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2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan

$46,995 - $71,795
Price Range (MSRP)
Cadillac CTS Sedan

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Review

by Jay Traugott

Some like to think that the era of the great American sedan is coming to an end, and the rise of the ever-practical but uninspiring SUV is going to continue growing from strength to strength until we're all driving high-riding crossovers. Despite the overwhelming odds, some refuse to give up; Cadillac is one of the few automakers still pushing the luxury sedan agenda in a serious way. The current Cadillac CTS has been with us since 2014 in its current form and is due for replacement next year, but still represents everything Cadillac is working towards as a brand: sporty handling, executive levels of comfort, and a rich feature list. New owners get to choose between a small turbo four-cylinder, a smooth naturally aspirated V6 or a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6. Despite its age and somewhat stiff ride, the Cadillac CTS still offers German-rivaling performance.

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 CTS Sedan?

No changes have been made for 2019, and the CTS carries over the features from 2018. The CTS is due for replacement by the new CT5 in 2020.

Pros and Cons

  • Entertaining handling
  • Twin-turbo V6 in V-Sport is highly entertaining
  • It flies under the radar
  • Impressive infotainment
  • Feature-rich
  • The four-cylinder turbo engine is unrefined
  • Cramped rear seating
  • Less cargo space than class-leaders
  • The new CT5 is out next year

CTS Sedan Exterior

The CTS design has come to represent Cadillac's return to modern car design, and despite the looks remaining somewhat unchanged, the CTS has managed to stay fresh and decidedly executive in its own unique way. The front of the car is dominated by an unashamedly large Cadillac badge mounted on the front grille which features active aero shutters with chrome accents, although it can be decked in black as an option. The headlights feature dated halogen headlights and LED daytime running lights on lower trims with HID projectors on higher trim levels, but LED lights would have been a nice touch. The trunk lid has an LED rear brake light and all of this rolls on a set of standard 17-inch alloy wheels which grow in size to 18- and then finally 19-inches depending on the trim. The CTS looks like a car meant for business, and flies under the radar, while rivals with modern designs strut their stuff openly.

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Front View
2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Rear View
2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Front View Driving
See All 2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The CTS Sedan is a proper mid-size executive car when you look at its dimensions, slotting in between the ATS and XTS perfectly, and in terms of size is akin to the CTS of old. The Caddy is 195.5 inches long, 57.2 inches tall and 72.2 inches wide. It rides on a lengthy 114.6-inch wheelbase, longer than both the ATS and XTS. The base curb weight of 3,652 lbs is admirable when considering the fact that American peers such as the Chrysler 300 weighs over 4,000 lbs and plays a vital part in the CTS' ability to handle like a much smaller and lighter car, but heavier alternatives in the line-up tip the scales closer to that mark at 3,992 lbs.

Exterior Colors

The clean-cut CTS is offered in seven colors, with five of them available at additional cost. The complimentary standard colors are Black Raven and Radiant Silver Metallic. Alternative colors include Dark Adriatic Blue, Satin Steel, and Stellar Black for $625 extra, while Red Obsession and Crystal White tintcoat options cost $1,225. The CTS is best known for the epic 15-minute car chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded, where it wore a coat of silver paint that got absolutely ruined by roof-top kung-fu moves, but we'd recommend darker colors such as the Stellar Black metallic which suits its stealth-bomber persona.

CTS Sedan Performance

The CTS is offered with three powerplants that are at the two opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of power delivery and refinement, but all have their fans. A low curb weight and a finely tuned chassis go a long way to make the CTS accelerate and corner with enough verve to put it close to the top of its class, something that Cadillac has been working towards for the best part of a decade, with the optional magnetic suspension contributing heavily towards that goal. If the outgoing CTS is anything to go on, its replacement will offer excellent performance, perhaps even enough to lure some back to the four-door sedan way of life. The Cadillac CTS delivers class-leading performance, especially in terms of road holding, and amongst fierce competition from the German staples, it can wear the sports sedan label with pride. Power is sent to the rear wheels in the base model, but AWD is available when you go up in the range. The most potent model in the CTS range, the CTS V-Sport, kicks out 420 hp from a twin-turbo V6 and will accelerate to sixty in only 4.4 seconds.

