I want a Batmobile. Since I'm making requests, I'd also like an Alfred, too. In the absence of funds for either of those things, I'll happily accept a 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon. I christened it the BatMOMbile, because driving it made me feel like a superhero and not at all frumpy.
The 2011 CTS-V Sport Wagon is the kind of car that makes you forget you're running errands and instead makes you feel like the world is as conquerable as picking up your dry cleaning.
The CTS-V wagon is stealthy. Outside, it looks like the Batmobile with its angles and sharp corners. On the inside, it wraps its passengers in comfort with a touch of sportiness and faux suede. This car will get you from the Justice League to the Commissioner's office in no time flat. It's got a 556-horsepower, supercharged V-8 engine and a standard six-speed manual transmission to make any parent transform from an innocent bystander to a vigilante grocery shopper who's quicker than Superman in a phone booth.
Sorry, wrong hero.
The CTS-V Sport Wagon is a performance-oriented car, and its manual transmission was a lot more fun than I imagined it would be. I really enjoy driving a stick-shift, but I was worried that all my stop-and-go driving would wear me out. But the response and the handling was thrilling and so very worth the effort.
The 2011 CTS-V Sport Wagon has a starting MSRP of $62,360. My test car cost $66,085.
There's no mistaking a Cadillac for any other car. The distinctive angles of the CTS-V earned some looks out on the road, and I won't pretend I didn't enjoy that. The grille was predominantly mesh and added to the masculinity of a typically female-oriented segment. It reminded me of a shield.
The CTS-V Sport Wagon was not completely perfect all the time. Visibility takes a little getting used to at first. There is a low roof that many parents will likely hit their heads on while loading smaller kids into the car.
My older kids had few issues opening and closing the wagon's doors, making me feel less like Alfred. I like that. The step-in height ensures that you won't need to provide any additional assistance to kids than any other wagon or sedan out there.
There are also some niceties like a standard power liftgate, enabling me to load groceries in a single bound. Be prepared, Super Moms and Dads, the cargo area has a high floor. On the other hand, it's deep and has a pass-through to the second row in the event you need it.
Under the hood, the CTS-V wagon has a 556-hp, supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that was surprisingly quiet. I thought for sure there'd be a lot of rumbling and grumbling and throaty exhaust notes. I got them at idle and was pleased with the sound. However, when pushed, the CTS-V maintained its stealth status. I was expecting a lot more noise and would have enjoyed it.
The CTS-V wagon gets an EPA-estimated 14/19 mpg city/highway and uses premium gas. With the optional six-speed automatic transmission, the wagon gets 12/18 mpg.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Groove-On
Where the BatMOMbile, er, Cadillac CTS-V wagon really saved this damsel was the interior. The Recaro-brand sport seats were infinitely adjustable and thus comfortable for fancy sport seats. They were lean and not cushy by any stretch, but they felt and looked luxurious with their faux suede inserts. They hugged me tight, like the warm embrace of Bruce Wayne.
The center stack was an array of buttons and controls that made me think I'd need the help of a sidekick to help me operate them. I got used to them, but it sure felt like Mission Control. The center stack had piano-black trim pieces, but it didn't look too over the top.
What I loved the most about the center stack was the optional navigation display that would rise out of the dash and display information or the view from the backup camera when the car was in Reverse. Put the car in Drive and the screen would drop back down into the dash and display only pertinent information, like my radio station. I really appreciated that with the push of a button the screen would come up and stay there, or that I could drop it back down at will.
The wagon is a tight fit widthwise. This car is narrow but long. While we were close to each other in the CTS-V wagon, we had plenty of legroom. There was a lot of room in the long cargo area, too. I never once maxed it out and was never let down in its grocery-getting endeavors. To add to its functionality, there were cargo anchors to tie down your arch-nemesis once you've caught him red-handed.
The only time I'm reminded of an arch-nemesis in the CTS-V is when I wondered who designed the rear cupholders. They're shallow, so any drink's spill-ability is increased with a turn at a corner. And trust me, there are no slow corners taken in the BatMOMbile.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
I was worried about the CTS-V Sport Wagon's backseat because I was sure that the rear seats would be too sculpted to find a good fit for child-safety seats.
While the slanted seatback lessened the gap between it and the booster seat, there were some fit issues with the seat's narrowness. The boosters occasionally traveled over the seat belt buckles, so there was definitely a "sweet spot" where the seat fit great. When the boosters weren't in the "sweet spot," it was a little frustrating for my kids. In this car, a booster seat with Latch connectors (Clek, for example) is a great idea to minimize whining and angst from kids (and parents) when buckling.
The two sets of lower Latch anchors sit behind a zippered opening. A rear-facing infant-safety seat fit well when finally installed and had about an inch to spare with the driver's seat adjusted to my height. Find out how the 2011 CTS-V wagon performed in MotherProof.com's Car Seat Check.
The CTS-V Sport Wagon has standard rear-wheel drive, adaptive headlights, all-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system with traction control, a backup camera with rear parking sensors, active head restraints and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows.
Get more safety information about the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon here.