Used 2016 Cadillac CT6 Review
Edmunds expert review
Wouldn't it be nice if Cadillac offered something to compete with the flagship luxury sedans from Europe and Japan? If that's your thought exactly, you're going to dig the new 2016 Cadillac CT6. Blessed with jaw-dropping style, an avant-garde interior and full-size passenger space at a midsize price, it's one of Cadillac's most appealing vehicles. Read on to learn what else we like about this all-new CT6.
What's new for 2016
Cadillac has enjoyed a renaissance over the past decade or so, flaunting a sharp new design language and genuine high-performance credentials honed at famous racetracks. But one thing has been glaringly absent from its increasingly competitive lineup: a true flagship sedan. With the debut of the full-size 2016 Cadillac CT6, is the wait finally over? For now, at least, the answer is yes.
A large luxury sedan with classic rear-wheel-drive proportions, the 2016 Cadillac CT6 has serious curbside presence.
We say "for now" because Cadillac is rumored to be developing an even higher-end sedan that will give up nothing to the world's best. The 2016 CT6 doesn't quite meet that standard. It lacks the outstanding degree of polish that flagship sedans from Germany possess, which is evident in such things as interior materials and construction and ride quality. However, "doesn't quite meet that standard" does not imply failure. Cadillac charges a lot less for the CT6 and notes how it made a concerted effort to make the CT6 far more compelling to drive than those flagships. For car shoppers seeking engagement from their high-end luxury sedan rather than soul-sapping isolation from the world at hand, this big Cadillac won't fall short in the least.
To create the CT6, Cadillac started with a stretched version of its midsize rear-wheel-drive CTS sedan platform. Much of that added length shows up in the CT6's backseat, which feels far more spacious and compares well dimensionally with those of large luxury sedans. Remarkably, though, the CT6 weighs about the same as its smaller sibling despite measuring 8.5 inches longer from nose to tail. In fact, it can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds less than those other flagship courtesy of clever engineering and an ample dose of lightweight aluminum.
This diet grants the CT6 a sharper feel while driving and encourages better fuel economy, especially with the base turbocharged four-cylinder. Such an engine would practically be impossible in other large sedans, whereas in the CT6, it's more than capable of getting the job done.
As for the expected smorgasbord of technology features and available limousine-like accoutrements, the CT6 delivers those in abundance, creating what is essentially a full-fledged executive sedan without the attendant price tag. Of course, if your budget can handle it, the all-new 2016 BMW 7 Series and the enduringly excellent Mercedes-Benz S-Class are ultimately more compelling luxury sedans, while the Audi A8, Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS are also worth considering. Sticking to the CT6's price range, the venerable Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series are tempting alternatives, though their interiors will feel cramped by comparison. Overall, though, we like the 2016 Cadillac CT6's distinctive styling, personality and reasonable price, and we certainly encourage you to investigate Caddy's interim flagship model.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 Cadillac CT6 large luxury sedan is available in four main trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum.
Standard equipment for the base CT6 includes 18-inch wheels (19s with all-wheel drive), front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights and taillights, heated mirrors, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming mirror, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats (with two-way power lumbar), driver memory settings and dual-zone automatic climate control. Also standard on the technology front are GM's OnStar system (with 4G LTE connection and WiFi hotspot capability), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 10.2-inch touchscreen with Cadillac's CUE interface and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a rearview camera, voice controls, four charge-only USB ports, wireless charging (for personal devices) and an eight-speaker sound system with satellite radio and three audio USB ports.
Every 2016 Cadillac CT6 comes with a 10.2-inch touchscreen display. Apple CarPlay smartphone integration is included.
For the base model, an optional Driver Awareness and Convenience package adds a panoramic sunroof, automatic high-beam headlights, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors, heated front seats and an array of extra safety features (see Safety section below).
The Luxury trim has all of the above equipment as standard plus an automatic parking system, brake hold, a hands-free power trunk opener, four-way power lumbar for the front seats, front passenger memory settings, a top-down 360-degree parking camera system, rear side window shades, upgraded interior lighting, a navigation system and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system.
For the Luxury trim, the optional Comfort package adds ventilated front seats and heated rear seats. There is also an Enhanced Vision and Comfort package with those upgraded seats, plus a unique rearview mirror that displays streaming video from a special rearview camera.
Moving up to the CT6 Premium Luxury trim level gets you an upgraded gauge cluster display, a head-up display and the Enhanced Vision and Comfort package as standard.
For both the Luxury and Premium Luxury trim levels, an available Rear Seat package bolsters the CT6 Luxury's feature list with a rear entertainment system and four-zone automatic climate control. An available Active Chassis package (not available with the 2.0-liter engine) bundles adaptive suspension dampers, active rear steering and 20-inch wheels. A 34-speaker (yes, 34) Bose Panaray premium audio system is also optional. For the Premium Luxury trim only, an optional Driver Assist package adds adaptive cruise control, a night-vision camera system and enhanced safety-related automatic braking.
At the top of the totem pole is the CT6 Platinum that adds all of the above as standard equipment, plus 12-way power front seats, premium leather upholstery and eight-way power-adjustable outboard rear seats with ventilation.
Performance & mpg
The CT6 comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 265 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway).
There are two V6 engines available, both paired with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Optional with the base and Luxury trim levels, and standard on the Premium Luxury and Platinum trims is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. Cadillac estimates that it will return 19 city/28 highway.
The Premium Luxury and Platinum can be had with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (dubbed 3.0TT) good for 404 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, a CT6 Platinum 3.0TT went from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, which is similar to that of other V6-powered large luxury sedans but slower than those fitted with turbocharged V8s. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg combined (18 city/26 highway). Edmunds achieved 22 mpg on our highway-biased evaluation route.
Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, front knee airbags and side curtain airbags all come standard on the CT6. A rearview camera is also standard, as is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance.
Most CT6s you encounter will have the Driver Awareness and Convenience package (optional on the base trim) that bundles forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, forward collision mitigation with low-speed automatic braking, a navigation system, lane departure warning, lane departure intervention, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. A more capable automatic braking system plus a night vision camera system come as part of the Driver Assist package (optional on Premium Luxury, standard on Platinum).
Perhaps the CT6's most interesting new safety feature is its new rear camera mirror. It looks like a regular rearview mirror but can also be switched to be a display screen that has a streaming video feed from a rear-mounted camera. The result is a view unobstructed by roof pillars and rear headrests. It's a neat idea in theory, but in our testing we found the video feed often disorienting to look at. Overall resolution ("Is that a cop car behind me?") also isn't as good as just using the traditional mirror.
The 2016 CT6 is not a grand Cadillac sedan of old, wafting down the road as if riding on springs made from marshmallows. Nor is it akin to German luxury sedans, which tend to isolate the driver with so much technology that determining who's really driving (man or machine?) can be difficult. There is nothing so nebulous in the CT6. You feel the road through the wheel and through the seat of your pants. As a result, the ride isn't as plush as those offered by rivals. It's nothing close to being uncomfortable, and the available adaptive suspension irons out road imperfections and controls body movements to a greater degree, but it may nevertheless be considered a relative "con" in its segment.
On the other hand, feeling the road is a very good thing when it comes to establishing the CT6 as one of the most engaging big sedans to drive. The base car feels relatively nimble and lightweight, with crisper steering response and an eagerness to take corners. This nimble feel is dulled slightly in the V6-powered cars, but it can be countered with the Active Chassis package that combines the grip-producing talents of all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering and adaptive suspension to create a truly surprising amount of capability and driver engagement.
Cadillac currently builds some of the best-handling luxury sport sedans around. The big 2016 Cadillac CT6 could be one of the most agile picks in this class.
As for the engines, putting a four-cylinder in a flagship luxury sedan may sound foolish, but we were pleasantly surprised. Now, it does literally sound odd — not bad, just out of place in a car this big — but it gets the big CT6 moving with surprising enthusiasm. Indeed, if you're looking for a lesser-equipped car and can live without all-wheel drive, we think the 2.0T's lower price and fuel bill make it a compelling pick over the 3.6 V6. As for the top-of-the-line 3.0TT V6, it is certainly the best fit for the car's positioning as an engaging high-end luxury car, even if its acceleration isn't quite as awe-inspiring as that provided by the 400-plus-horsepower V8s found in rival sedans.
The 2016 CT6 interior is undoubtedly Cadillac's finest work yet. Building on the strong foundation established by the current CTS, the CT6's interior takes American luxury to a new level with even richer materials, a gracefully styled dashboard and comprehensive technology integration. It's not quite up to the quality and construction of the world's best, but it's suitable given the car's lower price.
Every CT6 comes with an updated Cadillac User Entertainment (CUE) infotainment interface. We've been unimpressed with prior versions of this system in other Cadillacs, but this version features a bigger screen that reacts more quickly to inputs and without the uncouth haptic feedback clunk of its predecessor. There's also a new redundant console-mounted touchpad. Overall, we appreciate the large icons and the ability to swipe the screen, but swiping a large dash-mounted screen is different from doing so with a small handheld smartphone when scrolling through lists. Scrolling is still easier with a knob-based interface as offered by rivals. The touchpad, meanwhile, seems like an afterthought and is seldom useful.
Although the 2016 Cadillac CT6 is cheaper than rival executive sedans, you can specify competitive backseat luxuries like power adjustments and massage.
The CT6's front seats are firm and supportive and easy to get in and out of, but they don't hold you in place particularly well. Their optional heating, cooling and massage is certainly appreciated, though. The backseat serves up very generous legroom, even for 6-footers, while also being available with heating, cooling, massage, power adjustments and a rear-seat entertainment system that boasts two big screens and a multitude of media options that include streaming TV courtesy of the car's onboard WiFi and something along the lines of a Google Chromecast (not included). Suffice it to say that we're not used to seeing this level of rear-compartment luxury in the CT6's price class; it's a strong selling point for the right shopper.
At 15.3 cubic feet, though, the CT6's trunk is undersized for the segment.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.