I'm Back, and Now I Have a CTS-V Wagon

Doug DeMuro
by Doug DeMuro
i m back and now i have a cts v wagon

Hello, TTAC – I’m back! And as usual, I already know what you’re thinking. It’s either: Wait… you left? or probably the much more likely: Who the hell are you?

And the answer is: Of course I left! I haven’t posted here since mid-June, when I ranted about how MyFord Touch doesn’t need buttons if Tesla’s center-mounted Jumbotron also doesn’t need buttons. I know at least a few of you have missed me since then, as I’ve gotten occasional e-mails asking if Elon Musk ordered my assassination.

But Musk didn’t have me killed. Instead, I’ve just been busy. Busy with what? you ask. Well, the answer is twofold. For one, I’ve spent considerable time lately reading an abridged history of the Roman Empire. And number two: I purchased a Cadillac CTS-V station wagon.

So now you’re probably thinking: Tell us about it! And I will. Here’s basically what happened: Julius Caesar became dictator for life in 44 BC, after which the Roman Peace lasted for roughly 200 peaceful years, unless you were living in the areas they conquered. Eventually, there was a great crisis in the third century (this is known as the Crisis of the Third Century), although things became OK again in the fourth century (this is known as Things Became OK Again in the Fourth Century). But they weren’t OK enough, as the Empire fell about a hundred years later.

Now you’re thinking: Maybe you should leave again.

OK, OK, I’ll tell you about the station wagon. Here’s basically what happened: I decided that we, as a society, do not have enough people writing about their experiences driving station wagons with roughly the same horsepower as a Ferrari 458. So I’ve set out to change that in the same way I fixed the disturbing lack of automotive journalists who believe the Nissan Sentra and Infiniti G20 aren’t related.

Actually, some of that – for once – is true. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of “long term” test cars, because they involve journalists spending more time in a car than a few hours on a carefully-organized press drive. And I’ve been even more fascinated by a long-term used car, because let’s be honest: a car doesn’t become really cool until you can’t buy it anymore.

So I’ve purchased the CTS-V Wagon as a long-term tester, which will be beneficial to both you and me. You will learn what it’s like to own a 556-horsepower station wagon, what it’s like to live everyday with a vehicle that gets 12 miles per gallon, and what it’s like to drive a car that’s both incredibly subtle (to the average road user) and incredibly cool (to people in GTIs). I, on the other hand, get to tax-deduct my tires. Really, it’s a win-win.

So let’s cover some particulars. Namely: why the hell did I choose the CTS-V Wagon?

The main reason is that I wanted something that would appeal to both me and everyone else. (And by “everyone else” I mean “everyone else except for Derek.”) I love fast wagons. You also love fast wagons, or at least fast Cadillacs, or at least rear-wheel drive cars with a supercharged V8.

Another reason is that I wanted something that’s cool, but also fairly modern, fairly reliable, and fairly safe. “Fairly modern” eliminated a few cars (like the DeLorean), “fairly reliable” kicked out some more (sorry, Rolls-Royce Corniche fans), and “fairly safe” dropped off almost the entire remainder of my list, including the original Audi Quattro and the Buick Grand National.

After the elimination round, I solicited feedback on my website and from Jalopnik (please don’t kill me!), where people recommended everything from the 1995 Ford Contour to – this is entirely true – the late-1970s BMW M1 supercar. There was also a high volume of suggestions for the Lotus Esprit, which I believe illustrates the textbook definition of the term “moral hazard.”

When all was said and done, I had it down to the BMW M Coupe and the Dodge Ram SRT-10. But then a well-timed review sent me to the Cadillac listings on AutoTrader.com, where I noticed a CTS-V Wagon for sale locally. Now it’s sitting behind my house, thinking: Oh God, what the hell have I gotten myself into? (Of course, I am kidding. Cars cannot think. But if they could, the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid would think: When is someone going to adopt me so I don’t have to be a service loaner anymore?)

Before you ask: it’s an automatic. But despite this glaring problem, I still think it’s going to be a fun few months. I’m not sure exactly how long “a few months” will be, by the way. Maybe three. Maybe six. It all depends just how enjoyable it is, and just how many exciting things you suggest for the Cadillac and me to do. And when the wagon’s time is up, we can begin the search for another car. Start brainstorming.

@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.

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6 of 141 comments
  • Livermoron Livermoron on Jul 10, 2013

    OK, I didn't read all 120 something posts so maybe I missed some revelation but here goes... I know its been said - but no manual equals not that interesting in my book. I know a manual could have been found so... well anyway, to those people that gripe about rush hour pushing them into an AT car - man, you never really were a manual guy to begin with. I commute from the tri-valley to Fremont CA daily and have a 540i6 and have never considered moving to an AT. Sure, often I go from 1st to 2nd to 1st, but I know that sometimes it'll be 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. And even the 2-3 all by itself can be a blast. But I will say I am all over the wagon part. I learned to drive manual in a 66 Valiant Wagon slant 6 with 3 on the tree - way funner than it sounds. And I have been fantasizing for years about doing a V8/manual swap into a Volvo wagon. My next car will be a 1st gen CTS-V or a Mazdaspeed3 - although my Bimmer keeps going and going - 175K so far. BTW - CandD did a long term on a CTS-V manual wagon a couple years ago. The suede didn't hold up and the 18(?) gallon tank gave it terrible range. I think those were the only two major gripes.

    • See 2 previous
    • Doug DeMuro Doug DeMuro on Jul 11, 2013

      @Livermoron Hah! I feel largely the same way, even though it's been a while since I had a stick. I will say this: I took the car out on some back roads last night and really pounded it, and it probably would've been better with a stick. That doesn't mean the automatic is bad. Just personal preference. Obviously I don't plan on keeping it forever, so maybe it's not a big deal. More to come no doubt...

  • Walker42 Walker42 on Jul 10, 2013

    Doug I hear from the CTS fanboys that the car is dynamically superior to the 5-series, E-class and A6. I know your V has a better chassis than those but how does it compare to the M5, AMG, S6? Or would the more fair comparison be M3, AMG, S4. I want to know if we Americans are better at some aspects of the sport sedan than the Germans. Steering perhaps? I love the CTS sedan. It's the car that turned Cadillac around and I believe the all-new 2014 will be even better. BTW very cool choice for long-term test car. Look forward to reading your reports. Hopefully you can expense the gas!

    • Doug DeMuro Doug DeMuro on Jul 10, 2013

      I'm not going to expense the gas, but everything else! I, too, am eager to see how it stacks up against those cars. I've owned a fair bit of them so hopefully I'll have some good insight. More to come!

  • Oberkanone The Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge Neon's racing successes - SCCA and elsewhere (allpar.com)Inexpensive racing.
  • Kwik_Shift My brother inherited his work travel 2013 Ford Escape 1.6L EcoBoost to be replaced with a 2019. Right its a beater vehicle to take my mother out for shopping/appts, etc.Right now it has 420,000 (HWY) kms still on original engine/turbo/transmission. Impressive, but doesn't mean I'd intentionally buy any Ford EB combination vehicle. I've heard lots of bad things as well.
  • Analoggrotto You forgot something.
  • MKizzy We can pretty much agree at this point that all Ford ecoboost engines regardless of displacement are of trash quality.
  • Jeff71960 once a fun fast little car (if you can find an unmolested one)... unfortunately boy racer types trashed most of themhttps://www.cargurus.com/Cars/l-Used-Dodge-Neon-SRT-4-d658