2017 Cadillac CT6 Review
Pros & Cons
- Plenty of rear passenger space for adults
- Engaging driving experience for a large luxury sedan
- V6 engines are respectably powerful and fuel efficient
- Priced less than many other competing sedans
- Infotainment interface is less intuitive to use than some rival systems
- Comparatively small trunk
- Lacks the cosseting ride quality of top rivals
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2017 Cadillac CT6 is the latest step in Cadillac's resurgence as a global luxury player. Following its debut last year, the CT6 continues to set the standard as GM's top luxury sedan, and it's an intriguing new option if you're a luxury sedan shopper. Priced like a midsize model but equipped like a full-size, executive-class car, the CT6 delivers value in spades, and its stretched CTS-derived platform gives it impressive driving dynamics, too. If you like the idea of a spacious and convincingly upscale luxury sedan with a little Detroit attitude, you've got to take this Caddy for a spin.
Under the hood, the CT6's segment-straddling identity is apparent. Turbocharged four-cylinder power comes standard, and it's basically the same engine that's featured in the midsize CTS. You won't find that in Germany, where the BMW 5 Series, for example, gets a turbo-4 but the 7 Series starts with a more powerful inline-6. Indeed, all of the CT6's engines are also available in the CTS, which reinforces the perception that the CT6 is more of a long-wheelbase CTS than an executive car in its own right.
But there's no doubt that the CT6 reaches new heights of luxury inside relative to its midsize brethren. What's more, it miraculously weighs about the same as a CTS despite being 8.5 inches longer, so acceleration is essentially unaffected compared to the smaller car. Throw in generous rear passenger accommodations and top-shelf interior trimmings, and you've got all the makings of a legitimate challenger to the traditional German leaders, at least when cost is taken into account.
Those leaders include the aforementioned BMW 7 Series as well as the sales champ, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is slightly older than the cutting-edge BMW but in our opinion remains the best all-around sedan in this group. There's also the impeccably trimmed Audi A8 to consider, while Lexus is always a contender with its understated LS 460. But the 2017 Cadillac CT6 should enjoy a healthy price advantage over all of these models, and its responsive road manners and opulent interior make it feel like it belongs, even in such fast company.
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 will have the Driver Awareness and Convenience package, which bundles forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, forward collision mitigation with low-speed automatic braking, a navigation system, lane departure warning and 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 optional Driver Assist package.
Perhaps the CT6's most interesting safety feature is its 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. The camera's digital resolution also isn't as good as just using the traditional mirror.
2017 Cadillac CT6 models
The 2017 Cadillac CT6 is a large luxury sedan available in four main trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum. There's also a new CT6 Plug-In hybrid.
Standard equipment for the base CT6 includes 18-inch wheels (19s with the V6), front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights and taillights, heated mirrors, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview 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 connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot capability), Bluetooth, a 10.2-inch touchscreen with Cadillac's CUE interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a rearview camera, voice controls, four USB charge ports, wireless charging and an eight-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio and three audio USB ports.
An optional Driver Awareness and Convenience package adds a panoramic sunroof, automatic high-beam headlights, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors, heated front seats, a navigation system and an array of extra safety features (see Safety section for details).
The Luxury trim starts with all of the above equipment and adds an automatic parking system, auto brake hold (prevents forward/rearward creep when your foot is off the brake), a hands-free power trunk lid, 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 and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.
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 Premium Luxury 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 Platinum, which adds all of the above as standard equipment plus 12-way power front seats with massage functions, premium leather upholstery and eight-way power-adjustable outboard rear seats with ventilation.
The Plug-In variant takes many of the options available in the Premium Luxury and Luxury configuration and makes them standard, along with a new hybrid powertrain. The Driver Awareness and Convenience and the Enhanced Vision and Comfort packages, for example, are all standard. The Hybrid comes with 18-inch wheels and is only available in rear-wheel drive. Due to the large battery pack, you do lose significant trunk volume.
The 2017 CT6's base and Luxury trims come standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 265 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard.
There are two V6 engines available, both paired with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Optional on the base and Luxury trims, and standard on Premium Luxury and Platinum, is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. 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, a solid performance but notably slower than a number of rivals, particularly those with turbocharged V8 engines.
The CT6 Plug-In mates the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with a pair of electric motors. They drive the rear wheels through a specialized continuously variable automatic transmission. The Plug-In can operate in pure electric mode (up to 31 miles), gas-only mode, or a combination of both. Total power output is 335 hp and 432 lb-ft of torque.
EPA-estimated fuel economy with the four-cylinder engine is 25 mpg combined (22 mpg city/30 mpg highway), with the 3.6-liter V6 checking in at 21 mpg combined (18 city/27 highway). The 3.0TT dropped to 21 mpg combined (18 city/26 highway). The Plug-In stands at 62 mpg equivalent in hybrid mode or 26 mpg using pure gasoline.
The 2017 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 they blur the line between driving and riding. In the CT6, you feel the road through the wheel and the seat of your pants. As a result, the ride isn't as plush as those offered by executive-grade rivals. It's not remotely uncomfortable, and the available adaptive suspension irons out road imperfections and controls body movements to a laudable degree, but the CT6's ride quality may nevertheless be considered a relative "Con" in this segment.
On the other hand, feeling the road is a very good thing when it comes to going around corners. The base CT6 feels nimble and relatively lightweight, with crisp steering response. The V6-powered cars, meanwhile, feel slightly duller, but they perk right up with the optional Active Chassis package, which combines all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering and an adaptive suspension to create a truly surprising amount of capability and driver engagement. The hybrid CT6 benefits from the torque of its electric motors and provides smooth and quick acceleration from a stop. Plus, its regen braking capability allows you to one-pedal drive with regen braking strength adjusted through the left paddle.
The 2017 CT6 interior is undoubtedly Cadillac's finest work in recent years. 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. The CT6's overall design doesn't match the quality and construction of the world's best, but countering that is the car's lower price. We like the bold color schemes, too.
Every CT6 comes with the 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 lacks the uncouth "haptic feedback" clunk of its predecessor. There's also a redundant console-mounted touchpad. Overall, we appreciate the large icons, but using pinch-or-swipe commands on a large dash-mounted screen can be more difficult than doing so with your phone.
The CT6's front seats are firmly 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, and it's offered with heating, cooling, massage, power adjustments and a rear entertainment system that boasts two big screens and a multitude of media options. 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, and the CT6 Plug-In checks in with a paltry 10.6 cubic feet.