The 2014 Cadillac CTS has been fully redesigned. Highlights include bolder exterior styling, new base and high-performance engines and the adoption of Cadillac's latest electronics and touchscreen interface.
Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Cadillac CTS
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What's New for 2014
The 2014 Cadillac CTS has been fully redesigned. Highlights include bolder exterior styling, new base and high-performance engines and the adoption of Cadillac's latest electronics and touchscreen interface.
The midsize luxury sport sedan class is one of the most highly competitive segments, and this is where the redesigned 2014 Cadillac CTS must compete. All the big-name luxury automakers have a strong presence here. From the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series to Jaguar XF and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the bragging rights for the most sophisticated, the most enjoyable, the best performing or even the most handsome sedan on the road truly matter in this class. The previous Cadillac CTS was a good luxury sedan, but that wasn't enough to keep up with these European rivals.
For its new CTS, Cadillac has revised just about everything, and the results are encouraging. The new sedan sits atop a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase, and it's 4.2 inches longer overall and 0.8 inch lower. Thanks to this upsizing, the 2014 CTS is now a true midsize sedan -- an improvement over its predecessor, which was too big to feel as sporty as competitors' compact offerings but not nearly as roomy as traditional midsize entries. Styling is largely an evolution of the outgoing model; the restyled grille is simultaneously more slender and more aggressive, and the Caddy's new LED running lights are striking. Where the previous CTS sedan's styling looked forced and overly angular, the 2014 Cadillac CTS has a more flowing and elegant design.
The 3.6-liter V6 returns with a few more horsepower, but now there's a new base engine for the CTS. Borrowing a page from its European competitors' playbooks, the new power plant consists of a sprightly turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that first debuted in Caddy's ATS sedan. There's also a new engine within a new trim level called Vsport. Meant as a range topper (not including the upcoming CTS-V sedan), the turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 generates similar power to the mighty turbocharged or supercharged V8s found in competing sedans. The high-performance Vsport model is only available with rear-wheel drive, while both the four-cylinder and naturally aspirated V6 models offer optional all-wheel drive.
Inside, the CTS takes its lead from the XTS with rich leather and trim elements, a large configurable gauge-cluster display and a second color touchscreen display to operate the CUE infotainment system. Overall, there's a very luxurious vibe inside, though we hope Cadillac updates CUE's controls and haptic touch-sensitive virtual "buttons" for a more intuitive, tactile feel and quicker response. Our experience with CUE in other Cadillacs has thus far been underwhelming.
While our time behind the wheel has been limited thus far to the high-performing CTS Vsport model, we can confirm that Cadillac is taking the fight to premium-brand import competitors in this price range. The 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan's equipment levels and interior materials are equal to or better than those seen in the 2014 BMW 5 Series or 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Furthermore, the new powertrain lineup is as sophisticated and modern as anything currently available in the midsize sport-luxury segment. The bottom line is that for the first time in a long time, Cadillac appears to have a complete package without the compromises we've seen in earlier models. When dealers begin offering test-drives of the 2014 Cadillac CTS, you owe it to yourself to take more than a spin around the block.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Cadillac CTS midsize sedan is offered in six main trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Performance, Premium, Vsport and Vsport Premium. Engine availability -- a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a 3.6-liter V6 and a turbocharged V6 -- is dependent on the particular trim level. The 2014 CTS coupe and wagon, as well as the CTS-V, are carry-over from 2013 and are covered in separate reviews.
Equipment on the CTS Standard trim (four-cylinder only) includes 17-inch alloy wheels, Brembo-branded brakes, heated mirrors, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors, remote ignition, keyless ignition/entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, a manual tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 5.7-inch display screen in the gauge cluster, eight-way power front seats (with two-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery and fixed rear seats with a trunk pass-through. Electronic equipment includes OnStar telematics, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the base Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system, an 8-inch touchscreen display, voice commands and an 11-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with three USB ports, an auxiliary audio jack, and satellite and HD radio.
An optional Seating package includes leather seating surfaces, heated and ventilated front seats, a split-folding rear seat, a heated steering wheel with power tilt-and-telescoping, a CD player (glovebox-mounted) and additional LED interior ambient lighting.
