Car News: Oversteer
Is a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon a Good Family Car?
Hello, human readers of Oversteer, and also little Internet bots, and welcome to another excellent round of Ask Doug, where you ask Doug some question, typically about cars, and Doug provides a plausible, reasonable answer that's usually wrong.
If you'd like to participate in Ask Doug, you can! Just email me at OversteerDoug@gmail.com or send me a note on my Facebook page. In either case, I can't promise I'll answer your exact question here on Oversteer, though I can guarantee I will read it and possibly laugh at your poor decisions.
Anyway, today's question comes from a reader I've named Dallas. Dallas writes:
I've recently sold my fun 400hp little sports car and am transitioning into fatherhood as my wife and I just had a baby. I've found myself looking at Highlanders and RAV4s to make room for a few more kids to come, ya know, really exciting stuff here. I happened to come across a CTS-V wagon close by to me and knew you were quite fond of this monster of a machine. Except this one is properly modded with 750hp so it's more of a monster, but also roomy and family friendly. Now I know you don't know kids at all, but you do know insanely fast cars, so my question is: do you think it's a good/safe idea to get this beast to haul my family to the amusement park while still being able to donkey stomp pretty much anything out there?
PS. I'm probably gonna buy it but I appreciate your thoughts anyways.
Well, first off, Dallas, if you're "probably gonna buy it," why are you emailing Ask Doug? There are people who are emailing me with legitimate, immediate, life-threateningly important questions, such as whether the Acura RSX is a hatchback or a coupe, and you decide to clutter my inbox with "I'm probably gonna buy it"?
Fortunately, I've decided to take on your question, largely because I have a lot of experience in this field, and I have very little experience in defining Acura segments (except that the Acura Vigor fits neatly into the category of "Ugly").
So here's my answer: It depends. And it depends on one specific factor: Just what kind of a parent are you?
If you're the kind of parent who has one child -- a child that comes out of the womb approximately the size of an alarm clock and then becomes gradually larger with each passing year -- and feels the need to carry around 11 million pounds of baby gear everywhere you go, then no, a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon absolutely will not work for you. I don't actually judge this parent as much as it seems I'm doing, because I think this is the kind of parent I will be, and I can promise you something: 11 million pounds of baby gear ain't fittin' in a CTS-V Wagon. In fact, you'd be surprised exactly how much you can't fit in the back of one of these things. It may be a wagon, but it's a tiny wagon -- really just a hatchback -- and with the rear seats up, it's only got marginally more room than a typical sedan. It's just not all that big back there.
Now, if you're a different type of parent, the kind of parent who takes his child on a road trip to grandma's house, or maybe to the park, and you only bring a couple of diapers and a wet wipe, well, then, the CTS-V Wagon will do just fine. I know this because I once drove a CTS-V Wagon across the country and back -- 6,300 total miles in 17 days -- and I discovered on the trip that its cargo area is large enough for a couple of diapers and a wet wipe.
Aren't you glad, Dallas, that you got expert advice?
With all this said: If you're planning on two children, I think the V Wagon is just too small -- even if you're the "couple of diapers and a wet wipe" kind of parent. The rear seat isn't that roomy, so fitting two car seats will be a chore; and the low roof won't exactly make it any easier. And in back, the 2-kids version of a couple of diapers and a wet wipe may have more trouble fitting than you think.
As a rare (and somewhat high-profile) V Wagon owner, I get asked about my V Wagon ownership experience constantly -- possibly more than any other car I've ever owned. And the response I always give is this: The V Wagon is more of a sports car that happens to have a wagon back end. Whereas the V Wagon's chief rival, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon (which I've also owned), is more of a wagon that happens to be sporty.
If you want a high-performance child hauler, I suspect you'll want the latter.