2010 Cadillac CTS Premium 3.6L V6 from North America


GM post-bankruptcy money pit!


What hasn't?

Wheel bearings and struts went between oil changes.

The sunroof leaked water.

General Comments:

I bought a house on a hill and traded in my RWD 2005 STS for an AWD CTS. The STS never gave me any problems at all up to 100k and was probably the best car I've ever owned, but the post bankruptcy designed CTS was by far the worst car I've ever owned, and will be the last GM car I would ever buy.

I test drove 12 different CTSs before I bought mine. Many of them noticeably needed suspension work and had other issues such as scratches on the paint, and many of them had noisy interiors. I generally liked the car itself -- the steering was great, shifting was smooth, the double sunroof was a nice touch, and some of them even came with a hard drive you could copy MP3s onto! While it was smaller than the STS, it offered similar interior space, and the trunk space wasn't that much smaller either. Although even my then 9 year old did not have enough room in the backseat of the car... and I fit in it as well, and can count on one hand the number of sedans made since 2005 or so that I fit into comfortably!

I had finally found a clean CTS and bought the car late in the summer. As luck would have it, for the first 85 days I owned the car, I managed not to drive in any rain. Then in November, right as the Massachusetts lemon law was about to expire, I was driving the car through a rain storm and it started leaking freezing water on my left leg out of the A-pillar!

Now, most of these sunroof issues are more to do with crappy GM dealers who just don't want to do any work, but have no problem billing me for it. When I give the dealers 0/10, that is no understatement. We have two Cadillac dealers in the area. One of them installed brakes wrong on the STS and also sold me the cheapest possible parts they could find, still charged me a small fortune, and I had to replace the pads and rotors again 10 months later as the rotors would rust out and took out the caliper pins. Needless to say, I will no longer do business with them, although in retrospect, I might have been better off bringing it to them.

I first took the vehicle to a local shop, as the Cadillac dealers are a bit of a commute. The owner was very nice, blew out the leaves and while running air through the A pillar, he told me even with his limited hearing, he could clearly hear air leaking out the A pillar inside the car, meaning something was disconnected. However, it involved taking apart the airbags, and as such could be a liability, and as a small shop, he did not have insurance, so he suggested I take it to a dealer. So I took it to the second closest Cadillac dealer. Despite that I told them what I already had done, they blew the leaves out and told me that was the problem.

I brought it back like ten times and finally they took it all apart and found some holes in some of the hoses, which was the real problem. A-pillar problem solved, but they created an even worse problem. When I got the car back, it was loud! So loud that it muted all the loud creaks of the interior noise out completely. In fact, if I was driving above 40 mph, I could not hear anyone talk in the vehicle, even if they were yelling because of all the noise coming from the sunroof. It was much quieter to open it. I brought it back to the dealer, and they told me they adjusted the sunroof and it was even louder!

By this time, I was having struts and wheel bearings blow out at an alarming frequency. The following summer, I would spend $1600 replacing struts and wheel bearings on a vehicle with only 40k on the clock, which is absolutely unacceptable. I never abused the vehicle and it's not like it's even fast enough to do so anyway.

At this point, I had found what looked like a promising Dodge Charger and was considering looking at it anyway, when I ended up driving in another rainstorm, and lo and behold, the sunroof was leaking between each glass pane on the sunroof, just pouring water on me. The next day I bought that Dodge Charger.

The interior of the car looks amazing, but I wish I could say it was put together as well as it looks. While the CTS was rather quiet when I first got it, after only a few thousand miles (long before the dealer messed up the sunroof), the interior noises on the CTS were louder than any other car I had ever driven in. My friend had a Geo Metro where the door panels were falling off and slapping against the metal on the doors, and the interior noises absolutely dwarfed that.

The V6 engine in the CTS might as well be a 4 cylinder if they can make it get better mileage. It has no low end power at all, and did not have enough power to pass someone on a two lane highway unless they were going under 40, and even then it was asking a lot. Just to accelerate, the vehicle would have to downshift, and to pass someone going 20mph, I would have to wait for the vehicle to downshift twice. The steering was very good on the car, but with such a pathetic engine, why bother? I thought the car might be okay test driving it, but once I started taking it on my daily commute, through a 55 zone and being forced to stay behind someone doing 40mph, then I noticed how pathetic the engine really is.

The gas mileage on this vehicle was absolutely abysmal. I would combine 17-18 MPG in the summer if I used cruise control the entire way to work, did not attempt to pass anyone and de-accelerated early rather than using my brakes. If I drove normally and passed people doing 35 in a 55, I would get 14-15. Any short city trips, and the mileage would be even worse. In the winter, the car ran like a carburetor engine in the sense that it had noticeably less power when it was cold and the mileage drop by another 2-3 MPG, which I gather is a direct injection issue (I wouldn't even bother remote starting it, as it would easily drop below 10 MPG when I did). From talking to the dealership and other owners alike, I gather not only is this "normal" for the AWD models, but I actually fared significantly better than most people.

Finally, I live on a pretty steep hill. The brakes on this car would not stop the car before I ended up in the middle of the road at the base of the hill if I let the car go down the hill any faster than 10 miles per hour, even if I was using manual shift to force it in first gear. All the brakes were 80% or better on the car, they just put small, weak rotors on a "performance" vehicle which happens to also weigh over 4000lbs. The car I replaced it with, a 2011 Charger, currently has front brakes that will need to be replaced soon, and it has no issue stopping on the hill.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th July, 2015

19th Jul 2015, 21:52

Ya know... Cadillac did a very clever job passing off this CTS as a Cadillac. They have sold in record numbers despite being an inferior Cadillac product. I don't know what CTS stands for in this day in time; but in my book it means "Cimmarron Touring Sedan" or "Catera Touring Sedan", both inferior to the wreath and crest. I have a 93 Fleetwood and an 08 DTS, and they are wonderful cars. My 93 Fleetwood is a daily driver, and despite being 22 years old with 140,000 miles, I have had minimal problems with it. My DTS has 32,000 miles on it and has been absolutely trouble free.

31st Dec 2015, 20:04

Like I said, my prior car was a '05 STS, and not a problem. It may have been the best car I have ever owned (the '07 Acura RL I am driving now can give it a run for the money). My girlfriend had a '05 Deville that made it well over 100k with few, minor issues (mainly the window regulators, which were crap in those cars). If you look at JD Power, the DTS and STS had good expected reliability marks, but no Cadillacs since have been nearly as high.

I would never buy another post bankruptcy GM car after owning the CTS however, as these issues seem to be with newer designs where they cut corners and less to do with the model, where the DTS and STS were '05/'06 designs, back when they actually cared about quality (and even as of 2006, they had already gone 4 years knowing they had a faulty ignition switch in most of their cars and still chose to ignore it).