Cadillac CTS Sedan test drive

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I always liked the design of the new CTS . Sure, it isn’t as original as the previous generation.

Kind of like a chromed out grown up version of that first design.

But it’s not cheap, and I think the 2nd generation looks more the part of a luxury car.

It has a great presence on the road, and looks good from about every angle.

Although I do think the front end is a bit busy. And seem to age more than the rest of the car…


The interior is pretty impressive in many ways. The stitches on the dash look great.

Everything feels very solid and well put together.

The back seat is roomy and comfortable.

My car came with the Recaro seat option.

A very expensive option at $2 800. They do feel great, but I could never adjust the lumbar support properly.

It always felt like there was a bar across my lower back.

I can’t really imagine the standard seats being bad enough to order $2800 worth of “better seats”.

To my taste, the center console is a little too bright and busy. With too many textures and colors.

Switches should all be black not dark grey.

And it might just be time to retire the “all covered in plastic silver trim console” look.

Cadillac isn’t the only one doing it. And they do a better job at it than most.

Still… How about some of the black finish from the CTS V.

And there is a bit too much plastic chrome surrounding everything. Again, a bit too bright and flashy.

Not as classy as the new BMW 5 series interior for example.

But I realize these are details, and a matter of taste.



The ride is about as good as it gets. For me anyway. It is sporty firm, yet always smooth.
Even with the 19″ Summer Tire Performance Package fitted to my car.

The car feels heavy and very, very solid. Much more so than the Infiniti G37 for instance.
And also much more stable on the freeway.


The steering is sportier than the old Cadillac image would let you think.
And it has a great feeling at any speed.


The 3.6 Liter was always smooth, yet sounded sportier than in other cars it is used. Like in the Malibu.

There is always plenty of power, but its not neck snapping. Again, quite a heavy car.

It is rated at 18 City/27 HWY.
Best I got in the city, driving pretty slow, was 16. And about 26 HWY.
Not very good numbers.

I guess that’s what we get for 300hp in a heavy sedan.


The CTS sedan is a wonderful car to drive.
But its interior, although nice, lacks the high end feel of some of the competition.
It is more upscale than the G35, but not as good as a 5 series.

I do mention the 5 series because my test car came up to over $52 000. Including very expensive options, like the $2800 seats, the $2100 tire package and the $3300 Performance Luxury package.
Yet no sunroof…

The new 5 series starts at about $45 000.

I think the CTS does better when compared to less expensive cars, like the G37.
And you can get a very well equipped CTS sedan for much closer to $40 000.

But it is also threatened by the really good and roomier Buick Lacrosse.

The Cadillac CTS deserves a serious look for anyone considering a sport sedan. It IS a sporty rewarding drive.

Conversation 20 comments

  1. You can get one 2 years old for $20K.

    I assume you mean the 5-series; because I've been looking and the only 2-year-old CTS's und $30 were ones that had been in accidents AND had a ton of miles on them (which makes them no better bargan than a similar 5-series)

    Personally I'd take anything Cadillac over anything else (except Jag/Rolls/Aston) And although I like the 7-series (long wheelbase only) better than any Cadillac; I like the 3 & 5 less than any Cadillac. But all these cars are in a price range (over $40k) where customers get pretty finicky. So it's all just a matter of taste. To say that anything over $40k is junk just serves to show ones' ignorance

  2. $52,000 and three option packages (probably more) and no sunroof? That is completely unacceptable.

    Honestly, the competition is just too good to choose the CTS over it, especially when you factor in its silly depreciation rate.

    Sorry, Vince. I'd take a loaded 4.6 Genesis and save some money. If I wanted a vehicle of a higher caliber I'd go for the new E Class which is superb and the class leader as far as I'm concerned.

  3. I am not sure the G35/G37 is the right comparable. The CTS is bigger and heavier and therefore the handling is less capable. More comparable to the M37, the Audi 6, the 5 ,etc. But, it rates way behind them.

    The front and the rear seem like they were designed by difeerent teams not talking to one another. And despite the "new" GM, the reliability is below average.

  4. Needs an updated grille and a less cheesey interior. The fake chrome inside is so appalling. The last one I was in, the seats felt like they were stuffed with cotton balls, or even mothballs for that matter. GM is on a good path, but they need to learn how to make the details count. I'd still prefer a 3 series or an Infiniti G over this.

