Full 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon carries over unchanged.
At their core, station wagons are more utilitarian versions of their sedan counterparts. Their extra space makes it easier to carry a couple kids, luggage for the family, maybe even a set of skis on the roof. This all applies to the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, but since it's based on the CTS-V sedan -- which is essentially a high-end four-door muscle car -- it makes for a pretty unique wagon experience.
The CTS-V wagon's uncommon combination of attributes includes an outrageously powerful engine, distinctive bodywork and an edgy personality to match. As you'd expect with a 556-horsepower supercharged V8, acceleration feels brutal and wonderful. Available with either a manual or automatic transmission and offered exclusively with rear-wheel drive, this high-performance Cadillac wagon will undoubtedly satisfy your craving for speed every time you get behind the wheel.
Once you're up to speed, you'll find that the wagon's handling is pretty impressive, too. Thanks to GM's magnetic ride control suspension technology, the CTS-V wagon is seriously capable on roads with tight turns, yet still capable of providing a comfortable ride around town and on the highway. Surprisingly, the CTS-V rides better than the standard CTS wagon, so there's really no penalty for choosing the hot-rod version. Well, that is, until you see the CTS-V's fuel economy ratings, which are particularly low with the automatic transmission. Other drawbacks include the subpar standard front seats (easily remedied by getting the optional Recaros) and a sloping roof line that impedes access to the backseat and visibility to the rear (fortunately, a back-up camera is standard).
Still, with its one-of-a-kind blend of style and performance, the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon doesn't have many direct competitors. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG wagon offers similarly rocket-like propulsion, significantly better gas mileage and the added utility of all-wheel drive, but it's considerably more expensive. If you're willing to make the jump from a wagon to an SUV, the 470-hp 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is worth a look, as it's much cheaper and still very quick, while offering more cargo capacity. On the higher end, you could look at the elegant and athletic 2014 Porsche Cayenne family, which offers a selection of V8 engines.
Rest assured, however, that the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon is a fine choice for a high-performance wagon. It's seriously fun, suitably luxurious and reasonably priced for a wickedly fast luxury station wagon.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon is a five-passenger, high-performance midsize wagon that comes in one well-equipped trim level. The standard CTS wagon is reviewed separately, as are the CTS-V sedan and coupe.
Standard features includes 19-inch painted alloy wheels, summer performance tires, high-performance Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, GM's Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension, automatic adaptive xenon headlights, foglights, rear parking sensors and automatic wipers.
Standard comfort and convenience features include keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition (only available with the automatic transmission), power-adjustable heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a cabin odor filtration system, heated eight-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather and faux suede upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a retractable cargo cover and a pet guard cargo net. Electronic features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, a navigation system (with traffic and weather updates and a pop-up touchscreen interface) and a 10-speaker Bose audio system with a CD/DVD player, satellite radio, digital music storage and an USB/iPod audio interface.
Options include a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated Recaro sport seats and simulated suede trim (instead of leather) for the steering wheel and shifter.
Powertrains and Performance
The rear-wheel-drive 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that produces 556 hp and 551 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard, but a six-speed automatic is a no-cost option.
In Edmunds performance testing, CTS-V wagons with both the manual and automatic sprinted from zero to 60 mph in a remarkably quick 4.7 seconds. With that kind of quickness, it shouldn't come as a surprise that fuel economy is poor. The CTS-V gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg combined (14 city/19 highway) with the manual and a very low 14 mpg combined (12/18) with the automatic transmission.
Standard safety features on the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon include high-performance antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, OnStar emergency telematics, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.
In government crash tests, the previous-generation (2008-'13) Cadillac CTS sedan, upon which this wagon is based, received the best possible rating of five stars in the overall, frontal and side crash categories. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the sedan was awarded the best rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
In Edmunds brake testing, the CTS-V wagon came to a stop from 60 mph in 111 feet: a good performance for a relatively heavy vehicle.
Interior Design and Special Features
For all of its added performance, the CTS-V wagon doesn't feel much different from the standard CTS wagon on the inside. But that's no bad thing, because this cabin is a pretty nice place to be. The overall look is high-class, with an attractive and functional layout for gauges and controls. Materials aren't the best in class, but they're generally high quality.
The cabin's most significant shortcoming is the design of the standard front seats, which lack both the comfort and support required for spirited driving. The optional Recaro seats address this issue and feature ventilation as well -- they are essentially a must-have. Overall interior room is quite good, but rear-seat access can be tricky due to the low rear roof line. Outward visibility to the rear is also poor, so the standard rearview camera and parking sensors are quite welcome.
Cargo capacity is important with a wagon, and the CTS provides a generous 25 cubic feet with the rear seats raised and 53.4 cubic feet with them lowered. This is a solid number, though the E63 wagon and Grand Cherokee SRT8 offer more capacity.
A combination of a muscle-bound V8 engine and a civilized exhaust note makes the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon deceptively quick. The manual transmission is a good one, with a nice firm shift action and a surprisingly light and progressive clutch. The automatic is likely a more natural choice for this type of car, though more demanding drivers might notice that it doesn't blip the throttle on downshifts as the E63 AMG wagon's does, and it's neither the quickest nor the smoothest-shifting automatic we've experienced.
The Cadillac CTS-V's standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension offers a good balance between ride quality and handling via driver-selectable Tour or Sport modes. Although this rather pudgy station wagon never feels truly at home on back roads with tight turns, it's quite enjoyable on wide-open stretches of highway where you're able to unleash its potent V8 engine.