Blending all-American style with European-inspired handling, the Cadillac CTS has been a popular choice with luxury sedan consumers for more than a decade. Within that period, there have been three generations. Despite shortcomings in terms of interior design and quality, the first CTS is still a fair choice for a used luxury sedan. The second-generation CTS, which featured substantial improvements to its interior, is a much more appealing car. The most recent generation of the CTS has grown in both size and sophistication, and we feel it's the first CTS to truly be on equal footing with its European and Japanese competition.
Current Cadillac CTS
Debuting for 2014 and representing the model's third generation, the current Cadillac CTS sedan is larger and now competes more directly against midsize luxury sport sedans, leaving the compact sport sedan fight to its smaller ATS brother. The CTS coupe, wagon and CTS-V sedan carried over unchanged for this year. Improved in every way over its already respected predecessor, the latest CTS sedan has the looks, the power and the luxury required to go tire-to-tire against the world's best in this segment.
There are six main trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Performance, Premium, Vsport and Vsport Premium. Three engines are offered but trim level determines availability. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 272 horsepower starts things off, and it's matched to a six-speed automatic transmission and either standard rear-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive (AWD). Next up is a 3.6-liter V6 good for 321 hp -- it comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It's also available with AWD, though that version gets the six-speed auto. The Vsport comes with an exclusive turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 packing 420 hp, along with rear-wheel drive and the eight-speed automatic as the sole drivetrain setup.
Equipment on the CTS Standard trim includes keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, an 8-inch touchscreen display and an 11-speaker Bose sound system. Upgrading to the CTS Luxury trim gets you xenon headlights, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats and added safety features. The CTS Performance is highlighted by its adaptive suspension, panoramic sunroof, head-up display and heated rear seats. The Premium trim is similar but adds adaptive cruise control and upgraded front seats and upholstery. Besides its engine, the Vsport is differentiated by its sport-tuned mechanical hardware.
The cabin of the CTS offers solid build quality and rich materials. Overall, there's a very luxurious vibe inside, and we think it's one of the most stylish designs you'll find in this segment. However, even though the latest CTS is larger than before, its interior space is essentially the same. As such, it's lacking a little for backseat and trunk space compared to its rivals. Another minor downside is the CUE ("Cadillac User Experience") infotainment system, which can be difficult to use and slow to respond.
We've only driven the high-performance CTS Vsport model thus far, so we can only comment on that version. As expected, acceleration is indeed impressive, as is the eight-speed automatic, which provides gearchanges that range from silky smooth to sports car rapid depending on the selected driving mode. Handling is sharp, composed and rewarding as well, providing the driver with an uncommon level of tactility.
Read the most recent 2016 Cadillac CTS review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Cadillac CTS page.