The Cadillac CTS (etc)

Hello all,

I’m considering buying a used 2004 Cadillac CTS with about 70k miles on it, clean title, etc. What I’m wondering is: even though the car has great JD Power and Consumer Reports ratings for reliability, how many miles will it last me and will the repairs be significantly more expensive compared to other cars?

(This last part is something I’ve heard by way of criticism, so if it isn’t true by all means please let me know.)


First part’s easy-- it’ll last you as many miles as you care to keep spending money to keep it going. If properly maintained, pretty much any car these days can last you well into the 200,000+ mile range until they become prohibitively expensive to keep running. Repair costs on Cadillacs are definitely in the luxury car range, but will likely be significantly less than most of the imported luxury brands due to much cheaper domestically-manufactured parts. Reliablilty is the hardest one to quantify, though Consumer Reports does an okay job attempting to. On a car with 70k miles, the condition of the vehicle and what kind of care it has had will likely be more important than the specific model, so a thorough pre-purchase inspection by a mechanic is definitely in order.

I’ve worked on government fleet vehicles for years. I promise that you will regret buying this Cad. GM has not made a product worth buying or keeping for more than 3 years. GM products are in the shop twice as much as vehicles with many more miles on them. It will nickel and dime you to death. Want proof? Count how many Crown Victorias you see police driving VS Impala.

Its a good fun car. The car’s future life depends upon the way it was treated by its prevous owners. Cadillac parts are expensive, but not as expensive as comparable imports. If thats the you want go for it.

Cops favor rear drive cars. Crown Vic has for several years been the only full size domestic rear drive car in an affordable price range; Impala has front drive; has for several or more years.

That is not proof. Chevrolet gave up on their rear drive platform for increased SUV production when they made money hand over fist with SUV’s. Fleet cars are not real profit makers for automakers however they do keep lots of people busy churning them out.

My advice is to buy what YOU like. The differences in maintenance cost are small compared to the big picture. Consider the cost of fuel. You are going to pay a lot more in that one than a small cheap car. Both cars would cost you maintenance and repair cost but what % of the total cost of ownership, not all that much.

You hear a lot of stores about maintenance cost, but remember, you only hear from those who have extraordinary cost. You don’t hear from those who have average or below average cost. Most all of us end up in one of those two groups.

Be ready for maintenance and repair cost for ANY car you own.

Cadillac has had an excellent reliability rating for several years, as has Buick. How many Cadillacs were in that government fleet? None, I’ll bet, unless you worked for the US Senate or Congress.

I also considered buying a 2005 CTS with far less mileage. On the test drive, I was impressed with its overall steering and cornering (no freeway, though). However, for me, it lacked the “bling” that I wanted. It was a nice car, but nothing astounding. I ended up (for almost $10,000 more) with a 2004 Mercedes Benz S430 with all the extras (including added on 20" rims and tires). I have an extra year warranty, but so far I’ve had no problems. My suggestion: buy the best you can afford. If, for any reason, you don’t “love” the car, don’t buy it. As long as it’s not on Consumer Reports, Edmund’s, or any other list of “don’t buy this used car” go ahead and do it. Don’t settle. But again, we’re all in different shape financially, and luckily I paid for it with my very good Home Equity Line of Credit, so can write off some of the expense for the few years I need to pay myself back for buying it. Love your car.

My advice is buy the best car that you can afford and meets your desires. Borrowing money typically means you cannot afford it unless your paying in especially if loan term is >3 yrs.