Upgrading to the CTS Luxury trim (four-cylinder or base V6) includes the above Seating package plus adaptive xenon headlights with automatic high beam control, lane-departure warning, forward collision alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera and Cadillac's vibrating driver's "Safety Seat." Optional for the Luxury are 18-inch wheels, adaptive magnetic suspension dampers, a panoramic sunroof, a power rear sunshade and manual rear side shades. Both the CTS Standard and Luxury trim levels' CUE systems are upgradable to include navigation and two more speakers for the Bose sound system.
The CTS Performance trim (also four-cylinder or base V6) includes all the Luxury equipment listed above. It also has automated parallel parking assist, illuminated door handles and sill plates, a head-up display, a 110-volt power outlet, tri-zone automatic climate control and heated rear seats. Options for the Performance trim are a Driver Assistance package, which includes full-speed adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic braking (which uses radar and the car's parking sensors to detect possible low-speed collision situations and automatically applies the brakes to avert a crash) and, for unavoidable collisions, automatic collision-preparation braking with automatic seatbelt tightening. You can also get 20-way-adjustable front sport seats and a reconfigurable performance gauge cluster.
The CTS Premium trim includes all of the Performance equipment plus extended leather upholstery, the Driver Assistance package and an advanced theft deterrent package.
The CTS Vsport comes exclusively with the turbocharged V6. In terms of features, it effectively matches the Performance trim level and adds a sport-tuned suspension, driver-selectable driving modes, enhanced steering, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, and specific 18-inch wheels with high-performance summer tires. The CTS Vsport Premium includes all CTS Premium and Vsport standard equipment. The sole option for the Vsport is a high-performance brake pad upgrade.
Powertrains and Performance
A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 272 horsepower and an impressive 295 pound-feet of torque is the base engine for the 2014 Cadillac CTS on the Standard, Luxury, Performance and Premium trim levels. Available with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), the four-cylinder is hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Optional on the CTS Luxury, Performance and Premium trims is a 3.6-liter V6 good for 321 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. With RWD, the engine comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The V6 AWD still gets the six-speed.
Topping the CTS powertrain choices is the Vsport-specific turbocharged 3.6-liter V6. It cranks out 420 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive with the eight-speed automatic is the sole drivetrain configuration.
As of this writing, the EPA has released fuel economy data for three configurations of the 2014 Cadillac CTS: The four-cylinder CTS rates 23 mpg combined (20 city/30 highway) with rear-drive and 22 combined (19 city/28 highway) with AWD. The V6 AWD model rates 21 combined (18 city/26 highway).
In Edmunds testing of a CTS Vsport, we recorded a 4.9-second 0-60-mph result, which is a good time for this class of car with V8-like power.
Standard safety features for the 2014 Cadillac CTS include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar (which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency button, stolen vehicle locator and active intervention, and remote door unlock) and rear parking sensors.
In Edmunds testing of a CTS Vsport with the optional performance brake pads, we recorded an impressive 108-foot stop from 60 mph. That is excellent for this class of sedan with summer-rated tires.
Optional safety equipment is impressive and includes Cadillac's vibrating Safety Alert seat, lane-departure warning and forward collision alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera, a front and rear automatic braking system (which uses the car's radar and parking sensors to identify potential low-speed collision situations and applies the brakes if the driver doesn't react quickly enough), and automatic collision-preparation braking (for collisions the car deems unavoidable) with automatic seatbelt tightening.
In government crash tests, the 2014 CTS received the best possible rating of five stars in the overall, frontal and side crash categories for all seating positions.
Interior Design and Special Features
The interior of the 2014 Cadillac CTS follows the trend set first by the full-size XTS. It's a sophisticated and luxurious design rendered in rich and authentic materials assembled with a high level of craftsmanship blended with technology. Leather, wood, anodized aluminum, piano-black paint and carbon fiber are all the genuine articles. As such, they are immediately pleasing to the eye and to the touch.
On the electronics front, the CTS is in lockstep with the XTS and ATS, and that means there are some challenges. The touch-based Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system is at the cutting edge of such systems, offering myriad menus intended to complement connected smartphones and provide useful information on vehicle status, weather, stocks, fuel prices and more.
However, like many centralized control systems, CUE relies on a color touchscreen with a minimum of conventional buttons and knobs. Not only is there a learning curve for owners used to more traditional controls, but response times to touch inputs can be slow, as if the system simply needs more computing power, even for simple tasks like adjusting audio volume. Cadillac is working on updates, though, and we're hopeful that later versions of the 2014 CTS will have a more evolved version of CUE.
