He said/She said: Cadillac CTS Wagon

She ? The Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is like the George Clooney of wagons — extremely handsome, with classic masculine lines and a hint of tradition topped with understated elegance.

My vehicle evaluation process has a strong bias for styling, elegance and comfort, and the Cadillac wagon gets top scores on the first two, with a slight reservation on comfort.

He ? Wagons have always had a strong appeal for me, partly because of the clean styling, but mostly due to their functionality.? Cadillac designers have taken that styling to a new level with the CTS Sport Wagon, but it is much more than a pretty face with some extra cargo capacity.

Original development of the CTS involved an emphasis on driving characteristics ? acceleration, handling, braking, chassis dynamics and all the other elements that make a car a world-class competitor.? It goes without saying that all the elements that made the CTS sedan great are included in the wagon.

She ? Getting that comfort issue taken care of first — although I like the design and support of the front seats, I thought they were a little too hard.? I know that is part of the character of many of the European cars, too, but as I age, I find I like a softer seat. ?A little bit more padding would go a long way to improving the comfort.

While I?m nitpicking ? the CTS needs a front seat overhead passenger assist handle, too.? For me, these handles are a necessity, especially when He starts practicing his driving techniques on a winding road. ?Other than those two little things, this car is wonderful.

The interior of the Sport Wagon is the same as the nicely appointed sedan, but the cargo area nearly doubles the capacity with 25 cubic feet with rear seatbacks up and 53.4 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded.? The cargo area includes an under floor storage space and cargo management system to make it easy to secure cargo.

The award-winning interior has a precision feel with controls mounted on the center stack that extends from the console armrest to the top of the dash where a large navigation system screen rises from the top. The center stack is finished with a satin metallic and Sapele wood.? Interior areas such as the dash and door panels get an elegant custom look with hand-cut materials and hand-sew French stitching.

He ? The two Sport Wagon models are distinguished by their engines, which include a base model with a 270-hp, 3.0-liter, V-6 engine and a 3.6 version powered by a 304-hp 3.6-liter V-6 engine.? Both engines are direct injection with variable valve timing and are attached to a six-speed Hydramatic transmission with a manual shifting linkage.? Rear wheel drive is standard, but both models are available with optional all-wheel drive ($1,900).

The smaller engine has an EPA rating 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, however all-wheel drive version, 3.6-liter engine and the 3.6-liter AWD all get 18/26 mpg ratings. ?Our actual fuel economy in the 3.0-liter, RWD was 23.3 mpg.

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She ? CTS Sport Wagon prices start at $39,090, including the destination charge, for the rear-wheel drive version with the 3.0-liter engine.? The 3.6 starts at $44,190 and adds heated front seats, surround sound audio, DVD player, 18-inch wheels and the larger engine.?? A buyer selecting all the options for the 3.6 AWD will pay just over $63,000 for abundant extras like a chrome wheel package, rear view monitor, audio and navigation system with 40 GB hard drive, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, cooled seats, performance enhancements and several other comfort and convenient upgrades.

He ? With its nearly perfect 51/49 front/rear weight distribution for the FWD model and (52/48 for the AWD), the Sport Wagon has inherited CTS sedan handling attributes making it an excellent road car, too.? It handles as well as any other sport wagon or sedan running through the corners and back roads with perfect balance and amazing grip.? Zero to 60 mph acceleration for the 3.6-liter version is 6.9 seconds (according to the manufacturer estimate).? That is a little less than the sedan, but still more than adequate.

The wagon uses an independent short/long arm front suspension and multi-link rear suspension to provide the outstanding handling, and it is available with three different suspension-tuning levels.? An adjustable suspension system, like the one used on the CTS-V sedan would be a nice addition.

She ? The Cadillac wagon is one of the best wagons I have ever driven and fits my basic needs of styling, comfort and performance very well.? But, wagons are more He?s thing, actually I?m waiting for the new coupe, which is drop dead gorgeous, and is only months away.

He ? Cadillac?s Sport Wagon easily matches the comparable German wagons in performance and handling and beats them all in styling. ?It is without a doubt, the Cadillac of Sport Wagons.

There have been rumors of a CTS-V version of the Sport Wagon powered by a supercharged V-8, but I doubt that will happen.? I am guessing that engine will be reserved for the sedan and the upcoming coupe.

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