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All-new Caddy sedan:
The 2020 CT5 is now stocked to meet demand in most areas. The new sedan replaces the CTS as Cadillac's midsize passenger car. The base MSRP is $37,890 — more than $10,000 less than the CTS.
A V-Sport version will arrive later in the year, powered by a 335-hp twin-turbo V6 engine. That's a far cry from the discontinued CTS-V's 640-hp supercharged V8.
Current factory offers are available on a national basis through August 3, 2020.
Cash off the top:
Cadillac continues to offer a $1,000 rebate on the 2020 CT5 to all buyers. In select regions of the country, the amount increases to $1,500.
That's a decent amount for this early stage of the CT5's life. Whether it goes any higher in the months ahead will depend on how well the public receives this new addition to the Cadillac lineup.
What's up with leases:
The 2020 CT5 now starts at $419 for 39 months (10,000 miles a year) with $4,699 due at signing. The effective monthly cost works out to $519, which is rather expensive relative to MSRP.
We expect to see far more attractive offers by fall.
If you finance:
There are no APR promotions on the 2020 CT5 yet, but that will probably change soon. For now, you can probably find discounted rates at the dealer level.
Prices vary by style
The Cadillac CT5 is available in three trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport. Prices start from $37,890 including destination for a Luxury and extend up to $42,690 for the Sport.
This is aside from the spirited CT5-V, which is covered separately.
The CT5 comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 is available for $3,500 on the Premium Luxury trim.
|Engine Type||Horsepower||Torque||Fuel Economy (Combined)|
|2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder||237 hp||258 lb-ft||26 mpg|
|3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||335 hp||400 lb-ft||Not Yet Rated|
Both engines use a 10-speed automatic transmission. All trims start with rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option for either $2,000 with the base engine or $3,090 with the V6.
The V6 is the same architecture as top engines in the CT6 and upcoming CT5-V, and it’s only down 20 horsepower on the latter. The turbocharged powertrains are on par with German rivals in both power and efficiency.
Safety is one of the selling points for the CT5, with it becoming the first model outside of the CT6 to get Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology. The system uses map data and a bevy of sensors to provide a largely autonomous driving experience on many North American freeways. Super Cruise will be available in the 2020 calendar year, but Cadillac hasn't announced pricing yet.
The base active safety features of the CT5 are decent, with automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning included standard. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert, and rear parking sensors come standard on all but the base trim.
Adaptive cruise control, reverse automatic emergency braking, and an enhanced automatic emergency braking system are bundled in the Driver Assist and Advanced Security Package ($1,950) that's available on the Premium Luxury and Sport trims.
A head-up display, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, automatic headlights, and a following distance indicator are tucked away in the Driver Awareness Plus Package ($1,300) on the top two trims.
It's pretty disappointing to see these features hidden in extra-cost packages on a vehicle that costs as much as the CT5. What's worse is that buyers have to tick the box for additional packages just to be able to choose either of them. More on this below.
Front and center on the CT5’s dash is a high-definition 10-inch touchscreen, with a rotary controller for good measure. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it comes with three USB ports, an SD card reader, NFC pairing, and wi-fi hot spot capability.
Wireless charging is standard starting on the Premium Luxury trim, while navigation and an upgraded driver information display are available through packages throughout the lineup.
The CT5 Luxury starts under both the Mercedes-Benz C 300 and BMW 330i, but it still comes reasonably equipped. Upholstery is synthetic, but the steering wheel is wrapped in leather, the driver seat is 12-way power adjustable (10-way for front passenger), and remote start comes standard. The exterior has all LED lighting, 18-inch alloy rims, and acoustic glass.
Buyers can upgrade technology in the form of the Sun and Sound Package ($2,800), which brings a power sunroof, navigation, wireless charging, an 8-inch digital driver’s display, and a 15-speaker Bose audio system.
The Premium Luxury trim opens up considerably more options and looks more like a true luxury vehicle. Upholstery is leather, the exterior gets flashier accents, and wireless charging is included. The driver's seat, side mirrors, and steering wheel gain memory functionality.
As previously mentioned, the Driver Assist and Advanced Security Package ($1,950) becomes available here. However, in order to get it, buyers also have to tick the box for five other option packages, bringing the actual cost to $8,380. Trying to get just the Driver Awareness Plus Package ($1,300) first requires the $600 Lighting Package, which is better, but still.
For an extra $1,000 over the Premium Luxury, the CT5 Sport ups the ante in the performance department. In addition to all the features of the Premium Luxury, the Sport gets aggressive exterior accents, Brembo brakes in the front, magnesium paddle shifters, and 18-way sport seats.
Package options are nearly identical to the Premium Luxury trim outside of minor price increases. Somehow, adding adaptive cruise control and the other active safety features in the Driver Assist and Advanced Security Package now requires $10,080 in total.
Unlocking all the safety features in Cadillac’s configurator is a nearly Sisyphean task. When choosing our 2020 Cadillac CT5, we'd stick with either the Luxury or Premium Luxury – both offer decent value against the competition.
New standard for a new world.Cadillac has long professed to be the "Standard of the World," but, unfortunately, the world changed too fast for the brand to keep pace. By the end of the 20th century, the old standard Cadillac once adhered to was dead in the water. A new standard had emerged, and it came from Germany.
