Full 2013 Cadillac CTS Wagon Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon returns unchanged other than a minor cosmetic update to the grille and the addition of standard remote ignition.
In true Cadillac fashion, the 2013 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is a bigger and bolder interpretation of the wagon concept. Just like the CTS sedan upon which it is based, the CTS Sport Wagon has lots of style, lots of power and lots of personality. Unfortunately, it also has the flaws of a vehicle that's not meant to please everyone.
On the plus side, the 2013 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is bigger than other luxury-based wagons. With these larger exterior dimensions comes more interior space for both passengers and cargo. And while it might feel a bit bulkier to drive, the Cadillac remains surprisingly poised on winding roads. Throughout the cabin, the CTS also scores points for its plentiful features, modern styling and commendable materials.
At the same time, there are side effects to the Cadillac's sporting personality. Impressive cornering ability also means a less than luxurious ride, especially when the optional sport suspension is part of the package. Other flaws include an overly firm and oddly positioned driver seat, plus poor rearward visibility.
As an alternative between luxury sedans and crossovers, the CTS Sport Wagon is worthy of consideration. And there's certainly no other competing wagon that can match its bold styling. But we'd still suggest shoppers check out the competition. Though a bit smaller, the Acura TSX, Audi Allroad and BMW 3 Series are slightly more refined and comfortable, though not nearly as sporting.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is a five-passenger midsize wagon available in four trim levels: 3.0 base, 3.0 Luxury, 3.6 Performance and 3.6 Premium. The high-performance CTS-V Wagon is reviewed separately, as are the CTS sedan and coupe.
The 3.0 base comes standard with 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, a power liftgate, heated mirrors, keyless entry, remote ignition, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone connectivity, OnStar emergency communications and a seven-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.
The 3.0 Luxury adds additional acoustic insulation, heated eight-way power front seats (with adjustable lumbar), leather upholstery, driver memory functions, a wood-trimmed steering wheel, a six-CD changer and the Luxury Level One package, which includes a rearview camera, automatic wipers, a pet net, a cargo cover and interior accent lighting.
The CTS Touring package includes a different grille, a leather/faux-suede steering wheel and shift knob, other special interior trim and a Performance package that includes 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension (dubbed FE2), xenon headlights and foglights. Upgraded brakes and a limited-slip differential are included with this package on cars with all-wheel drive.
The 3.6 Performance trim is essentially equipped like a 3.0 Luxury with the Performance package. It goes without the Luxury Level One items, but adds a more powerful engine and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with digital music storage and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The Performance Luxury package includes the Luxury Level One items as well as rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, heated and ventilated front seats, a split-folding rear seat, a power-adjustable steering wheel and a cabin deodorizer.
The 3.6 Premium includes all the above equipment, but adds a panoramic sunroof (optional on all other trims), a heated steering wheel and a navigation system (optional on all but the base model) with a pop-up touchscreen interface, and real-time traffic and weather.
As its name suggests, the 19-inch Summer Tire Performance package available on both 3.6 models includes 19-inch wheels, summer tires, xenon headlights, a performance cooling system, a sportier suspension (dubbed FE3), upgraded brakes, a limited-slip differential, foglights and shift paddles on the steering wheel. This equipment is the same regardless of whether the car is rear- or all-wheel drive.
The 3.6 Premium is eligible for its own CTS Touring package that includes the Summer Tire Performance package, Recaro sport seats and the 3.0 version's grille and faux-suede trim.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2013 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon comes standard with a six-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is optional. The 3.0 models come with a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 270 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined regardless of whether the car is rear- or all-wheel drive.
The 3.6 models get a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 318 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is identical to the 3.0-liter V6.
The CTS's standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front active head restraints, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency button, stolen vehicle locator and active intervention, and remote door unlock.
In government crash tests, the Cadillac CTS sedan upon which the Sport 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 frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.
In Edmunds brake testing, the CTS 3.6 Sport Wagon with FE2 suspension and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet. That's actually a few feet longer than average for a vehicle with summer tires, but still a respectable distance. All-season tires would theoretically make the stopping distance even longer.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside the cabin, the 2013 Cadillac CTS Wagon features a pleasing angular theme to match its exterior edginess. Soft-touch materials are plentiful, and they're accented by tasteful wood trim. The optional navigation system emerges from the top of the dash and retracts almost fully, leaving a small section visible as a touchscreen display for the audio system -- it's a smart and elegant alternative solution to having a separate control panel. We also appreciate that Cadillac provides a redundant control knob for scrolling through iPod or satellite radio menus.
Unfortunately, the interior also comes with its fair share of flaws. Many find the driving position awkward because of slightly offset pedals, a low-mounted seat and compromised knee room due to the sweeping center stack. Overall comfort is also hampered by flat and stiff seatbacks. Overall interior room, however, is quite good and better than most competing models, but rear-seat access can be a bit tricky due to a low roof line. Outward visibility to the rear is poor.
Cargo capacity is obviously important with a wagon, and the CTS provides a generous 25 cubic feet with the rear seats raised and 58 cubic feet with them lowered. This is more than the Audi Allroad and only a little less than most compact luxury crossovers.
The 2013 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon tracks through corners with greater athleticism than you might expect. The steering is precise and well-weighted, although the car's overall weight ultimately makes it less agile than most competitors. Its road-holding performance also comes at the expense of ride quality, and those expecting the luxurious ride will surely find the suspension on the Performance trim models too firm for their tastes. The even stiffer optional sport suspension will likely be far too harsh and unforgiving.
Though the 3.0-liter V6 is a competent base-level engine, keep in mind that its fuel economy is no better than that of the 318-hp 3.6-liter V6. Since the CTS weighs more than rival sport wagons, the more powerful engine is a worthy upgrade if you can swing the higher payment.