2009 Cadillac CTS Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Cadillac CTS Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Cadillac CTS Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 263 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Cadillac CTS

  • A brash American athlete that has benefited from schooling abroad, the 2009 Cadillac CTS has no problem going toe to toe against the top entry-level luxury sport sedans.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomier cabin than like-priced rivals, capable and secure handling, smart interior design, nifty electronic gadgets, available all-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    Not as nimble as smaller and lighter competitors, poor rear visibility.

  • What's New for 2009

    After its complete redesign last year, the Cadillac CTS rolls into 2009 with a singular change: the adoption of Bluetooth technology, which actually debuted late last year.

Full 2009 Cadillac CTS Review

What's New for 2009

After its complete redesign last year, the Cadillac CTS rolls into 2009 with a singular change: the adoption of Bluetooth technology, which actually debuted late last year.


Much like a ruffian attending a ritzy summer camp, the original Cadillac CTS found itself in an awkward situation. Sure, this Caddy won respect, thanks to its decent athletic ability, but it lacked refinement -- a droopy-jeaned, scruffy-bearded interloper among the Polo-outfitted, impeccably groomed class. Being larger than the typical entry-level luxury sport sedan, that first CTS offered more cabin space than its rivals and wrapped it all up in edgy styling. The latter, however, was considered too busy by some critics due to its excessive number of character lines and oversized lights. But it was the cabin that hurt this "upscale" model the most, as its style and materials quality were far behind those found in Audi's A4 or BMW's 3 Series.

Last year's rebirth saw a determined effort to bring the CTS into the Polo-wearing crowd of guys named Chip. Not only is this one Caddy that actually zigs -- to pinch an old tag line -- by adding more power and improved driving dynamics, it also dons a new set of clothes via neatly tailored sheet metal and a much-improved cabin. The latter was not merely a leap over its predecessor but a complete moon shot, with a handsome design, state-of-the-art technology and top-notch materials fitted throughout. In the span of one generation, Cadillac has gone from a segment also-ran in this regard to arguably class-leading. Wisely, the company left the 2009 Cadillac CTS well enough alone, adding only Bluetooth connectivity to the car's impressive list of features.

In this case, "well enough" means a tuned suspension that graduated with honors from the Nürburging school of handling etiquette. It also means a pair of willing V6s -- the base 258-horsepower engine as well as the optional high-output version that features direct-fuel-injection technology and makes an impressive 304 hp. Furthering its appeal, the CTS can also be had with all-wheel drive.

Now, with a legitimate player in the sport sedan game, Cadillac's boastful old tagline "The Standard of the World" might actually be believable by those who don't have firsthand knowledge of the Eisenhower years. Certainly, the 2009 Cadillac CTS, with its dashing style, fine road manners and classy cabin, can more than hold its own against rivals from Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. If you're shopping for an entry-level luxury sport sedan, the CTS is worthy of serious consideration.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Cadillac CTS is a midsize luxury sport sedan. Two trim levels are offered, which differ chiefly in the engine fitted. Both come with 17-inch wheels, leatherette seating, an eight-way power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, OnStar and a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.

There are plenty of additional luxury features available, either stand-alone or grouped in packages. The Luxury Collection adds rain-sensing wipers, different alloy wheels, leather trim, upgraded power/heated front seats and a Bose audio system with CD changer. The oddly named Performance Luxury Package does without the leather but adds a split-folding rear seat, keyless entry/ignition, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and rear parking assist.

The Performance Collection features adaptive xenon headlights, foglights, a sport-tuned suspension (with 18-inch high-performance tires), a limited-slip rear differential, leather seating, heated front seats (with power passenger and lumbar adjustments) and driver memory settings. The Premium Luxury Collection includes pretty much all the previous plus a 40GB hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic, a premium Bose surround-sound audio system with iPod integration, a large sunroof and additional wood trim.

The navigation and surround-sound systems can be added individually on top of the other packages. Bluetooth connectivity is also included when you order one of the major packages.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Cadillac CTS is available with one of two V6 engines. Standard power comes from a 3.6-liter V6 generating 258 hp and 252 pound-feet of torque, while the available 3.6-liter direct-injection (DI) V6 puts out 304 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the base engine, and a six-speed automatic is available. The DI engine has the automatic as standard and the manual as optional. A V6 DI CTS with the automatic that we tested accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.

The CTS is offered in both rear-wheel-drive and AWD configurations. The latter is only available with the six-speed automatic. Both engines get virtually the same gas mileage, with 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined for the base engine and 17/26/20 mpg for the DI engine.


The CTS's standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and GM's OnStar emergency communications system.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the CTS earned scores of "Good" (the highest possible) for both frontal-offset and side-impact tests. In government crash testing, the CTS earned four out of five stars for driver protection in head-on collisions. Front passengers received five-star protection. The CTS also received five stars for the side-impact protection of front and rear passengers.

Interior Design and Special Features

The cabin of the Cadillac CTS is impressive both in design and in the quality of materials used. A pleasing mix of available wood accents, tasteful alloy trim and stitched soft-touch dash make the CTS interior one of the most elegant designs in its class. A telescoping steering column gives the driver a bit more space, while those in back enjoy a roomy backseat.

