2023 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury
Class: Premium compact sedan
Color: Midnight Steel
|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-horsepower 2.7-liter|
|Engine Type||Turbocharged 4-cylinder|
Miles driven: 135
Observed fuel economy: 17.1 mpg
Driving mix: 70% city, 30% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 21/29/24 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas
Snow performance: N/A
Base price: $38,995 (not including $1395 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Super Cruise 2 Package ($7700), “Dual Volute” 2.7-liter turbocharged engine ($2500), AWD ($2000), special paint ($625)
Price as tested: $53,215
The great: Power, ride, handling, generally sporty character
The good: Premium cabin appointments, compelling base price
The not so good: pricey options, disappointing fuel economy
Once upon a time—not all that long ago—buying an SUV made you something of a trailblazing outlier. In the Eighties and Nineties, it was cool individualists who courted the services of vehicles like the Jeep Cherokee and Ford Explorer. The latter vehicle, an almost immediate best-seller, helped to mainstream the SUV in American driving culture, and began the buying trend away from sedans and station wagons (remember them?). Today, according to the EPA, sedans and wagons account for just a quarter of all new vehicle sales.
But you know what? It’s okay to buy a sedan. In fact, sedans are now cool in the same way SUVs were a couple of decades ago. Now, luxury makers are still doing decent business in sedans; the BMW 3- and 5-Series cars, and the Mercedes-Benz C- and E-Class cars are still fairly popular. But what about Cadillac?
Sadly, and confusingly, Cadillac has renamed and reposition its shrinking sedan lineup so many times in the last few years, it is highly unlikely that your average luxury-vehicle shopper can name one. This is a shame, because the American luxury-car maker currently produces two cars, the compact CT4 and midsize CT5, and both are worthy of your attention, and, ultimately, your money.
Though not completely redesigned, the CT4 is a replacement for Caddy’s ATS small sedan, and it’s a very good replacement. The CT4 was new for the 2020 model year, and is currently offered in three trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport. Base prices range from an enticingly affordable $37,000 for a rear-drive entry Luxury, to $45,000 for an AWD Sport. Note that all trim levels are available with AWD, and come standard with a 237-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine mated to an 8-speed automatic. Available only for the Premium Luxury is Cadillac’s “Dual Volute” 310-horsepower turbocharged 2.7-liter mill, which mates to a 10-speed automatic.
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Also available, but treated as separate models by Cadillac, are the high-performance CT4-V and CT4-V Blackwing models. The CT4-V features a 325-horsepower version of the aforementioned Dual Volute engine mated to a 10-speed automatic, and starts around $49,000. The heavily caffeinated Blackwing boasts a 472-horsepower turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 which mates to a 10-speed automatic, or, a 6-speed manual transmission. The Blackwing starts around $65,000.
Consumer Guide recently spent a week behind the wheel of a CT4 Premium Luxury equipped with the extra-cost Dual Volute engine in Midnight Steel with the Jet Black interior.
In addition to the extra-cost engine, our test car was equipped with AWD and the $7700 Super Cruise 2 Package. The content-rich package includes General Motors’ Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system, Bose premium audio, and a navigation system.
Though as noted earlier, the CT4 is an evolution of the ATS before it, it is appreciably roomier, with plenty of up-front space for this large editor, with a little space behind him for smaller adults. Additionally, entering and exiting the CT4 is relatively easy, thanks to relatively largely.
The cabin is appropriately upscale in a professional sort of way, with the black dash and door-top trim contrasting nicely with the burnt-orange leather seating surfaces. Most systems are controlled either by a dash-mounted touchscreen or a center-console rotary knob, with most-used operations handled redundantly by both. As the touchscreen is something of a stretch to reach once buckled, the console knob is a welcome backup.
But as nice as the CT4 is inside, it’s underway that this small Cadillac sedan impresses most. The car is innately sporty, and a pleasure to drive, even around town. The burly optional engine produces plenty of power from a stop, and boasts a deep well of reserve muscle for passing and merging.
We were impressed by the automatic transmissions crisp, authoritative, shifts, which underscore the car’s overall athleticism. A note: some shoppers may find the CT4’s power deliver a little too aggressive. We, however were delighted with the drivetrain.
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Cadillac refers to the Premium Luxury’s standard—and only—chassis setup as a “performance” suspension, and we’re inclined to agree. The CT4’s steering, brakes, and suspension work well in concert, and the car seems to enjoy being hustled.
On the highway CT4 settles in nicely. Road and wind noise are kept to a minimum, and the otherwise burbly exhaust is well muted until the throttle is invoked aggressively.
The Bose audio brand is spread a little thin these days, with the moniker applied to systems at a number of price points. We’re happy to report that the sound system in the CT4 is excellent, and goes some distance to help justify the price of the Super Cruise option package.
Disappointingly, we saw just 17.1 mpg during our evaluation of the CT4, and suspect the extremely cold weather during the car’s visit contributed to our poor mileage. A summertime evaluation of a similarly equipped 2020 CT4 returned a substantially thriftier 25.1 mpg, which we suspect better reflects the CT4’s true mileage potential.
As new noted earlier, it can be cool to march—or drive—down a path different from those around us. And, if you’re currently in the market for a premium small crossover, we suggest you open your test drive list to a couple sedans as well. The CT4 is a fine car to start with. And, if you’re not especially interested in Super Cruise, the CT4 is an absolute bargain in its class.
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2023 Cadillac CT4 Gallery
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