By on August 15, 2008

Ow.Granted, these are the new CTS' Sport Wagon's most offensive angles (courtesy GM PR). And beauty is in the eye of the lease holder (zero percenter?). But to my jaded eyes, the new Caddy is one aesthetically- challenged automobile. Needless to say, that means GM is launching it at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and hyping its looks. "It’s a taut design that not only suggests sleekness, but delivers it,” Caddy Global (?) Design Director Clay Dean announced, in that usual artsy, syntax-bending sort of way. Better?“Indeed, the drama of the sedan is amplified in the CTS Sport Wagon, as the centerline cue that is part of the exterior and interior is more prominent and plays a stronger role in defining the design at the rear of the vehicle… The liftgate area, for example, is a confluence of angles and planes that typifies the vehicle’s design tension.” In short, the new CTS five-door is "a dramatic design that elevates and updates the classic wagon body style." I thought Lincoln was reaching higher? Well, at least the CTS-based Sport Wagon is reaching wider, with standard 19" wheels. Anyway, some of you have a major you-know-what for wagons and the CTS made our Top Ten list. So let's hope this design grows on you, but not like a fungus.

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79 Comments on “New Cadillac “Sport Wagon” Is Ugly...”

  • avatar

    What’s so bad about it? Just a CTS on stilts really. I don’t care for crossovers at all but the new CTS is the first good looking Caddy in decades. To base another vehicle off that can’t be that bad.

  • avatar

    Not beautiful like the CTS coupe, but at least its interesting and unique.

  • avatar

    Two points here:

    1. I agree with Kovachian, that I don’t see the problem with this car. It’s just a CTS (2nd generation) with an estate back lodged on the back.

    2. Apart from the CTS (which was designed to have a european bent to it), all Cadillacs are ugly. The roadster is hideous! And don’t get me started on the Escalade……!

  • avatar

    Are you talking about the new SRX OR the CTS Sport Wagon?

    The SRX is a smidge overdone (tarted up Vue) but I love the CTS Sport Wagon. Drop dead gorgeous. And on our shopping list next summer.

  • avatar

    I was surpised to read this. Not only do I think the car is great looking, but the best view is the 3/4 rear shot that highlights the tailight treatment. IMHO Caddy is the only luxury brand making good looking cars that don’t look like re-badged Lexi.

  • avatar

    Uh, did I say SRX? MAN do I need coffee. Text amended.

  • avatar

    The wagon looks great in the flesh RF, keep drinking the coffee.

  • avatar

    “CTS’ Sport Wagon’s most offensive angle”… you mean it has a less offensive angle?
    It’s spectacularly ugly, having said that I can’t think of a good looking car Cadillac have made…

  • avatar

    I like how it looks too, particularly from the rear 3/4.

    Nonetheless, it is still a car with no market (in the USA) and will NOT sell.

  • avatar
    montgomery burns

    Meh. I hope the clown wheel/high beltline/fierce face era is coming to an end soon.
    Maybe the demise of the SUV will help to end this.

  • avatar

    Farago: Do you have any substantive reasons to call this car “ugly” or “aesthetically- challenged”? You say there is “no question”: To whom is this conclusion foregone? Just you?

  • avatar

    Well, it’s like most GM cars, excepting the Aztek: good proportions, good lines, pity about the detailing.

    I agree that the lines around the rear don’t come together well, but the coupe looks odd from the rear as well, for similar reasons. I think Cadillac is having some trouble realizing Art & Science on less horizontal designs; they seemed to get it more or less right on first CTS and SRX, refined it on the STS and lost it a little on the somewhat fat-looking current CTS.

  • avatar

    Id say it actually looks pretty good, kind of a cross bewteen the CTS, Magnum, and Volvo. But its pulled off well and something that should improve CTS sales along side of the coupe and sedan models.

