2021 Cadillac CT5

2021 Cadillac CT5 Review: More Space, More Value

We know that Cadillac can build excellent sedans - just look at the Cadillac CT5 - but we also know that it has struggled to truly match its German counterparts in certain areas. Despite its size, the CT5 is aimed at slightly smaller rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 and undercuts them on price by a significant margin. The exterior styling is spot-on, and the driving experience is exactly what we've come to expect from Cadillac. We'd skip the lazy 2.0-liter turbo and go straight for the 335-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine. It's a shame that the interior can't match those of its German rivals, but at the price, there's just so much value to be had here.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Cadillac CT5?

The 2021 Cadillac CT5 Sedan sees no major facelifts or updates in the USA, but Cadillac has made a few small feature updates, including the new Diamond Sky Metallic Edition package, which adds a host of interior and exterior features. The CT5 also gets some new available tech features in the form of an optional 12-inch digital gauge display and Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving.

Pros and Cons

  • It has a handsome face
  • Good ride comfort
  • Impressive infotainment system
  • The four-pot engine won't set the world on fire
  • It's not that sharp in the corners
  • The interior feels cheap in places

Best Deals on CT5

2021 Cadillac CT5 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Luxury
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$36,995
Premium Luxury
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$40,795
Sport
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$41,795

2021 Cadillac CT5 Sedan Exterior

The CT5 is a handsome thing and looks every bit as good as a BMW 3 Series or any other German in this class. Unlike its predecessors, the ATS and CTS which were offered as a coupe, the CT5 is sedan-only. The base model features standard LED lighting and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Premium Luxury trim gets illuminated door handles, bright moldings, and 18-inch wheels with a Manoogian Silver finish. The Sport gets a sporty-themed mesh grille, 19-inch alloys, and a rear spoiler. Optional extras include the Lighting package on Sport trims, which adds LED illuminating door handles, front sill plates, and front cornering lamps.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Forward View CarBuzz
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Dimensions

Classified as a mid-size luxury sedan, the CT5 shares its dimensions with competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The CT5 Sedan measures 193.8 inches in length and is 74.1 inches wide, excluding the side mirrors. The overall height is 57.2 inches, and the track width in the is 62.8 inches in the front, and 63.9 inches in the rear. For a mid-size car, the CT5 isn't massively overweight, with the base model weighing in at 3,659 lbs, The Premium Luxury car weighs in at 3,663 lbs, and the Sport tips the scales at 3,685 lbs.

  • Length 193.8 in
  • Wheelbase 116.0 in
  • Height 57.2 in
  • Max Width 74.1 in
  • Front Width 62.8 in
  • Rear Width 63.9 in
  • Curb Weight 3,659.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

Cadillac offers the CT5 in a wide range of exterior colors that all look pretty mature. That doesn't mean they're boring, but don't expect any colors called "Plum Crazy" or "Trump Orange." In base form, the CT5 is available in ten colors, with Summit White and Black Raven being the only two no-cost options. The premium range consists of colors such as Satin Steel Metallic, Evergreen Metallic, Wave Metallic, and Dark Moon Blue Metallic. These colors all go for an extra $625. Infrared Tintcoat and Crystal White Tricoat both add $1,225. Premium Luxury vehicles add Diamond Sky Metallic as a no-cost option, and Sport models are offered in Velocity Red, but lose Garnet Metallic, Dark Moon Blue Metallic, and Diamond Sky Metallic. Want to look like you're an FBI agent or a fan of Men in Black? Get your CT5 in black.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Performance

The performance levels of the 2021 CT5 are a tale of two engines. Sport and Luxury models are offered exclusively with a 2.0-liter turbo-four that delivers 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain is a dud and delivers uninspiring performance. The 0-60 mph sprint will take you a lazy 6.6 seconds, or 6.9 seconds if you're in an AWD model, making cars such as the BMW 3 Series look like a rocket ship. To save face, Cadillac offers a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 in the Premium Luxury trim, which pushes out 335 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. This offers considerably improved shove and a zero to sixty time of 4.9 seconds, or 5.1 seconds when spinning all four wheels.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Aft View CarBuzz
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2021 Cadillac CT5 Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

There are two engines to choose from, both offering notably different performance levels, and unfortunately, you won't find a V8 here. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This engine is underwhelming at best, which is disappointing when you consider the athletic image the CT5 portrays. The engine has enough punch to overtake on the highway but is simply not enjoyable to push hard. Power is sent to the rear or all four wheels via a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission.