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Front View Driving
2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Front View
2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Engine Bay

Engine and Transmission

There are three engines to choose from; all offer strong performance, but the way they deliver their power couldn't be more different. The entry-level engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 265 hp and a healthy 295 lb-ft of torque. The four-pot delivers excellent mid-range torque but comes across as unrefined. Despite this, the 2.0-liter engine in the CTS produces more power than most of its rivals and out-accelerates its peers. The second engine choice in the CTS lineup is the trusty, all-motor 3.6-liter V6 which makes 335 hp and 285 lb-ft. The smaller turbocharged unit produces more torque, but the V6 is the more refined choice and delivers its power in a more linear fashion, but needs to rev out to get the same type of pull as the turbo engine. The best engine in the lineup by a country mile has to be the twin-turbo V6 that produces 420 hp and 430 lb-ft and turns the CTS into a serious sleeper. An eight-speed auto transmission does duty in all derivatives of the CTS and is responsive enough to make driving enjoyable, as long as you don't expect lightning-fast downshifts.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.6-liter Turbo V6 Gas, 3.6-liter V6 Flex-fuel (FFV)
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Cadillac has spent a lot of money on getting the handling of the CTS on par with its rivals, and have managed to create a midrange sport sedan that doesn't feel numb and disconnected like so many others. Instead, it provides an enthralling drive that can be entertaining when the occasion arises, but also comfortable when the daily commute demands it.

There are a few factors that have contributed to the excellent handling characteristics of the CTS. Firstly, the Alpha platform that the CTS shares with the ATS and XTS is a well-balanced piece of engineering which gives the CTS a solid base to work from. Steering is heavy for everyday driving but works well when the car is being pushed into corners, and the CTS provides sharp and direct turn-in. During hard cornering the CTS manages to remain flat and well balanced. You'll soon forget that you're driving a 3,600-pound car. For those who appreciate the handling characteristics of their vehicles, the optional magnetic damping system is a must, and turns the CTS into a class-leading handler, and also helps soften up the standard ride which some drivers may find too stiff.

CTS Sedan Gas Mileage

Gas mileage will vary due to the different choices of engines and drivetrain configurations. The most fuel-efficient CTS is the 2.0-liter turbo in RWD guise. It will return a figure of 22/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined. The AWD 2.0-liter takes a knock and achieves 21/29/24 mpg. The 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 is surprisingly light on gas and returns 19/29/23 mpg, but it will be harder to match those numbers in the real world. In AWD spec, the V6 gets 18/26/21 mpg, still not too bad for an old-school V6 that powers all four wheels. The twin-turbo V6 is the thirstiest of the bunch and consumes 16/24/19 mpg. The CTS gets a 19-gallon fuel tank which will see it driving for 418 miles in mixed conditions.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    19.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/30 mpg
* 2019 Cadillac CTS 2.0L Turbo RWD Sedan

CTS Sedan Interior

It is clear that Cadillac wanted to craft the interior around the driver, and once you step inside the CTS from the driver side door, you feel cocooned in your own private command center of sorts, with all the essential buttons within easy reach. The classic analog gauge cluster is easy to read and displays all the vital information in a clear and concise manner. Cadillac, once known for making some of the most luxurious cars in America, fell off the wagon in past decades and has been trying hard to design and build interiors that match the levels of sophistication and design excellence offered in cars from Germany. Unfortunately, the CTS has missed the mark by cluttering the interior, and the fit and finish cannot match the class-leaders.

