by Aiden Eksteen
The roar of a V6 or V8 engine is typically American, and Cadillac has proven its capability at building sedans that are both plush and powerful. And, while the Blackwing brothers of the milder CT5 sibling take the cake when it comes to pure power, the 2021 Cadillac CT5 still has something to offer. The base engine is a slightly lethargic 2.0-liter turbo-four, but you have access to a more appropriately American 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 on the Premium Luxury trim, which gives the driver a healthy 335 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. This enables a 0-60 sprint time of around five seconds, depending on drivetrain. And, while this isn't awful, it's still not on the level of some rivals. At least the humble CT5 is a looker with loads of standard features, at a really reasonable price. This goes a long way to distract you from a cabin that feels rather cheap in some places. Still, if your desire is for a fun and engaging sedan, the BMW 3 Series or the Audi A4 sedans will be better picks.
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 this year in the form of an optional 12-inch digital gauge display and Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving.
See trim levels and configurations:
The first-generation CT5 is a really impressive luxury midsize sedan for the price Cadillac presents it at, although it doesn't quite offer the performance proficiencies of its predecessor. It's a pretty handsome vehicle and it boasts a spacious and comfortable interior that looks and feels high quality - for the most part. We found a few low-grade bits and pieces here and there, but the cabin is well built and plush enough to stay in competition with some of the CT5's European rivals. The base turbo-four motor is a major disappointment, however, lacking in power and fuel efficiency. The optional twin-turbo V6 unit is a much better option.
All models are refined on the road, though, with a well-insulated cabin that absorbs road abrasions and road noise, and is thoroughly loaded with value. The 2021 Cadillac CT5 underwent review by the NHTSA and scored exceptionally well, with a full house of top mars. Although two recalls exist for this model year - both pertaining to potential airbag malfunctions - ratings from J.D. Power are high, with a score of 85 out of 100 for quality and reliability. The CT5 may not be as proficient or engaging as its European 4-door contemporaries, but for the price it's offered at, it can't be ignored.
The 2.0-liter turbo-four engine is really placid and its lackluster performance will quickly begin to irk you. For that reason, we'd recommend going for the top-spec Premium Luxury model for the more powerful and competent 3.0-liter twin-turbo engine. All models come standard with a good selection of creature comforts and conveniences, and the safety suite is comprehensive across the range with forward collision alert, front pedestrian alert, and automatic emergency braking. But, while the base model is priced just under $37k, it's worth stretching for the Premium Luxury with the 3.0-liter V6. The price of the 2021 Cadillac CT5 sedan in this specification starts at $45,490, but you get additional safety features and luxuries, including 14-way power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, wireless phone charging, lane change alert with blind-spot monitoring, and rear park assist. The CT5 is worth a spot on your shortlist.
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