    As for the SRX remark, saying its a tarted up Vue. Dude, they are not on the same platform. The Vue, Torrent, and Equinox are all on the Theta platform. While the SRX and 9-4x are on a new platform that is a cross between the Theta and Epsilon platforms that are only going to be made to Caddy and Saab. Its also known as Theta Premium. So therefor, the SRX and Vue may look alike, they are far from it.

    Although I will say that I dont find the sportwagon as ugly or hidious. And it should do well in several markets to, like here in the states and over in Europe to.

  • avatar


    Farago: Do you have any substantive reasons to call this car “ugly” or “aesthetically- challenged”? You say there is “no question”: To whom is this conclusion foregone? Just you?

    Fair comment. Text amended.

    Look, I’m CLEARLY in the minority here, but I don’t like the look of the donor CTS. I think that prow is absurd, a grossly distorted cow catcher of a chrome monstrosity. It throws the entire car’s proportions out of whack and says LOOK AT ME, I’M DRIVING A CADDY! Which is about par for the course, I know, but it’s not one of those “I wish I was him” deals. At least for me.

    I know: let’s put up a poll monkey!

  • avatar

    Its really not as bad as your making it out to be. In fact I think the rear is kind a nice. However it also looks like is will probably have poor visability & huge blind spots.

    I don’t understand why the huge pillars & high beltlines are being shoved down our throats. enough is enough. I wish a car company would have the guts to form a new style direction.

  • avatar

    I’m also surprised by the ugly”” comment. I think it looks great. The D-pillars are kinda weird, in a Renault-sort-of-way, but basically it’s a great looking CTS with a big ass. I have zero problem with this car.

    WTF, TTAC?

  • avatar

    I don’t really like the extra-thick D-pillar, but beside that, it’s a pretty hot car. Much better than the lukewarm-flame-surfaced SRX.

  • avatar

    Looks fantastic. I love it. Now I just need to convince my wife that station wagons are cool and this could be our new family truckster.

  • avatar

    Driving it would make me feel like a dick, but I can’t say that it’s ugly.

  • avatar



    The rear hatch/lights/glass look kind of busy, and I don’t like gaping grills (why Audi, why?), but it’s not too bad … at least not until you compare it to the Volvo V50. Now THAT is one sexy swede!

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    I suppose you can give Cadillac points for taking some design risks, but I still don’t think it works. The tailights are interesting, but the C and D pillars are decidedly awkward, and the hatch’s detailing is busy.

    This strikes me as one of those designs that will get an initial burst of interest because it stands out, but over time will age rather quickly.

    So is it ugly? Put it this way: If I were a designer I’d be embarrassed to take responsibility for it.

  • avatar

    If it was a Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon, it would reach a wider audience. But that D-pillar is a damned disgrace.

  • avatar

    As it stands, I have two basic nits about it:

    1. The tailgate looks a bit droopy – the chrome lift handle looks like it needs a literal lift. Same kind of awkwardness I thought the Mazda3 5-door had when it debuted, but I guess it’s grown on me. Not a deal breaker, but to de-busy the rear end would be a help.

    2. Needs a larger rear quarter window – the D-pillar is too damn big – it’s overpowering in the design.

    I love the new CTS, and I’m all about the wagon-train (NOT crossovers masquerading as something other than a wagon)… but I have to say that the two don’t blend together as nicely as I’d like.

    It almost seems as if when premium marques try so hard to build a wagon that doesn’t “look” like a wagon, the execution looks mangled (Bangled?). Simplicity and and blatancy of designs like the previous gen VW wagons (Passat/Jetta), Subarus and Volvos just look correct. They’re not trying to hide their wagon-ness, and for that they are all the more endearing (and pleasant to look at).

  • avatar

    Looks fine no me, not great but alright. If nothing else it’s distinctive. You know a Caddy when you see one and that counts for something.

  • avatar

    Wow, ugly? I think that looks really good, and these are the only pictures of it that I have seen. Then again, I like the way the CTS looks, and I prefer hatchbacks/wagons to sedans typically, so I am not surprised to like this.