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Central Console
2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Dashboard Shown
2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Infotainment System
See All 2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The CTS seats five adults but doesn't offer enough interior space to make it competitive with the executive sedan leaders. Front-seat legroom is a generous 45.7 inches, more than enough for even the largest of passengers, and the same goes for the headroom dimensions, which measure 40.4 inches. An issue that plagues Alpha platform Cadillacs is that the interior space tends to be on the tighter side when compared to other cars in the same class. This is most notable in the rear, where backseat passengers only get 35.4 inches of legroom and headroom shrinks down to 37.5 inches. Front passengers should have no trouble getting in and out, but the slanting roofline in the rear could pose an issue to back seat occupants. Once inside, forward visibility is OK, but the thick C-pillars and a narrow rear end constrain rearward visibility. The driving position is spot on and puts the driver within excellent reach of all essential touchpoints. The 12-way power-adjustable front seats get a two-way lumbar adjustment and offer enough support, but are clearly designed with comfort in mind, and not so much all-out performance.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

In its quest to offer a premium interior, Cadillac has gone overboard, throwing every type of material in its arsenal at the interior of the CTS. Material choices include wood-grain, aluminum, suede, gloss black plastics, and leather. The official seat upholstery offerings from Cadillac goes something like this: Light Platinum faux and real leather, Jet Black, Light Cashmere, and Kona Brown leather. The trimmings and inserts consist of Jet Black accents, high-gloss Sapele Wood, Aluminum, Natural Sapele Wood, Black Olive Ash Wood, Carbon-Fiber, Morello Red Carbon-Fiber and finally a natural finish Elmwood trim. Quite a mouthful. An all-black interior with aluminum inserts suits the CTS but may make the interior feel more cramped. All these interior materials dilute what is otherwise an attractive cabin with a good design flow. Recaro seats are also available with semi-aniline leather and microfiber inserts, paired with V-carbon fiber trim inserts on the dash and doors.

CTS Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

The CTS Sedan backs up its disappointing interior space with a small trunk, measuring only 13.7 cubic feet. Its larger sibling, the XTS, offers a generous 18 cubic feet of trunk space, and the BMW 5 Series does even better, offering 18.7 cu-ft. With only 13 cubic feet to work with, you can forget about fitting an extra set of golf clubs in there, but you should be able to squeeze in a couple of large suitcases.

Despite the relatively cramped interior space, personal storage is ample. The large center console is big enough to store the driver's belongings, and the electric push-button mechanism on the glovebox is a nice touch.

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Luggage Space
2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Right Side in Motion
2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Rear View Driving
  • Trunk Volume
    13.7 ft³

CTS Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

The CTS is on its way out, which means it gets a lot of features. This is good news for prospective buyers looking to get a good deal, and as an executive sports sedan, features are as important as the drivetrain and handling characteristics. Standard on the base model you'll get wireless phone charging, 4G LTE WiFi, keyless access, push-button start, and even remote start functionality. The luxury trim features a heated steering wheel, auto-dimming and heated mirrors, and adaptive headlights. You also get a sunroof and ambient interior lighting. The top of the line Premium Luxury model is decked out with modern features that should help it stay relevant in an age of constant development and progress. A head-up display unit, tri-zone climate control, and heated rear seats go a long way, as do the little touches such as illuminated door handles and power rear sunshades.

Infotainment

The infotainment system on the CTS is of the older generation of designs and can be irritating to use due to its touchscreen-only setup: you swipe and select on the screen and not via easy to reach buttons or knobs as found on Audi's MMI infotainment system. Swiping the screen doesn't always produce the desired result, which can be troublesome when you're driving. The voice command system doesn't pick up on every command and is infuriating to use. At least Cadillac has made sure that you can connect to its infotainment system in a number of ways: there's Bluetooth, an aux input and USB ports, as well as the all-important Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. The display screen measures eight inches and produces crisp images that are easy on the eye, while the sound quality is taken care of by a Bose 11-speaker sound system.

