2012 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon


#6 out of 9 in 2012 Wagons

2012 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon was new.


Performance: 9.1

Test drivers like the CTS Sport Wagon's sporty and powerful performance.

  • "Just like the sedan: crisp steering, a satisfying ride, and great handling. Skip the base V-6 and opt for the 318-hp 3.6-liter V-6. Better yet, step up to the legendary CTS-V." -- Car and Driver
  • "Like its CTS Sedan sibling, the Sport Wagon is bigger than its European rivals, which certainly seems appropriate for a Cadillac. This gives it an advantage in terms of interior space, but also makes it feel a bit bulkier to drive. Nevertheless, the CTS takes to corners with an agility and poise that no other Cadillac sedan in history could possibly match (let alone a wagon)." -- Edmunds
  • "I know, 'sport sedan' and 'station wagon': The terms might seem as notionally dissonant as 'Rhodes Scholar' and 'Wasilla, Alaska.' And yet, as I've said many times and many ways, the sport wagon genotype -- which involves grafting a cargo hold to the back of a fast sedan -- is the perfect solution for emotionally mature motorheads." -- Los Angeles Times

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 CTS Sport Wagon offers two engine options. Base and Luxury trims feature a 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. Performance and Premium trims come equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that generates 318 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for all trims. According to the EPA, the CTS Sport Wagon with the 3.0-liter engine, rear-wheel drive and the automatic transmission gets 18/27 mpg city/highway, while the model with the 3.6-liter engine gets 18/26. All-wheel drive variants achieve 18/26 mpg city/highway, regardless of which engine you have.

Overall, reviewers say the wagon has ample power for any situation. They do prefer the 3.6 liter engine, especially because it comes with a minimal fuel economy penalty.

  • "Though the 3.0-liter V6 is a competent base-level engine, keep in mind that its fuel economy is no better than that of the 318-hp 3.6-liter V6, and the latter's power delivery is far more authoritative. And since the CTS weighs more than rival sport wagons, the more powerful engine is a worthy upgrade if you can swing the higher payment." -- Edmunds
  • "With the automatic transmission, the 3.6-liter V6 engine has good low-speed punch and plenty of passing power. Wagons are slightly heavier, blunting acceleration a bit. The automatic transmission is generally seamless, though highway-speed downshifts can require a deep stab of the throttle pedal." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Equipped with the higher-end V-6 engine making 304 horsepower, the CTS wagon has enough oomph to powerfully lug around whatever you load it up with, and it sports a little driving thrill, too." -- Mother Proof
  • "Like the sedan, the 3.6-liter V-6 has excellent get-up-and-go. No hesitation at launch, passing or merging, with the smooth and quiet ride you expect in a luxury vehicle." -- Chicago Tribune

Handling and Braking

Test drivers find that the CTS Sport Wagon is, indeed, sporty and fun to drive. They also note that the CTS Wagon is bigger than competitors like the BMW 3-Series wagon and A4 Wagon, and as a result, it feels slightly less nimble. Overall, however, they say the CTS Sport Wagon has good handling.

  • "Regardless of suspension, non-V CTS models approach, but can't quite reach, the high standards set by the BMW 3-Series and Infiniti G37. Steering feel is precise, and lean in corners is well checked, though this Cadillac doesn't feel quite as agile in quick transitions as its rivals. Brake feel and performance are impressive on all models." -- Consumer Guide
  • "On the road, the 2012 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is very stable and copes well with quick directional changes. The steering is nicely weighted and precise. Overall, this Cadillac offers an excellent ride and handling balance that gives European cars a run for their money, especially when equipped with the sport-tuned suspension." -- Edmunds
  • "The CTS Sport Wagon corners with tight, controlled agility, with little body roll and lots of bite on turn-in and loads of sideways grip. The steering feel is nicely hefty, certain, well isolated yet communicative. Good brakes too." -- Los Angeles Times

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