Cadillac may have been around for the best part of 100 years, but the number of station wagons it’s produced within that period is remarkably limited. Whereas sedans and coupes have always been mainstays of the Cadillac range, station wagons have been conspicuous by their absence. In fact, only two Cadillac station wagons have ever been made – the CTS Wagon and its powerful sibling, the CTS-V Wagon. But while their numbers may be low, their reputation is anything but. Although production of both models has now come to an end, their legacy and status as two of the best station wagons ever made remains intact. Over the course of their run, Cadillac made some subtle alterations to each year’s model. While everyone has their favorite year, our preferences run to the following.
Cadillac CTS-V Wagon – 2011 Model Year
If we’re talking about the best Cadillac station wagons of all-time, it would be remiss of us not to mention the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon from 2011. Not only is it one of the best station wagons Cadillac has ever made, it’s one of the best station wagons anyone, anywhere has ever made, period. Described by gearpatrol.com as the ‘ultimate family car’, the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V station wagon ranks as one of the best loved and most desirable Cadillacs ever made – and considering this is a brand that gave us the Eldorado, that’s no small claim. Fast, sleek, and powerful, the 2011 CTS-V was designed to be Fun with a capital F. It succeeded. Proving that luxury cars could be as much of a joy to drive as zippy little sports numbers, its combined practicality with unadulterated pleasure to spectacular effect. Perhaps Jalopnik sums it up best with “The Cadillac CTS-V Wagon has a wicked combination of serious performance, great looks, low production numbers and a big novelty factor—it’s a freaking factory-made hot rod luxury station wagon!” Why Cadillac decided to pull the plug on production, who knows? Why they command such a huge price at auction is slightly easier to explain, as anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of driving one will be more than happy to tell you.
Cadillac CTS-V Wagon – 2012 Model Year
If you thought the 2011 CTS-V Wagon was good, wait ’till you meet the 2012 version. Powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that produced 556 hp and 551 pound-feet of torque, it was capable of moving from zero to 60 mph in a very impressive 4.3 seconds. While storage space was somewhat limited and the 4,300-pound body could feel a little cumbersome on smaller roads, the spacious interior with its high-class look, gorgeously comfortable Recaro seats, and exemplary layout more than made up for the deficits. Comfortable, refined, and immensely powerful, it showed exactly what Cadillac could do when performing at the top of its game.
Cadillac CTS-V Wagon – 2013 Model Year
With its fresh new look, the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon gave a new lease of life to the CTS. Described by cnet.com as the CTS’ victory lap, it combined the best of the previous year’s models with some very welcome additions. An updated modern electronics component allowed drivers to view the car’s fuel level, unlock the doors, make the horn honk from a distance (perfect for those ‘dude, where’s my car’ moments), and send destinations straight from a smartphone to the car. The real scene stealer was the engine – with 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque, it was capable of delivering outstanding acceleration. Other noteworthy features included performance-oriented brakes and elaborate, highly effective suspension technology that allowed drivers to flip between Touring and Sport settings at the push of a button. Combining immense power with excellent grip and handling, this was a superb addition to the CTS legacy.
Cadillac CTS-V Wagon – 2014 Model Year
2014 represented the final year of the beloved Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. As motortrend.com notes, of all the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon’s ever produced, the 2014 model was capable of the quickest-acceleration. Weirdly, at 4,450 pounds, it was also the heaviest. Capable of going from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, it was a family car with a difference. In the interests of balance, it’s worth noting that a few features didn’t quite work. The front seats lacked the comfort and support needed for high-octane driving, making its powerful acceleration a little beside the point. Rear seat access was slightly compromised by the lowered rear roof line, while the outward visibility could have been better. But these were minor points, and ones easily rectified by adding the optional extras of Recaro seats and rearview camera and parking sensors. Overlook them, and you’d find a powerful car with a potent V8 engine, an attractive interior with a functional layout, generous cargo space, and the kind of handling that Cadillac’s are renowned for.
CTS Sport Wagon – 2010 Model Year
It may not have enjoyed the same hype as its ultra-powerful sibling, the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, but no one would suggest the CTS Sport Wagon wasn’t a masterful creation in its own right. Originally built to lead Cadillac’s assault on the European market (a plan that was later put on pause thanks to Cadillac’s slightly shaky finances), the wagon debuted at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, where it impressed enough for Motor Trend to name it the Car of the Year. It eventually became available in the US in late 2009 as a 2010 model. Offered in either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive layouts, buyers could also select between a 3.0-liter DOHC V6 engine or a 3.6-liter V6 with variable valve timing. While it may have lacked some of the bells and whistles of the V version, it had no shortage of very attractive features, including exaggerated vertical light pipes and a roof that extended to a D-pillar and power tailgate. As trucktrend.com notes, all the sleek finishings may not have resulted in the most efficient use of station-wagon space, but who cared when it looked this good? Despite the significant bulk of the wagon, the powerful 270-horsepower, 223 pound-foot 3.0-liter gas direct-injection V-6 engine proved more than adequate at getting you from A to B. Other features worthy of a mention included the split-folding rear seat and a power adjustable tailgate which could be adjusted as the situation demanded.