Sep
02
2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury

2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury in Black Raven paint

Lusso 2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury

Class: Premium Compact Car

Miles driven: 226

Fuel used: 9.0 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 25.1 mpg

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB-
Power and PerformanceB
Fit and FinishB-
Fuel EconomyB
ValueB-
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB
Tall GuyB-
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs310-hp 2.7-liter
Engine TypeTurbo 4-cyl
Transmission 10-speed automatic
Drive WheelsRWD

Driving mix: 50% city, 50% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 20/30/24 (city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Premium gas recommended

Base price: $37,495 (not including $995 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: 2.7-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine ($2500), Navigation and Bose Premium Audio Package ($1700), Climate Package ($1200), Driver Awareness Plus Package ($800)

Price as tested: $44,690

More CT4 price and availability information

 

Quick Hits

The great: Competitive pricing; ride/handling balance

The good: Model and powertrain choices; 2.7-liter engine delivers satisfying power and respectable fuel economy

The not so good: Interior materials and overall refinement come up a bit short of class leaders’; cramped rear seat

 

John Biel

What is the CT4? After ruling out “cute Star Wars droid” and “British-Invasion band that had a hit in 1966” the shocking truth is this: It’s a Cadillac.

The CT4 premium-compact sedan makes its debut in 2020 as a replacement for the discontinued ATS. It is offered in four trim levels, each with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. Two turbocharged 4-cylinder engines with a total of three horsepower outputs, and two automatic transmissions comprise the available powerteams.

2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury

The CT4 is Cadillac’s new-for-2020 entry-level sedan; it takes the place of the departed ATS in Cadillac’s model lineup.

Consumer Guide’s introduction to the new small Cadillac came via a rear-drive Premium Luxury model. The base price with delivery for such a vehicle is $38,490, but the test car was outfitted with the optional 2.7-liter engine/10-speed automatic pairing and three tech and comfort packages to reach a bottom-line total of $44,690. Another $3200 gets a Premium Luxury with all-wheel drive, but $1200 of that is sunk into a “mandatory-option” Climate Package. (Adding AWD to Luxury, Sport, and muscular CT4-V models costs less because the requisite option package is cheaper.)

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2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury, Steering Wheel, Center Console,

The CT4’s interior isn’t as upscale as most of its class competition, but the CT4 also handily undercuts comparably equipped rivals on price. We’re glad to see Cadillac return to physical buttons in place of the sometimes-tedious touch-sensitive controls on the ATS. A center-console-mounted dial controls CUE infotainment-system functions.

The CT4 has the same 109.3-inch wheelbase as the ATS, but is 0.9 inch longer overall at 187.2 inches bumper to bumper. The 272-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and 335-horsepower V6 engines that powered the late ATS are replaced by a 237-horse turbo 2.0-liter turbo that’s standard in Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport models, plus the 2.7-liter turbo four standard for the CT4-V and available in the Premium Luxury.

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2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury

The CT4’s front seats offer decent space, even for big and tall occupants, but rear-seat space is at a premium–which is typical for the premium compact car class. Legroom quickly grows tight behind a tall front-seater.

The 2.7, which first popped up in 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, employs a dual-volute turbocharger and a 3-step sliding camshaft design. The volutes—spiral chambers that circulate exhaust gas through the turbo to drive the turbine—spin the turbine faster and more efficiently by sending air to both sides of it. The variable cam produces high- or low-lift valve operation (the former for improved performance), plus “Active Fuel Management” cylinder deactivation for heightened fuel economy. As tuned for the Cadillac, the engine produces 310 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque at 1500-4000 rpm in the Premium Luxury, but output grows to 325 ponies and 380 lb-ft for the CT4-V.

As applied to CG’s test car (at an extra $2500), the 2.7 didn’t dally with turbo lag, and showed good power whether getting away from a standstill or eating up expressway miles. The engine is smooth and quiet, save for a not-unpleasant exhaust hum under acceleration. Response is slightly brisker in “Sport” mode, which also delays upshifts from the ruthlessly efficient 10-speed automatic that replaces the 8-speed trans found in 2.0-liter CT4s. EPA fuel-economy projections for the 310-horsepower job in rear-drive cars are 20 mpg in the city, 30 mpg for highway driving, and 24 combined. This reviewer’s 69-mile test with 45 percent city-type operation yielded 25.4 mpg.

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2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury

Cargo volume isn’t a strong point of most premium compact cars, and the CT4 comes up a bit short of some class rivals. There’s a middling 10.7 cubic feet of trunk space, and the load floor is a bit uneven.

Fine driving dynamics go with the confident powertrain. Ride and handling strike a good balance. The test car was damped for bump-absorbing ride comfort on its 18-inch wheels, but wasn’t floaty or, on the other hand, stiff and harsh. Cornering lean was nicely controlled. Good steering feel and response got even better in “Sport” mode.

Passenger room is good overall in the front row. Rear-seat legroom isn’t bad, particularly for sub-6-footers, but headroom gets sparse even for those folks. There’s only room for two adults back there, however, thanks to a fairly big floor tunnel. Rear seats do have more side bolstering than in many other cars. Thick B-pillars and a lowish roofline that reduces glass area restrict driver vision somewhat.

Driving controls show up cleanly, and the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system has an 8-inch touchscreen that displays well. The audio system is intuitive to set and operate on the screen, but you can also twiddle a console dial to move through CUE with the usual twisting and tapping that goes with it. Unfortunately, there are lots of buttons for the dual-zone climate unit, including repetitive-push temperature and fan-speed switches.

Personal-item storage space is just so-so. The glove box is of a good size, but console-box capacity is less generous. There are door pockets (with space for bottles) in the front doors, but none in the back; the only rear storage is pouches on the backs of the front seats. A small tray at the front of the console serves as the pad for the wireless charger when that option is ordered. Exposed cup holders exist in the console and pull-down rear armrest.

A somewhat disjointed trunk layout suggests Cadillac used every trick it could to squeeze out a middling 10.7 cubic feet of capacity. (Consider that CG’s premium-compact “Best Buy,” the Audi A4, with a comparable 187.5-inch length, has 12 cubic feet of space; the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 holds 11.6.). The floor down the center, between the wheel houses, sits a little lower than the sides around the wheel houses. Then, too, the floor above the battery box on the left is higher than the floor (with an exposed bin for incidentals) at the right, so wide objects loaded across the trunk won’t rest level. At the front, a bulkhead narrows the threshold between the trunk and rear compartment when the 60/40 seats are folded. This includes a lip at the bottom, which will complicate placement of long loads. Seat backs don’t fold fully flat, either. Gooseneck trunklid hinges are covered to prevent damage to cargo.

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2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury, Wheels, Dual Volute Engine, 2.7T

Our test CT4 was equipped with the optional 310-hp 2.7-liter turbo 4-cylinder in place of the standard 237-hp 2.0-liter turbo four. Premium Luxury models come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels with a Sterling Silver painted finish.

The Premium Luxury has standard leather upholstery, 8-way power front seats with driver’s-seat memory, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, satellite and HD radio, forward-collision alert, and automatic emergency braking. However, items like navigation, heated front seats, and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts come in extra-cost packages. The CT4 looks good and drives well, but it has cargo compromises, and you have to shell out for a few luxuries that some nonpremium-brand cars manage to build into at least some of their models.

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2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury

The Cadillac CT4 is an aggressively priced rival to the European- and Asian-make machines that comprise the premium compact car class. It’s the lone American entry into the segment, and while it doesn’t trump its established rivals, it offers a distinctive personality and a strong value-for-the-dollar proposition.

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