- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2005

The 2005 Cadillac CTS definitely appeals to men. This luxury sedan has such a great navigational system that men never have to stop to ask for directions.

That might be an exaggeration, but I found the navigational system on the CTS both useful and user-friendly. Simply type in the destination and a detailed map appeared on an LCD screen with a moving arrow pointing the direction. But what made this navigational system different from others is Cadillac’s XM NavTraffic, which is the nation’s first real-time satellite traffic information that continuously updates traffic information in select cities.

This convenience helped me avoid a time-consuming delay when an accident tied up traffic on an interstate. I made an early exit, but didn’t know how to get to my destination. The navigational system provided precise directions — and I didn’t have to stop and ask.

This system is a $3,125 option that includes a stereo with a Bose in-dash six-disc CD changer, an XM Satellite radio with 130 channels of entertainment that made my drive more enjoyable — when I wasn’t playing around with the six-speed automatic transmission.

The LCD screen provided another benefit. I failed to notice the tiny red warning on the instrument panel indicating an unfastened safety belt. The LCD screen cut off the XM Satellite radio data with a glaring message informing me that a passenger’s seat belt was not fastened. That in itself is worth the additional cost of this system as severe injury, or even death, could have occurred to my passenger had we been involved in an accident. I applaud Cadillac for providing this eye-catching information.

Meantime, I remain perplexed as to why manufacturers don’t make cars that won’t allow the engine to start until all passengers are properly belted. This would not only reduce the number of fatal accidents, it might even reduce the cost of car insurance.

Another notable feature of the test Cadillac was the gearbox.

Although the 2.8-liter V-6 engine produces only 200 horsepower, I was able to push this midsize car to better performance by downshifting.

For those who prefer an automatic transmission, a five-speed Hydra-Matic is available.

A 3.6-liter V-6 engine is another option that many of my automotive journalist cohorts praise.

Power features include power seats, mirrors, and windows. It even has auto-dimming inside mirror, cruise control, and high-intensity halogen headlamps. The pass-through trunk allows hauling of extralong cargo. And the trunk is quite spacious.

The exterior caught the eye of one passenger who recognized Cadillac’s chiseled-edge lines, plus the vertical headlamps and tail lamps.

It sits on attractive 17-inch aluminum painted wheels. The interior is another eye-catcher with its $1,300 option of full leather seats.

Regardless of the choice of engine or transmission, the CTS includes numerous safety features, including front and side air bags, rear window defogger, twilight sentinel auto lamps, automatic door locks, and StabiliTrak.

StabiliTrak stabilizes the vehicle when the driver makes a sudden swerve trying to avoid an accident. It keeps the car from fishtailing and spinning out of control. Should an accident occur, however, the CTS has OnStar, a system that can summon rescue in numerous ways.

One last thought: My statement that the CTS would appeal to men still stands. But all things considered, I’m sure women will appreciate all the features on the CTS, too.

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