Cadillac in 2009, after redesigning the CTS Sport Sedan, launched in shocking fashion a Wagon, a vehicle last seen in 1996, with the retirement of the Buick Roadmaster. Although some happily opined the decline in popularity of the wagon in the 1980's, as it lead to minivans and later SUV's, the concept has perhaps come full circle, as now, the new 2012 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon may be seen as an alternative to the behemoths we know today. At a starting MSRP of $39,015 and with a promise of style not unlike its "smaller sportier" kin, the CTS Sport Wagon is competent in both handling and utility, something few vehicles can claim and deliver on.
The wheelbase is sedan-like, because Cadillac cuts it from the same cloth. It handles so similarly, that it's unlikely the extra cargo space will be noticed, until of course you have the need or desire to use it. However, even with the larger cargo area, the CTS Sport Wagon is actually, and quite surprisingly, shorter in length than the CTS Sport Sedan. Naturally one might view the matching drivetrain between the Sport Sedan and the Sport Wagon as a negative. However, the close proximity to the Sedan, in both style and substance, only adds to the excitement of getting something for the sacrifice of nothing. The standard Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon has a nearly identically powered engine in its 3.6-liter VVT V6, with 263 horsepower, as well as an optional upgrade to the 304 horse version. The only difference being an optional direct injection. And whether you are all about manual or like the simplicity of automatic you will have your choice of six-speed transmissions in both flavors and the same goes for all and rear wheel layouts.
Audi, BMW, and Volvo, being among the few relative comparisons in the wagon category, have been trotted out to the starting blocks. Unfortunately, the race is over before its begun, as other than all being wagons, there is little more to compare, as neither their performance, nor level of luxury, even come close to that of the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon. With more than 20% more horsepower for a negligible cost difference, the Cadillac truly does stand alone.
If safety is the design cornerstone of the Sport Sedan then it is the blueprint of the family targeted Sport Wagon. The only safety feature not afforded to the lowly standard purchaser is the Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist, but seeing the audience, and the probability of a few extra hands, this might not be much of an issue. Cadillac has included a multipoint airbag deployment system, child seat restraint system, daytime running lamps, rear child security door locks, 3-point safety belts for the driver and right-front passenger, rollover protection including rollover sensors, four-channel disc brakes with ABS, a tire pressure monitoring system, a side blind zone alert system, as well as a full set of OnStar features.
Other than the top tier safety awards there has been little other institutionalized recognition. However, ratings and videos abound, cheering the attempt, and success, of melding a sporty sedan with a utility vehicle. Something that has been elusive to say the least and perhaps a dream best realized in the 2012 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon to say the most.