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2007 Cadillac CTS

by Martha Hindes

Cadillac CTS
Cadillac CTS Interior

Take a bold, crisp, "chiseled" design with defined edges. Add a couple of heartthrob engines. Stir in some gotta-have, rear-drive enthusiasm and you have the Cadillac CTS, a solid staple among entry level luxury thrillers. While the CTS has been around long enough to prepare for Kindergarten, it hasn't waned on the consumer front. Parent, General Motors, brags its steady march upward in customer enthusiasm, "an industry rarity."

Since its inception, Caddy has toned and tweaked the CTS, adding refinements visually, comfort-wise and underhood. For 2007, its main gain is the inclusion of "Connections and Directions" to its NavTraffic navigation system service. Part of GM's widely used OnStar system, it promises to smooth out any commuting or long distance travel wrinkles while providing on-the-spot trouble diagnoses among aides. CTS models fitted with DVD navigation system get Caddy's XM NavTraffic (part of subscriber-based XM Satellite radio) as standard equipment. That setup continuously updates traffic information in a selected city, allowing the driver to gauge the speed of traffic on a desired roadway and be forewarned of crashes, construction or other road hazards in time to seek an alternate route. CTS was the first vehicle to have the feature, explains GM officials.

Cadillac provides a choice of powerplants for CTS, both with variable valve timing. Base is a 2.8-liter, 210-HP V-6, providing maximum average fuel economy of 27 MPG. An optional 3.6-liter V-6, is rated at 255-HP. Transmissions are a newer, standard six-speed manual (introduced two years ago) or five-speed Hydra-Matic automatic with "sport," "winter" or "economy" modes. The auto's engine braking through all five gears gives a sporty sense when downshifting -- a first on any GM vehicle. Caddy calls its interior "luxurious" and "modern."

The CTS's starting price is in the modest $30,000 range. But there's plenty of room to play with upgrades. The newest, top-line, thrill-seeking and exclusive V-Series CTS-V (6.0-liter, 400-HP V-8 generating an explosive five second 0 to 60 rating) clocks in around the half-century mark, still well below some competitors' offerings, while matching or surpassing performance.