My Ideal Sleeper

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

I came across a story on Autoblog today announcing the confirmation and pricing of the new Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon: $62,990 plus destination. So I started thinking, why does a majority of the driving public hate wagons so much?

Wagons are cool. Wagons (at least the ones nowadays) are stylish and when outfitted correctly, they are the ultimate sleepers. No I’m not talking about CUVs (crossover utility vehicles) like the Ford Edge or Nissan Murano. No fans, I’m talking about bonafide 5 door wagons like the Dodge Magnum R/T or Mazdaspeed3. When I was shopping for my current car, those two were at the top of my list (nevermind the Magnum wasn’t available with 3 pedals). While providing immense practicality with stylish looks, they packed huge performance (its hard to argue with the Magnum R/T’s 340hp 5.7 HEMI V8 or the Mazdaspeed3’s 263hp turbocharged 4 cylinder).

2013 Mazdaspeed 3

Most people at the time thought I was crazy. I remember telling one girl about my choices and the look she gave me said much about the way people feel towards wagons. It was a look of confusion, aghast and surprise all in one, complimented by a simple but very sarcastic “Why!?” My answer? “Why not?” I still get all the horsepower I’ll need but with an added dose of practicality beyond your run-of-the-mill sedan.

Wagons are cool. European automakers know this, but they’re still somewhat skittish about sending them America’s way because they know Americans won’t buy them in the same large numbers as conventional sedans. Which is why I have to give props to Cadillac and Chrysler.

2005 Dodge Magnum R/T

Chrysler first introduced us to the 5 door Dodge Magnum in 2005 which they labeled a ‘sports tourer’ to avoid the negative stereotype attached to the word ‘wagon’. Everyone knew what it was but because Chrysler did such a good job with the styling, making the Magnum low and wide, people initially bought them in droves. And looking at the stats, it’s hard to argue: full sized, RWD platform, 340hp HEMI V8 and very cool styling made the Magnum at hit for Chrysler. Hedging themselves however, they decided to make a sedan variant for people who were still lukewarm to wagons, leading to the Dodge Charger. After four years on the market, Chrysler decided to axe the Magnum due to poor sales relative to the Charger sedan. Needless to say, a small part of me died that day.

2011 Cadillac CTS Wagon

Cadillac has subsequently picked up where Chrysler left off and now offers a true 5 door version of their hot CTS sedan. Initially, the CTS Sport Wagon was pegged to be a Euro-only offering because, lets face it, as long as America and UK are on opposite sides of the Atlantic, so do their peoples’ automotive preferences differ. Americans love sedans, Europeans love hatchbacks/wagons (called Touring editions there). Knowing full well though that the CTS Wagon would be a niche vehicle at best, shows that Cadillac was willing to gamble on finding enough takers for its slick looking wagon. During a recent manufacturer sponsored event, I drove a CTS Wagon and compared it with a BMW 535i Touring on hand. In the areas of looks and interior quality, the Cadillac edged out the BMW. However, the 535i still narrowly had the upper hand in driving dynamics over the CTS, this despite the Cadillac’s relentless tuning of the CTS on the famed Nurburgring racetrack in Germany.

I should’ve seen this as a sign of things to come.

2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Black Diamond Edition

After releasing both the CTS-V sedan and CTS-V coupe, Cadillac has lobbed another bomb into the performance segment with the CTS-V Sport Wagon. Look at the pictures. This is one slick looking wagon and not only is it a gorgeous piece to look at (as far as I’m concerned) it also has one hell of a monster lurking under the hood. A detuned version of the C6 Chevy Corvette ZR1’s 6.2 liter supercharged LSA V8 provides 556 ponies and 551lb-ft of torque. Only the performance minded can see the subtle differences between this and a regular CTS Sport Wagon and that’s the appeal for me. Here’s what cinched this as my now-favorite wagon of all time: Cadillac did the unthinkable and equipped the V wagon with a manual transmission. A MANUAL! When was the last time you saw a true five door wagon equipped with a V8 and three pedals?

The thought that I can give a Porsche 911 or Ford Mustang driver a serious scare while still having room to transport my [eventual] wife and [quite possible] 1.5 kids in luxury. That my friends, is what a sleeper is: an unassuming vehicle that doesn’t hint at the high level of performance under its relatively stock skin.

So if the next time you hear me say I want a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon don’t give me that crazy look.

Wagons are cool maaan.

Images courtesy of,, and

2 thoughts on “My Ideal Sleeper”

  1. Wagons are cool… I had every intention of buying an STi wagon for my wife (when I got one, and while Imprezas were still cool) but that Caddy looks weird. All hail the Dodge, however.

  2. Welcome to the cool kids club…lol. Wagons are cool and I'm considering getting one for my next act (if Honda decides to axe the Ridgeline, that's another post for another day however).

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