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Announcing GMI's Bi-Weekly Update: By TaHoE and NSAP
Every Two weeks NSAP and TaHoE will review cars from all over GM, this week the have reviewed the 2004 Cadillac CTS

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GMI Reviews: 2004 Cadillac CTS
The Knife stays sharp, and adds some teeth
By: TaHoE



In 2003, Cadillac introduced its entry-level sedan the CTS. Since then the CTS has been a hit, but it needed some improvements, so Cadillac edited some stuff for 2004. Gone is the 3.2L engine from the grasp of the silky smooth 5-speed shifter, now the CTS is powered by a 3.6L V6 in Automatic form, and the same 3.2L in Manual form. However can the CTS stay sharp with so many new competitors in the field?

Power:
The CTS with the 5-speed automatic transmission comes standard with the 3.6L VVT “Global High Feature” V6. The 3600 is good for 255HP @6500RPM and 252 lb/ft of torque at 2800RPM. This flat torque curve allows the CTS to accelerate instantly and allows easy shifting and accuracy for the Hydra-Matic 5-Speed transmission. Speaking of the 5-speed transmission, it comes with a programmable computer that allows the driver to change through “Sport Mode” to allow for crisper and sharper shifts and “Winter Mode” which forces the car to start from 3rd gear as to not allow rear-wheel slippage. The shifting is always silky smooth and lets the car accelerate in under 6.4 seconds, quite fast, however still not the fastest in its class. In comparison to the BMW 3-Series, the CTS offers more power, however its weight is what holds it down. The CTS is longer, wider, taller and heavier then its uber competitor. If you are looking strictly at performance, the BMW winds hands down, it has higher road-holding numbers, lower 0-60 numbers and much better handling, however this advantage comes at a price: the 3-series is a true compact with dimensions fitting a Hyundai. The CTS however comes on top with its comfort advantage and additional space, so lets call it a draw.

Styling:



Ahh, the famous CTS ‘Art & Science’ styling debate, some love it; some (Rex) hate it. Initially I did not really like the CTS’ styling. There are still some angles that I really don’t like on the CTS, however it’s styling has grown a-lot on me. Ever since the CTS-V and CTS Sport models were introduced to the public, I have grown to appreciate the CTS’ sporty lines and hard edges. I loved the ‘Art & Science’ inspired concepts that Cadillac has shown over the past few years, and I guess its just my kind of styling. The CTS stands out in a crowd, compared to the old looking 3-Series and the already dated looking G35 sedan, the CTS looks athletic and state of the art, and I am sure that they will remain like that for years to come.

Interior:



The Interior of the CTS however is no glamour story. It is far from hideous, but it’s definitely not class leading. The Interior is pre-Lutz, which really shows in its poor quality of plastics, and the abundance of them. The dials and button feel flimsy, as if they were pulled off of a child’s Playskool play toy, and glued on. The center-stack is also pretty ugly, with its ‘Floppy-Disk’ inspired CD-Slot, to its strange angle, it just doesn’t work. I understand that the center disk is supposed to face the driver in a “Sporty vehicle”, but the center stack is not just tilted towards the driver, the top is also tilted (vertically) towards the passenger. The amount of angles and shapes inside the CTS’ cabin is amazing, its sort-of like art. But this art is like Picasso, it feels like things were just placed in a random area and pretended to be where they belong. The seats however are very supportive, yet comfortable. The leather is top notch and the Leather-Wrapped steering wheel with wood inserts it top notch. The instruments are easy to read and they give off an athletic vibe, similar to the Grand Prix, but less tacky. Overall the CTS’ interior is not a horrible place to stay, but for an over-night visit it’s just acceptable, something a Cadillac should be beyond.



Overall the CTS surprised me with its level of comfort, carnivorous trunk and powerful V6, but I still cannot crown the CTS king of the compacts. Sports Car wise, the CTS falls short of its bogey, the 3-Series. Comfort-wise, the CTS is dominant, with lots of leg and headroom the CTS is champ of comfort (something that is common in Cadillacs and has become a brand trait). However for being portrayed as a “Luxury Sport Sedan” the CTS falls short and this is why the CTS could use one more update with a Sport model (rumored to go into production next year) and a better interior.
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Main Competitors: Infiniti G35 Sedan, Infiniti I35, Audi A4, BMW 3-series and 5-Series, Mercedes Benz E-Class & C-Class.

