10k: Hidden In Plain Sight: Cadillac CTS V6 Roundup
The Cadillac CTS was released as a competitor to BMW’s 3/5 series in the 2003 model year. You’ve seen a few of the Corvette powered CTS-V examples listed on these pages, but there is another version that offers overhead cam sophistication, a softer ride, a much lower price point, a non-blingy grill and still available with a manual transmission — the CTS V6 sedan. I had the chance to drive one of these at a pre-2008 Carmageddon GM ride-and-thrash event where you could drive a CTS, BMW 328 and Volvo S-something back to back on an autocross course…and the CTS was surprisingly agile and fun -best of the bunch. Today we are going to look at a few examples.
This first 2003 Cadillac CTS is located in Niles, IN and offered for $8,400 via craigslist. It has a few miles on the odo and being a 2003 model, it is equipped with the earlier 3.2 liter
dual-overhead-cam V6 that puts out 220 horsepower and offers
performance/size somewhere between a base 3 or 5 series from BMW or
C-class/E-class from Mercedes. The closest competitor to the CTS is the
Infinity G35 sedan, and later CTS examples (2005+ offer a 3.6 liter V6
that can compete with the G35 in a straight line).
Next up is this super low mile 2004 Cadillac CTS offered for $11,999 in Anaheim, CA via craigslist. This CTS is offered with the automatic transmission, but it only has 11k miles on the clock and is offered for a bargain price. It uses the same 3.2 liter V6 as the previous car but it is equipped with the 5-spd automatic transmission. The LA3 is a compact 54 degree V6
designed by GM’s Opel subsidiary in Europe and used on Opels, Vauxhalls
& Saabs before being shoved in the front of the 2003-2004 CTS
Up next is another manual transmission example, a 2006 Cadillac CTS offered for $9,000 in Hawaii or Las Vegas…via craigslist. This one has the 6-speed manual with the newer 3.6 liter V6 that puts out 255 horsepower. The LY7 is a thoroughly modern engine that was released in 2004 and is known as the high feature V6 (HFV6) –versions of it can be seen in Cadillacs, Alfa Romeos, Buicks, Pontiacs, Opels, Saabs, Holden, GMC, Saturn…et cetera.
Up next is a 2005 Cadillac CTS 6-speed manual offered in Atlanta, GA for an undisclosed amount of money from some sketchy dealer who probably will offer you an unlimited term financing. How much do you want to pay per month? Ummm…nothing? A vast majority of these depreciated Cadillacs end up at these small beans dealer lots, probably because they get traded in on a new car and then wholesaled out for nothing…because who goes to a Caddy dealer for a manual transmission?
Here is another 2006 Cadillac CTS 6-speed offered for $8,995 by a small car dealer in Portland, OR via craigslist. The asking price seems a big high, especially because it has almost 250k miles and the dealer doesn’t specify if it has the 2.8 liter V6 (210 hp) or the 3.6 liter LY7 (255 hp). Maybe skip this one…
This next 2006 Cadillac CTS 6-speed is offered from the owner in Indianapolis, IN for $8,500 via craigslist. Still no mention of 2.8 or 3.6 liter engine, but it did have an engine rebuild around 50k miles, so at 89k it should be good to go for many years to come.
For your final consideration is this 2006 Cadillac CTS 6-speed offered from a dealer in Tampa Bay, FL for $9,999 via craigslist. This one has only 77k miles on the odometer, but the ALL-CAPS advertisement fails to specify which engine…but there is probably a way to tell from the other options equipment.
Anyway, the CTS is a perfectly good and cheap option for the shopper looking for a sub $10k, manual trans, rear wheel drive “sport-luxury” sedan like an Infinity G35, BMW 3/5, Lexus IS, Lincoln LS or Mercedes C/E-Class.
See a better way to spend $10k on a 10 year old luxury sedan? email@example.com
I believe you can also find the 3.6 DI with a manual, that's a 300+ horse motor, same as in the base Camaro. Not the easiest to find, and based on several reviews the manual in the CTS isn't all that great…. Still, nice to see 3 pedals in a full size sedan.
Nice feature, thanks DT!
I picked up my 04 CTS with the 3.6 auto with 220k km for $1600 CDN (about on par with the greenback at the time, IIRC)this past christmas. It had some dings but was rust free). It needed master cylinder and a wheel bearing front control arms(ball joints). I've put 20k on it and it hasn't missed a beat. It even showed my brother that his driving skill isn't what he thought it was. He pitched it sideways on a slick road and the TC killed the throttle and gave it back just as quick, he went up over a curb and snow bank and twisted the back subframe. It was fixed with a new. One but hasn't been the same. Its still comfy and tight as long as you keep it under 85 mph. I'm looking at a 08 as we speak for $6000. I think u folks down there pay way too much for these.