Searching for Brougham in 2021: 2018 Cadillac CTS AWD

Over the past six months or so, I have been haunting my preferred local dealerships, McLaughlin Cadillac and Strieter Lincoln, for a potential replacement for my 2000 Town Car Cartier, which is approaching 182,000 miles as of this writing.

The short list: Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln Continental, Lincoln MKS, Cadillac XTS and Cadillac CTS. No combover. No pickup. No SUV. Sedan. Preferably with all wheel drive, as there’s a steep hill up to my condo. Brian Cox, at McLaughlin, and Peter Clarke, at Strieter, are keeping me in the loop on recent trade ins. And so it was on a Saturday several weeks ago I found myself behind the wheel of a 2018 CTS AWD with 28K miles, finished in decidedly non-conformist Adriatic Blue. No silver silvermist for me, thank you very much.

A couple weeks before this visit, I had tried out a black on black 2018 CTS AWD, also equipped with the 2.0L turbo four. I wanted to see what the four was like, despite my head-and-shoulders preference for the 3.6L V6. It was a comfortable car, plenty of room, and it didn’t have a Frigidaire-sized center console like some other cars (final gen Taurus, I’m looking at you).

But the color combo was boring, so I passed. But then this one showed up, in a color combination much more preferable to your author. So I was back in the Cadillac saddle.

This one drove nice as well. Although the same year as the Stellar Black CTS previously driven, it seemed somewhat smoother, despite similar mileage. The lighter-hued interior was much better, though I was slightly miffed this one had the aluminum dash and door cap trim, instead of the wood on the other car. Yes, I’m picky.

Brian gave me a dealer plate and wished me luck, all he cared about was that I brought it back before they closed. So I took it on a wide variety of roads, highways and city streets.

The Cadillac handled with aplomb, and with the all wheel drive I had some fun flinging it into corners and onto on ramps. Something that my Town Car would violently protest.

The turbo four has good power, despite the inherent 4-cyl. buzziness felt now and then through the floorboards. That higher NVH is really irritating in a Caddy. This is why I want the V6. What really cheesed it for me was learning the four requires premium, while the six is fine on regular old 87 octane. Dagnabit.

Brian said that technically you can run the four on regular, but it will run like crap, and eventually cause issues. But technically one can set oneself on fire or buy an Alfa too, doesnt make it advisable, ha ha. One might get away with alternating between regular and hi-test between fill ups, but I didn’t want to do any goofy crap like that either. So stupid that the base, lunchbox sized engine needs premium but the better, smoother optional six doesn’t.

It’s a really pretty car. The replacement, the CT5, came out in 2020 and I don’t think it’s nearly as attractive; in fact, the first time I saw one, I thought it looked like an Altima. Ye gods! I have since warmed up to it a little, but still prefer the lines of the CTS.

Anyway, I had the car probably an hour and a half and had a grand old time. Always enjoy trying a new car out! Loved the big ass sunroof too. If this car had had the V6 I might be writing about my new car instead of a plain old test, but that four-requiring-premium schtick eliminated any thought of writing a check.

And I still like my car. But am still on the lookout. And just this morning, Peter called me to inform me they just got a 2017 Continental in on trade, green, 35,000 miles. So who knows what next week will bring.

Postscript: After I returned the car, I gave the keys and dealer plate back to Brian, and walked back to my car. When I drove out of the lot, the Lincoln felt like a freaking waterbed. Badoomp! Doomp a boing!

After about ten minutes it felt normal again, but man, the CTS really is a different kind of car, suspension geometry-wise!

67 Replies to “Searching for Brougham in 2021: 2018 Cadillac CTS AWD”

  1. mantis2073

    I have to know Tom. What were they asking for this vs MSRP when new? I ask because I bought my current daily driver ‘97 Mark VIII in 2002 for $18K with 24K miles and a list of about $40K when new.

    I hear you about how old your car feels after driving something newer. In my case, it’s my wife’s ‘17 Civic that puts the Mark’s ride to shame.

    Reply
  2. Tom Klockau Post author

    Not sure about MSRP, but they were asking about 31,500. Was certified pre-owned. They sold it the weekend after I drove it.

    Reply
  3. John C.

    Who ever thought that for those that desire a traditional upscale American car, a new car search would go from what wows you to least bad, but that is where many of us are. Adding the limiting inventory factor of buying recent used, must make it even more time consuming. Tom you are blessed to have sympathetic friends at the relevant dealers. I wonder if the problem is common. I will be on the market this summer and I am dreading it.

