Station wagons typically have to settle for a sort of understated, sophisticated appeal. Think of a cute librarian. The CTS Sport Wagon, on the other hand, is more like a Laker girl. It looks so damn good that I found myself stealing glances at it as I walked away in a parking lot. I don't think the CTS sedan, well proportioned though it may be, ever exuded such magnetic charm.
The wagon's beauty is more than skin deep. The 3.6-liter, direct-injected V-6 feels as potent as ever, and it's accompanied by excellent handling and some of the best brakes I've experienced in a long time. Ride quality is also perfect - firm but never harsh. Steering is Audi-like in its precision, but it could afford to be a bit less Audi-like in its lack of weight and effort.
My one gripe is with the interior. It's certainly gorgeous, comfortable, and well equipped as one would expect of a $55,000 vehicle, but there are a few areas in which fit and finish were not up to spec, including a wiggly door pull, a faintly creaking sunroof, and a bit of loose leather on the steering wheel. Not huge issues, particularly for a well-loved press car, but still not fitting with the car's price tag.
It's true that sporty station wagons have never made much headway in this country, but then, there's never been one this pretty. Let's hope a few compact crossover intenders take notice.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor