2008 Cadillac CTS Long Term Road Test

2008 Cadillac CTS: I Just Couldn't Buy One

May 22, 2008

I couldn't wait for us to get our Cadillac CTS. I eagerly pestered Phil Reed about what color we were getting and what items we would be adding to the options list. After my initial drive of a short-term car, I walked away very impressed by the solid driving manners that established a new sport sedan formula that is distinctly American. Most of all though, I loved the CTS' high style marks inside and out, high-quality interior materials and intelligent electronics interfaces that set it apart from the pack. This would be the car I'd buy in this price range.

But then I drove the LT car several times, and although my initial impressions held up, a few major negatives started to de-cloud my initial glee, which led me to the conclusion that I just couldn't buy one. First, the seat backs are too hard and I feel like I'm sitting against them rather than in them. The bigger problem, though, is the same one I have with a great many General Motors vehicles: pedal placement. The accelerator and brake are located too far apart in terms of both width and depth. When I adjust the seat to comfortably reach the accelerator, it requires an uncomfortable ankle-twisting motion for me to be able to fan my foot to the brake. If I adjust the seat to comfortably reach the brake, I can toe the accelerator, but now I'm located too far away from the steering wheel. Either way, I'm terribly uncomfortable.

I know this is a problem many folks do not have with the CTS and other GM cars, as their particular height and/our driving position isn't bothered by the placement. But the fact remains that the CTS' pedals are placed farther apart that a majority of automatic-equipped cars. Here's some photographic proof, with the Holden-made Pontiac G8 V6 as a comparison (chosen to show that this isn't a global GM design choice). All pictures were taken from almost the exact same position.

It doesn't look like a big difference, but when it comes to driving position, centimeters matter. The G8's accelerator and brake are roughly 20-percent closer together width-wise than the CTS.

For me, the depth difference is the bigger issue. Here, the G8's depth distance between accelerator and brake is 16-percent less than the CTS. And no, adjustable pedals don't do a thing since both move equally together.

Again, most folks don't have a problem with this pedal placement and I wouldn't hesitate recommending the CTS to anyone. For me though, it would keep me from buying otherwise appealing vehicles like the CTS, Chevy Malibu and Chevy Silverado.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,603 miles

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