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STYLING | 8 out of 10
“…interiors from BMW and Mercedes seem cold and austere in comparison…”
“...headlights and taillights sport unique, vertical light pipes that will easily identify the car at night...”
“The fast-sloping roofline is almost coupelike in profile.”
Kelley Blue Book
Most reviewers applauded the 2008 Cadillac CTS’s new look, most frequently complimenting the distinctive new headlight and front-end design and saying that even though the exterior is carried over mostly unchanged in overall form, all the changes give it a much better appearance overall. “The front fender air vents, the knife-edged third brake light, and the LED-encrusted tail lamps are beautifully executed,” said a ForbesAutos.com reviewer, who continued to gush over the exterior styling of the CTS, saying that “the charismatic glow radiating from this car will draw looks away from the more conservative blue-blood import sedans and make this Cadillac the center of positive attention wherever the affluent gather.”
There’s an almost excessive amount of design detail in the front and rear ends, though, and not everyone was wild about it. Cars.com said that “the front end can come off as a bit busy” and pointed out the inset fog lamps, two-tone grille, and bumper extensions below each headlight. Other reviewers suggested that the tall grille on the 2008 Cadillac CTS might not be to everyone’s liking.
The CTS’s interior was more of a subject of controversy. Several reviewers pointed out that the 2008 Cadillac CTS’s form makes it a bit of a fashion victim, as its roofline and thick rear pillars obstructed the view outward and confined backseat space and trunk access. Yet several other reviewers said nearly the opposite. Car and Driver noted that “even with a steeply raked rear window, the CTS offers a much larger and usable back seat,” especially when compared with the smaller cars it competes with price-wise.
Up close, reviewers were split over whether the interior was too flashy and flamboyant to be effective. ConsumerGuide criticized the 2008 Cadillac CTS as putting form over function with some of its major controls, as “the v-shape center console stack puts most buttons into a smallish area of the dashboard,” while Kelley Blue Book found otherwise, noting the interior’s “cheerfully luxurious design” and saying that “every control was easy to see, find and operate.” ForbesAutos.com looked at the interior with an especially critical eye, possibly explaining the differences in opinion. The reviewer first pointed out the double-stitched upholstery, electroluminescent gauges, and standout infotainment systems, but went on to say, “the more you live in these confines, the more you notice that designers missed some of the fundamentals while squandering their trim and technology budget...Harmony is broken by too many textures, accents, and distracting elements.” In short, the reviewer continued to point out how busy the interior was with different materials, finishes, and contrasting design details.
TheCarConnection.com especially appreciates the new 2008 Cadillac CTS’s exterior appearance, as the new front- and back-end treatments make it look lower and better proportioned—the last car could look a bit tall, boxy, and awkward from some angles—and it projects a uniquely American style statement. The interior design is attractive, but it still might not agree with all luxury buyers’ tastes—such as those who are looking for styling like that of German luxury sedans. While its styling may elicit love-it-or-hate-it remarks, the new CTS breaks the very conservative mold that compact sport sedans are expected to stay within.
GM didn’t try to copy anyone with the 2008 Cadillac CTS and has created a uniquely American sport sedan.