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 Comfort||B-|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||B-|
|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 & 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.|
|Engine Specs||310-hp 2.7-liter|
|Engine Type||Turbo 4-cyl|
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
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
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.
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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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.
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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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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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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