What do you get when you cross a BMW with a Mercedes? The answer, my friends, is the 2003 Cadillac CTS. With its combination of luxury and performance, the CTS has established itself as one of the most popular cars on the road today. In this article, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about the CTS, from engine specs to interior features. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
The 2003 Cadillac CTS styling is undeniably controversial, yet it appears better in person than in images. It must be stated that once people notice the automobile on the street, it will gain a following. Is it a design that will stand the test of time? Time will tell.
Cadillac put its best foot forward when producing the Cadillac 2003 CTS and designed a car to compete with respected European makes in the same class. While some welcomed the change, others did not like Cadillac’s normal offering deviation. We will examine what sets this car apart from the rest, and you can decide which camp you will side with.
2003 Cadillac CTS
Rather than stealing from the nerdy child in class, Cadillac performed their own homework this time. They’ve created a response to a query that many of us had when we drove exceptionally pleasant European sedans: Why can’t American manufacturers develop vehicles like this?
The Cadillac CTS is a daring move forward for a division that is progressively regaining its position as a top-tier luxury automobile manufacturer. The competition in the entry-level luxury sport sedan sector is severe, with BMW’s 3 Series, Audi’s A4, and Mercedes’ C-Class now dominating. Cadillac hopes to attract customers by combining sport sedan performance with the space and comfort of a midsize vehicle.
2003 Cadillac CTS Base
The 2003 Cadillac CTS was available as a 4-door, 5-seat sedan in 2003. The 2003 Cadillac CTS Base started at $29,990 and was powered by a 3.2L, 6-cylinder engine coupled to a manual transmission providing an EPA estimated 18-mpg in the city and 25-mpg on the highway.
Even though the CTS competes in the entry-level sport sedan segment, its physical dimensions are more akin to bigger midsize luxury cars such as BMW’s 5 Series and Audi’s A6. As a result, the cabin is large enough to accommodate five adults.
The front bucket seats are incredibly comfortable, with many adjustments and robust side bolsters. The interior materials aren’t quite up to European quality standards, but most surfaces are smooth to the touch, giving the cabin a sumptuous feel.
2003 Cadillac CTS Engine
There’s only one engine option, a 3.2-liter V6 with 223 horsepower and 218 pound-feet of torque at 3400RPM, equating to 70.2 horsepower per liter. The engine is based upon the LA3 model having a bore dimension of 3.44 inches and a stroke of 3.46 inches with an engine displacement of 193.75 cubic inches.
The cylinder head comprises four valves with multi-point indirect injection and a 10:1 compression ratio. The throttle is a drive-by-wire electronic mechanism, which the driver would not detect.
There are two transmission options available: An optional Getrag five-speed manual with a short-throw shifter that is smooth and precise or a five-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels.
2003 Cadillac CTS Problems
The 2003 Cadillac CTS has a 3.5 out of 5.0 reliability rating from RepairPal, placing it 17th out of 31 luxury midsize automobiles. The CTS has a yearly repair and maintenance cost of $660, which is $70 cheaper than its competitors.
While the CTS has fewer annual repair shop visits than other luxury midsize cars, the model has a 16% chance of experiencing catastrophic damage, which is greater than the national average of 12%.
Power Loss Due To StabiliTrak And Trac Control Lights
StabiliTrak, a vehicle stability-enhancing technology, comes standard on the 2003 Cadillac CTS. It is intended to increase vehicle safety in adverse driving situations. Drivers have reported a reduction in engine power due to this technology.
Service StabiliTrak Symptoms
During everyday driving, the loss of StabiliTrak is unlikely to be noticed. It is primarily used in emergency circumstances.
- Service StabiliTrak Warning– Your CTS’s “Service StabiliTrak” warning light is the most obvious indicator that something is amiss.
- Cruise Control– Your CTS may disable the cruise control if the StabiliTrak system is not functioning correctly.
- Traction Control Not Working– The traction control system in your CTS primarily uses the same sensors to determine if a wheel has lost traction.
Although it may be tempting to disregard the service StabiliTrak warning, not having it when you need it might be quite dangerous. While driving your Cadillac CTS without traction control or StabiliTrak isn’t dangerous, you’re missing out on a vital safety function.
Service StabiliTrak Causes
Several factors can cause the StabiliTrak system to malfunction. It’s a complicated system.
- Wheel Speed Sensor– If one wheel speed sensor fails, your CTS will be unable to determine whether all the wheels are turning at the same speed. Without this information, the service StabiliTrak warning will be activated.
- Brake Pedal Switch– Your brake pedal switch controls more than simply whether or not your brake lights are switched on. The ECU uses this switch to operate StabiliTrak and cruise control features. These systems may be disabled if the switch fails to function correctly.
- Wrong Tire Size– If the tire size is not as specified by GM, StabiliTrak may not function properly.
Various other factors can cause the StabiliTrak system to fail.
Light Bulb Failure
Many owners of the Cadillac CTS redesigns from 2003 through 2013 and 2015 report multiple incidents of early light bulb failure. They had to repair worn-out headlights, taillights, brake lights, and fog lights in as little as two years.
Loose Rear Bezel Cover
A loose rear bezel cover may not appear to be a severe issue, but it has been the most frequently reported complaint by 2003 Cadillac CTS owners. Many drivers have reported that their backlight panel has fallen off owing to poorly built bezels. Some people paid up to $680 to repair the plastic cover and the component that went with it.
Faulty Steering Wheel Position Sensor
In some 2003-2009 and 2011 redesigns, a steering wheel position sensor malfunctioned, which activated the service stability message, which immediately engaged the brakes. Some automobiles frequently drifted to one side, necessitating the driver to use the brakes manually. A new steering wheel position sensor generally costs around $100, not including labor.
2003 Cadillac CTS Specs
The CTS comes standard with one configuration, but two option packages are available to provide differing levels of luxury and sport. The standard MSRP of $29,990 includes leather seating, front, side, and head-curtain airbags, an eight-way power adjusted driver seat, dual-zone climate control, an AM/FM cassette audio, and CD player, the OnStar communications system, ABS, and traction control.
2003 Cadillac CTS Sport Package
Upgrade to the top-of-the-line Luxury/Sport package for the best in handling and comfort. A Luxury Sport package with a hefty price tag at $3,500 consisting of a slew of extras such as;
- computerized driver settings,
- a Talknote recorder (for those on-road ideas),
- sport-tuned suspension with load leveling,
- Zebrano wood interior trim,
- 17-inch wheels shod with V-rated tires,
- a $2,700 Bose audio system with GPS navigation,
- $1,100 for a sunroof,
- $500 for high-intensity headlights,
- $400 for heated front seats.
2003 Cadillac CTS 0-60 MPH
The 2003 Cadillac CTS isn’t particularly fast compared to todays standards, it just comes in at a very average speed. The 2003 Cadillac CTS 0-60mph time is recorded at 7 seconds.
Our Verdict on the 2003 Cadillac CTS
It must be said that once people notice the automobile on the street, it will gain a following. Is it a design that will stand the test of time? And the success or failure of the CTS will have a significant impact on Cadillac’s future.