CTS Sedan Problems and Reliability

The third-generation Cadillac CTS has been recalled twice in the last four years. The first recall was issued in 2015 due to a defective brake mechanism that could break, leading to a possible loss of stopping power. This issue affected certain 2015 model year CTS vehicles. The second recall was issued mid-2018 for a problem with the seat warmers, which could overheat, potentially causing a fire. This issue affected cars built between 2014 and 2016. The 2019 CTS sedan is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, a six-year/70,000-mile drivetrain warranty, a one-year/one-visit maintenance warranty, and a six-year/70,000-mile roadside assistance package.

CTS Sedan Safety

According to the IIHS, the 2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan provided marginal levels of safety for the small front overlap test but scored Good for all remaining crash metrics. The NHTSA gave the CTS a perfect five out of five stars.

Key Safety Features

The Cadillac CTS won't be winning any awards for safety, but it offers everything you'd expect from a car in this price range. In terms of airbag protection, the front seat occupants are covered by frontal and knee airbags as well as side-impact and side curtain airbags. Other standard safety features include a rearview camera, ABS, tire pressure monitoring, stability control, and traction control. The optional Driver Assist package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic seat belt pre-tensioning, and automatic braking. The CTS also comes with an auto alarm system that includes a trial subscription to the OnStar safety & security plan which alerts medical experts in case of an accident, a breakdown or a stolen vehicle incident. The optional Advanced Security package adds steering column lock, smash proof window lamination and locking wheel nuts.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan a good car?

The CTS has served as Cadillac's premium midsize sedan offering since 2003 and was at the forefront of Cadillac's efforts to re-skin their image from old and dumpy to new and cutting edge. The sharp styling and that bold grille has become a staple of modern Cadillac design and carries on in the new CT5. The interior of the 2019 CTS is a comfortable place to be in for front passengers but can get a bit cramped in the rear. However, Cadillac has tried to compensate for this by decking the cabin out with the choice of every material they could think of. In certain configurations, this can make the interior look cluttered, but the wide range of choice is appreciated.

In terms of safety, the Caddy doesn't overwhelm but gets the job done. The CTS comes with a decent list of standard features and the infotainment system, although slightly fussy and aging, does a good job of getting the right info to the front passengers. The highlight of the CTS is the way it drives. A taut chassis and well-sorted suspension make the CTS feel truly sporty and fun to drive. The turbocharged four-cylinder is a bit gruff but delivers robust performance, the 3.6 V6 is smooth but lags behind the competition. The star of the show is the twin-turbo V6 which transforms the CTS into a proper muscle sedan that can take it to the big Germans with ease. All in all, the CTS provides competent, but not class-leading performance, and at the end of its lifespan still remains a good buy with the potential for great deals to be found.

What's the Price of the 2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan?

The base model of the CTS range is called the Standard and will set you back $46,995 in RWD guise. The Luxury model goes for an asking price of $53,690 in 2.0T guise with the V6 commanding an asking price of $55,690, while the Premium Luxury costs $61,190, and the V-Sport $62,690. The top of the line V-Sport Premium Luxury costs $72,790. The Standard model is priced well below German rivals such as the BMW 5 Series which goes for $53,400. All prices exclude tax, licensing, registration, and destination fees of $995, and all-wheel-drive is an optional extra to the value of $2,995.

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Models

The Cadillac CTS range consists of five models; Standard, Luxury, Premium Luxury, V-Sport, and V-Sport Premium Luxury.

The base model features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with selectable driving modes for comfort and sporty driving. It also gets Brembo performance front brakes, wireless phone charging, 4G LTE WiFi, and rear park assist amongst others.

The Luxury model adds to this package by offering leather upholstery, 17-inch alloys, and most importantly, it includes the Driver Awareness Package, which adds frontal collision warning, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic assistance and more. The Luxury is the first trim to give buyers the option of upgrading to the 3.6-liter V6

The biggest change to the Premium Luxury CTS would be the Magnetic Ride suspension which transforms the ride and handling of this sports sedan. It also gets a head-up display, rear camera mirror, and three-way climate control. The safety levels get boosted by a surround vision system and automatic parking.

