Overview & Reviews
Blending all-American style with European-inspired handling, the Cadillac CTS has been a popular choice with luxury sedan consumers for more than a decade. Within that period, there have been three generations. Despite shortcomings in terms of interior design and quality, the first CTS is still a fair choice for a used luxury sedan. The second-generation CTS, which featured substantial improvements to its interior, is a much more appealing car. The most recent generation of the CTS has grown in both size and sophistication, and we feel it's the first CTS to truly be on equal footing with its European and Japanese competition.
Current Cadillac CTS
Debuting for 2014 and representing the model's third generation, the current Cadillac CTS sedan is larger and now competes more directly against midsize luxury sport sedans, leaving the compact sport sedan fight to its smaller ATS brother. The CTS coupe, wagon and CTS-V sedan carried over unchanged for this year. Improved in every way over its already respected predecessor, the latest CTS sedan has the looks, the power and the luxury required to go tire-to-tire against the world's best in this segment.
There are six main trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Performance, Premium, Vsport and Vsport Premium. Three engines are offered but trim level determines availability. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 272 horsepower starts things off, and it's matched to a six-speed automatic transmission and either standard rear-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive (AWD). Next up is a 3.6-liter V6 good for 321 hp -- it comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It's also available with AWD, though that version gets the six-speed auto. The Vsport comes with an exclusive turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 packing 420 hp, along with rear-wheel drive and the eight-speed automatic as the sole drivetrain setup.
Equipment on the CTS Standard trim includes keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, an 8-inch touchscreen display and an 11-speaker Bose sound system. Upgrading to the CTS Luxury trim gets you xenon headlights, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats and added safety features. The CTS Performance is highlighted by its adaptive suspension, panoramic sunroof, head-up display and heated rear seats. The Premium trim is similar but adds adaptive cruise control and upgraded front seats and upholstery. Besides its engine, the Vsport is differentiated by its sport-tuned mechanical hardware.
The cabin of the CTS offers solid build quality and rich materials. Overall, there's a very luxurious vibe inside, and we think it's one of the most stylish designs you'll find in this segment. However, even though the latest CTS is larger than before, its interior space is essentially the same. As such, it's lacking a little for backseat and trunk space compared to its rivals. Another minor downside is the CUE ("Cadillac User Experience") infotainment system, which can be difficult to use and slow to respond.
We've only driven the high-performance CTS Vsport model thus far, so we can only comment on that version. As expected, acceleration is indeed impressive, as is the eight-speed automatic, which provides gearchanges that range from silky smooth to sports car rapid depending on the selected driving mode. Handling is sharp, composed and rewarding as well, providing the driver with an uncommon level of tactility.
Used Cadillac CTS Models
The second-generation Cadillac CTS sedan was produced from 2008 through 2013. Compared to the original CTS, it was notably more refined and powerful. In addition to the sedan, a coupe, a wagon and high-performance CTS-V variants (all reviewed separately) were also available. Overall body dimensions were similar to the first CTS, but wider-set wheels gave it a more powerful stance. The previous CTS's lackluster interior was remedied by a more attractive design, up-to-date electronics and the use of better materials.
Prior to the 2010 model year, the base engine was a 3.6-liter V6 with 258 hp. After that, the standard engine was a 3.0-liter V6 generating 270 hp. A more powerful 3.6-liter V6 was optional all along, and produced 304 hp until 2012, when output increased to 318 hp. That marked the last year that a six-speed manual transmission was available with the base engine. Subsequently, a six-speed automatic was the only transmission offered. Rear-wheel drive was standard, with all-wheel drive (AWD) being optional.
Standard features included dual-zone automatic climate control and satellite radio; much later versions even came with heated seats and a rearview camera at no extra cost. Options included keyless ignition and entry and a navigation system with digital music storage capability. Two sport suspension packages were also available and we'd recommend noting if a used CTS is so equipped. Handling will be improved as a result, but the trade-off is a rougher ride.
Overall, the upgraded interior and spirited powertrains pushed this CTS into top-tier status for a luxury sport sedan. Highlights include a roomy cabin, an elegant interior design and capable handling. Besides the potentially rough ride, downsides included poor rearward visibility and for some drivers, an awkward driving position.
Notable changes made throughout this generation's run included, for 2010 only, the Eco Lux Collection option. Available only on the base 3.0-liter V6, it included tweaked aerodynamics and special tires that allowed 30 mpg on the highway -- a gain of 3 mpg. There was also a slight styling tweak for 2012, but otherwise changes were minimal.
