After purchasing a 2016 BMW X3 35i and completely being disappointed in it, this car is complete 180 degrees. I purchased a used 2014 CTS Vsport premium that just came off a lease. With under 25K in miles and half the warranty and free maintenance left this car it was a deal from a new one. I have to say they are a bit pricey new, but there are usually some good incentives out. With that, I have to say this is an amazing car. The interior is what a luxury car should be. Nice materials and everything feels solid and well build. Seats are comfortable and driving position is just right. I just don't understand why all the auto critics hate the CUE system. I think it works just fine. No system is perfect, but other than the volume control being slow sometimes, everything else works fine. Handling and acceleration are outstanding. The car is quick and corners like it is on rails. Usually good handling comes at the expense of ride quality. Magnetic ride control has master these two feats. GM has really knocked it out of park with this car. It is sleeper. It gives you all the comfort of a luxury car with the performance of sports car. This is the perfect balance between the two. Given the fact I have a bit a lead foot, it is returning 19 MPG on average. This is not bad.
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. I find my interior design elegant and tasteful and much more progressive than the Germans.
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!!!) and it would be nice to know what the temp controls are set at without having to tap and return on the screen.
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 many times a day and have never been frustrated by them. I am sorry that Cadillac has bent to journalists' pressure to get rid of 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] like typical German cars. Most of the interior is leather and natural wood. I mean for God's sake, THE HORN ON MY STEERING WHEEL is made of LEATHER! I love it! I wish the display were higher res, though.
Now the bad...
1. "Incredible power train!" While the car is crazy fast, the engine can feel a little choppy showing its V6-ness 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." Sadly, most people want to see a German luxury car badge. I think my car looks very cool but I'm surrounded by BMWs and you know those guys aren't too forthcoming with compliments on American cars.
All and all, I love my car! It's fast, comfortable and the styling is so cool (inside and out), it's unbelievable!
I comparison shopped/drove quite a bit before buying this car in June 2014. Handling and the engine performance are superb--better than the E550 and 550i. The interior may be a smidge behind the Germans in terms of fit/finish, but it is a minimal difference. The CUE system isn't intuitive, and I'd prefer just knobs and a straightforward information management system. It took me about three days to feel like I had the hang of CUE. My car has the upgraded Kona wood interior, which is absolutely beautiful; I don't know that I'd pay for it, however, if not for the $6000 in incentives GM offered ($3000 rebate + $3000 "conquest" cash) and dealer's willingness to negotiate.
Suspension, handling, engine--no question GM hit a home run on these.
The CTS Vsport leads the class in these categories without question.
I know some people find the driver aids intrusive.
Things such as collision warnings, lane departure warnings, etc.
You can turn them off if you choose. I don't see anything wrong with these safety features.
CUE needs refinement. Just too many layers to get where you want to be in it. Oddly, I also noticed that the CUE screen's visibility diminishes quite a bit when I wear polarized sunglasses. Still doesn't offer some of the convenience features of Mercedes or BMW (e.g., self closing trunk lid). Not a concern for me--I wanted a great handling/performing car--but it is tough to compete with those manufacturers and charge similar prices without those features. Perhaps explains the substantial discounts GM offered in June.