The screen of the optional navigation system retracts into the dash, but leaves the top inch visible as the touchscreen display for the audio system -- a slick touch. Another is the 40GB hard drive included with the premium Bose surround-sound audio system (which stores digital music) that also includes a well-designed iPod integration interface. With this setup, AM/FM and satellite radio can also be rewound, paused and resumed. TiVo junkies, rejoice. There are a few quibbles, however. Rear-seat entry and exit can be a bit tricky due to a low rear roof line, outward visibility to the rear is very poor and loading bulky items into the 13.6-cubic-foot trunk is hampered by a very short deck. Also, some have found the front seatbacks to be on the hard side, and several CTS test cars have all featured a driver seat bottom that squeaked in turns.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2009 Cadillac CTS is very stable and copes well with quick directional changes and weight transfer. The steering is still nicely weighted and precise. Overall, this Cadillac offers an excellent ride and handling balance that gives the Europeans a run for their money, especially when equipped with the sport-tuned suspension. That said, the CTS is larger than its like-priced competitors, and with a curb weight of almost 4,000 pounds, lacks the nimbleness of cars like the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G35.

The new 304-hp direct-injection V6 certainly feels strong, but thanks to that hefty mass, acceleration isn't quite as quick as other 300-plus-hp cars in its class. The 258-hp base V6 and automatic transmission should still be very adequate for most consumers. The automatic is quick-shifting and can be manually controlled with a console-mounted shifter. The standard sport mode automatically holds onto revs longer during spirited driving and will downshift while braking. A major enhancement to the CTS lineup is its AWD option, which makes this Cadillac a viable option even in places with plenty of rain and snow.

Read our Cadillac CTS Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2009 nightmare

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Vehicle: 2009 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan AWD w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have had this car about 2 years. While under warranty it was awesome. Now at 52,000 miles it has needed timing chains, and now a whole new tranny and transfer case. One owner,52k miles. This is ridiculous. I had a 1992 merc grand marquis with 176k miles that had original tranny and drivetrain. I have lost all faith in GM and their craftsmanship, quality, and customer service. Steer clear of these cars. Has now been in shop for two weeks with no end in sight. I have always been a automotive enthusiast with a deep passion for American muscle and performance but this experience has really tested my faith and trust in American auto makers

Love this cts gm got

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Vehicle: 2009 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have had this car since May 2009, and love it. It is fun to drive and haven't had one problem what so ever. It has 74,000 miles on it and is at the dealer today, had them check it from the front end to rear end and it needs nothing !!! Still has the factory brakes on it !! The only thing I have done to it is oil changes and one set of tires at 74,000. I love this ride, can't get over this car, runs strong, and looks great. Love the black ice paint !! Great Job GM, I will buy another one in the future !!! This car was worth every penny I spent on it !!! Hennessy Cadillac in Duluth service dept is jam up !!!

3 of 11 people found this review helpful

Should have bought another truck

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Vehicle: 2009 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

The last time I bought a GM product was 2004 and after three transmissions, swore I would never buy another. In an effort to help the US auto industry, I decided to try again. The transmission in the caddy has been slipping since purchase. The original diagnosis was a computer issue and some shims. The problem has progressed and we are headed back to the dealer again. The radio/NAV went out after 15,000 miles and brakes were replaced after a recall. Overall, the car looks good especially from the exterior. However, for nearly $50,000, I would have hoped for a car I could rely on. This ain't it!

First time cadillac owner

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Vehicle: 2009 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

This was my first upscale car, and I've not been disappointed. Great look & feel inside & out, superior driving experience (even with base 3.6 engine). Bold exterior design and black cherry color has drawn lots of compliments. Mileage is about as expected, 17-19 mpg in mostly city driving. Seems pretty good to me for an AWD car. Like one other reviewer, I had major transmission problem about 3 mos into ownership, which eventually required total replacement and about 2 wks in the dealership. However, dealer handled great, provided free loaner CTS for the entire time, so what's to complain about? No problems since. Overall a great vehicle and certainly the best car I've ever owned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Cheap plastic upholstery

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Vehicle: 2009 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6M)

I have a Cadillac since 1962 and this 2009 srs is the first one that I have had that didn't have real leather upholstery. I never thought about it at the time of purchase but I do now! I paid almost $40,000 for this car and at 15,500 miles the plastic upholstery on the drivers seat is already starting to stretch and fray. I'm not a big person at 165 lb. So it's not my size thats the problem its the cheap plastic crap they used for the seat covering. Not a bit of leather on these seats at all. What ever you do don't settle for anything less than leather. Remember Cadillac guarantee doesn't cover your upholstery. Gm should be out of business settling for this cheap upholstery material for a cad.

Love it

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Vehicle: 2009 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I really enjoy my CTS Black Cherry is the color. This is my second CTS, the first one I leased. But I support the US cars and Cadillac has always been a winner for me! This is the right size for females 5'3"

Talk About The 2009 CTS

2009 Cadillac CTS Discussions See all Started By

I know I'm jumping the gun a lot here, but I am planning on ordering a CTS at the end of February. I'm wondering if it doesn't make more sense to wait an additional 6 months or so and order an 09. Any...

Just drove my 2009 CTS-V Automatic (Magnaflow Exhaust, Cold Air Intake) across the country, about 2,800 miles, averaged 18MPG, mostly 19-20MPG on highway going 80-85mph. Started off with 93 octane on ...

I have a CTS 2009 AWD 3.6. I bought a demo car. A 2009 in 2009. Since I have had the car the car eats over a quart of oil every 800 miles on the usual. More so at other times. I currently have 34,000 ...

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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