2008 Cadillac CTS Comfort & Quality

9.0
Comfort & Quality

Most assessments of the materials used inside the 2008 Cadillac CTS were positive, and no reviewers mentioned squeaks, rattles, or build issues. ForbesAutos.com said, “The instrument panel, steering wheel, portions of the console and door surfaces are covered with leather and vinyl materials that are all cut, sewn and wrapped by hand and neatly eliminate most gaps and seams." Car and Driver made mention of the “classy materials and top-notch fit and finish.”

Kelley Blue Book expected a stiff, uncomfortable ride for this sporty sedan but instead found its suspension “surprisingly supple even on the most troubled surfaces.” Edmunds also reported that in the rough roads of downtown Los Angeles, their test car, with its stiffer FE3 suspension remained “thoroughly pleasant.” The reviewer especially commended the way in which the suspension soaked up the bumps, adding, “the well-isolated steering wheel never shudders and the tires always remain firmly planted on the ground." This was corroborated by Car and Driver, which complimented the balance between ride and handling even with the tightest FE3 suspension, and said, “Tightly controlled body movements keep it buttoned down, and the rear-drive CTS’s ride never feels harsh. “

Quite possibly the best-assembled GM car ever, the 2008 Cadillac CTS has as much refinement and polish as German luxury sedans.

Motor Trend said that the 2008 Cadillac CTS’s ride quality suffers with the stiffer FE3 suspension, which “can get jittery over broken pavement,” and recommended the midlevel FE2 as the best compromise for most. ConsumerGuide wasn’t nearly as thrilled about the high-performance package either, saying that it was a “huge detriment to ride quality, adding undue stiffness with little appreciable gain in handling,” and noted that tire noise can intrude in the otherwise quiet interior. The base engine can sound unrefined at times, they said, while the direct injection engine was “notably more polished, even when pushed.”

Many reviewers complimented the 2008 Cadillac CTS’s additional noise-reduction measures, such as triple door seals and more engine sound deadening. Car and Driver described the new DI engine as “smooth and quite muted.” However, engine noise was sore point for several reviewers. Motor Trend, referring to the top-of-the-range 304-hp engine, said, “It's a technically impressive engine, but in truth, it's the CTS's weakest link.” Motor Trend specified that noise and vibration is the real issue, including vibrations that make their way to the pedals and shifter. “It's not overbearing, but you notice it because the rest of the car is so quiet.”

The basic features—especially the seats—were a bit controversial. Nearly all said that the sport sedan needs seats that are more supportive for curvy roads. Some testers seemed perfectly happy with the seats and seating space, such as Kelley Blue Book, which noted, “The heated and ventilated front seats use 'thin-seat' technology for improved rear leg, knee and foot room,” so as to give backseat occupants about two inches of additional legroom versus last year’s model. That still wasn’t enough, according to several reviewers. ForbesAutos.com noted that the front seats lack ample thigh support, and “the rear seats are ill-suited for any occupant who has graduated from middle school if the trip is longer than, say, 20 miles.” ConsumerGuide said that larger adults won’t fit well in back and pointed out that taller drivers might not even fit comfortably, saying, “Marginal headroom is further reduced by the available sunroof.”

The CTS’s backseat design offers some practicality, as they fold forward nearly flat for larger parcels, but the constrained side-door access and narrow trunk opening were the limiting factors. Edmunds pointed to the “ergonomic casualties,” such as awkward access to the backseat through the “triangular door” and the “slot-like trunk opening.”

Compared to the Catera in the not-so-distant past, which was far cry from Mercedes and BMW standards of refinement, TheCarConnection.com is still awestruck by the new 2008 Cadillac CTS, even if the interior feels a little bit over the top.

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