The first-generation Cadillac CTS was sold from the 2003-'07 model years. When it debuted, the CTS was one of Cadillac's first cars to fully emphasize the brand's modern, angular styling themes. It was also a significant departure from traditional modern Cadillacs because of its rear-wheel drive, available manual transmission, stiff body structure and sport-oriented handling dynamics.
The car's larger-than-average exterior dimensions translated to a roomier cabin that could accommodate five adults. A fair number of features came standard, including antilock brakes and side curtain airbags. Upscale features were typically bundled as part of optional packages. Common options included a premium Bose audio system, a DVD-based navigation system, xenon headlights and a sunroof. A Sport package provided a sport-tuned suspension, bigger wheels and tires, and stability control.
In its first year, the Cadillac CTS came only with a 3.2-liter V6 good for 220 hp. This was joined in 2004 by a more desirable 255-hp 3.6-liter V6. At the time, the base V6 was available with a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. The larger V6 came with the automatic only. In 2005, however, the 3.2-liter engine was dropped in favor of a smaller, 210-hp 2.8-liter engine. Cadillac also upgraded the manual transmission to a six-speed unit and made it available for the 3.6-liter V6 as well.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 1,045.00
2012 CTS AWD - 2012 Cadillac CTS
By Kay - September 19 - 1:31 pm
It’s almost 2021 and no zero problems... researched for problems for years. Never found any till this came up when I was researching scheduled maintenance. I can’t think of a better. Mmm cc
A great used car style and reliability - 2003 Cadillac CTS
By cameron - January 21 - 9:26 am
my car is used 2003 I had 96,000 when I brought the car I now have 229,000 miles. So far just minor work I have been blessed. Its a great car.
Not happy with 2015 CTS - 2015 Cadillac CTS
By Donald Konicoff - January 8 - 4:04 pm
I traded a 2008 CTS with a 6 cylinder engine for a 2015 CTS with the 2.0 turbo. I liked the 2008 but the front seats were very uncomfortable. The new one with the turbo I dont like. It is noisy and jerks a lot when the turbo comes in. Also the CUE system is horrible. It is not at all intuitive and takes a while to get used to. Next car will be a Hyundai Genesis.
2009 Cadillac CTS AWD 3.6DI - all options - 2009 Cadillac CTS
By LV - January 7 - 11:12 pm
I have owned a 2003 Toyota Corolla S (bought new until 22k when totaled), 1997 Nissan Maxima Se (used 94k, sold at 170k), 2005 Scion tc (new and sold at 177k) those three vehicles were maintain and had little to no major repairs. I sold the Scion tc and purchased a used 2009 Cadillac CTS with all factory options at 75k miles. The vehicle seemed well maintained inside, out, and mechanically. I had purchased it from a reputable BMW dealership for $18k. Here are the things that have gone wrong with the car. 1. Right Rear Knuckle bushing needs replacing (audible knocking sound over all bumps) *warranty 2. Front right wheel bearing needed to be replaced. *warranty 3. Rear left wheel bearing needed to be replaced. *out of warranty $528.00 4. ECM needed replacement * out of warranty $1100 5. Driveshaft needed replacement (1st time) *1200 6. Timing chains needed to be replaced around 108k *warranty under GM 120k warranty specifically for this problem otherwise a $2300 cost 7. Door handle sensor needed to be replaced on passenger door *$575 8. Auxillary water pump needed replacement $250. 9. Purge Valve needed replacement $50 part did it myself very easy to replace 10. Driveshaft failed for 2nd time, needed replacement $1200. 11. Drains for water had seeped into trunk compartment wetting all the electronics near battery. Dealership couldnt find out what the issue is, i figured it out through a forum where other CTS owners have had similar issues. *free since fixed on my own. 12. Driveshaft failed for 3rd time, needed replacement (covered under parts warranty) 13. Driverside catalytic converter failed needed replacement *$1250 14. CD/DVD player stopped working *decided not to fix it. otherwise $750. 15. Bluetooth for phone works intermittently, doesnt always pick up calls and does always hang them up. *just dealing with it 16. power lumbar seat failed and no longer works * just dealing with it otherwise $513 to fix 17. Front left wheel bearing. $528. This car was a HUGE disappointment, being it was my first luxury vehicle. Granted I bought it with 75k, i made sure full tune up was performed along with all the fluids changed (transmission, differential, transfer case, coolant) when i first purchased the vehicle. Things have failed on this car that do not fail on reliable manufactures. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER GM VEHICLE EVER AGAIN. ESPECIALLY A CADILLAC. Next vehicle will be a Lexus, or even hate to say the new Genesis or Equus look good and have good reliability ratings. Too bad I really wanted to support an American brand. My car was service at Englewood Cadillac in NJ and Brogan Cadillac in Totowa, NJ. They know me by first name at both places because my car has been in there so much, along with other customers I tend to see every now and again. Lots of problems, everyone i know with a used Cadillac has a horrible experience with them. SO DISSATISFIED WITH THIS CAR, PLEASE DO NOT BUY ONE.
