New 2018 Cadillac CTS Sedan New 2018
Cadillac CTS Sedan

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

The 2018 Cadillac CTS is the sole domestic sedan capable of going head-to-head with the best from German and Japanese luxury automakers. Yet it's not a copy of those cars. Instead, it combines their strengths -- powerful engines, sharp handling and luxurious interiors -- with a uniquely American flavor. It's a combination that outpaces the Audi A6 and Lexus GS, and even fills the rearview mirrors of the BMW 5 Series. From the base model and its 4-cylinder engine to the mighty CTS-V (reviewed separately), the CTS lineup brims with luxury and technology, offering a nice balance of features, power, fuel economy and price. The range-topping 640-horsepower CTS-V takes the super-sedan fight straight to the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E 63, but is covered separately.

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You'll Like This Car If...

The 2018 Cadillac CTS equals -- and in some cases surpasses -- its European and Japanese rivals. If you want your luxury to be uniquely red, white and blue, the Cadillac CTS is the way to go.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the CTS has narrowed the gap, it doesn't have the same cachet as sedans from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. If you want a wagon or coupe you're out of luck, and if you're looking for a smoother ride, you might want to check out the Lexus ES or Lincoln MKZ.

What's New for 2018

The 2018 Cadillac CTS is largely carryover. There's a new color, a panoramic sunroof is now available on V-Sport models, and there's an available automatic heated steering wheel.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

The Cadillac CTS is based on the much smaller ATS sedan, yet despite the added size and weight, it feels unaffected. The agile handling inspires confidence, and conveys the correct impression that the CTS weighs less than many of its competitors. Opt for Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control and you can select how smooth the ride should be, or how glue-like you want it to stick to the pavement by controlling body lean and sway. While we prefer rear-wheel drive for fun, there's no denying the available all-wheel-drive system expands the all-weather capabilities of the CTS. You'd think the base 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder would be underwhelming, but the reality is it offers surprising acceleration and slightly better economy than the standard 3.6-liter V6.

Favorite Features

HIGH-TECH OFFERINGS
Cadillac doesn't skimp on technology in the 2018 CTS. In addition to the CUE infotainment system, there's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The CTS also features a Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging, and even a system to monitor your teen's driving habits.

CTS EQUITY
Back in 2002, the then-new Cadillac CTS carried the return of GM's luxury division on its back with style, winning comparison tests between it and some of its best rivals from Europe. Cadillac has been very aware of -- and successfully nurtured -- this luxury sedan's reputation.

Vehicle Details

Interior

Cadillac’s CTS interior features premium materials, world-class assembly quality and high-tech touches. Virtually everything is soft-touch and covered in leather, although base models get Leatherette (as do base models from Europe). The inviting ambiance is also as uniquely American as the exterior. The same is true for the rear seat, but be warned: There's a shortage of legroom compared to its primary rivals. Cadillac's CUE entertainment system has improved remarkably over the years, and its quick response and seamless integration with iPhones and Android devices are second to one. Our favorite over-the-top touch: a power sliding cover for the cup holders.

Exterior

The sharp creases, rippled hood and prominently geometric grille on the 2018 Cadillac CTS stand in sharp contrast -- literally -- to the softer curves of its European rivals. It stands out for all the right reasons, looking distinctive and luxurious, but also uniquely American. Cool exterior details include grille shutters that pragmatically close to help improve aerodynamics and fuel economy, and we particularly like the seamless aluminum trim around the side windows. At the rear, all CTS sedans feature dual-exhaust outlets.

Notable Standard Equipment

There are five trim levels for the 2018 Cadillac CTS sedan: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, V-Sport and V-Sport Premium Luxury. The base model comes standard with the 2.0-liter turbo engine connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Also standard are things that are optional on many competitors, such as keyless entry, push-button start, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a solid-sounding 11-speaker Bose audio system with three USB inputs. CUE also doubles as a screen for the rearview camera, there's dual-zone climate control, and OnStar with 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi, and wireless charging for phones that can use it.

Notable Optional Equipment

A variety of upgrades awaits 2018 Cadillac CTS buyers. You can add navigation, leather seating with heated and ventilated fronts, adaptive cruise control, and a fully electronic instrument display to replace the standard needles-and-dials. There's also 3-zone automatic climate control, different styles of wood trim, adaptive cruise control, and a bird's-eye-view 360 monitor. Magnetic Ride Control improves handling remarkably without hurting the ride, and the Rear Camera Mirror provides a much wider view than the standard mirror. The Driver Awareness Package vibrates the seat when the car starts drifting out of a lane, or gets too close to an object when parking.

Under the Hood

The base engine on the 2018 Cadillac CTS is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That compares nicely to the mid-level engine, a 3.6-liter V6 with 335 horsepower, but 285 lb-ft of torque. Both are offered with rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). All models use the same 8-speed automatic transmission, and it's a gem, responding quickly to the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
268 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg (RWD), 21/29 mpg (AWD)

3.6-liter V6
335 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
285 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg (RWD), 19/27 mpg (AWD)

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Pricing Notes

A 4-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive 2018 Cadillac CTS begins with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $47,300, including the $995 destination charge. All-wheel drive adds about $2,000 on models where it's available. Those prices are solidly competitive with the Audi A6 lineup, and thousands less than a BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XF and Infiniti Q70. Even the Acura RLX and Lexus GS start slightly higher than the CTS. Before you purchase, check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Cadillac CTS and to help you get the best deal. The Cadillac's resale value is expected to be about average in this segment, trailing the standout Lexus GS.

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