    On the CTS, what stood out to me was the wheels on the CTS compared to the wheels on your Town Car. Your Town Car wheels would have looked super aggressive in their day. Import style cast aluminum with trim sidewalls and no white stripe. On that CTS, the wheels look as aggressive as on that 911 parked behind you.

    Reply
    • CJinSD

      “Who ever thought that for those that desire a traditional upscale American car, a new car search would go from what wows you to least bad, but that is where many of us are.”

      When last was this not the case? The last of the really bigs were such caricatures that the 1977 GM B-platform was hailed as a symbol of truth and beauty, but they weren’t actually high quality cars. After1979?

      Reply
      • John C.

        I am going to disagree with you about quality because many aspects of that improved over time like rust prevention and less noise from better wind sealing. Overall though you are correct. First CAFE took away the big block, if only V8-6-4 worked!, and then gave the mixed blessing of FWD. Then Iacocca aging out and Roger Smith getting screwed by the Michael Moore/ Ross Perot green mail scam to only be replaced by the Euro outpost crowd like Eaton, Lutz, Jordan, and that English guy at Ford. Suddenly the Brougham offerings become trim groups on designs intended as sports sedans, like 1994 Deville, LHS Chrysler, 88 Royale on LSS, and Volvo based MKS.

        From there it only got worse. In fact the XTS Caddy and the 2nd gen MKZ were designed by the same Australian guy, so our models were not even being designed by people who can relate. Brougham was so important to him that he lists his work in Korea for Daewoo on the multinational team doing world small cars under the Chevy name in the 2000s as his prime achievement. He currently sells his services in India, where his talent is street shitting like a native. That last part is my conjecture.

        Remember Iacocca/Kirkorean trying to offer Chrysler an alternative to Daimler Benz in the late 1990s. His young protégé Jeremy York was to be the new executive. If that had worked out, remember one thing Eaton did do was leave a pile of cash, was that the last chance for a real modern Brougham?

        Reply
        • CJinSD

          Where I lived, the B-platform cars didn’t rust out prematurely, and their wind noise levels weren’t significantly worse than other cars I was riding in forty years ago. Disregarding serious overheating, electrical, and drivability issues I recall from Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile-branded models, what really stood out was how the paint often failed in less than three years and interior materials that aged like milk.

          A one-owner 1979 Impala wagon seemed like an antique clunker in 1986. The door panels shed their plastic skins as dust and revealed a surface resembling a used up pumice stone. A one-owner 1979 Oldsmobile 98 needed a full repaint after five years. Seat stitching started splitting on delivery on a Sedan DeVille. It was hard to conceive of someone having pride of ownership when the cars started looking abandoned so soon. I have hung onto a 2007 Civic Si sedan that I bought new. It currently looks just as bad as my friend’s father’s 1984 Buick LeSabre looked in 1988. Same paint issues, similar level of interior fading and degradation. My car would probably look better if it hadn’t been covered in epoxy by idiot roofers when it was a few months old and battered by falling palm tree chunks when I lived in Pacific Beach. The Buick? It was exposed to the sun, which can’t have been foreseeable by GM. Or could it have been?

          Anyway, I’m not holding those old cars to unfairly high standards. Keep in mind that peak finish-durability occurred for the West Germans thirty years ago. After that, misanthropic regulations dictated planned obsolescence. I’m saying that those GM cars didn’t stay nice as long as many cars that came before, even ones made by companies that didn’t hang onto their quality reputations into the late ’60s, the way that GM did.

          Reply
          • John C.

            I think you are confusing signs of wear on cars that lead hard lives, fleet use, passed down to loser sons, no garage to the easy though high maintenance life of lease specials. Low mileage to avoid fees that also apply to excess wear that is handled early instead of allowed to fester.

            If the Euros were up to fleet use, they sure didn’t show it when those Pug 505 diesels were made black taxi sedan in NYC. You can point to a few Saabs. Volvos, and 528e that made big mileage but with fastidious owners and thick expensive files.

            You see so many MB S classes today in black sedan, hotel courtesy work. It would be interesting to see their service files. Old Genesis look as used up as someone like me would expect with owners that are downright scary.

            As far as the Japanese back then, where were they in fleets? Nowhere. Even that cheap Canadian taxi guy at the other site. All B bodies pre Prius government taxi mandate.