Pros: Strong Acceleration, Shocking Styling, Comfortable Styling and Huge Trunk.
Cons: Cheap interior materials could still use a little more oomph, Steep Price

Overall Rating: 4.2/5.0
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Car Specifications:


2004 Cadillac CTS



Standard Equipment:
Luxury Sport Package• Equipment Group 1SC adds performance features and premium amenities • Sport suspension with rear leveling, StabilTrak, speed-sensitive steering • Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps, 17-inch aluminum wheels, performance brake linings • Bose AM/FM stereo w/ 6-disc CD changer, rear split-folding seat, power tilt-sliding sunroof

Exterior: White Diamond

Interior: Light Gray/ Ebony Leather Seating Surfaces Seat Type: Seats, front bucket, leather seating surfaces, includes driver 8-position power adjuster and articulating head restraints



Options:
• Emissions, Federal requirements (FE9) $0.00
• Headlamps, Xenon, high-intensity discharge, windshield wiper activated, includes flash-to-pass and headlamp washers (TT6) $0.00
• PREFERRED EQUIPMENT SAVINGS (1SZ) $0.00
• Seat adjuster, power, driver, front passenger, 8-way, includes power recliner and 2-way power lumbar (AH8) $0.00
• Seat, rear split-folding, | (AM9) $0.00
• Sound system feature, XM Satellite Radio, is 100 channels of digital quality sound that goes wherever you go - coast to coast. Displays song title, artist and entertainment genre. (U2K) $0.00
• Sound system, ETR AM/FM stereo with in-dash 6-disc CD changer,, DVD-based navigation includes Bose 8-speaker system, Radio Data System, digital signal processing and XM Satellite Radio (UAV) $1,750.00
• Sport Package, | includes (FE3) Suspension, 4-wheel independent; (JL4) StabiliTrak; Load Leveling; Steering, power, speed-sensitive; Performance Brake Linings; (QWW) Tires, P225/50R17, W-rated, all-season, blackwall; (QF7) Wheels, 17" (43.2 cm) aluminum, painted on 1SA and 1SB; (N93) Wheels, 17" (43.2 cm) aluminum, mirror-polish finish on 1SC (PDX) $0.00
• Sunroof, power, tilt-sliding, electric with express-open, includes sunshade (CF5)$0.00
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Vehicle: 2004 CTS
Selected Style: Luxury Sport Package

Exterior: White Diamond
Interior: Light Gray/ Ebony Leather Seating Surfaces

Total MSRP:* $44,040.00
MSRP: $41,295.00
Color & Options: $2,745.00
Dealer Installed: $0.00

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GMI Reviews: 2004 Cadillac CTS
A Big Leap Foreword, but Not Yet Ahead Of The Pack
By: NSAP






Even after driving Cadillac’s Catera replacement, my thoughts are still very mixed. The car is certainly a huge improvement over its predecessor, but it still has a tough battle to fight with the import brands. Overall I thought the car was good in all categories, but it certainly lacked in a few. You will read my thoughts and comments on the CTS below. Is the CTS a definite BMW fighter, or still behind?

Powertrain

The CTS I drove also had the 3.6 V6. My first impression about the car’s power was its smooth gear shifting, probably the best I have seen in a GM car! The car’s Powertrain was hard to evaluate since it could be good or bad, depending on how you view the car in the marketplace. I viewed it as a luxury sports sedan, with that, I thought the car lacked power. It was very peppy, but still not where the 3-Sieres is at. One thing that really wins me over about the CTS is that the 3.6 is a VVT-I. I think it is about time Cadillac get with the imports technology. The VVT-I certainly is more efficient and is a better performer.

