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Luxury Car Redux: Used Cadillacs

A white Cadillac driving fast down a highway

 

Long before Hummers and luxury SUVs, Cadillac was king, the personification of wealth and accomplishment. The brand never lost its focus on opulence. TV and print ads characterized owners of Cadillacs as rich, famous, and most of all, wildly successful. Other manufacturers produced look-alike competitors at lower prices, but nothing ever outshone the prestige of owning a Cadillac, even a used Cadillac, the undisputed frontrunner of American made luxury automobiles.

However, in the late 50s and early 60s, Cadillacs began to fall out of favor, especially with the younger generation. Based on a glut of new social mores and political climates, suddenly the Cadillac was the symbol of greed, corporate raiders, an enemy of conservationists (gas hog) – simply stated, an old man’s car.

And then the tide turned, due mainly to Cadillac’s groundbreaking marketing strategies and dramatic design overhauls. Over the last two decades, Cadillac has risen from the ashes, their biggest move being in 2003 when the CTS was introduced and emerged as a serious contender in both American and European luxury automobile markets. Today, consumers are teeming to find used Cadillacs, an exciting market with outstanding deals on relatively late year models with all the glitzy extras and luxury amenities.

WHY USED CADILLACS ARE GREAT DEALS

Cadillacs follow the profile of most cars and vastly depreciate as soon as they’re driven off the lot. Since they’re priced so high new, this is a boon for buyers of used Cadillacs. Factor in that Cadillac has made so many improvements in their cars, and offer a wider selection of engine and drive train options than many competitors; you’ll have a wide variety to choose from. Keep in mind that some of the best bargains are found on cars 3 to 6 years old but don’t overlook older and newer used Cadillacs on the market.

SHOPPING TIPS

A buyer looking up car reports for their used Cadillac.

Great used Cadillac deals are available through several sources. Several excellent used car-buying guides are available online, as well as in hardcopy books that are regularly updated. Don’t overlook used car dealers that specialize in previously owned Cadillacs that they often drastically discount just to make room for new inventory. Public car auctions often have used Cadillacs at bargain basement prices but be sure to have them thoroughly inspected by a certified, independent mechanic before you commit to any sale.

Always run the VIN through an in-depth check to learn important facts such as hidden damage due to collisions or poor maintenance. Whether you buy from a dealer or private party, always review the maintenance records; Cadillacs with an excellent maintenance record are best buys. Finally, have your personal mechanic complete an in-depth inspection of the body, frame, engine, radiator, transmission, brakes, etc. before you purchase a used Cadillac.

CADILLAC ATS

The smallest and most fuel-efficient Cadillac model of recent years, the ATS is ideal if you want an affordable car with a bit of glamor and sass. A used ATS not only looks more luxurious than competitors in the same class, but you can also get a next-to-new ATS for considerably less than a new car with fewer bells and whistles. Choose a coupe or sedan based on your lifestyle and practical needs.

CADILLAC CTS

A grey 2017 Cadillac CTS parked in a parking lot.

The Cadillac CTS was introduced over a decade ago, in 2003, touted as an amalgamation of top-shelf European handling and fashionable American style. The public embraced this innovative merge and sales proved Cadillac’s attention to consumer demand was focused on making the upgrades and modifications to make it a star. Every model year of the CTS provides a superior ride, and from 2014 on, six trim selections and an assortment of engine options make it easy to get the look and power you desire. Choices included such packages as a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 272 hp; an impressive V6 3.6-liter engine running 321 hp, and a super-powered turbocharged V6 engine with 420 hp under the hood. A manual transmission was also an option.

In 2008, a new generation of the CTS was introduced by Cadillac and was so well received that it remains in place today. That year upgraded the two V6 options to a 3.5-liter with 263 horsepower and direct injection 3.6-liter packing 304 horsepower. Each engine model was paired with either a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission and optional rear or all-wheel drive.

This used Cadillac is a good pick if you like lots of space, a classy interior (in models manufactured from 2007 on), smooth handling, and an abundance of hi-tech extras.

CADILLAC SRX

Cadillac had put the SRX through some big changes since its introduction in 2004 through its final year as the SRX in 2016. For five years, through 2009, it was a midsize SUV with an eye-catching trendy façade similar to the CTS sport sedan. In 2010, Cadillac took the SRX in a completely new direction, which proved to be a hit with car buyers. The new body was more compact, the price was lower than the first version, and it shared a front-wheel-drive design similar to the Chevy Equinox.

The earliest SRX models have a spacious second-row that guarantees comfort for people over 6-feet tall, a wonder for a car this size. Other SRXs even have a handy third-row seat that fold flat and seat two. Some used SRX models can also be found with an optional two-person fold-flat third-row seat not found on contenders like the BMW X5, Infiniti FX35/45, and Lexus RX 330.

All in all, the used Cadillac SRX selections give you easy maneuverability, engine power to spare, head-turning cosmetic features, and a quiet ride in a striking interior.

CADILLAC ESCALADE

A black used Cadillac Escalade parked on a small city street.

In step with its lifelong commitment to lavish vehicles, Cadillac designed the Escalade SUV in 1999, its first model in this category. The premiere Escalade was so well made and perfectly designed that it’s undergone only a few improvements to its performance and handling and added some amenities to the already impressive list. Hailed as the luxury SUV by which all others are judged, it’s been purchased by more people than any competitor.

The second-tier Escalades sold from 2002 to 2006 was the model that caught the eye of younger car buyers. They loved the upgraded, unique design, the spacious passenger and cargo capacities, and the power they craved with a 345-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 engine.

In 2007, phase three of the Escalade emerged. The engine underwent an upgrade, sporting 403 horsepower behind an all-aluminum 6.2-liter V8 engine with a powerhouse 415-pound torque. Other than increased power, the only changes the newer Escalades have are more technological features for communications and safety.

You won’t get the best gas mileage with a used Cadillac Escapade, but you’ll feel like royalty, never feel cramped for space, and enjoy the smoothest ride ever in an interior that pampers and entertains at every turn.

Used Cadillac

Shopping for a used Cadillac is more labor-intensive than browsing most other brands of cars. There are more options in engines, trims, and amenities than other brands typically offer but that’s a small price to pay when you consider you’ll soon be driving the most sought after American luxury car in history.

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