    They gonna make a -V one of these? MMM…big caddy hot-hatch :D

  • avatar

    As “angular” designs go, it’s less hideous than the new Acura; maybe it’ll look better “in the flesh”.

    At least the liftgate is wide at the bottom, not some kind of abomination or “fashion statement” that you can’t fit real-world cargo into.

  • avatar

    I voted, but I don’t like any of Cadillac’s styling. What do they call it, art and science? I was never on board with that since the beginning. More of an L-finesse guy I suppose.

  • avatar


    I am well aware that they are different platforms, we’re discussing styling here.

    (BTW – isn’t that an expensive way to do business? Developing 2 different platforms but making the vehicles look the same?)

  • avatar

    As new cars go, I don’t mind the look.

    As an aside, is Chrysler going to start selling the 300 wagon in North America now too? Probably not, they have a habit of abandoning a market segment just as it starts to heat-up.

  • avatar

    Clarkson on the CTS-V:

    “The styling was done by someone that only had a ruler.”

    I couldn’t agree more. The entire “art and science” caddy design theme is terrible.


  • avatar

    “…a dramatic design that makes it damn hard to see out the back.”

    It’s not a bad looking car, but I insist on being able to see well in all directions.

  • avatar

    I really don’t think the CTS is that great looking to begin with, it’s overdone IMO and has that Escalade blinginess. This wagon is so ugly it makes my eyes hurt to see that 3/4 rear shot. Those lights are beyond stupid looking, and it’s perportions are off in a lot of ways. The liftgate and hatch look a lot like the last gen SRX shrunken down to make it look silly.

    At least this will sell in small numbers so I shouldn’t have look at it very often. This is not going to help the sport wagon movement we are all hoping for, at least I’m hoping for.

  • avatar

    I’ll shop this for my next wagon if it is available here, especially if it comes with the 6-speed. It looks great to me.
    It seems a wagon ranks right up there with a minivan when reputations are concerned. Despite this I have been buying wagons for years. SUV like cargo capacity but car handling, braking, steering etc… What is not to like?
    With the SUV market declining we could use some more wagons in the NA market.
    People need to get over the stereotype, I want to own the wagon only RS6 one day!

  • avatar

    I completely disagree. I think the car looks great. Also, the wagon ass-end has a consistent styling theme with the rest of the car. Contrast this car’s rear with the back of the original SRX, which looked like an origami fold gone wrong.

  • avatar

    Speak for yourself, Farago.

    Furthermore, why are we dissing a new STATION WAGON? All we ever hear about is the awfulness of SUVs. I should think that a company perceived (rightly or wrongly) as the major villain in the SUV craze ought to be encouraged for hyping a station wagon, instead — and one based on a very fine Cadillac CTS, no less.

  • avatar

    OK. Fess up.

    Who put the Cadillac halloween mask on the Audi?

  • avatar

    Put me in the “like it” camp.

    These wagons, whether from Audi, BMW, Mercedes, VW or now Cadillac are always going to divide opinion. In almost all cases, the sedan comes first, and then they start working on how to make the same car work as a wagon- sometimes the proportions that look good in one form don’t look so good in the other. I think every BMW made for the last 10 years has been horrible to look at, yet the M3 Touring looks rather nice, strangely enough. The estate Passat (sportwagen), on the other hand, is absolutely terrible, looking like a drooping jellybean.

    Cadillac’s new design language is a love-it-or-hate-it affair, so if you don’t like the CTS you probably won’t like this one.

  • avatar
    John R

    I don’t think this is beautiful, but its not a WRX either(the Impreza gets a pass on this as its tradition to look like a Pokemon). It looks good.

    This may be the first Cadillac I could actually get behind and a CTS-V version would be really interesting. I still wouldn’t take the sedan version of this over a G35/37, though.

  • avatar

    It almost seems as if when premium marques try so hard to build a wagon that doesn’t “look” like a wagon, the execution looks mangled (Bangled?). Simplicity and and blatancy of designs like the previous gen VW wagons (Passat/Jetta), Subarus and Volvos just look correct. They’re not trying to hide their wagon-ness, and for that they are all the more endearing (and pleasant to look at).

    I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. The D-pillar is easily my least favorite part, as well. I love the front end still, and the rear is the same kind of “busy beautiful” as the front. Honestly, if not for the D-pillar, that would be the most beautiful wagon IMO.

  • avatar

    Look, I’m CLEARLY in the minority here, but I don’t like the look of the donor CTS.

    I feel this was about the new CTS, but not the old one. The older, more angular one was a decent looking car. A little odd, but definitely striking. The new one looks fat and, well, blingy where the old one looked purposeful

    This car retains the problematic look of the new CTS, and adds a bustle of lines at the rear. It doesn’t look quite as tail-heavy as the coupe, but that D-pillar is a mess. The Saab 9-3 and Cadillac SRX (the old one) are nice-looking premium wagons made by GM. This isn’t.

    Truthfully, it looks like it was rushed out the door.

    Clarkson on the CTS-V: “The styling was done by someone that only had a ruler.”
    I couldn’t agree more. The entire “art and science” caddy design theme is terrible.

    I liked Clarkson’s description, but I disagree o the “looks terrible” aprt. It works on the old CTS, looks brilliant on the STS, ok on the SRX and not-great on the Escalade, DTS and new CTS.

    Art and Science, when done as intended (all angles and creases, minimal curves) looks mean and purposeful. The decision to raise the cars’ beltlines, soften the angles and whore it up with chrome jewelry weakens the look

    Seriously, have a look at a first-generation CTS, then look at the new one. The old looks like a sports sedan, the new one looks like an Anime interpretation of it’s predecessor.

  • avatar

    Over at jalopnik they say it looks much better in person. I’m inclined to agree because these pics are some of the most amateurish photoshop work I’ve seen in a while (at least from a “professional” source). I would say wait until you see it in person or get some real pics. Most of what you see in these is drawn on.

  • avatar

    I was between Meh and Akward, going with Meh finally. The huge blind spot in the back prevents it from being a total Meh. Fake side vents piss me off, too. (The other day I was getting gas, kid on the pump next to me had a 95-96 Contour with 4 fake “holes” on each side, screamed JC Whitney).

  • avatar

    The styling of this wagon sits just fine with me actually.

  • avatar

    I really think this is great. I’m particularly delighted that we can finally see proof of some investment put into a Non-Crossover utility vehicle for people that actually LIKE DRIVING!!

    My predicition: If it drives as good as it looks (IMO), then this car will be a hit.

  • avatar

    The D-pillar, 3rd window, and taillights are terrible. This is easily the worst of the entry-level luxury wagons as far as looks go. I’m a huge wagon fan, too. I would take the wagon version of the Jetta, A4, 328i, Legacy, all Volvos, E class, IS300, 535i, etc over the sedan versions. This is probably the first time I’ve preferred the sedan over the wagon.

  • avatar

    Definitely a bad rip-off of a Magnum, but with an ugly-ass Caddy bastardization.

  • avatar

    Just looked at some more pics online, they haven’t done it justice but if you have a peek at this you get more of an idea. Wait for better views, these don’t do the car justice.×1200/wallpaper_04.htm

  • avatar

    I like it.

    I love most wagons as a point of fact, and this looks dynamic and different enough to stand out.

    The C-pillar is a little to fat, but everything else is great. Looks better than just about any BMW right now.

    Not a big fan of that skewed poll however. I’d like an option between “Beautiful” and “Meh”.

  • avatar

    I find the design rather interesting. Maybe it’s just my eyes, but if I look at the roofline blending into the D-Pillar, then look at the rather tall taillight stack, I can almost see a ’59 Coupe De Ville. Or not ……..

  • avatar

    I think it looks kind of cool, possibly better than the sedan version. Then again I’m European so I’m genetically prone to like wagons over sedans.

    However, that massive D-pillar doesn’t only look a little weird (and I fear it might be worse in the flesh) but will also provide Lamborghini like rear-visability.