Thankfully, Cadillac also offers a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that significantly increases driver enjoyment. This setup produces a healthy 335 hp and 400 lb-ft. With mountains of torque available across the rev range, the CT5 feels effortlessly fast, and most will be taken aback at how this car picks up speed. To top it all off, this is one of the best-sounding turbocharged six-cylinders around. There is no manual option available for the CT5, but the 10-speed auto paired with both engine configurations offers quick shifts when demanded and is silky smooth when you just want to cruise about.

  • Engines
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6
  • Transmission
    10-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Cadillac has been building great driver's cars for the last decade, so it should come as no surprise when we tell you that the CT5 offers a good time behind the wheel. It rides on Cadillac's Alpha 2 platform, which has been further refined since the days of the ATS, and the overall driving experience is on par with its contemporaries. It should be noted from the start, however, that the CT5 is not a sports car, and Cadillac has clearly tuned the chassis and suspension setup in the non-V vehicle to be more forgiving, which works in its favor. Out on the open road, the CT5 is remarkably comfortable, with minimal road noise intruding into the cabin. Still, on twisty roads, we did notice a bit more body roll than in competitors such as the BMW 3 Series. Cadillac's excellent Magnetic Ride suspension is offered on the Sport trim and, along with the V Performance package, which includes a mechanical limited-slip differential, performance suspension, and Brembo brakes, this turns the CT5 into a serious driver's car> However, that's not what this Caddy is all about.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Gas Mileage

Cadillac has tried to play the economy card with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, but this powertrain fails to deliver impressive numbers. The EPA rates that the RWD 2.0T will manage 23/32/26 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, while the AWD drops this down to 21/31/25 mpg. Stepping up to the turbocharged V6 engine will see those numbers drop even further: the RWD returns 19/28/22 mpg, while the AWD manages a meagre 18/26/21 mpg. Despite having cylinder deactivation tech, the four-cylinder engine's real-world testing revealed a combined figure of only 17.5 mpg. The 17.4-gallon fuel tank gives it a range of up to 452 miles of combined driving in its most efficient configuration.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    17.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 23/32 mpg
* 2021 Cadillac CT5 Luxury Sedan

2021 Cadillac CT5 Interior

Despite its best efforts, Cadillac has not been able to match its German rivals' build quality and style. - something typical of US manufacturers The interior of the CT5 clearly shows how far Cadillac has come in terms of interior styling, but it falls short of the big names. We have also noticed a lot of borrowing going on from other GM vehicles, which detracts from Cadillac's image as a premium car builder. If you can look past these somewhat superficial issues, then the cabin of the CT5 is a nice place to be; the controls are neatly positioned and ergonomic, and the infotainment system is one of the best in its class.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Dashboard CarBuzz
2021 Cadillac CT5 Gear Shifter CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

There is space for five full-grown adults within the confines of the CT5's cabin. Those in the front will have a grand time thanks to 42.4 inches of legroom, and six-footers will also be content with the 39 inches of headroom on offer. Unfortunately, the CT5's sportback design makes things a little bit tight in the rear, and taller occupants will struggle with only 36.6 inches of headroom. All trim levels enjoy power-adjustable front seating, with the base model getting 12-way driver and 10-way front passenger adjustment. Premium Luxury cars get 14-way power adjustability, and Sport models offer 18-way adjustability.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.4 in
  • Front Head Room 39.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 36.6 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The Luxury trim comes with your choice of Jet Black or Sahara Beige leatherette seats with Jet Black Accents. Moving up to the Premium Luxury gives you the option of Jet Black, Sahara Beige, or Maple Sugar leather seats, each with Jet Black accents, or Sedona Sauvage Aniline Leather seats, which requires additional options amounting to $11,850 to be selected. The Sport trim comes standard with Jet Black leatherette seats and the optional Sedona Sauvage semi-aniline leather, this time adding $12,850 to the bill, but customers can also go for leather seats with mini perforated inserts in a choice of Jet Black or Whisper Beige for an additional $2,690 (requires other options as well). Metallic trip pieces can be found in the base model, while Sport models get carbon-fiber trim. The Premium Luxury is also offered with wood trim. It is worth noting that each upholstery choice comes with its own door and dashboard trim.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Trunk and Cargo Space

