Test Drive: 2020 Cadillac CT5-V
2020 Cadillac CT5-V
Class: Premium Midsize Car
Miles driven: 202
Fuel used: 10.8 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 18.6 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||360-hp 3.0L|
|Engine Type||Turbocharged V6|
|Drive Wheels||All-wheel drive|
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/25/20 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas recommended
Base price: $47,695 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: V Premium Package ($4190), all-wheel drive ($2000), Jet Black cabin trim with leather-appointed seating ($1500), Driver Awareness Plus Package ($1300), Evergreen Metallic paint ($625)
Price as tested: $58,305
More CT5 price and availability information
The great: Satisfying performance and plenty of available features for less money than European competitors
The good: Distinctive styling; all-weather traction of all-wheel drive
The not so good: Some interior materials are disappointing for a luxury-brand car; so-so trunk space
Pick a number, any number between three and six, says Cadillac, and you’ll find yourself in one of the marque’s brand-new CT sedans. The larger of the two is the midsize CT5 that comes in the same four states of trim as the compact CT4. Consumer Guide got to try the raciest example of the 2020 CT5 crop, the CT5-V (which, confusingly, Cadillac also calls CT5 V-Series).
At 193.8 inches long and 74.1 inches wide, the CT5 is 6.6 inches longer and 2.7 inches wider than its little bro. There’s more rear legroom in the “five” (though a front seat tracked all the way back will violate a rear-seat passenger’s personal space) and an additional 0.7 inch of front headroom. However, 36.6 inches of rear headroom is just 0.1 more than in the smaller car, which we didn’t think was all that ample in the overhead department. The same type of floor hump that cuts CT4’s rear-seat adult capacity to two is present on the CT5, to the same effect.
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While capacities differ, the trunk layouts of the two Caddy sedans are identical, which is to say a little odd. Down the center, the floor between the wheel houses is slightly lower than the sides around the wheel houses. Plus, the floor above the battery box on the left is higher than the floor at the right—wide objects loaded across the trunk can’t rest level. In both, a bulkhead narrows the threshold between the trunk and cabin when the 60/40-split rear seats are folded (and they fold a little flatter in the CT5). There’s a lip at the bottom that could complicate placement of long loads. The CT5’s 11.9 cubic feet outdo the CT4’s middling trunk capacity, but only by 1.2 cubic feet.
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There are many similarities in cabin materials and controls—nearly everybody does that to some extent—and the base engine in CTs 4 and 5 is the same 237-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder. Don’t get the impression that these two are automotive matryoshka dolls, however. A pentagonal grille and “T-bone” taillights lend some family resemblance to the styling, but the CT5 has a different roofline—almost a full fastback in profile—and the step-up engine in the CT5 is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, not the 2.7-liter four utilized by the CT4.
The CT5-V that CG editors drove has a starting price of $48,690 with delivery. However, with the additions of all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, Evergreen Metallic paint, and a couple of feature-rich option packages, the test car came in at $58,305.
The centerpiece of the V-Series is its particular version of the V6, rated at 360 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. That gives it 25 more ponies and five additional lb-ft of twist than the variant offered as an option in the Premium Luxury. With this engine and the 10-speed automatic standard in all CT5s (another departure from the CT4), Cadillac claims the CT5-V is capable of mid-4-second 0-60-mph sprints. It’s a lively car in base “Tour” mode, but ramps up throttle response and transmission behavior in “Sport.”
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the AWD CT5-V are 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg for combined driving. This reviewer saw 20.0 mpg after putting 69 miles on the test car, 40 percent of them in city-type operation.
Cadillac stocks the CT5 V-Series with a performance-calibrated suspension, Magnetic Ride Control electronic variable damping, an electronic limited-slip differential, and Pearl-Nickel-finish 19-inch alloy wheels shod with run-flat summer tires. Performance Traction Management comes into play via a “Track” mode with “Wet,” “Dry,” “Sport,” “Race 1,” and “Race 2” settings, and there’s Launch control for standing starts without wasted, unpredictable motion. Drivers can blend ride and performance qualities from the various drive modes, and call them into play by pressing a “V-Mode” thumb button on the steering wheel. The Sport drive mode produces a firm but hardly punishing ride, though steering felt a tad too heavy at this level. Braking, aided by standard Brembo performance binders in front, was very good in pedal feel and stopping power.
For a car that is in the same area code as $50,000, it might surprise some to learn the only way to get heated (and ventilated) front seats, a heated steering, wheel, leather upholstery, or navigation is to come up with some extra cash. Caddy isn’t alone in this in the premium-midsize field—and some competitors with even higher prices have the same issue.
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What, then, do you get before the options start piling up? Appearance features are a black diamond-mesh grille and extensions to the body-color rocker moldings, a body-color rear spoiler, quad exhaust outlets with bright tips, neutral-density gray-tinted taillamp lenses, alloy pedal face, and carpeted floor mats with the V logo. A leather-wrapped steering wheel with a thicker rim and dimpled hand grips is backed by magnesium shifter paddles—though there’s still an “Electronic Precision Shift” lever on the console.
Front seats feature power-adjustable side bolsters for better body grip in aggressive cornering, 18-way adjustment, and 4-way lumbar control. Infotainment comes via the Cadillac User Experience system, which is fairly easy to use on the 10-inch touchscreen, but if you feel the need to complicate things, there is one of those trendy remote-control console dials. There’s Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility (and wireless charging to keep those devices at the ready outside the car), and satellite and HD radio. The dual-zone climate system is subject to numerous buttons, including repetitive-push switches for temperature and fan-speed settings. Built-in safety minders include forward-collision alert, automatic emergency braking—including pedestrian detection—and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts.
The CT5 faces a big task as the de facto replacement for the CTS. The 2020 CT5-V isn’t a direct stand-in for the erstwhile CTS-V—that’s a job for the upcoming super-performance CT5-V Blackwing, which is expected to debut next year as a 2022 model. But to those seeking affordable luxury with some driving spirit, Cadillac may have your number.
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