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2019 Cadillac CTS Overview
The Cadillac CTS has come a long way in the past 15 years. It has been one of the most important models in the company’s history, elevating Cadillac from the brand associated with retirement homes and golf courses to one associated with luxury and high-performance. And now, the midsize luxury sedan gives the established German names a run for their money. The current third generation debuted for 2014 and it carries over unchanged for 2019, causing the CTS to show its age.
It is available in Standard, Luxury, Premium Luxury, V-Sport, and V-Sport Premium Luxury trims. For performance-oriented Cadillac buyers looking for a truly track-ready sedan that can also be driven to work comfortably, there is a CTS-V model, which is covered separately.
The base CTS gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque driving through an 8-speed automatic, even a base CTS offers plenty of car. A 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 335 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque is available. In the V-Sport model, this engine makes 420 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque -- enough to scoot the 3,600-pound sedan from 0-60 in about 4.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 170 miles per hour. Rear-drive is standard for all models, but all-wheel drive is available on all models, except the rear-drive-only V-Sport.
The CTS has features like active grille shutters and stop/start ignition to make it more efficient, but the fuel economy figures still aren’t rosy. All the EPA-estimated fuel economy figures aren’t available as of this writing. However, the four-cylinder RWD gets a respectable 22 mpg city, 30 highway, and 25 combined, while the AWD model returns 21 mpg city, 29 highway, and 24 combined. The mid-range V-6 gets 19 mpg city and 29 highway with rear-drive and 18 city and 26 highway with all-wheel drive. The V-Sport only manages 16, 24, and 19 with RWD.
While straight-line speed is nothing new to the Cadillac faithful, the company has admirably put a ton of time and effort into making the CTS handle. The CTS continues to surprise as one of the best-handling midsize luxury sedans out there. The V-Sport model adds Pirelli tires, a quicker steering ratio, magnetic suspension, bigger front brakes, and a limited-slip differential. The Luxury model, meanwhile, can be had with adaptive shocks.
The CTS isn’t the roomiest car around, but it’s nice inside and well-appointed with well-bolstered seats and quality materials. Up front, the seats feature 20-way power adjust; other features include an 11-speaker Bose stereo, three USB ports, and an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The CTS Luxury model adds power adjust for the steering wheel, better leather upholstery, a panoramic moonroof, and an available rear-camera mirror. The Premium adds the V-6 engine plus a surround-view camera, 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, color head-up display, and parking assist. The V-Sport is mostly about performance, so the extra money is spent on the parts underneath the skin.
In crash testing, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the CTS five out of five stars, although the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the car a Marginal result in the tricky small front overlap test and it doesn’t receive Top Safety Pick status. Optional active safety features include blind-spot monitors, active-lane control, forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, surround-view camera, and rear-camera mirror.
Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.
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