2020 Cadillac CT5

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2020 Cadillac CT5 Test Drive Review: A New Dawn

Cadillac introduced the CTS sedan in the early part of the 2000s as the USA's first true competitor to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. The CTS was highly successful for Cadillac and eventually grew to 5 Series/E-Class proportions, prompting the need for a smaller sedan called the ATS. As a new decade dawned, Cadillac decided to reinvent its sedan profile once again, replacing both the ATS and CTS with a tweener-sized sedan called the Cadillac CT5.

Straddling the line between a German compact and midsize sedan, the CT5 arrives powered by a choice of two engines. A standard turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine develops 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, competing nicely with the Audi A4, BMW 330i, and Mercedes C300. A larger twin-turbo V6 producing 335 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque is also available, more closely targeting the S4, M340i, and C43 (but with a less sporty flavor). A hotter CT5 V model is also available but receives its own separate review. With the CT5, Cadillac looks to improve on the mistakes of the ATS and CTS by improving the interior while retaining the outstanding driving dynamics. To find out if the CT5 is a worthy successor to the ATS and CTS or a true rival for the German compact trio, Cadillac sent us a 2020 CT5 Premium Luxury with AWD to drive for a week.

Read in this review:

8.4
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2020 Cadillac CT5 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 CT5?

The CT5 is an all-new model for Cadillac, with no immediate predecessor. However, it does replace the now discontinued ATS and CTS sedans, making use of an updated version of Chevrolet Camaro platform underpinnings called Alpha 2. The standard turbocharged inline-four-cylinder engine under the hood of the CT5 is down on power compared to rivaling base engines, but the optional twin-turbo V6's torque figures outmatch the competition. The CT5 does come with more standard gadgets and safety features than many rivals. It will also feature Cadillac's acclaimed Super Cruise hands-free driver assistance in the 2021 model year.

Pros and Cons

  • Gutsy twin-turbo V6
  • Long list of available advanced safety features
  • Spacious rear seats
  • User-friendly infotainment
  • Low price tag for a luxury sedan
  • Still handles well
  • Unimpressive base four-cylinder
  • Incohesive interior design
  • Lack of rear headroom
  • Poor cargo capacity
  • V6 is thirsty in real-world driving

What’s the Price of 2020 Cadillac CT5?

Set to compete with the likes of the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, there's a pretty tempting starting price for the 2020 Cadillac CT5. Getting behind the wheel of the base Luxury trim will only cost you $36,895 compared to entry-level 3 Series and C-Class models at $41,245 and $41,400, respectively. The Premium Luxury is more on par with these rivals at an MSRP of $40,695, while you can install the available twin-turbo V6 engine at an additional cost of $4,850 if you stick with the rear-wheel drivetrain. The Sport is the most expensive base model at $41,695. Every model can be upgraded with all-wheel-drive for $2,000, although equipping the drivetrain to the V6 engine will cost an additional $1,090. The quoted prices for the Cadillac CT5 excludes tax, registration, licensing, and Cadillac's $995 destination charge.

Best Deals on 2020 Cadillac CT5

2020 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
$36,895
Premium Luxury
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$40,695
Sport
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$41,695
See All 2020 Cadillac CT5 Trims and Specs

2020 CT5 Exterior

2020 Cadillac CT5 Forward View CarBuzz
2020 Cadillac CT5 View Out Back CarBuzz
2020 Cadillac CT5 Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
See All 2020 Cadillac CT5 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • 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

2020 CT5 Performance

2020 Cadillac CT5 Aft View CarBuzz
2020 Cadillac CT5 Rear-Facing View CarBuzz
2020 Cadillac CT5 Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

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

Handling and Driving Impressions

With the ATS and CTS, Cadillac proved that an American automaker could build a car that handles better than a German sedan. The CT5 is based on the Alpha 2 platform, an evolution of the architecture used in the outgoing cars, and the Chevy Camaro. It's a great place to start, but the non-V CT5 has clearly been tuned more for comfort than sporty driving. There is substantial body roll through the corners, though the ride is comfortable enough to forgive it for not handling flatly like a sports car. That being said, the CT5 is still a delightful car to drive.

Once you get off-center, there is genuine feel through the steering, transmitting what the front and rear ends are up to through the wheel to the driver. The body lean can easily be managed, and once the suspension loads up, the CT5 feels stable even when you push it absurdly fast through corners. Even with AWD, the CT5 feels like a RWD vehicle, and the rear end can step out progressively, on-demand. Cadillac is rumored to have a hardcore CT5-V Blackwing in the works, which should make full use of the car's excellent platform.

