac CTS Photo Review

 

By Jeff Voth, Toronto Sun

 

They say third time’s the charm. With the way good things have been happening at Cadillac recently, there is every reason to believe the 3rd generation of the CTS sedan may indeed be another charm on the growing list of successful cars for this renewed automaker.

 

We are here in Toronto to test drive the 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan. It is new from top to bottom, though it does have an instantly recognizable exterior that won’t have you confusing it for anything other than a Cadillac. Like the current Acura RLX competing in this segment, CTS is all about intense angles and flash.

 

Cadillac is not a brand for the faint of heart. But that is the plan. If you have a penchant for something a little more rounded in shape, try the German automakers or the other Asian vehicles sans Acura.

 

Weight reduction is a key element in the design of the new Cadillac CTS. Mass is sacrificed for performance and in that light, the new CTS weighs 90 kg less than the sporty BMW 528i. But don’t confuse mass for ride comfort. Spending the day driving through the countryside near Toronto, this CTS impresses with quiet resolve and a suspension akin to the best sedans from Bavaria.

 

Power comes three ways, while the drivetrain is available in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations matched to either a six or eight speed automatic transmission.

 

The base engine is a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder partnered with a 6-speed transmission. It delivers 272 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,700-5,500 rpm. It feels quick and agile, doesn’t stumble when you poke at the gas pedal, but delivers a solid performance. In fact, I would choose this engine over the next one.

 

Second on the list is a 3.6-litre V6 engine with 321 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 275 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. It is a solid performer and a smooth powerplant, but lacks the torque of the smaller 4-cylinder turbo and the charm that goes with it.

 

Third, and obviously the most fun until we get a full-blown CTS-V sometime next year, is the CTS Vsport equipped with a 3.6-litre V6 twin-turbocharged engine. It is fast and decisive when put to the test with 420 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 430 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500-4,500 rpm. If ever there was a case for adding twin turbo’s to the V6, this is it. Paired with a paddle-shift eight-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive, the experience is pure bliss.

 

Steering wheel feedback is very good; taking the best of the electric power assisted steering system and putting just the right amount of variable assist into the hands of the driver. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard with 4-piston aluminum Brembo calipers in the front and single piston cast iron sliding calipers in the rear.

 

Tire and wheel sizes range from 17-inch on the base model all the way up to 19-inch alloys at the top. Surprisingly, the Cadillac CTS Vsport is equipped with 275/35R18 rear tires. I guess this says something about how good the Touring, Sport and Track settings are in the console mounted mode selector. Bigger isn’t always better.

 

Inside, dimensions in both the front and rear seats are improved for occupant comfort and elegance. The first two CTS models were dynamic and stylish, but lacked something in the engaging department. Plus, the materials used were hard-edged and less than subtle to the touch. The new CTS is much different, with soft-touch components, the right amount of chrome, leather and wood trim.

 

Sport seats hug in the right places, the 3-spoke steering wheel has a good selection of functions available without being over-the-top and for the most part interior switches and dials are easy to navigate. The CUE interface is still challenging and a source of complaint, but like it’s counterparts in the industry, seems to improve slightly with each adaptation.

 

Rear seat room is more than comfortable and trunk space is a welcome surprise. I still find the Cadillac approach to interior design a little too pieced together and not offering the flow of some of its Japanese competitors, but it is light years ahead of CTS versions 1 and 2.

 

The 2014 Cadillac CTS demands to be on your consideration list when choosing a luxury sport sedan over $50,000. It isn’t perfect, but it is very close. Motor Trend recently named it their Car of the Year for 2014. While I don’t always agree with their opinions, in this case they chose well. Third time’s the charm; now we just have to wait for the CTS-V to show up and the fun will really get started.

 

2014 Cadillac CTS

 

Trim level: Twin Turbo Vsport

 

Price as tested (before taxes): $79,325

 

Options on test vehicle: Red Obsession Tintcoat ($1,295); Kona Brown/Jet Black Accents ($1,735)

 

Freight: $1,800

 

Configuration: front-engine, rear-wheel drive

 

Engine/transmission: 3.6L twin-turbo 6-cylinder / 8-spd automatic

 

Power/torque: 420 hp/ 430 lb.-ft.

 

Fuel (capacity): premium (72L)

 

Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): TBD

 

Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): N/A

 

Warranties: 4 years/80,000 km (basic)

 

Competitors: Acura RLX, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Infiniti M, Lexus GS

 

Strengths: Power, driveability, luxury, ride comfort

 

Weaknesses: Edgy styling, pieced together interior

 

Report Card (out of 10):

 

Fuel Economy: 7 – Twin turbo makes it hard to resist the gas pedal.

 

Equipment level: 8 – Luxury throughout; not yet a fan of CUE.

 

Price: 7 – At this price point the competition is very stiff.

 

Styling: 8 – Not for everyone but in general I like it.

 

Comfort (front): 9 – Exceptional front seats; plenty of legroom.

 

Comfort (rear): 8 – Good leg and head room in back.

 

Handling: 9 – This is a full-size sedan you can have a lot of fun with.

 

Performance: 9 – Fast, agile, stops quickly, sounds good, great sightlines.

 

Storage: 8 – Excellent trunk space; plenty of small storage spaces.

 

Overall: 8 – A winner is created with the 3rd Gen CTS.

 

Source:  http://torontosun.autonet.ca/2013/11/15/third-times-a-charm-for-cadillac-cts

 

 

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