2018 Cadillac CTS

2018 Cadillac CTS Review

The 2018 Cadillac CTS easily integrates performance in a segment where it's increasingly lacking.
4 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

The midsize luxury sedan segment is packed with great choices. To succeed, the 2018 Cadillac CTS can't just copy the more popular German or Japanese models. Instead, Cadillac has focused on giving buyers unmistakable design, sporty driving characteristics and modern in-car technology.

With suspension tuning done on fabled race circuits and highways around the world, the CTS definitely has the handling chops you might expect from a luxury sport sedan. The CTS could even claim to be the most engaging car in its class for driving along a curvy road. Particularly with the CTS V-Sport, you'll find that it turns in crisply and has loads of confidence-inspiring grip.

Under the hood is one of three engines. The turbocharged four-cylinder and non-turbo V6 are underwhelming for this class; they come up a little short in either refinement (the four-cylinder) or power (the V6). But with the CTS V-Sport, you'll feel the impressive pull from a 420-horsepower turbocharged V6.

The interior is much like the CTS exterior: crisply styled and well equipped. Standard technology includes Bose audio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, LED ambient lighting and remote start. The CTS' biggest downside, though, comes from that very same interior. Some may find the excessive use of reflective materials distracting, and the disconnected feel of the touch-actuated, buttonless infotainment system is generally displeasing to use.

Overall, the CTS holds its own in this class and should be a solid pick, especially if you're looking for a luxury sedan with a high sporting quotient.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Cadillac CTS as one of Edmunds' Best Midsize Sedans for this year.



what's new

The 2018 Cadillac CTS receives only minor changes to features availability.

we recommend

While the turbocharged V-Sport is undeniably appealing, we would opt for the CTS in Luxury trim. It's more affordable and still has decent performance with the optional 3.6-liter V6 engine. Compared to the base trim, the Luxury trim adds numerous features to enhance the CTS' luxury status, such as heated and ventilated leather front seats, a 13-speaker Bose audio system and additional driver safety aids.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Cadillac CTS luxury sport sedan is in five trims: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, V-Sport and V-Sport Premium Luxury.

The base trim comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine (268 hp, 295 pound-feet of torque), an eight-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch wheels, Brembo front brakes, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory settings, simulated leather upholstery and fixed rear seats with a trunk pass-through.

Technology features include OnStar telematics (with 4G data connectivity and Wi-Fi capability), wireless smartphone charging, Bluetooth, the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system (without navigation), an 8-inch touchscreen interface, voice controls, three USB inputs, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an 11-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with satellite radio.

For this base CTS, buyers can add a Seating package that includes leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, split-folding rear seatbacks, a power-adjustable and heated steering wheel, and LED interior ambient lighting.

Luxury offers the option of a 3.6-liter V6 (335 hp, 285 lb-ft) plus adaptive xenon headlights with auto high beams, a panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, a 13-speaker Bose sound system and a variety of driver safety aids (automatic wipers, lane departure warning and intervention, forward collision alert, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert). The optional seating package from the base CTS is included in the Luxury.

An optional V-Sport package (not to be confused with the V-Sport trim level) bundles 18-inch wheels, high-performance brakes and tires, and a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers.

Premium Luxury fits the CTS with the adaptive suspension dampers, 18-inch wheels, a self-parking system (both parallel and perpendicular), three-zone automatic climate control, heated rear seats, a rear camera mirror, a head-up display, a top-down parking camera system, a power rear sunshade (rear side-window shades are manual), and illuminated door handles and front doorsill plates.

There's an optional Driver Assist package for the Premium Luxury trim that adds adaptive cruise control and a collision mitigation system with automatic braking. Other options include 20-way-adjustable front sport seats and a configurable digital gauge cluster.

The CTS V-Sport comes with a turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine (420 hp, 430 lb-ft) and starts with the Luxury trim level's standard features (minus the sunroof) and adds the self-parking system, 18-inch wheels with summer tires, upgraded brakes, a sport-tuned suspension and steering system, a driver-selectable Track mode for high-performance driving, an electronic limited-slip rear differential and an upgraded cooling system. All-wheel drive is not available.

At the top of the range is the CTS V-Sport Luxury that adds just about all of the standard and optional features of the Premium Luxury trim, including the sunroof.



trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Cadillac CTS V-Sport Premium Sedan (turbo 3.6L V6 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current CTS V-Sport has received minor revisions and renaming of trim levels. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Cadillac CTS.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5.0

Driving

5.0 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking4.0 / 5.0
Steering4.5 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability4.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort2.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0
Climate control5.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.5 / 5.0

Ease of use2.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Driving position4.5 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality3.5 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space3.0 / 5.0

Technology

3.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation2.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration3.5 / 5.0
Driver aids3.5 / 5.0
Voice control3.0 / 5.0

Driving

edmunds rating
The CTS V-Sport delivers big-hearted power and is more precise than its size would suggest. The result is a very cohesive, fast and confidence-inspiring driving experience. It puts the "sport" in sport sedan yet manages to be accessible and engaging.

