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The Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Is Cool, but Not $60,000 Cool

It has recently come to my attention that I never should’ve sold my 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, which I purchased as my very first “DougCar” back in 2013. This has come to my attention because many people approach me at car events, and they tell me that CTS-V Wagon values are very high and I never should’ve sold mine. Well, thank you, people.

But, indeed, they’re right, and I’ve noticed it myself. I bought my CTS-V Wagon five years ago for something like $40,000, and I sold it a few months later for something like $35,000, and now the values have gone up. With that said, values haven’t really gone up for the one I had — the automatic transmission model — but they’ve shot through the roof for any CTS-V Wagon with a manual.

To me, this makes sense: Everyone in the car world seems very excited these days about the prospect of owning some sort of limited-production car with a manual transmission, which is why values have shot up for the Porsche 911R, mid-1990s manual Ferrari models, Lamborghini Diablos and blah blah blah. The CTS-V Wagon is a good example of precisely this: An ultra-rare, 3-pedal car with a limited production run. Helping matters is the fact that Cadillac surely won’t make another CTS-V Wagon of any kind, regardless of transmission.

And you can see this on Autotrader. Right now, there are 18 different CTS-V Wagons for sale on Autotrader, all listed between $39,000 and $64,000. But here’s the crazy thing: they’re all automatics. Manuals don’t last for more than a day on Autotrader — they simply come and quickly go, usually for asking price, which is often $70,000 or thereabouts.

So, values are shooting up — but as a prior owner of this car, I have to look at all this madness and say: they really shouldn’t be.

I loved my 2011 CTS-V Wagon, and I spent an enormous amount of time in the driver’s seat as I drove it from Atlanta to the San Francisco Bay Area and back, among other road trips. But, folks, this is a 7-year-old Cadillac you’re talking about. This is a vehicle from the same company that was building the Escalade EXT, the original SRX, XLR and the ill-fated last-generation STS, right when this car was coming out. This isn’t a timeless Porsche or a high-dollar Ferrari. It’s an aging GM vehicle with a mediocre infotainment system and a lot of old technology.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: People aren’t buying this car for the technology, they’re buying it for the speed, the excitement and the cool factor. But why not it all? For the $70,000 some people are spending on these manual CTS-V Wagons, they could get a rather new BMW M3 with all the latest tech, better performance and, indeed, their beloved manual transmission. Or they could get a CTS-V sedan for something like half price, and have everything the wagon has except a little extra cargo space. And I stress a LITTLE extra cargo space, as the wagon was more of a “long hatchback” than a true station wagon.

But nobody buying these cars seems to want to do this, as there seems to be a cult following around the CTS-V Wagons. And, I admit, I can’t really complain: My 1997 Land Rover Defender is the worst car I’ve ever owned, but also the most valuable, and its prices, too, defy logic. But while the Defender offers a driving experience that’s difficult to replicate, my view on the Cadillac is that it really doesn’t: The steering isn’t as crisp as it is in modern cars, the acceleration isn’t as rapid and the technology isn’t as new and fresh. To me, the CTS-V Wagon is an easy example of a car that doesn’t deserve its crazy price — but given its rarity and the cult following these cars have, I suspect that price won’t go down anytime soon.

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  1. I own a 2011 CTS Wagon and it’s not a practical car IMO.   When you hear wagon you think of a spacious station wagon from the 70s but it’s as spacious as a Miata.   It’s tight inside with very little personal and storage space.   Not my first choice to use on long trips but I had to buy roof rails and a cargo top just so I could haul luggage since as Doug put it, it’s a long hatchback.  The suspension is harder than you’d expect in a Cadillac too.   Drive over a dime and you can tell if it’s heads or tails.  I bought it because it’s RWD and one of the last greatest wagons available and it’s not my DD!

  2. Well, you can buy some unguents for your butthurt. And the line of “reasoning” that 70k buys you a lot of something else is plain dumb. People want this for what it is.  Lay off Clearasil, son

  3. $70k+ for a used  “… aging GM vehicle with a mediocre infotainment system and a lot of old technology” is of course nuts, but I’m not a GM nut, so I wouldn’t understand regardless.

  4. The world is moving to SUV/CUV and its’ hard to find a unique rear wheel drive wagon with  550HP.  Doug you bought a Merc,Is it more fun or did you need the utility ?

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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