    Parking accident waiting to happen.

  • avatar

    Those tail-lights…

    Unique? Sure.

    Handsome? In a word…no.

  • avatar

    True the above pics don’t do it justice, but it is great in the flesh. Wait for some better views or seeing it in person. This is a slightly better “arty” shot i found.×1200/wallpaper_04.htm

  • avatar

    Overall I like the new CTS design but I don’t like the big gap between the wheel well and the hood. The wagon really loses it for me with that enormous D(E?) pillar with the conflicting angles.

  • avatar

    Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I like it. I certainly like the fact that an already excellent car has been made more functional.

    Our ’03 CTS has a must-have option, folding rear seats. This limits the choices for a replacement as most cars don’t have this. To me, a wagon is a great solution. We’re already planning to replace our ’03 with a new CTS sometime next year. If I can talk my wife into it (after all we need the fold-down seats to carry the large canvasses she like to paint), this could be a viable option.

    Finally, I find the shade of red used on the car in the photo to be the least appealing color offered. I’d like to see the car in silver or white. I have a feeling the D pillar won’t be so obvious in a much lighter color.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    It’s quite difficult to field a wagon with beautiful design. Generally, the proportions don’t support beauty. The shooting brake variant attempts to retrieve the situation. The vehicle form is intrinsically awkward from a design standpoint but high in utility. This wagon is gorgeous, however, all of a piece and projecting the presence of an assertive sedan. I normally shun wagons, but I’ll seriously consider this one.

    All of the Cadillac Art & Science theme cars are attractive, distinctive and well-executed, but this is an exceptional design achievement for a vehicle type that nearly always loses luster relative to the sedan antecedent. It’s a statement vehicle in its own right. It is all at once refined, pugnacious, purposeful and fun.

    I do agree that the single design excess of the current CTS is the oversized grille. It does seem more pronounced, however, in photographs than in-the-metal. Its proportion plays better in 3D. However, the V Series mesh treatment takes the cow-catcher aspect out of it, and nearly all Cadillac dealers will sell and install one if you prefer that look.


  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    I gotta go with Al Ries on this one. A station wagon for Cadillac weakens an already fragile marque. I just don’t see these vehicles as being aspirational anymore. Maybe that’s the plan.

  • avatar

    It’s no Audi wagon, but I’m digging it.

  • avatar

    I must say I like the look overall.

    I do hope this wagon does relatively well. Maybe then GM will get on the stick with the G8 Sportwagon (Sport Wagon?). The sizing is pretty close (CTS wagon is slightly taller, shorter, and skinnier) and the only possibility for me is a wagon costing $8k to $10k less than the Caddy.

  • avatar

    So, someone at GM has a pulse?? It’s cool someone there had the cajones to create a design (and a wagon no less!) that is controversial.

    I’m just happy to hear it will be offered in the US and not just exported to the land of the wunderwagen.

    I don’t want to push my luck, but any chance this will have a stick option?

  • avatar

    If you’ll forgive the pun on the name of the design language, all art is first and foremost supposed to generate a reaction. Obviously for RF it’s done that.

    I happen to think it’s gorgeous, but I am a member of WA (Wagons Anonymous). This vehicle’s targeted at Europe, and to that end, give me one with a diesel, a 6-speed manual, gun metal gray with some toned down wheels, yeah I’d make that look damn good. And yes, if they sell it here with the diesel, I will buy it.

  • avatar

    I don’t mind it at all.

    Then again, I grew up with parents who owned the infamous Dodge station wagons (puke-green interior with blood-red exteriors). So what do I know.

  • avatar

    The first exec that backs one into a tree will recommend that the D pillar be trimmed down. And then all will be good.

    More wagons, especially on the luxury side of the car business, is always good!

    Say it with me: “Wagons gooood!”

  • avatar

    This red is wrong for the car. It’s not the best shade for the sedan either. Though most GM photos of the sedan also use this red.

