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Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon makes more sense than 'crossover' cousin

The Cadillac SRX4, left, is favored by a younger set. The CTS Sport Wagon is for those more comfortable with a
The Cadillac SRX4, left, is favored by a younger set. The CTS Sport Wagon is for those more comfortable with a "wagon." (Gm - Wieck)
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Sunday, February 28, 2010

The 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is no excuses. The 2010 Cadillac SRX4 2.8 T "crossover utility vehicle" is a symphony of compromises. At base prices of up to $40,000, I'll take no excuses.

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I spent the past two weeks in two motorized variations on a theme -- the wagon. I gained incredible insight. People loved the CTS Sport Wagon for its sharp styling inside and out, its precise road manners, its utility. But the younger they were, the less they liked it.

Why?

"Because my parents drove a wagon," was the usual response.

So what?

"My parents, you know. I'm not my parents."

I heard that so much, I looked into it. It certainly was true they weren't their parents. But many of them were young couples and parents with the need to cart young children. They wanted to do it fashionably. Wagons, they said, weren't fashionable. They much preferred the Cadillac SRX4 2.8T, which had marginally better cargo space, but not more power, better road manners or better fuel economy than the CTS Sport Wagon.

What the SRX4 2.8T had was what it lacked -- the absence of anything that identified it as a wagon.

It was a matter of consumer self-image turned successful marketing hustle. Is there a chance that it will return to truth, to wagons? Consider:

-- Much off the stuff people carry in midsize sport-utility vehicles can be carried in wagons -- or "sport wagons" if that makes you feel better -- with greater ease, better fuel economy, better handling and easier parking.

-- Wagons developed a dowdy image because the children who rode in them later scorned as "dowdy" and "old-fashioned" the parents who reared and transported them.

-- In their fashionable rebellion, the anti-wagon kids chose minivans, then sport-utility vehicles, and now crossover utility vehicles to function as wagons. The first two of those choices backfired. The third one, examined closely, really doesn't make much sense.


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