It’s been a while since I talked about the 2014 Cadillac CTS I tested. Hey, Christmas and New Year’s followed by CES and NAIAS will do that. Let’s pick up at one of the coolest things about the Caddy that Used to Zig: Its gauge cluster has multiple personalities.
Let’s look first at the default cluster design that was showing when I received the Cadillac CTS. This cluster was called “Balanced,” and true to its name, it was pretty balanced. It featured a tachometer on the left whose center section could display tire pressures and more, a large speedometer in the center with an customizable center section that could display everything from navigation directions to a large numeric speed display, and a split gauge on the right that featured my coolant temperature and fuel level along with another customizable central display that I preferred to use to show my current queued audio source.
Then there was this, the “Performance” cluster design. The tachometer and speedometer were equal in size and dominated the layout in this selection, with the tach again on the left. Bordering the tachometer’s left arc was the coolant temperature gauge, while the fuel level gauge bordered the speedo’s right arc. In the center was a page allowing me to scroll through a number of options including audio source, navigation directions, phone options, and telematics to include fuel mileage estimates and the CTS’ twin tripmeters.
Then there was the “Simple” cluster. It proved very simple, indeed, as it did away with any semblance of gauges and dials, instead opting for textual speed display amid a sea of blue. I appreciated the goal of simplicity, but I couldn’t find harmony in this design. It just didn’t do anything for me. Admittedly, this is coming from someone who likes to marvel at airplane dash panels and their tons of gauges — my favorite disply in the Cadillac CTS was of course the “Performance” cluster. Your preferences my vary, which is totally cool. That’s why Cadillac did this multi-personality gauge cluster, after all.
Finally, there was this variation on the “Simple” cluster, which seemed to class it up a little bit. I could live with this one for short periods. It took some of the blandness of the “Simple” cluster out and replaced it with useful navigation info or whatever else I wanted to place in its nether regions.
All in all, I loved the ability to customize the cluster. Not only could the overall theme be changed, but as I outlined in the description of the first photo, it allowed for individual gauges to be customized so they would display auxiliary information. The tachometer could show tire pressures. The speedometer could display information about your cell phone service. The effort that went into making the 2014 Cadillac CTS gauge cluster customizable for each driver is laudable.
One wonders, with Cadillac CUE’s open-source nature, whether there’s the possibility that some app-tweaker out there might start releasing underground ROMs so your 2014 Cadillac CTS could have the dash of an ’80s Fleetwood Brougham or what-have-you. A Linux (and Fleetwood Brougham) fan can dream, can’t he?