I’ve had the Cadillac for about three weeks. During this time, I’ve learned a lot of things. Primarily, I’ve learned that it takes at least three weeks for a new key fob to reach a Cadillac dealer. I find this hard to believe, but I’m reassured by my salesman’s constant phone calls that insist it will arrive “any day now.”
Personally, I don’t think three weeks is long enough to provide a really comprehensive car review. This will shock many readers, since most professional automotive journalists review cars after spending about 45 minutes driving them at carefully controlled automotive press events, most of which include free food. But there’s one big difference: I’m no professional automotive journalist.
Alex Dykes, on the other hand, is a professional automotive journalist, and he is therefore highly capable of reviewing cars after driving them for a short period of time. I know this because I once went on a press drive with Alex. We were driving pre-production luxury cars, which scared the hell out of me, but didn’t seem to bother him. As I recall, it went something like this:
Me: OH MY GOD I HOPE I DON’T CRASH!
Alex: Ooooh, check out the fit and finish.
Me: THAT CAR WAS SO CLOSE TO US!!!
Alex: I wish the navigation screen were a little larger.
At the end of the day, Alex had an entire review written in his mind, while I relaxed by stuffing my face with free food.
So I’m no Alex, which means that – after three weeks and roughly 1,000 miles of ownership – all I have to offer you are these limited first impressions. I will surely expand on them over the coming months once I get a) more familiar with the Cadillac, and b) a working key fob. They are:
1. Handling. Most of my time with the CTS-V Wagon has been spent late at night on empty back roads. That’s because I already have a daily driver, which is a large, lumbering Range Rover that appears to derive most of its handling acumen from vehicles that were rejected by the postal service.
As a result of this, I’m no expert in the world of handling. Yes, I’ve owned a few sports cars, and also a few Mercedes products. But it’s been a while. So I enlisted the help of my friend David for some perspective on the issue. David drives a Porsche and smokes cigars, which means he fits right into the Cadillac demographic. And his verdict was: It’s amazing.
In fact, everyone who has driven the V Wagon so far has said the same positive things about its handling. And not because it’s a wagon. Because it’s a Cadillac.
2. Acceleration. Acceleration is sharp. Not “sharp” as in “This product is quite quick,” which is the way ConsumerReports would describe both the Cadillac and one of those robotic vacuum cleaners that scares your cat. I mean “sharp” as in you floor it and think HOLY CRAP I HOPE A SMALL ANIMAL DOESN’T RUN OUT IN FRONT OF ME OR ELSE IT WILL BECOME SPACE DEBRIS.
Acceleration is so strong that you, as a regular human being who is not trained to operate a 500-horsepower station wagon, would become fearful of putting the gas pedal all the way down. I know this because I, as a regular human being who is definitely not trained to operate a 500-horsepower station wagon, but had another one before this, am quite fearful of flooring the accelerator. Really, a half-stab will do. That’s more than enough to scare your passengers, and any nearby small animals.
3. GM Cost-Cutting. Since you’re reading TTAC, you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. C’mon, you’re thinking, when is this guy going to bash GM? And the answer is: right now.
This is my second GM product. In fact, it’s my second Cadillac. In other words: I am a highly loyal customer, which means I’ve spent considerable time in the Cadillac dealership service department behind a gray-haired woman with a cane asking when she had to come back with her Fleetwood.
Every time I get into a Cadillac, I feel the exact same way: Close, but no cigar. (My friend David is reading this and thinking: “Did someone say cigar?!”) Here’s the problem: GM gets the big stuff right, but they miss out on the details, sort of like a summer intern whose parents know the CEO.
I’ll provide many examples over the coming weeks, but one that sticks in my mind is the fact that the passenger side mirror doesn’t tilt down when I put it in reverse. Worse, there’s no setting to make this happen. I won’t debate the merits of this feature – I personally believe it is the single greatest feature in the history of time, and I am, of course, correct – but even if you don’t like it, you must admit that every single other luxury car has it. Even Saabs. Saabs, ladies and gentlemen.
My Range Rover also has tilt-down mirrors, though I assume they will stop working any day now. You know: about the same time that key fob arrives.
@DougDeMuro operates PlaysWithCars.com. He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, road-tripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute lap time on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.