With each generation of the Cadillac CTS there have been substantial improvements, the now outgoing second generation was fairly competitive against the German sedans of Mercedes, Audi and BMW, but at the end of the day the Germans were still better.
Now with the third generation of the CTS is Cadillac ready to not just take on, but move ahead of the 5 Series BMW, The E-Class Mercedes and the Audi A6?
That’s what we find out on this edition of Rumblestrip.NET and Ten Minute Test Drive
When it comes to the value equation, Hyundai usually have it spot in, be in the B or C segment of cars, Crossovers, or even Luxury.
Several years ago when Hyundai first introduced the Genesis sedan, most everyone was pretty skeptical that Hyundai, known up to that point a a pervader of cheep economy cars, could produce something worth worthwhile. Turns out, it was a solid first effort, work to do, but solid.
With this next, all new generation of Genesis sedan, Hyundai have there eyes firmly on the prize, with their target set on Mercedes E-Class, Lexus ES and GS, Cadillac’s new CTS, and also the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. Can they pull it off? Can Hyundai build a car that can go toe to toe with the world best?
That’s what we find out in this First Drive on Rumblestrip.NET and Ten Minute Test Drive.
If you were to rank all of the cars the Toyota builds and list them in order of “drivers car” the Toyota Avalon may rank at or near the bottom of that list. To most people, the Toyota Avalon was always the Buick Roadmaster that you would no longer built, a car for your grandparents.
With the 2013 model Avalon, Toyota’s looking to change the demographic for the Avalon buyers, as of now the average age of a Toyota Avalon buyer is 64, Toyota is looking to drop that to the mid-50s. How they are going to do that is by completely changing the nature of the car. In fact, as the title of this article suggests, the Japanese have come to America to build a German sedan.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon is the first car that Akio Toyoda oversaw from start to finish. When you drive this car, you will field his fingerprints all over it, in that his emphasis was to make Toyota’s cars that people would enjoy driving. The Avalon was designed in California, engineered in Michigan, and will be built in Kentucky, and when it goes on sale, it will have the highest US content of any vehicles sold in North America.
There will be two versions of the Toyota Avalon available, a V-6, and a hybrid version. There will be several modes in which you can drive in both cars. In the V-6 model you have ego, normal, and sports, while in the hybrid version you get those 3 plus an EV mode.
The V-6 model will definitely slant much more towards the “drivers car” then the hybrid. The V-6 will have 268 hp and 248 foot-pounds of torque, and can do a 0 to 60 run in 6.7 seconds. In eco-and normal modes the car feels very composed, switched into sport mode the steering firms up very nicely, the ride is just a bit more firm, and if you didn’t know, you’d think you were in a German performance sedan, and that’s no joke.
The hybrid version of the Avalon is geared much more towards comfort. It still handles well, steers well, but in driving them back to back, the differences are noticeable. The hybrid Avalon, while maybe not having the driving dynamics of its V-6 version, is still very composed, and does not feel like some boulevard cruiser.
There are some very interesting design dynamics going on with the new Avalon. It seems to borrow from quite a number of cars. In the front it has a trapezoidal grille reminiscent of some current Ford products, taken from certain angles in the rear, or the side, you can see design elements from the Mercedes-Benz S class, the Jaguar XJ, and even the Audi A7. All that amalgamation comes out very well and while some people may not care for the nose of the car, there can be few complaints about the design of the rest of the car, save the need for a larger wheel and tire package.
The interior gets a massive upgrade on the new Avalon from the previous model. Again with the German sedan theme, if you were familiar with the interiors of current Audi products, there are many similarities with the new Avalon. The use of materials textures and colors really make the interior standout, and give it a very high-quality feel. The stitching on the leather of the–Israel hand stitching. There are a select number of people in the factory in Kentucky who hand stitch these together on machines, there is no automation, and the attention to detail is obvious. The use of contrasting and complementary colors and materials again gives the car a very upscale look, in addition to a center stack that draws inspiration from modern midcentury design.
Many modern cars that have a swoopy rear end styling to give the illusion of a coupe, sacrifice rear seat head and leg room in the name of style. This is not the case with the Avalon. Toyota have done a nice job of creating space for rear seat passengers so that even those well over 6 foot will have plenty of room. Toyota feel so strongly about this design, that they are pursuing the livery market with the Toyota Avalon.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon is a major change in direction from its past models. No longer a Boulevard cruiser for the retirement community, the Toyota Avalon is now an upscale luxury sedan ready to challenge the Germans, but with the quality, dependability, and reliability that you would expect from a Toyota.
