2003 Cadillac CTS (403)

Overview:

Well, this week I tested a car I would own. The 2003 Cadillac CTS is new to this world and I suspect GM’s Cadillac division is placing a lot of faith in this design to kick sales into high gear. Will they do it? Who really knows? But I have to tell you my guess is that it will be a winner for Cadillac.

And although they expect 40% of sales to be to women, I believe it will be more. This is more a man’s car than they already expect. Women won’t like the stiff sporty ride, or the sharp lines that are so reminiscent of Star Wars’ Darth Vadar. Futuristic and different is what characterizes this sporty youthful car for the 21st Century.

CTS stands for C-Series Touring Sedan, and for me the very comfortable seating offset any stiff performance suspension. The 5-speed manual transmission gives it even more of a sporty feel and the last time Cad sported a manual trans was in the 1950’s.

General Info:

Parts –  USA

Assembly – Lansing, MI USA

Class:  – Mid-Size

Cars: – CTS, DeVille, Eldorado, Escalade, Escalade EXT, Seville

Handling & Performance:

The CTS is powered by the “Short Star” representing a NorthStar engine less two cylinders. With the 5-speed on the floor you’ll feel like “Johnny Rocket”. Stiff suspension adds to the sporty feel, but shifting is more jerky than I’d like to see.

Styling:

You’ll be the judge in the final analysis, but you gotta just love this gutsy design. I thought only Chrysler had the “Huevos” to challenge design boredom so common these days of “cookie-cutter” styling.

Fit and Finish:

It’s a Cadillac so it’s very good. More importantly it is classy and no gimmicks.

Conveniences:

The list is good and if you care to pop for another $6,775 you can have the Sport Package that includes power passenger seat adjuster, Zebrano Wood trim, audible alarm, Homelink garage door opener, talknote recorder, driver memory settings, compass in mirror, sport tuned suspension, performance brake lining, Stabilitrak, load leveling, speed sensitive power steering, 17” polished alloy wheels, Bose stereo, sunroof, high intensity headlights & heated front seats. Well, I don’t know about you, but I can do without most of this stuff.

Cost:

The least expensive Cadillac and I’d jump on this now if you were in the market for a luxury mid-size sports car.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you’re in the market for a BMW or Mercedes Benz this is a Must Test Drive option.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

Shifting is jerky and hard to control. That needs looking into.

The Competition:

Acura TL $29-33,000, Audi A4 $25-33,000, BMW 3-Series $27-42,000, Chrysler 300 M $29-32,000, Infiniti I35 $29,000, Jaguar X-Type $30-36,000, Lexus IS 300 $29-31,000, Lincoln LS $33-41,000, Mercedes Benz C-Class $25-50,000, Saab 9-3 $28-45,000, Volvo S60 $27-34,000.

Good News:

Priced extremely well, luxury sport vehicle, Very comfortable seats,

Bad News:

Price is bound to go up next year.

Standard Equipment:

3.2 liter V6 engine, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, 4-wheel independent suspension and ABS disc brakes, 16” allow wheels, traction control, power steering, steel safety cage, dual front and side impact air bags, fog lamps, auto headlights, auto door and child security locks, Remote Keyless entry, OnStar 1-year plan, leather seating and wrapped steering wheel, climate control, tinted glass, 8-way power driver seat, power windows and mirrors with heaters, auto dimming inside mirror, cruise control, computer information center, AM/FM cassette and CDE with 7 speakers, rear seat pass through to trunk.

Gas Stats:

19 City and 26 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $29,350.

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