Greatest caddy I bought thus far - 2008 Cadillac CTS
By Kamilla Harris - December 22 - 11:24 pm
I just bought my car a month ago and I love it I bought it used and it has 140k and its been a awesome car I l9be caddys
Fun to drive but... - 2005 Cadillac CTS
By Paul Shorts - December 18 - 10:40 am
Jumped into this after 4 years of driving a Buick Century. Couldnt resist the feel and performance, and fun of the 6 speed manual. Had great luck with the cheap old Buick so I figured Id be safe purchasing another GM product. Purchased the car with 92,000 miles and it looked and drove like new. Had all dealer service records so I thought Id be safe. Whoops! Pros - The car handles amazing, and is extremely comfortable and fun to drive. Cons - At 105K a grommet on the gear shift went out. Could still get 1st - 6th gears fine, but couldnt put it in reverse. $300 part, but Cadillac was out of them, and nothing aftermarket was available. Had to drive for 2 months with no reverse while waiting for the part. Sortly after purchase I noticed I was having fairly high oil consumption. Never had a car do this so I contacted Cadillac. Told them I was burning 2.5 quarts per 5000 miles. I was told by a mechanic at a Cadillac dealer that "thats really low consumption for the 3.6 motor". Now with 170K miles on it, its using 1.5 - 2 quarts every 1000 miles. At 126K the motor broke a valve. Needed a full valve / upper motor job. $3500! At around 125K the traction control / ABS started acting up. Traction control engages when not needed, and occasionally the ABS engages when stopping, which can be a little scary. Transmission started leaking at about 125K. Too expensive to fix, so just keep adding oil to the MT when I change the oil. At 150K the brake lights quit working. Turns out its a problem with the wiring loom. Repair was ridiculous so I just re wired it myself direct from the relay to the brake lights. Right catalytic converter now needs to be replaced. Cant get an inexpensive aftermarket cat in California. Going to be dumping this "beauty" as a non-op when its time to get it smogged. Still cant believe that my cheap old Buick ran so well and never had a problem, and the sweet Caddy has literally been a piece of junk.
What is everyone complaining about? - 2008 Cadillac CTS
By Rick Croak - December 10 - 10:31 pm
I bought my 2008 CTS direct injection new. Granted, I only have 55,000 miles but so far the car has only been to the dealer twice, under warranty. Once for a part in the rear suspension and once for the XM radio receiver. Other than that, the tires were replaced at 50,000 miles and I have changed the oil every 6-7000 miles, based on the computer, or once per year. Also, being a C6 Z06 Corvette owner, I know what performance is about. This CTS is a joy to drive and can really get up and go. The only gripe I have with it is an engine vibration ( I believe caused from engine strain from staying in gear too long) at 45 MPH. It could probably be adjusted out, but I can not see spending the money to have it fixed. The only other issue is that the trade in value is so low that I cannot make myself trade it because the car is so enjoyable to drive. Otherwise, I would probably have a new CTS.
ownership and it woes - 2005 Cadillac CTS
By linda lawson - December 1 - 10:40 pm
bought my 2005 cts and drove it 3800 miles and it used 5 quarts of oil just about ruined the engine had I not decided to do an early service the engine would have been shot. I have been around cars and worked on them all my life and I have yet to understand this excessive oil consumption as being normal. I have owned several gm products and this is the first one I have had with this problem. would I buy another one no way. gm needs to man up and fix this problem and not charge the consumer who spent their hard earned money to buy a car they thought was going to be reliable. no wonder people are turning to Honda and other cars
Turning heads, running fine! - 2013 Cadillac CTS
By Phil Callighan - October 21 - 3:45 pm
Very stylish sedan. This is my daily drive. Bought it new and have owned it for over 2 years. Eight-way adjustable leather front seats make the ride very, very comfortable although this is not sink-in comfort seating. Cabin is quiet. Ride is exhilerating. However, living in northern lower Michigan, I did add snow tires to ensure utmost traction in snow on hilly roadways. Mostly drive this in-town so gas mileage hovers around 17 mpg, which is not great, but I believe car was originally tuned to demonstrate acceleration, so I havent been eager to change it. You owe it to yourself to try one out. You may buy it. I did!
BEWARE - 2006 Cadillac CTS
By Antonio - October 11 - 11:03 am
This is one of the worst cars Ive ever bought a lot of problems with the computer I changed it twice, also bad motoralso, fuel injectors suck. Cadillac makes cheap luxury cars