Even if the 2014 CTS's interior measurements aren't any larger according to the published specifications, the upscale environment in the new sedan is undeniably more pleasing and appropriate for the midsize luxury car class. As before, the front seat passengers enjoy the lion's share of space, and in this regard, the 2014 CTS is certainly competitive. It's in the rear seats and luggage capacity that the CTS falls slightly short of the competition. At 13.7 cubic feet, the CTS sedan's trunk is shy of the capacity in the 5 Series and E-Class.
Our impressions of the 2014 Cadillac CTS are for now based on the 420-hp Vsport Premium. But from this top-dog CTS, acceleration is indeed impressive. What's more, the eight-speed automatic is adept at both silky-smooth upshifts and sports-carlike responsiveness depending on the selected mode.
Through turns, there's an uncommon level of tactility here compared to most other midsize luxury sedans. The CTS is sharp, yet maintains composure and is refined and integrated in a way that a CTS has never been. Handling and braking tests showed competitive, if not class-leading, capabilities. Yet the CTS is also well suited for highway cruising, as the adaptive suspension allows the car to ride quite comfortably.
by John on Apr 17, 2016 Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac CTS Premium 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
I've owned my '14 CTS 3.6 Premium for a year now and can clearly judge this car.
Pros - incredible handling for a sedan, very solid acceleration for NA V6, GREAT braking, impeccable interior (good or better than ANY other mid lux in class hands down)
Cons - performance is good, not great (understand it's not the VSport, however), resale value is AWFUL (was intrigued by ATS-V and dealership was going to barely pay off and I got an incredible deal on car...VERY disappointing. Lastly, the sound of the exhaust leaves something to be desired...
Overall this car is absolutely fantastic. Handles, drives and feels like a very well put together sporty mid-size luxury and clearly is at level of MB E350 level or BMW 5 series...tested both and CTS beat both out in nearly every level. This Cadillac "move" is only going to get better and I'm excited as I hope I never am interested in a german car again. If I could buy the new CTS-V it would be mine but the price is Porche 911 Turbo level...yikes.
Caddy, well done and worth the buy for anyone considering a mid-size luxury sedan. Great car and many people are impressed by the car's beauty and style.
by JohnnyBos on Mar 31, 2016 Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac CTS Standard 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I bought my all-wheel drive CTS last year (2015) - it was a 2014 model year that was still on the lot, so very happy with the deal. For the past 15 years I drove only German cars, BMW and Volkswagen. The pros and cons for the CTS:
--It manages the amazing trick of feeling substantial while also being light and agile. Comparing the aluminum body of this car (including doors and trunk) to a BMW 5-series steel body, you realize how much fat and bloat you're carrying around with the BMW. It shows up especially in the handling of the CTS... it's an absolute racehorse, and a lean and agile one. Yet the doors close with a very satisfying "thud," same as you find on the German cars.
--Love the exterior design and (almost all) of the interior... it's amazing. Very sensual and aggressive, sleek.
--On the highway, the open road, it handles better than a 5 series BMW. Great sound dampening, great control. Just a heck of a car to drive.
--Some people complain about the CUE entertainment system, but I actually find it pretty simple to use. It's a million times easier to use than the old "I-Drive" systems on the BMW.
--The materials used in the car, the leathers and wood trim, etc., are all top notch. I was recently inside a BMW M5 - which cost over $100k - and the BMW didn't have anything nicer in terms of interior materials.
--On the inside of the driver's door is a round sticker which you won't find on any BMW, Audi, Lexus, or Mercedes sedan - that sticker says "Made in Michigan, USA". And as someone who cares about our country and our workers, that's the ultimate status symbol. When Detroit makes a killer car, you can feel great about buying it for a lot of reasons, including where it's made.
--The CTS heat seater heats up a little bit slowly and doesn't get the seat very hot, even at max temperature. The seat heaters on my German cars would burn your tail if you left them on too high / too long. As someone living in the Midwest I'd prefer a hotter and quicker seat heater. (The heated steering wheel does heat up quick and hot, however).
--I'm not in love with the design of the steering wheel - could be a little simpler and more elegant looking. But other than that, and a very small Onstar button panel on the ceiling, the rest of the interior is BEAUTIFUL. It's sleek and tight and very well put together.
