When Cadillac decided to replace the aging CTS with a new luxury midsize sedan, the move seemed a sensible one.
CTS sales had dipped during its last five full years of production, falling to a low of 6,965 in 2019. A replacement waiting in the wings – why not?
However, what took place was the incoming CT5 simply comes up lacking. The luxury midsize car class is well stocked with high-quality sedans. And right now, the CT5 is outclassed.
The 2021 Cadillac CT5 falls short in a number of areas. Compared to the competition, it has a subpar interior, performance and handling is uninspiring, the trunk is small, and visually the CT5 lacks dynamic styling.
Introduced a year ago, the CT5 didn’t inspire sales with just 14,711 sold. One of the smallest sedans in its class, the CT5 does come at an attractive price, starting at right around $37,000. But many of its appealing optional features are offered standard by CT5 rivals like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
There are some improvements with the latest version of the CT5. New this year is standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Cadillac’s semi-automated driving system (Super Cruise) is now available, along with a customizable digital instrument cluster.
Available in four trim levels (Premium, Premium Luxury, Sport, V-Series), the Cadillac CT5 has a choice of two turbocharged engines – a four-cylinder and V6. Both engines are paired with a smooth 10-speed automatic transmission and offer fine acceleration, but nothing too dazzling.
The standard engine is a turbo 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that generates 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It’s solid in terms of fuel economy (23-32 mpg) and has been clocked going 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds.
The optional engine is a turbo 3.0-liter, V6 that that produces 335 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. It goes 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and gets 19-28 mpg.
The CT5 is a sport sedan that has solid road manners, yet lacks a major fun factor that some of its competition delivers. The handling is solid and gives the driver a good feel for the road. The visibility is lacking due to the sloping rear roof and small back window.
Standard advanced safety features include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, safety alert seat, and teen driver limits.
The hands-free Cadillac Super Cruise uses eye-tracking technology that checks whether the driver is looking at the road and overall does a fine job of keeping the person engaged. It warns the driver well in advance when it is disengaging and hands need to go back on the steering wheel.
AT A GLANCE –2021 CADILLAC CT5
- Performance: turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder 237 horsepower; turbo 3.0-liter, V6, 335 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 23-32 mpg; 19-28 mpg
- Price estimate: $37,100 to $47,900
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; Drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; Roadside assistance: 6 years/70,000; Corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
The interior provides comfort and plenty of technology. Where it falls short is using some hard plastic and its overall lack of space for a luxury brand. It utilizes a 10-inch touchscreen that has great details and graphics. We like that it still employs physical buttons for most controls.
There’s amble leg room for front and back seat occupants. The head room in the back is a bit tight for 6-footers due to the roofline. The cargo area is one of the smallest in class at 11.9 cubic feet and includes a narrow opening.
Although offered at an appealing price, the 2021 Cadillac CT5 remains a step behind some of its major competition. The sedan has a small interior and lacks enough standard luxury features to go head-to-head with its rivals.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.