Despite its classification as a mid-size luxury car, the CT5 doesn't offer a lot of cargo space - only 1.5 cubic feet more than the old ATS. With a total trunk space of 11.9 cubic feet, the CT5 falls short of compact executive sedans such as the BMW 3 Series, which has a total trunk size of 13 cubic feet. Large grocery runs are out of the question unless you're willing to fold down the rear seats for some extra space. Small items can be stored in the generously-sized glovebox or center armrest console storage bin. Those in the front get a pair of cupholders, and there are door pockets in each corner of the car.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Interior Overview CarBuzz
2021 Cadillac CT5 Trunk Space with Seat Folded CarBuzz
2021 Cadillac CT5 Trunk Space CarBuzz
  • Trunk Volume
    11.9 ft³

2021 Cadillac CT5 Infotainment and Features

Features

The Caddy isn't shy on features, and the base model comes standard with a 12-way power-adjustable driver seat and a 10-way power front passenger seat, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, a digital compass, dual-zone automatic climate control, an HD rear vision camera, keyless entry, a leather steering wheel, remote start, and a universal home remote.

The Premium Luxury also gets standard 14-way front power seats with leather upholstery, ambient interior lighting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and wireless phone charging. The Sport trim gets standard features such as alloy sport pedals, a thick-rimmed leather steering wheel, manual driver and front passenger cushion length adjustment, power driver and front passenger seatback bolsters, and magnesium paddle-shift controls. All models come standard with forward collision alert and front pedestrian braking. The Premium Luxury and Sport trim adds lane change alert with blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist.

Infotainment

The infotainment system plays a significant role in the overall daily experience of a car, and Cadillac has clearly realized this. The CT5's CUE infotainment suite features a 10-inch multi-touch HD color screen that displays crisp and clear images and feels fluid enough compared to offerings from the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. The Cadillac's infotainment system also features voice recognition, three USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, HD radio, an SD card reader, a three-month SiriusXM subscription, and a nine-speaker audio system. Optional extras include navigation and a 15-speaker Bose sound system which sounds great when jamming Horse With No Name by America.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Problems and Reliability

While the 2021 model year is recall-fee, 2020 cars have seen one recall issued for sensor contamination in the brake booster system. Cadillac will cover the CT5 with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, an impressive six-year/70,000-mile drivetrain warranty, a one-year/one-visit maintenance plan, and a six-year/70,000-mile roadside assistance plan.

Warranty

  • Warranty Note:
    Preliminary 2021 Warranty \ 
  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Corrosion:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit

2021 Cadillac CT5 Safety

The IIHS has no review of the Cadillac CT5, but it managed to score a full five out of five stars from the NHTSA, which should give you a good enough indication of its safety levels.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

With a perfect score from the NHTSA, you'd best believe that the 2021 CT5 comes packed with safety features. All cars come equipped with eight airbags, including knee airbags for the front passengers and head curtain airbags for both rows. Standard driver assistance features include forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and automatic emergency braking. Premium Luxury and Sport cars get standard lane change alert with nlind spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist. Optional safety features include HD surround vision and automatic parking assist, and Premium Luxury and Sport models also qualify for features such as rear pedestrian alert and reverse automatic braking.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Cadillac CT5 a good car?

Caddilac set its own bar pretty high when it released the ATS and CTS: both were excellent driver's cars and proved that the automaker has what it takes to genuinely rival its German counterparts. Fast forward a couple of years, and the CT5 still offers a compelling package. The exterior is nice to look at, and the interior is refined enough to compete with the likes of the BMW 3 Series, although we did find some materials lacking in quality. Under the hood, the base engine is disappointing and doesn't stand up to the competition, but the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter engine saves the day with excellent power and an aggressive exhaust note. Around the bends, the CT5 isn't as focused as its Germanic foes, but the CT5 undercuts cars such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series by such a large margin that it doesn't really matter. Cadillac is still in the premium sedan race.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Cadillac CT5?

One of the CT5's strongest selling points is its value for money: it is $2,105 cheaper than the Audi A4 by and $4,255 less than the BMW 3 Series. A new Cadillac CT5 goes for an MSRP of only $36,995 in base form, and going for the AWD version will set you back $38,995. The Premium Luxury will cost you $40,795 when equipped with the 2.0T engine in RWD guise, or $42,795 in AWD spec, and climbs in price to $44,195 when fitted with the 3.0T engine in RWD, or $47,295 in AWD. At the top sits the Sport, which starts at a price of $41,795, or $43,795 for the AWD. Fully loaded, the price of the Cadillac CT5 can reach over $63,000. These prices exclude tax, registration, and a destination fee of $995.