    My father opted for the Thunder Gray. In which the sedan looks best, and which the wagon would similarly benefit from.

    When they introduced the V, it was painted Thunder Gray with extra chromaflair. That time they got it right.

  • avatar

    There’s something weird about how much space there is between the back window and the side windows. It’d look much better without the gargantuan D-pillar.

  • avatar

    I think it looks great.

    A 100x better than the ’10 VUEILLAC

  • avatar

    I’m OK with it. It doesn’t have that dumb sloping roof with no back window that the Dodge Magnum had.
    It looks like a Caddy (at least the current version)

  • avatar

    is it just me or do i see a slight hint of fins?

  • avatar

    I have mixed feelings about the CTS, in general. The first one had good proportions and a total lack of elegance in detailing. The current one looks good from some angles, awkward from others, and it’s remarkably sensitive to wheel size. I saw a V6 with 16-inch wheels last night, and it looked awful — the smallish wheels accentuated the bulk of the fenders in a really unflattering way.

  • avatar

    For me anything in a wagon is probably better than the sedan. I prefer the proportions and utility.

    MrGreenGear: I totally see this baby as the opportunity taken to harken back to those late ’60s caddies with tail lights 2″ wide by about 20″ tall, all buried into the endcaps of the tail fins. I am surprised they didn’t do this sooner.

    The general styling direction at Cadillac is too big on the bling. Too often it degrades into bigger and more is better. This car is no exception to that problem.

  • avatar

    It sounds like Farago’s just being intentionally contrarian for the sake of a sensationalist headline. Sorry, I won’t bite.

  • avatar

    Overall, I like it a lot, but make the wheels 3”
    smaller and the tire aspect ratio a 70.

    I’ve seen too many expensive wheels ruined when a tire with not enough “meat” to it strikes a pothole or some road junk. In the even of a flat, give me 1/2 a chance to make it to the shoulder from the center lane within 1/10 mile without destroying the rim.

  • avatar

    I answered the poll and said “Beautiful” but actually think it looks pretty good, not beautiful. It would have been nice to have a poll that doesn’t have one positive and 4 negative answers (“meh” to me means not good, and the only choice if you thought it was OK WAS TO SAY “Beautiful”). I realize that TTAC is RF’s site and therefore he can say what he wants and all, but this type of thing just makes the whole site seem less credible as a whole and more as a place for the ramblings of the disaffected…with the inevitable result that anything said will be taken less than seriously, which I did not think was the objective, but what do I know….

    Just my $0.02

  • avatar

    WalterRohrl :

    It’s a good point, and I regret the omission. I’ve asked Frank to add the option “good” to the poll.

    My apologies.

  • avatar

    It’s ugly. So is the second-gen SRX. I like the CTS sedan. The CTS coupe has the general proportions of the Javelin-derived first-gen AMC AMX.

    The problem with CTS wagon is the too-thick C-pillar and the too-small rear windows. It’s not too different from that of the Toyota Venza. Rearward visibility is probably hellish.

    The CTS wagon makes the first-gen SRX and Volvo V70 look good.

  • avatar

    If they fix the steering wheel vibration issue that affects a number of CTS sedans, I am buying this one. Period.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    I’ll just stick to Audi’s….the A6 and A4 Avants are the best looking wagon’s ever, although the Beemer 5 Series touring wouldn’t get kicked outta my garage for eatin’ crackers. (Woeful mixed metaphon alert, but you know what I mean…)

    I am a HUGE wagon fan, so this is OK in my book, but the sweeping lines of the Audi A-6 Avant define the genre to me….

  • avatar

    I’d rather have a Buick SportWagon…

  • avatar

    Several years ago I read that all the cooling air a car needs comes from the intake opening below the bumber. That means the grills we push around are just decorations.

    I like wagons and most of this wagon looks OK to me except I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking I looked silly pushing that huge grill around.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Caddys have always been garish. The car is aimed at people with more money than taste. There hasnt been a decent looking Caddy since they did away with the fins.

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