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Hi. I am a new member and I'm asking for your advice. I currently own a 98 STS. I am planning on trading it in and buying either a 2003 SLS with 16k miles or a 2003 CTS, new. The cost of both cars is about the same. The SLS is $400 more. I like the SLS because I am used to the STS/SLS look. But, if the CTS isn't considered a Luxury Car, where insurance and taxes are higher, and if the CTS DOES NOT have the oil burning Northstar engine, I'm tempted.

Which car is the better value? The better ride? Are their any problems associated with these cars that I should know about. I already got burned with the engine block problem the new 98 STS redesigns had. I don't know much about cars (besides the fact that I like caddys). I can really use your advice.

Thank you! :unsure:

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A lot of what you are asking is subjective, which is to say it depends on your tastes. The SLS will have a softer, more traditionally Cadillac ride. The CTS is more sporty and tightly sprung. The acceleration performance below 70 mph is about even; above 70 mph the SLS will pull more strongly. Definitely go test drive both of course.

I am not that excited about the 3.2L engine in the 03 CTS, because it is based on the 3L Opel engine that has a mixed reliability record. I think the new 04 3.6L engine -- although new and unproven -- is much better, offerring more tech features, like variable valve timing and variable intake management, and resulting higher hp and torque. This was a 'clean-sheet' high value engine redesign, and it's a wonderful powerplant. You did not offer the 04 CTS as one of the choices, but I would pick it (obviously based on my purchase history).

The odd thing about the CTS is that it is big for its size. What I mean by that is that the CTS wheelbase, the space between the front and rear axles, of 113.4" is actually longer than the SLS' 112". The CTS also has about the same rear leg room as the SLS (CTS 0.5" less). The CTS 3.2L has 220hp, 3.6L 255hp, SLS 275 hp. CTS weighs 3,694 lbs, SLS 3,969 lbs.

The 4 yr/50k warranty remaining on the 03 CTS would be a strong argument vs the 03 SLS to me. Also ask the dealer what the lease residuals on each car would be in 3 years or 4 years, to get an idea of expected depreciation rates for each car.

I don't know of any block problems with the 98+ northstars. The NS redesign was in 00. Although the NS's do tend to use oil, it is more a problem of perception than mechanical or economic. Low-friction piston rings and aggressive cylinder bore patterns lead to higher oil usage, case close.


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When I bought my STS in June of last year I looked at the CTS and actually drove one. To me it's like combining apples and oranges between the two. The one nregative for me against the CTS was they only had them with MTX. I didn't feel like banging gears. So I went with the STS. Elsewise they are nice cars!

Jim White

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