2021 Cadillac CT5 Models

There are three trim levels on offer for the 2021 model year, starting with the Luxury and followed by the Premium Luxury and Sport. Two engine options are on offer: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 335 hp. Power is sent to the rear wheels or all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The Luxury trim includes standard features such as LED headlights, a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat and a 10-way power front passenger seat, digital compass, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The standard infotainment system includes a ten-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, three USB ports, Sirius XM and Digital HD radio, an SD card reader, and a nine-speaker audio system. Standard safety features include forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and automatic emergency braking.

Premium Luxury cars add 14-way front power seats with leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient interior lighting, and wireless phone charging. Added safety tech includes lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist.

The top-tier Sport trim offers a thick-rimmed leather steering wheel, power driver and front passenger seatback bolsters, alloy sport pedals, and magnesium paddle-shift controls.

See All 2021 Cadillac CT5 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

You can really pile on the options and push the asking price of the CT5 to absurd levels. The base model can be equipped with optional packages such as the $2,800 Sun and Sound Package, which adds a power sunroof, navigation, wireless phone charging, and a 15-speaker Bose sound system. Get in the Premium Luxury, and you can get the Diamond Sky Special Edition Package, which adds exterior styling changes, including a Diamond Sky paint job, unique 19-inch wheels, blue brake calipers, Brembo performance brakes, and alloy pedals. The Sport is offered with the comprehensive Platinum Package, which, for $10,400, includes features such as navigation and a premium Bose sound system, semi-aniline seats, a dual-pane sunroof, and parking assistance.

🚗What New Cadillac CT5 Model Should I Buy?

The base model CT5 is not a complete disaster and comes with a lot of standard gear for a very reasonable price, but you'll soon tire of the dud engine, and the Sport doesn't live up to its name. The Premium Luxury, equipped with the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine, will set you back $40,795 and includes features such as leather upholstery, wireless phone charging, ambient interior lighting, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist. Still, it's well worth the price for improved performance.

Check out other Cadillac CT5 Styles

2021 Cadillac CT5 Comparisons

Cadillac CT6 Sedan Cadillac
Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Cadillac
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Cadillac CT5237 hp23/32 mpg$36,995
Cadillac CT6 Sedan 335 hp18/27 mpg$58,995
Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing 668 hp13/21 mpg$83,995

2021 Cadillac CT5 vs Cadillac CT6 Sedan

Despite being discontinued last year, the Cadillac CT6 is still an exciting option, and it shouldn't be challenging to find a fresh second-hand car for sale in your area. The CT6 is larger and is offered with two engine options. The base 3.6-liter V6 engine produces 335 hp (as much as the most potent CT5), and you also get the option of a hardcore 4.2-lite twin-turbo V8 producing 500 hp and 574 lb-ft. In either spec, power is sent to all four wheels via a ten-speed automatic transmission. On the road, the CT6 is possibly one of the best handling full-size luxury cars of its time, but its stiffer suspension slightly compromises comfort. The interior shares a similar design language, extending to the use of lower-quality materials. The CT6 can be an interesting alternative to a new CT5; after all, you get more space, a potential 500 hp if you're willing to pay the extra cash, and an excellent chassis.

See Cadillac CT6 Sedan Review

2021 Cadillac CT5 vs Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

The CT5 isn't a pure sports sedan. Sure, it's athletic enough around a set of twisty roads, but it lacks the punch of a genuine BMW M-car or Mercedes-AMG product. That issue will soon be laid to rest with the arrival of the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. This high-performance version will compete against the 2021 BMW M3. So what are the significant differences here? Well, for starters, it looks slightly meaner without going overboard thanks to changes such as more aggressive front styling, quad exhaust tips, and a trunk lip spoiler. Under the hood, the CT5-V Blackwing blows the CT5 and the BMW M3 out of the water with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 producing 668 hp, sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed Tremec manual transmission. The interior is also a step up over the standard car, featuring sport seats, lots of carbon fiber, and a sexy new steering wheel. The CT5-V Blackwing completely out-prices its non-performance sibling with an asking price of $84,990. Get the CT5 for the weekly commute and the CT5-V Blackwing for some weekend antics.

See Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Review

Cadillac CT5 Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Cadillac CT5:

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$36,995 - $41,795
Price Range (MSRP)
Cadillac CT5
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