          • CJinSD

            Where to start? My ‘loser son’ friend with the hand-me-down six year old Impala bought a house in Alexandria next door to Donald Trump’s lawyer. The hardest thing about the lives that all these GM cars led was being parked in the sun, and that only applied to most of them. A few were garaged and still aged faster than the cars of a decade earlier, because many of those cars were still on the road and looked better inside and out. I’m not talking about Japanese cars, because they really weren’t that common and I wasn’t paying much attention to them. An ’80 Buick looked sad parked next to a 1970 Chrysler in 1983 though. Not because of the styling. It was because the Buick’s trim was crooked, the paint was bad, and the upper door panels looked like fungus after three years in the sun.

            The best NYC taxis before the Priuses were the first-generation Honda Odysseys and Isuzu Oases. I lived there when they were current, and they were sought after by fares. They also often had odometers with a three in the hundreds of thousands of miles column, while CVs sometimes made it close to flipping to three. I know because I took a cab to work every morning, and I looked.

            I’m not part of the Genesis hype. It’s been a long time since I saw a Tau V8 that wasn’t at risk of being scrapped because the second or third owner couldn’t afford an alternator before a hundred thousand miles had been reached. I suppose they’re fine for people who think there is nothing ominous on the car market front. Personally, I just assume have a car that works when we find out why military officers are moving to Belize and connected rich people think that forty million dollars is nothing like a security blanket.

          • John C.

            My point is that the hand me down loser is not going to wax a car he hates. The first owner probably will. Glad he grew up, if that is what you call living next to Cohen in a town of government teat sucklers. Yuk, but I know, lucrative.

            The officers in Belize are probably just fools who haven’t studied history. When the British settled the area, they called it the mosquito coast. Not a name the area was going to keep, but undoubtedly accurate.

            To each his own, but if you believe the end is near, why try to rely on a 14 year old car.

          • CJinSD

            The cars became early hand-me-downs because they degraded in the hands of their first owners. The Civic has rarely been my daily driver, so it has 70,000 miles after 14 years. It has more remaining useful life than any direct-injected, turbocharged, infotainment-HVAC-merged piece of junk in a new-car showroom today. I will probably try to get one of the last new 5.7 liter Toyotas in the next few months though.

  4. stingray65

    Tom – I think if you are going to continue to contribute to this site you have to at least consider a Genesis. 2018-19 G80s with the V6 and AWD seem to be in the same price range as the CTS you tested. Since you are a former Volvo owner you might also look at the 2017-18 S90s that are also in the same price range with AWD. Summer is coming, and Jack had some nice things to say about the Fiat 124 Spider for some top down motoring at a bargain price.

    Reply
    • LynnG

      Tom, your Lincoln TC looks not the worse for ware at 182K but things will begin to go, trust me as Helen’s favorite car crossed 250K (an Ohio built American car) and now everything is wearing out, not failing mind you but wearing out…. Plus there are few NOS parts still available for a 2005….. I will send you some links from the local dealer as there are a couple that might meet your fancy. It is hard to find anything that is not Radiant Silver or Black Ravin or with a 4 banger…. though…. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Hank chinaski

    An XTS is a closer fit to the Town Car, relatively speaking of course and accounting for the almost 2 decade difference and all that goes with. Nothing will feel anything like that today short a minus two wheel and tire fitment. I was quite pleased with a week’s rental a couple of years back.

    Reply
    • bluebarchetta

      The XTS isn’t bad at all. It’s the best Chevy-turned-Cadillac since the 1976 Seville. Truthfully it’s better, but for some reason people seem to revere the 1st-gen Seville.

      Nobody’s mentioning the ATS, and I can’t blame them. I really wanted to like the ATS, but damn is it small. I’m a short guy and when I put the seat where I liked it, I could barely fit in the back seat behind myself.

      Reply
      • Tom Klockau Post author

        I like the ATS, but too small. Especially since whatever I get will be replacing a Town Car. I take my folks out to dinner a lot, and don’t think Mom would appreciate being shoehorned in an ATS back seat. 🙂

        McLaughlin got a sedan in last autumn, pearl white, beige leather, AWD, good price, certified. Was interested at first, then I walked up to it. Geez, that thing is small. I think it’s about the same size as my old Volvo V50 wagon. Seemed so much narrower than not only my Lincoln, but the CTS and XTS sitting right next to it.