Styling

Well, where do I begin! Its “Art & Science”! I personally like the design of the CTS, but sadly it is “love it” or “hate it”. Which really limit’s opinions on the car’s design. I don’t however care too much for the front fascia as much as I do the rear. To me the front is too much, the grille is too busy with the rest of the front. I really like the front of the CTS-V much better, because it is cleaner and with a bullet grille.

Interior

The interior is definitely not a plus in my book. The general design of it however is not that bad, for instants the air vents, they are a unique design that find really cool. The biggest thing I don’t like about the interior is the dash. Everywhere you look you see black plastic! The whole center stack is plastic, not even any fake wood! The comfort level was actually very high to me. The seats were quite supportive and usually it is hard to please me in car seats. I also thought the interior was overall roomy, for the size of the car.

Overall

Overall I would give the CTS a 3 on a 1-5 scale. It is certainly a great leap foreword, but it is still lacking in several areas. It had a lot of pleasant surprises when driving it that I didn’t except, such as the seats and interior room. As I said, depending on where you place the CTS in the market, it has its ups and downs.

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Pros: Comfortable interior, good power, huge improvement.

Cons: still not an import drivers cup of tea, lack of power in certain areas, and cheap interior.

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As Tested:

Exterior: Red Line
Interior: Ebony Leather Seating Surfaces

Total MSRP:* $45,740.00

MSRP: $41,295.00
Color & Options: $4,445.00
Total MSRP:* $45,740.00
Dealer Installed: $0.00

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Style



Luxury Sport Package
• Equipment Group 1SC adds performance features and premium amenities
• Sport suspension with rear leveling, StabilTrak, speed-sensitive steering
• Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps, 17-inch aluminum wheels, performance brake linings
• Bose AM/FM stereo w/ 6-disc CD changer, rear split-folding seat, power tilt-sliding sunroof


Options:

• Emissions, Federal requirements (FE9) $0.00
• Engine, 3.6L V6 VVT, (255 HP [190.2 kW] @ 6500 rpm, 252 lb.-ft. [340.1 N-m] @ 2800 rpm) (LY7) $1,700.00
• Headlamps, Xenon, high-intensity discharge, windshield wiper activated, includes flash-to-pass and headlamp washers (TT6) $0.00
• PREFERRED EQUIPMENT SAVINGS (1SZ) $0.00
• Seat adjuster, power, driver, front passenger, 8-way, includes power recliner and 2-way power lumbar (AH8) $0.00
• Seat, rear split-folding, | (AM9) $0.00
• Sound system feature, XM Satellite Radio, is 100 channels of digital quality sound that goes wherever you go - coast to coast. Displays song title, artist and entertainment genre. (U2K) $0.00
• Sound system, ETR AM/FM stereo with in-dash 6-disc CD changer,, DVD-based navigation includes Bose 8-speaker system, Radio Data System, digital signal processing and XM Satellite Radio (UAV) $1,750.00
• Sport Package, | includes (FE3) Suspension, 4-wheel independent; (JL4) StabiliTrak; Load Leveling; Steering, power, speed-sensitive; Performance Brake Linings; (QWW) Tires, P225/50R17, W-rated, all-season, blackwall; (QF7) Wheels, 17" (43.2 cm) aluminum, painted on 1SA and 1SB; (N93) Wheels, 17" (43.2 cm) aluminum, mirror-polish finish on 1SC (PDX) $0.00
• Sunroof, power, tilt-sliding, electric with express-open, includes sunshade (CF5) $0.00
 

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Originally posted by usa1@Mar 8 2004, 12:31 AM
Are you guys getting test vehicles from GM or from some other source?

Mark
No test vehicles, we just went to our local dealers and drove them... :lol:
 

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Nice review. I am a new owner of a CTS-V, its a great car. I am looking forward to even better products from Cadillac and GM. Hey TaHoE, I will be careful to keep the dog and the children away from that flesh-eating "carnivorous" trunk :D

SDF
 

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Originally posted by sdf@Mar 8 2004, 09:10 AM
I will be careful to keep the dog and the children away from that flesh-eating "carnivorous" trunk :D
Ha-- well- this is the V-series- I guess slightly more aggressive adjectives are in order, eh? :p
 
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