Cadillac CT5

Can’t match the overall refinement of its rivals

Roseville, Calif. – This luxury midsize sedan comes with a budget-friendly starting price that is quite alluring.

However, the issue facing the attractive 2023 Cadillac CT5 is not price – it’s the competition. When going head-to-head against a formidable lineup that includes rivals like the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Lexus ES, the CT5 simply doesn’t match up.

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The CT5 starts at approximately $38,200, a figure that’s well below the above mentioned competition. Note, the ultra-powerful, top-of-the-line Blackwing version starts at roughly $92,000. But the other three trim models are no higher than around $52,000.

When Cadillac decided to replace the aging CTS with a new luxury midsize sedan, the move seemed a sensible one. CTS sales had dipped during its last five full years of production, falling to a low of 6,965 in 2019. A replacement waiting in the wings – why not?

Enter the 2020 CT5, which was quickly assessed as underwhelming. Despite some changes over the past three years, the CT5 remains outclassed. One of the smallest sedans in its class, it can’t match the performance, refinement or build quality of its primary rivals.

The Cadillac CT5 has a choice of two turbocharged engines – a four-cylinder and V6. Both engines are paired with a smooth 10-speed automatic transmission and offer fine acceleration, but nothing too dazzling. We won’t discuss the powerful Blackwing engine here.

The standard CT5 engine is a turbo 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that generates 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It’s solid in terms of fuel economy (23-32 mpg) and has been clocked going 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds. The optional engine is a turbo 3.0-liter, V6 that that produces 335 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. It goes 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and gets 19-28 mpg.

The CT5 is a sport sedan that has solid road manners, yet lacks the major driver engagement that most of its competition delivers. The handling is solid and gives the driver a good feel for the road, but doesn’t elicit the ride quality one expects from a luxury sedan. Visibility is another downside due to the sloping rear roof and small back window.

Standard advanced driver safety features have been upgraded this year and now include front pedestrian detection, forward collision mitigation, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, lane-keep assist, rear parking sensors, lane departure mitigation, and automatic high-beam assist.

AT A GLANCE – 2023 CADILLAC CT5

  • Performance: turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder 237 horsepower; turbo 3.0-liter, V6, 335 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 23-33 mpg; 18-27 mpg
  • Price estimate: $38,200 to $92,000
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; Drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; Roadside assistance: 6 years/70,000; Corrosion: 6 years/unlimited

The optional hands-free Cadillac Super Cruise uses eye-tracking technology that checks whether the driver is looking at the road and overall does a fine job of keeping the person engaged. It warns the driver well in advance when it is disengaging and hands need to go back on the steering wheel.

Inside

interior of Cadillac CT5

The interior provides comfort and the type of technology that one expects in a luxury brand. Where it falls short is using some hard plastic and its overall lack of space. It has a standard 10-inch touchscreen that provides wonderful details and graphics. We like that it also has physical buttons for many controls.

There’s amble leg room for front and back seat occupants. The head room in the back is a bit tight for 6-footers due to the roofline. The cargo area is one of the smallest in class at 11.9 cubic feet and includes a narrow opening.

While it’s offered at an appealing price, the 2023 Cadillac CT5 has drawbacks, most notably a small interior, lack of premium performance, and it can’t match the overall refinement of its rivals.

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