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Cadillac's subtle opulence speaks to all ages

By Royal Ford, 1/17/2004

Back when I was covering politics for the Globe, I was dispatched to the retirement community of Sun City, Ariz., to sample the electoral charge buzzing from senior citizens who had moved there from across the land.

Even then I had automotive leanings, I realize now, because what I remember most about the place was this: elderly women driving golf carts along perfect little streets at zippy speeds, and elderly men driving Cadillacs and Lincolns, hunched chin-to-steering wheel, as they crept along in placid oblivion.

It's not an image Cadillac or Lincoln would prefer, but one they certainly would not deny, since Cadillac and Lincoln brands have struggled to overcome the perception of being cars only for those of a certain age.

Cadillac has done a superb job of just that, and, with its multifaceted, sharp-edged exteriors, has become the gem in the General Motors lineup. There is a reason that two Cadillacs, the SRX SUV and the two-seat sports car, the XLR, were finalists for North American Truck and Car of the Year honors this year.

A further case in point is today's test car, the 2004 Cadillac CTS. When I drove this car in its less-peppy first incarnation a year ago, I called it a stealth fighter because of its winged, sharp lines. The outside lines along its hip and front and rear panels were reflected inside with edged ridges built over and into the door panels. It worked then and still does.

The stacked headlamps, a slanted and slatted grille, myriad intakes at lower front fascia bookended by standard fog lamps, and its high, chopped rear deck are downright Teutonic.

Inside, there is an interior opulence without cheap ostentation that is new to GM. The blend of black and tan colors, with accents of wood, speak to luxury.

A textured binnacle protrudes over white-on-black gauges. That control pod includes several options including navigation, trip computer, audio -- but does so with buttons that are easy to read and touch. Below, climate controls are big and easy to read.

The front bucket seats are enveloping, with bolsters for legs and torso that don't appear bulging, yet grip you as though they are. The rear outer seats are virtual copies of the front and even the middle seat, which appears raised and uncomfortable because of the depth of its mates, is actually quite a comfortable perch.

And while Cadillac strives for a more youthful market -- and should get it with its new lineup -- certain appointments that don't leave the elderly behind impressed me in this car. They are called "hidden enablers," so-called because, as one GM wag once told me, "You don't tell somebody, `Here's a good car for old people.' "

In this case, they involve door handles. The first is the latch, an "L" flat on its back with enough room behind it to insert three gloved fingers for the tough tug that an older, single finger cannot provide. The second is the wood-look grip bar that can be grabbed by a full fist to pull the door shut. Great ergonomics.

The automatic held on to upshifts during acceleration, and I was impressed with the hill-holding power of second gear as I non-braked my way down a slippery, snowy slope one evening.

You can start with a base price of just over $30,000 and quickly top $40,000 with sun roof, updated sound system, seat-position memory, variable assist steering, navigation system, and satellite radio. If you've got the bucks, great.

Full Article / Review here



http://autos.yahoo.com/newcars/d/cadillac0...fsrc=autos/home
 

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I'm 27, first time I saw the CTS I loved it!!!

After considering the Saab 9-3, Grand Prix GTP (w/ comp G) and the CTS I knew I wanted the CTS after the 24hr test drive!

Been driving my '04 CTS now for 2 wks and loving it. Get lots of looks on the highway and street!!!
Gotta love the heated seats in winter!
 

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Im still wondering why holden hasnt brought cadillac down here :blink: . They'd make a killing, competing against bmw and merc
 

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Originally posted by dawtcalm@Jan 19 2004, 08:41 AM
I'm 27, first time I saw the CTS I loved it!!!

Been driving my '04 CTS now for 2 wks and loving it. Get lots of looks on the highway and street!!!
Gotta love the heated seats in winter!
If Cadillac had the CTS out in 2000, I probably would have ended up with a CTS. I really wanted a Cadillac (and I still want one). Eyeing the XLR now. :D
 

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Originally posted by dawtcalm@Jan 19 2004, 08:41 AM
I'm 27, first time I saw the CTS I loved it!!!

After considering the Saab 9-3, Grand Prix GTP (w/ comp G) and the CTS I knew I wanted the CTS after the 24hr test drive!

Been driving my '04 CTS now for 2 wks and loving it. Get lots of looks on the highway and street!!!
Gotta love the heated seats in winter!
Great! Glad you love it, although I'm not surprised. B)

Mine's a red '03 with a manual tranny and all the fixin's. I've had it for almost a year and I think I'm still lovin' it...hang on while I run out to the garage a second...yup, still love it! :D
 

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Originally posted by Odin@Jan 19 2004, 02:22 PM
Im still wondering why holden hasnt brought cadillac down here :blink: . They'd make a killing, competing against bmw and merc
they are just gunna take the chassis instead!
 

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GOOD JOB!!!!
Everyone says at Edmunds.com that buying a CTS is stupid... Personally I think my 03' CTS is fine. I'm trading it in for a 400 hp V-Series soon.... :mf_boff:
 

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Originally posted by gmwsag@Jan 25 2004, 05:18 PM
GOOD JOB!!!!
Everyone says at Edmunds.com that buying a CTS is stupid... Personally I think my 03' CTS is fine. I'm trading it in for a 400 hp V-Series soon.... :mf_boff:
Gave up using Edmunds as a credible reference some time ago. The reviewers have an anti-american car bias thats hard to miss.

I look up the raw numbers but totally discount the opinions expressed.
 
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