        Reply
  6. jwinks6500

    Just need a vinyl top! That’s what’s wrong with cars these days (not to mention 4 banger).

    Reply
  7. Bill

    Does the difference in MPG even out the cost of regular vs. super? I realize your mileage may vary…

    But really. A 4 cylinder Cadillac? Very quick search shows 1914 to be the last year until the present. Standard of the World needs 8. Or 12. Or more?

    Reply
    • Tom Klockau Post author

      I just don’t want the hassle. Fortunately the 2.0 in the Lincolns runs fine on regular.

      The CTS never should have come with the 2.0T. Should have been 3.6 only, like its bigger sister the XTS.

      Reply
      • CJinSD

        “Brian said that technically you can run the four on regular, but it will run like crap, and eventually cause issues.”

        This sounds like a description of pretty much any engine set up for premium fuel that doesn’t use a knock sensor to control ignition timing. They’ll all run badly until the damage of pre-ignition takes its toll.

        Reply
        • JMcG

          Surely everything has a knock sensor now? Although, thinking about it, you can get a 91 octane tune from Ford on the 5 liter Coyote, but apparently you have to promise to only use 91 octane and above, so perhaps not.
          It’s like the Battle of Britain out there these days.

          Reply
        • Daniel J

          One of the reasons we passed on the Buick Envision and Cadillac XT4 was because, unlike the CX5 or Escape Turbo, we got the distinct impression from both the salesman and online that Premium fuel really is required on GMs 2.0T.

          Reply
      • stingray65

        The CTS would never have come with a 4 cylinder except for the need to hit Obama’s crazy CAFE numbers. Sadly, Detroit has never put much effort in to making a smooth 4 cylinder – they always liked them cheap and rough so they could upsell you to the 6 or 8.

        Reply
        • CJinSD

          I hate Ford’s cars as much as I hate their foundation, but I once rented a Contour or Mystique with a Zetec-R 4 cylinder that could have passed NVH muster for use in a Toyota. I was shocked. Mind you the Zetec-R had a short production run(1998-2004) and was replaced with the somewhat-clunky Mazda/Ford Duratec. Sadly, that Mondeo-clone’s engine will almost certainly be the best Detroit-issued four cylinder I ever experience. I’ve driven four cylinder Detroit-3 cars with twice the power, but never one with comparable refinement.

          Reply
          • Carmine

            The 1.5 in the current Malibu is nice and smooth, not really exciting, but much better than it should be for such a small displacement engine in a mid-ish sized car.

          • CJinSD

            Those 1.5T Malibus get exciting when their vacuum pumps frag themselves and get ingested into their crankcases. Then you get to wait for a back-ordered vacuum pump so you can find out that the engine was ruined after all. It is a tribute to the globalist-tech-media alliance that GM gets to skate on those engine failures. In a less Orwellian age, there would have been some coverage of such a turkey.

          • Carmine

            Better or worse than the 390,000 recalls for hyundaikia engine fires?

            Give me something to gauge it against?

            As bad as the 4,000,000 Toyotas recalled in 2020 but better than the 1,500,000 Hondas?

        • John C.

          I think Stingray you should be careful about knocking fours in upscale cars. These days not only does buying a BMW 530i or an E350 yield you a 2.0T. Don’t ask me how they justify the numbers. Old style import people used to put a lot of stock in the logic of the number systems of German cars. Also Genesis has just added a 2.5T 4 to the G-80 and the CUV GV80. Genesis man is almost Honda man level smart, or so we are told.

          Reply
          • stingray65

            The 4 cylinder engine has been the core offering in most of the world outside of Detroit, which has meant they have put more effort into reducing NVH so that buyers of Mondeos, 530is, and E350s would be satisfied in markets where tax laws and fuel prices made 6 or 8 cylinder versions impossibly expensive. Thus the Zetec 4 that CJ liked in the Contour wasn’t designed in Detroit, but was a product of Ford Europe. Of course no 4 cylinder of any design is going to have the nice sound or smoothness of a well designed 6 or 8 (or 12), but most buyers of a 4 cylinder BMW or MB won’t feel embarrassed or disappointed with the “cheap” option.

          • John C.

            Remember, the GM Ecotech 2.0t has been around since at least 2003. My 04 9-3 Saab had one. You make a point though about the Euros and the small engine fetish. Don’t think BMW for example would have got anywhere in America if they just had 518i, especially when they got so heavy in 89. Somehow Europe seemed satisfied. Well how would they complain when they were all company cars.