Acceleration

edmunds rating
A willing 420-horsepower, 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 engine has ample oomph from any speed, pulls hard and is responsive. There are no obvious flat spots in its powerband, even when accelerating from a standstill. It's fast yet undramatic.

Braking

edmunds rating
An acceptably firm pedal offers easy modulation and immediate response. And response stays consistent even in moderately hard use. Our car was equipped with the optional performance brake linings.

Steering

edmunds rating
It turns in nicely, with good manners and a nice, straight-ahead feel. It also avoids the bad habit of abruptly and artificially increasing steering effort when you pick up the pace. The steering wheel feedback lets you sense road texture.

Handling

edmunds rating
A standout handler with ample grip. Very planted, secure-feeling and precise. Even in spirited driving, the car doesn't wobble at the edge of its handling envelope. This is a confidence-inspiring car whether in fast sweepers or low-speed turns.

Drivability

edmunds rating
A very cooperative car that's easy to live with. Upshifts from the eight-speed automatic are almost imperceptible. In manual mode, the downshifts are noticeably delayed after requested from a paddle-pull.

Comfort

edmunds rating
The main characteristic that drags the CTS V-Sport down is its ride quality. It's too tied-down and can feel stiff-legged, clomping audibly over bumps. Otherwise the seats are quite comfortable, and the climate control system works exceptionally well.

Seat comfort

edmunds rating
The heated and ventilated front seats strike a commendable balance of comfort and support. No discomfort after three hours in the seat. The backseat backrest is on the upright side.

Ride comfort

edmunds rating
The ride is very firm. It's not harsh, but it is a tick too intense, communicating tiny bumps even as it absorbs larger ones. The ride edges too closely to the sport side of the equation for a car of this disposition.

Noise & vibration

edmunds rating
The tires clomp audibly over bumps and hiss at speed, meaning road noise is a touch too prominent for this class. The engine note perks up under moderately hard acceleration, but it sounds pretty good for a turbo V6 and falls away almost completely while cruising.

Climate control

edmunds rating
The automatic climate control is very effective, holding steady to set temperatures and providing quick cooldowns. Fan noise is not excessively prominent. Rear passengers have their own vents and controls.

Interior

edmunds rating
Some concessions made to design affect overall usability. Touch-sensitive controls abound and simply don't work as well as knobs and hard keys, and the glossy interior trim is reflective and sometimes distracting. High points include a good driving position and decent entry/exit room.

Ease of use

edmunds rating
The steering wheel controls work well. The cabin is essentially devoid of knobs and instead it has many touch-sensitive controls, suggesting style won out over function. The CUE infotainment system is responsive but not the most intuitive in its layout.

Getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
Overall, no big issues. The front roof pillar intrudes a bit too much due to its steep rake, and there is a relatively narrow gap between the dash and seat. It's easy to step over the sill. The roofline drops a bit in the rear, complicating backseat access somewhat.

Driving position

edmunds rating
The driving position is very good. Seat travel is plentiful, and the tidy steering wheel size and angle harmonize with the pedals. There is also good adjustment in the telescoping steering column for a variety of drivers, and all main controls fall readily to hand.

Roominess

edmunds rating
The front seats are reasonably spacious in both knee- and headroom, but more intimate width-wise, than a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Rear toe room is snug, while kneeroom is good. Rear headroom is limited and not great for taller individuals.

Visibility

edmunds rating
Visibility out the front and side windows is average. The over-the-shoulder view has to contend with a fairly wide rear roof pillar and a cabin that slims to the rear. The glossy black panel and steering wheel brightwork can dazzle to a fault.

Quality

edmunds rating
The car incorporates a good variety of solid materials. The use of glossy and reflective design elements is unfortunate, and the carpet looks somewhat cheap. But there's nice leather and high-quality paint and exterior design elements.

Utility

edmunds rating
The CTS isn't a standout for storage space, but it doesn't lag far behind its competition in this regard. Its cabin has several areas in which to stash items, all on the smaller side. Its trunk has a wide opening, and total volume is about average.

Small-item storage

edmunds rating
The center console bin is modest, and there's a little cellphone shelf (trapezoidal, oddly). The glovebox is not especially large, door bins are average size, and rear storage is limited to smallish door pockets save for the flip-down console with two cupholders.

Cargo space

edmunds rating
The trunk space is average, and the liftover height is reasonable, if a touch higher than average. The trunk has a wide opening and is fairly deep. Manual closing only (no power close) on our loaded test car.

Technology

edmunds rating
Standard inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a plus; but using the touchscreen interface for all native audio and navigation can be frustrating. Voice controls had limited success recognizing our navigation test case, but the voice interface is fairly nonrigid.

Audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The screen flow can be finicky, thanks to the touch-only interface. Swiping to scroll through presets doesn't work well.

Smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, with the ability to access iPhone's Siri via the factory voice control. Connectivity includes Bluetooth, two USB ports and an auxiliary jack.

Driver aids

edmunds rating
The following distance set by the adaptive cruise control is nicely short. Pre-collision warning prematurely sounded a few times, which is typical, and its sensitivity is fixed. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist and 360-degree-view camera included.

Voice control

edmunds rating
Average results; it took four attempts to hear a street address correctly. Voice controls can access phone, audio, navigation, OnStar and weather.

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.