The 2020 Cadillac CT5 is the automaker's latest attempt to regain relevance in this new world order where the luxury German sport sedan reigns supreme. The rear-wheel-drive, midsize sedan is priced like a BMW 3-Series but measures a half-size bigger, which is the same game the original Cadillac CTS played in the early aughts. And like the old CTS, the Cadillac CT5 continues to offer luxury and performance in equal measure.
New name in a familiar package. The CT5 replaces the CTS, but similarities abound between the new car and its predecessor. Besides the midsize, rear-drive architecture, the CT5 continues to offer an angular look, though the lines have been softened and the creases have been smoothed. The front end has a renewed emphasis on width. The rear keeps the vertical taillights that have been a Cadillac hallmark for decades. The overall look is clean without being watered down.
The interior has taken a definitive step forward, with its new modern design putting an emphasis on technology. Chief among the tech wizardry is a 10-inch touchscreen with the latest version of the brand's CUE infotainment software and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The CT5's revised CUE is leaps ahead of what the CTS was saddled with. The updated system is logical to use and fast to react, not something that could be said for the old version. There's also secondary physical controls for the radio and climate system for those who don't want to mess with a touchscreen while driving. There's no longer any reason for potential buyers to be concerned with the system.
The tech we want to see come to the CT5 is Super Cruise, which is the brand's semi-autonomous driving system that can handle highway cruising, lane changing, and even interchanges without any input by the driver. It's slated to become available next year, but we're disappointed that 2020 buyers will miss out. Were it our money, we'd wait.
CT5-V power for the people. There's no doubt the old Cadillac CTS-V was a total powerhouse, but near-six-figure pricing limited its appeal to those in the highest tax brackets. Cadillac has seen fit to change that with the CT5-V.
The new strategy hasn't been without its share of naysayers. On first glance, it's a big and ugly surprise – the new V has nearly 300 less horsepower than the old one. But that's not the whole story. Cadillac is repositioning the V line to represent an intermediate step on the performance ladder; it's now something decidedly sportier than a base model car but not quite a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 in disguise. That role will go to an upcoming, as-yet unannounced flagship performance model.
Until then, buyers must choose between a base CT5 and the CT5-V. The standard CT5 is powered by either a 237-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a 335-hp, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. Both pair up with a 10-speed auto and come standard with rear-wheel-drive. All-wheel drive is optional.
Of those, you'll want the V6, because the four-cylinder is disappointingly slow and rather unrefined when pressed. With both engines, the 10-speed automatic transmission shifts well and doesn't seem to get overwhelmed by the large selection of gears it can pick from.
The CT5-V ups the ante with a retuned version of the twin-turbo V6, here making 360 hp and 405 pound-feet of torque. The CT5-V also enjoys adaptive dampers and an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, among other performance goodies. The result is a car that handles sharply and can sprint to 60 mph in under five seconds. It's our choice of the litter, and its sub-$50,000 price tag means it's also a bargain compared to the BMW M340i or Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43.
Practical considerations. Cadillac knows that the CT5 won't succeed without being practical and relatively affordable when measured up against the competition. The CTS floundered in some of these respects, and so there's been a concerted effort by the brand to rectify that car's flaws.
It's not all roses and lollipops, though. Cargo space a particular sore spot with the CT5. The 11.9 cubic feet of trunk space is more sports car than midsize luxury sedan, and unsurprisingly trails most of the competition. It's a good thing the rear seats fold down, or otherwise a Costco trip would become an in-trunk Tetris adventure.
It's a decidedly better story with rear leg room. There's been enough of a stretch in the wheelbase of the new CT5 to bring about a 1.4-inch increase in second-row leg room. The total leg room, now nearly 38 inches, is excellent for the class and tops that of the BMW 5-Series by 1.5 inches.
Standard active safety features are plentiful and include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a safety alert seat, among others. There's other optional features available as well, such as adaptive cruise control, but Super Cruise can't join the option sheet soon enough.
Fuel economy doesn't particularly impress. The four-cylinder models are best, with an EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon city, 32 mpg highway, and 26 combined. But move into one of the V6-powered models and things fall off quick. The 19/26/21 mpg (city/highway/combined) of the V6 is mediocre at best, and the 18/26/21 mpg of the CT5-V isn't any better.
Final thoughts. We're sad to say that the 2020 Cadillac CT5 feels like one step ahead and two steps back. That's most clear from behind the wheel, where the sharp handling of the old model has been traded off for numb steering and a more flaccid chassis.
The entry-level engines don't do much to impress either, though the V model has the chutzpah to keep the M340i and AMG C 43 at bay. And the upcoming range-topping CT5 should be a riotous machine.
But good sport sedans shouldn't lean on the unattainable halo models to carry their reputation. The ordinary and affordable trims are just as critical – if not more so – to building a proper fan base. Yet, a drive in the CT5 suggests that Cadillac hasn't put forth the effort necessary to make a proper BMW-beater. The result is a car that's good but not good enough.
Without some additional polishing, the CT5 will struggle to free itself from the deadly trap that is being average. For a brand that once billed themselves as the Standard of the World, this is a sorry thought indeed.
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