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STYLING | 8 out of 10
“the front end can come off as a bit busy”
“...headlights and taillights sport unique, vertical light pipes that will easily identify the car at night...”
“…interiors from BMW and Mercedes seem cold and austere in comparison…”
“cheerfully luxurious design.”
Kelley Blue Book
The majority of the automotive press appreciates the 2009 Cadillac CTS’s look, most frequently complimenting the distinctive new headlight and front-end design and saying that the changes give it a much better appearance over the car it replaces. “The front fender air vents, the knife-edged third brake light, and the LED-encrusted tail lamps are beautifully executed,” declares a ForbesAutos.com reviewer, who continues to gush over the exterior styling of the CTS, predicting 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.”
The front and rear exterior design detail draw praise and criticism alike. Cars.com says that “the front end can come off as a bit busy” and points out the inset fog lamps, two-tone grille, and bumper extensions below each headlight. Other reviewers suggest that the tall grille on the 2009 Cadillac CTS might not be to everyone’s liking.
More controversial is the interior of the 2009 Cadillac CTS. Several reviewers point out that the CTS’s striking form compromises its usefulness, as its roofline and thick rear pillars obstruct the view outward, as well as confine backseat space and trunk access. Other editors disagree. Car and Driver notes 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 in its price class.
There is a distinct divide as to whether the interior is too flashy to be effective. ConsumerGuide criticizes the 2009 Cadillac CTS for 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 feels otherwise, noting the interior’s “cheerfully luxurious design” and saying that “every control was easy to see, find and operate.” ForbesAutos.com looks at the interior with an especially critical eye, possibly explaining the differences in opinion. The reviewer first points out the double-stitched upholstery, electroluminescent gauges, and standout infotainment systems, but goes 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 continues to highlight how the interior is cluttered with different materials, finishes, and contrasting design details.
The 2009 Cadillac CTS exterior styling is especially appreciated by the editors of TheCarConnection.com, as the new front- and back-end treatments give it better proportions—the last car could look a bit tall, boxy, and awkward from some angles. The 2009 design is lower, more aggressive, and projects a uniquely American style statement. The interior design is attractive, but it might not suit everyone’s tastes, especially for those who are used to Teutonic design approach of less is more. All the rival sport sedans keep to a conservative mold, while the CTS breaks through with a decidedly different style.
GM used a clean computer screen when designing the CTS, and the result is an American interpretation of a sport sedan.