2014 Cadillac CTS Review | Toronto Sun
By Jeff Voth, Toronto Sun
They say third time’s the charm. With the way good things have been happening at Cadillac recently, there is every reason to believe the 3rd generation of the CTS sedan may indeed be another charm on the growing list of successful cars for this renewed automaker.
We are here in Toronto to test drive the 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan. It is new from top to bottom, though it does have an instantly recognizable exterior that won’t have you confusing it for anything other than a Cadillac. Like the current Acura RLX competing in this segment, CTS is all about intense angles and flash.
Cadillac is not a brand for the faint of heart. But that is the plan. If you have a penchant for something a little more rounded in shape, try the German automakers or the other Asian vehicles sans Acura.
Weight reduction is a key element in the design of the new Cadillac CTS. Mass is sacrificed for performance and in that light, the new CTS weighs 90 kg less than the sporty BMW 528i. But don’t confuse mass for ride comfort. Spending the day driving through the countryside near Toronto, this CTS impresses with quiet resolve and a suspension akin to the best sedans from Bavaria.
Power comes three ways, while the drivetrain is available in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations matched to either a six or eight speed automatic transmission.
The base engine is a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder partnered with a 6-speed transmission. It delivers 272 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,700-5,500 rpm. It feels quick and agile, doesn’t stumble when you poke at the gas pedal, but delivers a solid performance. In fact, I would choose this engine over the next one.
Second on the list is a 3.6-litre V6 engine with 321 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 275 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. It is a solid performer and a smooth powerplant, but lacks the torque of the smaller 4-cylinder turbo and the charm that goes with it.
Third, and obviously the most fun until we get a full-blown CTS-V sometime next year, is the CTS Vsport equipped with a 3.6-litre V6 twin-turbocharged engine. It is fast and decisive when put to the test with 420 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 430 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500-4,500 rpm. If ever there was a case for adding twin turbo’s to the V6, this is it. Paired with a paddle-shift eight-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive, the experience is pure bliss.
Steering wheel feedback is very good; taking the best of the electric power assisted steering system and putting just the right amount of variable assist into the hands of the driver. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard with 4-piston aluminum Brembo calipers in the front and single piston cast iron sliding calipers in the rear.
Tire and wheel sizes range from 17-inch on the base model all the way up to 19-inch alloys at the top. Surprisingly, the Cadillac CTS Vsport is equipped with 275/35R18 rear tires. I guess this says something about how good the Touring, Sport and Track settings are in the console mounted mode selector. Bigger isn’t always better.
Inside, dimensions in both the front and rear seats are improved for occupant comfort and elegance. The first two CTS models were dynamic and stylish, but lacked something in the engaging department. Plus, the materials used were hard-edged and less than subtle to the touch. The new CTS is much different, with soft-touch components, the right amount of chrome, leather and wood trim.
Sport seats hug in the right places, the 3-spoke steering wheel has a good selection of functions available without being over-the-top and for the most part interior switches and dials are easy to navigate. The CUE interface is still challenging and a source of complaint, but like it’s counterparts in the industry, seems to improve slightly with each adaptation.
Rear seat room is more than comfortable and trunk space is a welcome surprise. I still find the Cadillac approach to interior design a little too pieced together and not offering the flow of some of its Japanese competitors, but it is light years ahead of CTS versions 1 and 2.
The 2014 Cadillac CTS demands to be on your consideration list when choosing a luxury sport sedan over $50,000. It isn’t perfect, but it is very close. Motor Trend recently named it their Car of the Year for 2014. While I don’t always agree with their opinions, in this case they chose well. Third time’s the charm; now we just have to wait for the CTS-V to show up and the fun will really get started.
2014 Cadillac CTS
Trim level: Twin Turbo Vsport
Price as tested (before taxes): $79,325
Options on test vehicle: Red Obsession Tintcoat ($1,295); Kona Brown/Jet Black Accents ($1,735)
Configuration: front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.6L twin-turbo 6-cylinder / 8-spd automatic
Power/torque: 420 hp/ 430 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): premium (72L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): TBD
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): N/A
Warranties: 4 years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Acura RLX, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Infiniti M, Lexus GS
Strengths: Power, driveability, luxury, ride comfort
Weaknesses: Edgy styling, pieced together interior
Report Card (out of 10):
Fuel Economy: 7 – Twin turbo makes it hard to resist the gas pedal.
Equipment level: 8 – Luxury throughout; not yet a fan of CUE.
Price: 7 – At this price point the competition is very stiff.
Styling: 8 – Not for everyone but in general I like it.
Comfort (front): 9 – Exceptional front seats; plenty of legroom.
Comfort (rear): 8 – Good leg and head room in back.
Handling: 9 – This is a full-size sedan you can have a lot of fun with.
Performance: 9 – Fast, agile, stops quickly, sounds good, great sightlines.
Storage: 8 – Excellent trunk space; plenty of small storage spaces.
Overall: 8 – A winner is created with the 3rd Gen CTS.