--I would physical buttons which allow you to adjust direction where the air flows in the ventilation system (to feet, to windshield, etc.). The CTS has buttons which only appear on the screen if you increase/decrease the volume of air flow. Or you can go through multiple screens to adjust it. Same with AC... there's no physical button to press for AC... there are other ways to get AC to come out, which show up on the screen, but I prefer to have a direct physical button for it.
--At very, very low speeds... like when the car is just rolling forward of its own power at 3 or 4 mph, without pressing the gas, it feels a little torquey and uneven. Living in the city, you often end up kind of rolling forward a bit in traffic or a parking lot. My VW and BMW were more smooth at that super low speed.
That's about it... other than that, it's a totally amazing car. I recommend it highly to all my friends, colleagues, and other people. It's a fantastic car and is VERY underrated.
by lajollaboy on Feb 18, 2016 Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport Premium 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
Being an avid enthusiast and owner of my '14 Vsport Prem I have read and viewed about every review article and video on the internet. With some of the reviews, I truly wonder if they are driving the same car I am! So, for the format of this review, I'm going to pick out those things I commonly read with which I disagree - both good and bad.
1. "Fit and finish not as good as German competitors -" This is the one I really don't get at all. People complain of cheap plastic and the like... I honestly don't know where they are getting this from. My car is rock solid - from squeeks and rattles to the feel of the controls. The only thing I've had problems with is that the glove compartment which actually has two latches (!) sometimes only catches one of the latches. But that's it.
2. "CUE is terrible." Cue is designed to be a highly customizable owner experience which for somebody (like a car journalist) who drives the car for a day (or even a week (or even shares the car with other journalists as part of a long term tester)) may find it frustrating. But once you do have it set up and understand how to get to things, it's really a very well designed system. You can get to most of the things you need from the steering wheel and view your changes in the instrument pod (as opposed to the middle screen) which I would much prefer to having to reach for a joystick and look to the middle screen every time. With that said, despite being able to do most things from the steering wheel, finger prints are still a problem as noted by many, especially if you have a frequent passenger who doesn't like your music (Zoe!!!).
3. "The touch sensitive buttons are unrepsonsive." ... like the slider volume control. This is just patently not true. The metallic guides for proper finger placement are very useful. I use these buttons hundreds of times a day and have never been frustrated by them.
4. "Doesn't have features that a similar model from the German three would have." This is laughable. For every feature the Cadillac doesn't have at a price level, it provides 10 others that the competition doesn't have.
5. "The interior is tacky." Nope. It's awesome. Its just not 80's vintage matte black with random dials, buttons and switches all over the place [sarcasm]. Most of the interior is leather and natural wood. I mean for God's sake, my THE HORN ON MY STEERING WHEEL is made of LEATHER! I love it!
Now the bad...
1. "Incredible power train!" While the car is crazy fast, the engine can feel a little choppy through the rev band if you wind it out. The throttle is WAY too sensitive and the transmission takes a lot of getting used to and even then some of the shifts are a bit abrupt. You'll get used to it but until then you and your passengers will have some sore necks! :)
2. "Incredible ride and handling!" Oh yes it does! ... at least after you change the tires from the PZeros that it comes with. Those things are made of cement!
3 "Turns a lot of heads." No, it does not.
All and all, I love my car! It's fast, comfortable and the styling is so cool (inside and out), it's unbelievable!
by Richard Domingues Boscovich on Feb 23, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
OK. I grew up lusting after BMW's 3 & 5 series, and love what Audi has done with itself over the past several years. I am not your typical Cadillac buyer by any stretch of the imagination. I love Formula 1, soccer ( football everywhere else) and any auto sport with the exclusion of NASCAR. Having said that, I have always kept an open mind all things automotive. I regularly test drive cars from numerous manufactures, and judge cars by their merits, not brand reputation. So when I wanted a performance sedan, I tested all of them.
The CTS v Sport is, hands down, the best handling sport sedan period. Not BMW, Jag, Lexus.. nothing. The quality, feel and finish is excellent. Drive it!
by jkorn on Jan 10, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac CTS Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
I love this car! every angle unique and turns heads everywhere I go. The handling was the biggest surprise when first driving, it's feels light and responsive around corners. I've had many cars over the years and driven the BMW's, MB and Audi and I think the CTS takes the cake in looks for sure, a close second would be MB in my opinion.
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