Sadly, GM's excellent Magnetic Ride Control suspension isn't found on the standard CT5, which would likely fix the car's abundance of lean through the corners. We were also put off by the CT5's eBoost brakes, which were difficult to modulate during spirited driving. You may also never notice during normal driving, but we detected an annoying clicking sound from the brake pedal any time we executed a stopping maneuver.

2020 CT5 Interior

2020 Cadillac CT5 Dashboard CarBuzz
2020 Cadillac CT5 Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
2020 Cadillac CT5 Front Seats CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • 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

2020 CT5 Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Cadillac CT5 Rear Passenger Seats Folded CarBuzz
2020 Cadillac CT5 Trunk Space with Seat Folded CarBuzz
2020 Cadillac CT5 Trunk Space CarBuzz
  • Trunk Volume
    11.9 ft³

2020 CT5 Safety and Reliability

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

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

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

Verdict: Is the Cadillac CT5 A Good car?

The old Cadillac ATS and CTS could be summed up pretty easily - among the best driver's sedans on the market, but lackluster interior quality made them tough to recommend. With the CT5, Cadillac makes a much more compelling argument to not choose one of the German options. By positioning the CT5 between the ATS and CTS rather than directly replacing either, Cadillac can attempt to capture a market of buyers who want to pay 3 Series money but get 5 Series levels of passenger space.

Inside, the CT5 is plusher than its extinct predecessors, with higher-quality materials used throughout the cabin. However, Cadillac has still made some silly cost-cutting decisions with certain materials, making the CT5 feel less cohesive than its German rivals. This is, fortunately, barred out in the price, where the CT5 undercuts the A4/S4, 3 Series, and C-Class by thousands of dollars. It may not be the sharply-focused driver's sedan that the ATS and CTS were, but we think the CT5 is a far more widely appealing sedan for shoppers who are bold enough to try something new. For the enthusiasts, a sharper V model is currently available and a hardcore Blackwing model should go toe-to-toe with the best of Audi Sport, BMW M, and Mercedes-AMG.

What New Cadillac CT5 Model Should I Buy?

While the base Luxury trim comes well-equipped with an impressive list of features, both infotainment and safety, the Premium Luxury adds quite a number of upgrades while only increasing cost by $4,000. On the other hand, the Sport trim doesn't really live up to the badge, adding mostly aesthetic changes. Thus, we recommend sticking with the Premium Luxury, which comes with desirable advanced safety features like lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and the punchy V6 engine. The wireless charging pad is also a welcome addition for gadget-lovers. We'd ignore AWD unless you live somewhere with heavy snow and even with nearly every option, you can keep the CT5 below $60,000.

Check out other Cadillac CT5 Styles

2020 Cadillac CT5 Comparisons

BMW 3 Series Sedan BMW
Cadillac CT6 Sedan Cadillac
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Cadillac CT5235 hp23/33 mpg$37,295
BMW 3 Series Sedan 255 hp26/36 mpg$41,450
Cadillac CT6 Sedan 335 hp18/27 mpg$58,995

2020 Cadillac CT5 vs BMW 3 Series Sedan

The BMW 3 Series is what the new Cadillac CT5 was designed to compete with, but right out the gate, the BMW has more power. The 3 Series can be equipped with a 255-hp turbo-four or a 382-hp turbo-six; both engines are stronger than their counterparts on the Caddy. But the German luxury sedan also handles its power better, with more refined driving dynamics and a more comfortable ride. What's even more impressive is the 3 Series' fuel economy, easily beating out the CT5 at 26/36/30 mpg. When you add to all this the more upscale interior, superior styling, a much larger 17-cubic-foot trunk, and a long list of standard high-tech features on the BMW, you have to wonder if Cadillac was serious about its goal. In just about every way, the BMW 3 Series is the better sedan here. The only advantage for the Cadillac CT5 is its pricing, which is more affordable, but that should hardly factor in when shopping for a luxury sedan.

See BMW 3 Series Sedan Review

2020 Cadillac CT5 vs Cadillac CT6 Sedan

The new CT5 is set to take its place between the smaller CT4 and the larger CT6. You'd think that being larger, the CT6 might get stronger engines, but it suffers from the same lackluster powertrains as its smaller sibling on lower-rung models, although the top trim does get access to a V8. Add to this its more unwieldy dimensions, and you would be foolish to expect much in the way of athleticism. It has the same light, disconnected steering that is common among large luxury sedans, but it never feels smaller than it is, making it harder to engage with around bends. However, the CT6 also disappoints when it comes to ride quality, given that larger cruisers normally offer smoother rides. The interior of the larger Caddy is spacious, and it offers a larger 15.8 cubic foot trunk, but neither of these factors is a significant improvement over the CT5. Overall, the CT5 is the slightly more refined of the luxury sedans from the US manufacturer.

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