            Not sure American customers were as happy with the zetech on the Contour as CJ. The Tempo, not exactly America’s finest, had more torque at a lower weight and rpm. Important when most will have automatic and inexcusable given the price jump of Tempo to Contour. Euro Mondeos got by slowly on 1.6 Zetechs. The Contour had to use the Japanese trick of only letting the stick 4s be tested.

          • AG

            The BMW 2.0T is a torque-beast, and in everyday driving it’s all the motor most people need or want. In my experience with the Cadillac 2.0T, it needs more RPMs to build torque but feels/sounds buzzy and unpleasant doing so. If not for the packaging (ie options on the 4cyl cars that come standard on the 6cyl cars making it unattractive to buy a loaded 4cyl) I would not hesitate to buy a BMW with the 4. But on the Cadillac the 6 was a no-brainer. I can’t comment on the Genesis 4cyl as I haven’t driven it.

  8. Disinterested-Observer

    Such a shame that GM doesn’t have a tried and true, bought and paid for V8 that has 60 years of development behind it to make it both powerful and fuel efficient. Talking ’bout a V6 being smooth, gimme a break.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      A 60 degree V-6 is actually pretty smooth, although not as smooth as an inline 6, but the same is true of the V-8, which is not as smooth as an inline 8.

      Reply
      • Disinterested-Observer

        Inline 8 would be baller. If the ghost of Alfred Sloan anointed me the head of Cadillac I would go in a completely different direction than whatever it is they are doing now.

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      • John C.

        Gosh, that beats the heck out of the old Lexus ad with the stacked champagne glasses on the hood. 90s Altimas copied that ad, wonder how they did it with their big four, balance shafts are not that effective.

        Reply
        • stingray65

          The more amazing thing is that Packard motor in the video is the “cheap” one with only a 5 main bearing crank, while the fancy Customs got the 9 main bearing version that was probably the smoothest engine ever made. You won’t find any videos of coin balancing on the fancy new 1949 OHV Cadillac V-8.

          Reply
          • John C.

            Yet Packard was off copying the Cadillac V8 a few years later in the chase for high end power. It didn’t save them. One wonders if anyone will figure out again that at the high end among true sophisticates, strong smoothness beats high rpm power. It is why I am not so excited about putting modern Hellcats, Cayotes, or LS1s in luxury offerings.

          • stingray65

            Ultimate smoothness and low end torque will soon be provided by battery powered electric motors in most luxury offerings, which actually makes some sense since most Rolls/Bentley/S class/7 series owners tend to fly for any trip that would be beyond the range of an electric vehicle, and a 600 HP V-8 or V-12 for gridlock round town use is a total waste. After all, time is valuable for the rich and famous, so it makes much more sense for them to use a private jet to fly across the country to pick up their environmental or social justice awards.

  9. Compaq Deskpro

    Why is a Chrysler 300 not on your list? You wouldn’t have to buy a used one either. Pentastar and Hemi, normal touchscreen infotainment (that touch volume slider is a sin), comfortable seats, trunk, looks, reliability, they beat the crap out of Cadillac in every possible way.

    Reply
    • John C.

      I was wondering that too. It will be on mine. Base tires are even 65 series, about as tall a sidewall as you can get on a newish car.

      Reply
      • stingray65

        Its funny that automakers, no doubt with the eager cooperation of the tire makers, have taken all the rubber cushioning out of the sidewalls in order to improve skidpad numbers, and then had to put rubber into the suspensions (air-ride shocks and lots of bushings) to give back the ride that the tall tires used to provide. It used to be you could get 40K+ miles out of a set of 70 or 78 series radials and the steel springs would last the life of the car, but now we get sticky wide 20K mile tires and 40K+ miles out of the fancy suspensions before they need expensive rubber replacement.

        Reply
        • John C.

          If we are lucky, Tom will do a wrap up on his Town Car. I would be curious as to life spans, of tires, air springs, et all after an impressive 182k.

          Reply
        • hank chinaski

          It’s not all for the skidpad. European pedestrian safety regs killed styling with big soap bar noses, high hoods and beltlines and pillbox windows to match. The wheels and tires grew proportionately. Everything looks the same, but for hugely oversized, sometimes backlit logos and exaggerated brand styling cues.

