2016 Cadillac CTS

Starting MSRP: $45,560 - $83,995

Estimated MPG: 21 city / 31 hwy

2016 Cadillac CTS Review

In 2003, the Cadillac CTS introduced a new design philosophy that drives the luxury brand today. While embracing elements of the past with modern touches, the 2016 Cadillac CTS is positioned in a highly competitive class among midsize luxury cars.

By Randy Stern
Last Updated 05/03/2016

Now in its third generation, the Cadillac CTS is available only as a four-door sedan. The CTS is available in Standard, Luxury, Performance, Premium and V-Sport trims. The high-performance CTS-V also returns for 2016.

The lineup includes a base turbocharged four-cylinder engine, as well as a V6 and a twin-turbo V6. CTS-V models come with a supercharged V8 engine. The 2016 model year introduces stop-start technology along a more powerful and efficient V6, as well as an eight-speed automatic transmission for all engine choices. There’s also enhanced integration of smartphone functionality with the introduction of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The CTS comes in rear- or all-wheel drive configurations, with the exception of the CTS-V, which is rear-wheel drive only.

Exterior

Exterior
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Cadillac calls this design language “Art and Science.” In its third generation since 2014, the CTS sedan’s lines are sharper up front with a dramatic large grille and a series of LED lights inside the edge of the front end. Projector beam headlamps provide the main source of front lighting for the CTS. A long hood lends to a wedge-like shape toward the rear, with a sloping rear roofline that blends into a short rear deck. The LED taillights are vertical, but not as fin-like as they used to be. New for 2016 is the placement of model and engine designation on the upper part of the trunk lid. The new wide Cadillac crest – minus the wreath – dominates the grille at the front and the center of the trunk lid to the rear.

Choosing the CTS-V adds a body kit that improves airflow, a distinctive mesh grille and unique wheels with specific performance tires.

Interior

Interior
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With the 2016 CTS, interior technology and quality has improved over prior model years. High-quality materials make the CTS stand out in its class and create a very classy atmosphere inside. Instrumentation is a fully customizable, with a thin-film transistor (TFT) screen in the gauge cluster and the CUE infotainment touch screen crowning the center stack.

Switches vary in touch based on location and function. The center console is designed around the gear lever with a sliding cup holder cover and a center armrest with storage.

Front seating offers power adjustments for rake, recline and lumbar. Both seats have active headrests which are manually adjustable. Bolstering is good, and the seats are firm overall. CTS-V seating is more performance-oriented, with aggressive bolstering and an option for Recaro performance seats. The rear seat is tight when it comes to leg- and headroom, yet the seats themselves are comfortable. Trunk space is on the small side at 13.7 cubic feet. The area is T-shaped, and challenged by large wheel well housings.

Performance

Performance
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Four engine choices are available on the 2016 CTS. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with start-stop technology is the standard engine, offering 268 horsepower and up to 21/31 mpg city/highway. The available 3.6-liter V6 was updated to include a stop-start system and cylinder deactivation. It also gains direct injection for the 2016 model year. The result is 335 horsepower (14 more than the 2015 model) and 20/30 mpg city/highway.

V-Sport models receive a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 with 420 horsepower, while the CTS-V has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with 640 horsepower.

All models get an eight-speed automatic transmission standard, with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive on most models. The CTS-V remains rear-wheel drive only.

The CTS offers Touring and Sport drive modes that provide two different experiences. Touring is quite soft, but with a very controlled ride. Sport firms up gear changes, steering weight and suspension feel. The ride is a bit firm, but very controlled. The steering is balanced in weight and more responsive in the turns. Still, the CTS could use a tighter turning radius overall. Brakes were fine, with good performance in normal stopping conditions. Still, panic stops felt a bit long.

The CTS Premium I tested had the improved V6 and all-wheel drive. It weighed in at 4,030 pounds, though it felt a bit lighter on its feet at times.

Technology

Technology
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The heart of the CTS’s technology package is the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system. It is an integrated system that includes satellite radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and HD Radio through a sophisticated touch screen.

The available navigation system also responds to pinch and swipe gestures, similarly to those used on tablets. Apple CarPlay is newly available for 2016, which emulates iPhone functions on the CUE screen (Android Auto capability will come later in the 2016 model year).

General Motors’ OnStar telematics system is standard, providing connectivity for emergency services, vehicle theft tracking, instant crash notification upon air bag deploy and sending turn-by-turn directions. A smartphone app and a 4G LTE powered Wi-Fi hot spot are also parts of the OnStar package.

Safety

Safety
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The Cadillac CTS comes standard with a suite of air bags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, rear parking sensors and the OnStar telematics system. 

A rearview camera, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, automatic high-beam control, adaptive cruise control, automatic collision preparation, automatic front and rear braking, rear cross-traffic alert, Cadillac’s Safety Alert Seat and a 360-degree camera system are available.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2016 Cadillac CTS a five-star rating for its overall performance in crash tests. The CTS also received top, five-star scores for front and side crash tests, as well as rollover tests.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The Cadillac CTS starts at $45,560 for the Standard model with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and rear-wheel drive. Our CTS Premium with the V6 and all-wheel drive came with a sticker price of about $64,000. These prices are similar to what you’ll pay for the CTS’ main competitors, including the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6.

If one wants to jump up to the new CTS-V, the price of admission starts at $83,995.

Overall

Overall
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The stakes are high in the midsize luxury class, with the 2016 Cadillac CTS competing against cars like the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS, Infiniti Q70 and Hyundai Genesis.

A distinctive look, numerous powertrain combinations and the addition of the new CTS-V are big advantages for the Cadillac CTS. One might say this could be the best Cadillac in a very long time, made even better with an improved V6 and the new CTS-V.