Please have a look at the full gallery of pictures from the shoot.
You often find that cars the automotive media hype endlessly, never live up to that billing. Few cars in the last two or three years have been hyped as much as the Audi A6, and, while the car has been out for almost a year now, and few bad things have been said about it to date. We had the new A6 come in for testing recently and had the opportunity recently to findout for ourselves just how good this car could be. Have a watch, and enjoy!
Here is the full range of pictures that we shot fo the car.
Having previously tested and really enjoyed the Cadillac CTS SportWagon, we wanted to sample the CTS that 90% of people will purchase: the Sedan.We will say till we are blue in the face that people are missing out if they don’t sample the wagon, as it’s a brilliant package.
So how is the Sedan different than the SportWagon?Very little, and that’s a very good thing.The original CTS was the official reboot of the Cadillac brand and with this latest generation of the CTS a car that has pulled even with the best in the world.
Many of the opinions that we had with the Wagon remain with the Sedan.The Art & Science design was controversial when it appeared almost a decade ago, but today, it’s almost mainstream with many other companies having taken elements of that design language, sharp edges, compound surfaces and tight packaging.With its deep front end and prominent grill the CTS has a very aggressive look from the front, it looks as if it’s eager to eat up the miles on the road.
The side profile of the car is less radical, though it has a number of lines that sweep upwards towards the rear to give the car a wedge look which continues the theme of forward motion.The rear view again is a study in angles giving the car texture from the rear.
The interior of the car is made up of quality materials and soft touch surfaces.There are a few bits of hard plastic material in the car, but for the most part they are in places where you wouldn’t notice, or wouldn’t care.The Wagon that we tested had the pop-up screen that had navigation, DVD and other touch screen functions. Our sedan was not so equipped.While we didn’t miss the nav system, the big screen did make working through the bevy of menus somewhat easier. If you would like it, it’s a $2,145 option.
One item we would like to see as an option that comes standard on the Premium Collection model would be a heated steering wheel.Come the winter months in many parts of the country, grabbing a cold leather wrapped wheel with bare hands can be uncomfortable.There are cars in GM’s product line that cost less money than the CTS like the Buick LaCrosse, which have the heated wheel as standard equipment, and you never knew how much you’d love this feature until you use it the first time.
The driver’s seat is a nice place to do business.It doesn’t matter if you are stuck in traffic commuting to work, piling up the miles on the highway, or out on a two lane road for a Sunday drive.Our CTS was equipped with the optional 3.6-liter direct injection V6 which has 304 horsepower.The standard engine is a direct injection 3.0 liter with 274 horsepower, but this 3.6-liter unit is the one to have.While the horsepower numbers aren’t that different, torque numbers tell the story.The 3.0 V6 only produces 223 lb/ft while the 3.6 has 273.The CTS is no lightweight at 3,900 so that extra torque is helpful in getting the car moving quickly.The 3.6 likes to rev and does so willingly.When you put your foot down, the car gets up to speed quickly, but it’s not a kick you in the pants kind of power.It’s smooth, almost turbine-like, and before you know it, you are approaching triple digit speeds.
There are a very vocal minority of people who think that Cadillac needs to slot a 6.2 liter LS3 engine from the Camaro and Corvette into the engine bay of the Caddy to have something in-between the V6 and the Supercharged CTS-V, but it’s our opinion that it’s unnecessary and few people would pick that option, the 3.6 has enough power that will keep an enthusiast happy, and the rest of the world more than satisfied.
For those that might be considering an Audi A4 or A6 the CTS does have an AWD option although our test unit did not come equipped with it. As a bonus, there is no fuel mileage penalty for choosing the AWD either.
One of the intriguing things about our time with the CTS SportWagon and now again with the Sedan is how it really grows on you.First impressions of the car are good, you think it’s a nice car, but it doesn’t knock you out.After four or five days of driving the CTS a light bulb goes off and you realize just how special the CTS is.While this is great for long-term ownership, we wonder how this effects impressions with the typical 20-30 minute drive potential buyers have at a dealership.
Pricing is reasonable for the CTS as well. Our Performance Collection RWD edition stickers at $41,565; the only option our test unit was equipped with was the compact spare tire, so our as delivered price was $42,740.Looking over the options list, the only thing we might consider choosing is the optional $2,400 Recaro seats that are both heated and cooled.
The Cadillac CTS is certainly a car that can go up against the worlds best, and anytime Cadillac wants to send one over for us to drive we will be happy to do so.If you go buy one, or just drive one, you won’t be let down.