  5. There is many likes and dislikes for this car.
    The car when fully loaded is a beautiful car (Larger wheels, xenon headlights etc..)
    Without those options the car is not an attractive car. It is very busy looking, which makes the car age quicker in my opinion. The mix of round and straight lines in the body work is better then previous. The interior is a huge step forward then previous car and previous cadillacs. The engines and awd models are a great option for this car also.
    Slowly but surely Cadillac is doing better with this car, but other cars in the roster (Except for the escalade) are still in need of allot of work. For instance the srx. Though better then previous version, it is still a little cartoonish looking for the money it commands. Will Cadillac turn out to be the new class of world class? We will have to see with next generation models

  6. I really like this car. The Recaro seats are an unnecessary extravagance and do nothing for the car. The chrome used for the interior chrome should be matte, and not shiny. Like in Audis.

    As for comparing it to the 5 Series, the CTS is very competitive. I'm actually cross shopping these cars, along with the E-Class. I'll probably hold off buying anything until I get to drive the upcoming A6.

    As for how the CTS stacks up against the competition, IMHO, it does very well. I prefer the road manners of the CTS much better than the BMW or MB. The steering in the BMW is awful, but I do like the interior design and finish better than the Mercedes and the CTS. But keep in mind, the current CTS is now four years old and it is very very nice. The previous 5 Series interior was tragic compared to Audi and Cadillac, so BMW had to improve things to stay in the game.

    If BMW doesn't fix the steering, I'll likely end up buying the CTS or A6. The Mercedes looks awkward from most angles and drives too much like a Buick or Lexus to be a real consideration.

    I don't think that the CTS has anything to worry about with the LaCrosse. The Cadillac is a RWD based car that leans towards the sporty side of things. The Buick a beautifully styled car, but it is a FWD based car that is much softer.

  7. Actually in my area low mileage,very well equipped 2-year old CTS' are ranging between
    30-34k Which considering everything is a good deal.When comparing this with the 5-series it is insane to compare these two anymore, price wise its difficult to find a 5-series under 60K and the new gen is bloated and almost Lexus like the opposite of the CTS. As for the G35 its become lexus like not in its handling but in the way it blends in leaving no lasting impression unlike the CTS.

  8. OMAR, with all due respect, you're not to sharp when it comes to cars; you said " price wise its difficult to find a 5-series under 60K"

    According to the BMW web site, a brand-new 5-series starts at $44,550 (US). And that assumes you're dumb enough to pay full list. You're saying that BMW is such a phenominal car that it INSTANTLY goes UP $15k the minute you drive it off the lot?

    By the way, what was the magazine that picked CTS over 5-series a year ago in an all-out "performance" evaluation–Road & Track? Car & Driver?


  9. I would choose the new A6 over the CTS. They both cost over 50k, they are both unreliable and costly to own over time, and depreciate like crazy. However, the looks and driving dynamics of the CTS are simply inferior to the A6.

    And who is the dummy claiming that a BMW 5 series costs $47k. He seems to be ignorant of a brand probably beyond his reach. BMWs start from those numbers Mr Typos, but then you have to start adding, if you want to have an equally equipped car like the CTS listing for $52k.

  10. Seriously walk into a BMW dealer today and see for yourselves once you add a few options you will be talking about $55,000-$60,000 for a 528i even though it starts around $45,000.

    Although I love the CTS its steady price increase since it came out has made much less of a good deal. It once was priced against the A4, 3-series etc. Now its moved into A6territory while not recieving any improvements to merit the increase.

  11. I'd take just about any european sedan over the CTS. I had one as a rental with the FE2 suspension and I wasn't impressed at all.

    Interior was nice, but not excellent. Ride was somewhat firm, but floaty on the highway at the same time. The transmission was reluctant to downshift. Some of the switchgear was downright bargain basement, like the window switches and some other secondary controls.

    It was a very good attempt by Cadillac, but it certainly isn't an E Class or a 5 Series. Heck, it isn't better than a M37.

  12. Here's what Car & Driver says; "Now entering its third year as a 10Best winner, the Cadillac CTS plays at the top of a segment packed with some of the best cars in the automotive kingdom."

    But in spite of that, and in spite of being both a CU "Best Buy" and a "Top Safety Pick" I would not buy it for any of those reasons. I would however, buy it because it's just the best-looking car in its size/price range. More distinctive than BMW or E-Class. And a he!! of a lot more exciting than a Genesis or Lexus.

    In a word, it has … C L A S S .

  13. Is that you talking or the PR department?

    That's just me, and it comes right from the heart. I don't own stock in GM (although I own quite a lot in some others) and I don't work in the car industry. I just call 'em as I see 'em.

    And in the CTS, I REALLY Like what I see.

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