          Reply
          • stingray65

            A 245/70/15 inch wheel/tire combination actually has a larger diameter than a 245/40/20 inch while/tire, so it wasn’t necessary to go for the big wheels to get the necessary size, and the 15 incher will have a nice cushy sidewall and less unsprung weight than the 20 incher.

          • hank chinaski

            The market likes the ‘stanced’ look for some reason, and there’s all the more room to display huge brightly painted and branded multi piston calipers. (Thus the existence of aftermarket plastic caliper covers for the sliding caliper plebes. JC Whitney chuckles.)
            So of course they ride like ass, and push buyers into more profitable ‘utes.

    • Carmine

      People hump the 300 and et al, but they are really cheap looking dated rental cars(I don’t care how much hp a Helllcart has) that all seem to be driven by scumbags, sorry if it doesn’t apply if you own one, but I wouldn’t drive a RWD newer Chrysler, I don’t feel like being profiled…….

      Not even in the same league as a CTS or XTS.

      Reply
      • Tom Klockau

        I like the look of the 300, but testing a late model one Strieter got in last October was underwhelming, interior quality is much lower than both Lincoln and Caddy, and a friend just dumped his 300 after it blew up around 52,000 miles. Among other things before he gave up, they had to replace the door hinges. The door hinges!

        So…no.

        Oh, and Mike replaced it with a CPO ’19 Lacrosse.

        Reply
          • Carmine

            Those 5000hp Mephistopheles DVDA Donkey Punch Dirty Sanchez 2036 Charger are going to be awesome……

      • JMcG

        Yep, in my area the young dirt merchants drive Altimas and the more established dirt merchants are in 300s.

        Reply
      • AG

        I agree. I had a 2013 300S that I replaced with a 2016 CTS 3.6 AWD- although the 300S was a nice enough car, the CTS is in a completely different league for build quality, interior and exterior materials quality, comfort and performance.

        Reply
  10. dejal

    I think that 2017 Continental would come closer to what you want. It’s got the opulence of the older stuff and you like the older stuff. I’m guessing the price is somewhere in the $30s?

    Reply
  11. Carmine

    I really liked this generation CTS, I thought it was one of if not the best looking 4 door car you could get at the time. The twin turbo charged 3.6 V-Sport was a great sleeper low key high performance sedan.

    I thought the 2.0 seemed like a nice engine in my friends ATS coupe, lots of punch, but getting a 4 banger in a Cadillac just goes against my senses.

    Reply
  12. Gary

    Does the current ES350 not meet criteria? If I was looking for a comfort first sedan, I’d be looking at an ES well before a CTS. GS350 as well if rwd/awd was key.

    Reply
  13. scotten

    I miss this site for a few weeks…

    I bought a CPO 2014 V6 CTS (which had the older V6) and got rid of if after a year. The issue: the ECU was designed to go into “fuel starvation” mode when I was sitting at a traffic light during certain temperatures (like more than 30 degrees) and the entire car would vibrate like an old-school muscle car. Because I was the second owner, I had no lemon-law recourse.

    I really like the car but had so much stop and go driving that I could not deal with it. That, and Cadillac service really sucked.

    Reply
  14. AG

    I currently own a 2016 CTS 3.6 AWD and continue to be happy with the car in every way. It is still in new condition inside and out, and drives as tight as it did new (but it does only have 30K miles on it). Although it is down on real-world power compared to the 535 and E400, the 3.6 is more than adequate and makes nice sounds doing it – i believe that the actual sounds are amplified through the stereo. The 2016 and up car used a new-gen 3.6L that doesn’t have the “fuel starvation” issue mentioned by Scotten, but does have a slightly intrusive stop/start system.

    I’d say my biggest complaints about the car are the lackluster automatic downshifts even in sport mode (although the magnesium paddles feel great and are quite responsive) and the heavy use of electric gimmickry that will be expensive to fix WHEN it fails (glovebox latch, motorized cupholder door, motorized under screen storage door).

    Additionally, like Scotten mentions, Cadillac service completely sucks – in most cases there is no dedicated Cadillac service queue, and you have to deal with the very busy general GM service department. My service advisor and then the service director had the balls to tell me “how can you expect me to know the service requirements of your car, GM makes a lot of cars” so RTFM. Unfortunately, the manual is somewhat ambiguous about certain things and I was looking for clarity.

    Despite loving the car, I will never buy another Cadillac under warranty.