The V-Sport is powered by the sumptuous 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 and takes the Magnetic Ride system to the next level with track-specific drive modes. You also get bigger 19-inch wheels, a limited-slip diff, and sport tires.

At the top of the pile sits the V-Sport Premium Luxury which keeps things classy with a standard power sunroof, 20-way adjustable seats, a unique V-sport cluster, and performance brake lines.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Standard
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$46,995
Luxury
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
3.6-liter V6 Flex-fuel (FFV)
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$52,695
Premium Luxury
3.6-liter V6 Flex-fuel (FFV)
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$60,195
V-Sport
3.6-liter Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$61,695
V-Sport Premium Luxury
3.6-liter Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$71,795
See All 2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Cadillac divides its optional extras into five categories; performance, interior, exterior, safety, and technology. Starting with the base model, you get the option of AWD drive on the performance side. Inside you can select the seating package which adds leather seats, ambient interior lighting, a heated steering wheel, and power-folding wing mirrors. The exterior gets one option in the shape of a power sunroof, and on the tech side of things, you can opt for the Cadillac user-experience service with navigation. The Luxury model has the option of upgraded seating, additional safety tech, an upgraded Bose sound system, and adaptive lighting amongst others. The Premium Luxury model can be optioned out with a performance seat package, a driver assistance package that includes adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and 19-inch wheels. The V-Sport can be had with upgraded brake lines, and the Premium Luxury V-Sport's interior can be upgraded to semi-aniline leather.

What Cadillac CTS Sedan Model Should I Buy?

The CTS is an often overlooked option in the premium midsize sedan market despite offering great handling, a good list of features and handsome looks. Pricing varies significantly between the base model and the V-Sport at the top and will set you back at least $46,995. A good compromise between the two extremes would be the 3.6 twin-turbo V-Sport, which comes with the best engine and suspension setup and includes a lot of extra performance, safety and comfort features such as a limited-slip differential, Magnetic ride control, a unique grille, 18-inch wheels wrapped in summer sport tires and automatic parking assistance . Its styling gives no hint at the massive power that lies under the hood, and that makes the CTS V-Sport one of the best sleeper cars on the market today.

Check out other Cadillac CTS Styles?

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan Comparisons

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan
2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan vs Cadillac XTS

The XTS is a full-size luxury sedan that slots in between the CTS and CT6. The XTS starts at $46,895 and in base trim is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 304 hp and 264 lb-ft, much less than the same capacity engine found in the CTS. The XTS is not available in 2.0 turbo spec. The XTS also gets a turbocharged V6, but once again produces less power than the CTS V-Sport. The XTS makes use of a six-speed auto transmission whereas the CTS uses an eight-speed version. The less powerful 3.6-liter XTS also uses more fuel than the equivalent engine in the CTS, getting 17/26/20 mpg city/highway/combined. The XTS does offer more interior and cargo space but weighs a considerable 200 lbs more than the CTS, depending on the configuration. In base trim, the CTS comes with more standard features, but the XTS is a new model with improved refinement. A difficult choice then - and one defined by the occupants. If you're the driver, get the CTS, if you're the passenger, make it the XTS.

See Cadillac XTS Review

2019 Cadillac CTS Sedan vs BMW 5 Series Sedan

The BMW 5 Series starts off at a high $53,400 for the base 530i sedan which is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo inline four-cylinder which produces 248 hp and 258 lb-ft, considerably less than the CTS. The 5 Series also makes use of an eight-speed auto box and sends its power to the rear wheels (AWD available). The BMW is lighter on fuel in base trim, returning 24/34/27 mpg city/highway/combined. The BMW can't match the CTS for interior space but does offer more trunk space. BMW has a better interior and a superior infotainment system, as well as more interior volume and a higher feature count that the CTS can't match. The 5 Series is the better driver's car, too, although the CTS comes close. Unfortunately, the CTS just feels last-gen compared to a newer 5 Series, which is why the BMW is the recommended pick.

See BMW 5 Series Sedan Review

Cadillac CTS Sedan Popular Comparisons

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