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Cadillac launches its 1st luxury wagon

October 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
As Cadillac plays the luxury role in the rebirth of General Motors, the CTS sedan has become a strong part of its lineup. Now, Cadillac is expanding its offerings with a wagon version of the car, which is a first for Cadillac.

"As people move out of utilities and other vehicles, there might actually be an opportunity here to expand the wagon market substantially, so we're thinking that we're bringing this car to the market at just the right time," said John Howell, a Cadillac spokesman.

Making a sedan into a wagon that still comes across as stylish isn't easy.

"We were able to take that roof line and bring it down, make something that's interesting and kind of sexy to look at yet still has a degree of utility, which is very nice," said Howell.

While wagons in the U.S. aren't often thought of as upscale, Europeans love them and some American buyers choose models like BMW's 3-Series wagon. It doesn't sell in huge numbers, but it offers an alternative to an SUV.

It wasn't long ago that a luxury brand like Cadillac wouldn't have considered making a station wagon, but there's now a whole generation of drivers who've grown up with vehicles with some kind of hatch in the back. What they want is a car, but a car that can carry things as well.

Some clever tricks make the new Cadillac wagon pretty user friendly. A cover over the lower compartment doubles as a cargo divider. Also, to hold down large items, there are adjustable tie downs.

Even the standard power lift-gate gets a neat trick. Its opening height can be adjusted, which is handy for drivers who aren't very tall. This also helps where overhead clearance is a problem.

The power under the hood is from the same engines found in the sedan, which are two different V6s.

There's a high-performance version of the sedan called the CTSV, which is a supercharged V8 car with world class power. Could Cadillac create a hot rod wagon too?

"Our new president and CEO Fritz Henderson has said we're going to listen to our customers, and that may be enough said, we're going to listen to our customers," explained Howell.

Next year, the CTS line will expand further with a rakish coupe.

In the meantime, the wagon will be a pioneer for the brand, carrying Cadillac into a more purposeful future and also carrying a fair amount of cargo when necessary.


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