    Reply
    • John C.

      Thanks for filling us in on the Cadillac service situation. I had wondered about it. Here locally, the old Caddy dealer went away as apparently the city had a dire need for a Whole Foods. Cadillac became a side line at the Chevy dealer. Then just this year the Lincoln dealer was taken over to be sideline of the local Ford dealer. It is understandable with no more Mercury or Olds to provide dealer volume and Cadillacs and Lincolns not being as service lucrative as MB, Jaguar/Land Rover or BMW.

      Reply
      • AG

        @John C, I don’t know that here in Canada Cadillac has (or has ever) had any standalone shops.

        But when I owned Lexi in the early aughts, my Lexus dealer was co-located with their Toyota shop but as a shop-within-a-shop. The Lexus service department was one (later two) Lexus-only Service Managers, and one (later two) Lexus-first techs; they used the same facility, the same garage, the same parts department. But by dedicating staff and making Lexus a priority, they provided a very different level of personalized service from rest of the Toyota shop. Free loaner cars were not even a discussion, whether or not the car was under warranty. A “car wash” that was actually a basic detail by a trained and experienced detailer was part of every service, including oil changes.

        Now with respect to oil changes, Lexus customers had the choice of going through the Lexus service department and getting the $90 Lexus menu item that included all of the above, or getting the same oil & filter installed with a basic inspection in their quick lube pit for $45. Often the Lexus tech would come and do the job if he was free.

        IMHO, this is the approach that Cadillac needs to take to survive. It may be snobby, but if I’m paying for a premium brand I expect a premium service experience. I sold my 2000 Mazda Millennia after only one year (traded it on a 2001 Lexus IS300) because of the lousy Mazda service, despite the car being phenomenal.

        If only Lexus had the cars I wanted, and had them available. In 2016 not only was the GS outdated despite it’s refresh, it was pretty much order-only in Canada with only two cars in dealer inventory… across the country.

        Reply
        • John C.

          I wonder to what extent the premium Lexus service survives. In the USA we had seperate Lexus operations and here locally that was bad as Lexus went out of it’s way to finance an affirmative action owned dealer. It does still exist and stand alone.

          They would seem to also have the problem of not being service lucrative and the two local Toyota dealers advertise to attract Lexus work out of warranty service. They added the smaller CUV to maintain volume but in addition to the GS being gone and the IS withering, the lucrative LS only has a tiny fraction of it’s old volume and the ES added back a now four cylinder 250 below the 350. To me a pretty desperate move. They better hope they lease a lot of those not as fancy as they used to be versions of Highlanders and 4runners..

          Interesting the would be Amati Mellennia mentioned in this context. The mechanical relationship to the 626 should not have challenged the dealer but of course did. Apparently Mazda is trying to go upscale again, it will be a surprise to me if they are able to bring their dealers up to snuff. Asking the dealers to spend more on customers while trying to raise prices is likely just result in a lot of slow moving deeply discounted inventory and failing dealers.

          Reply
          • AG

            My local Lexus dealer moved to a stand-alone location at some point after I sold my IS in 2007 (can’t remember when). I do wonder how sustainable they are given they really only sell the RX and NX SUV lines, and a few ES and IS. I don’t know if they are currently stocking any of the other models, and it’s hard to sell something that people can’t try or see.

            IIRC the Millenia S and the 626 weren’t related at all – different chassis, different motor (although the non S had the same V6 as the 626). The issue wasn’t so much the dealer not knowing the car, it was more the service culture.

            We do currently own two Mazdas – my wife has a 2017 CX5, and I have a 1999 Miata. The CX is dealer-serviced, and they do an OK job. This dealer (not the same one I dealt with for the Millenia) offers complimentary Uber to and from, which isn’t a bad setup. They are a newer dealership and not too busy yet – so the quality of the service may decline as they get busier and have to do less to attract customers.

            My local Porsche/Audi dealer had a horrible reputation for service (unless you always walked in with an open chequebook). A few years ago, they moved the Audi operation to a new (larger) location, which left the Porsche location with excess capacity. They’ve really changed their service approach to be much more customer-focused, and I’ve been taking my Porsche back to them after avoiding them for over 15 years.

          • John C.

            The uber drop off sounds a neat idea. The Volvo drop off service here pre Covid was an old man driving a 180k mile Volvo that broadcasts how old it is with a sign on the windshield.

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