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2019 Cadillac CTS: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 2/20/2020 U.S. News & World Report
a car parked on the side of a road: 2019 Cadillac CTS © Cadillac 2019 Cadillac CTS

The 2019 Cadillac CTS offers powerful engines, athletic handling, and a generous array of standard features. However, it ranks in the middle third of the luxury midsize car class because of its poor predicted reliability rating and frustrating infotainment system.

Is the Cadillac CTS a Good Car?

The 2019 Cadillac CTS is a decent luxury midsize car. The CTS has crisp steering and agile handling, and it offers several punchy engine options. This adds up to a very rewarding driving experience, especially with the racy CTS-V model and its 640-horsepower V8.

Inside, however, the CTS is a mixed bag. Its touch-screen infotainment system can be frustrating to use, and the CTS’ cabin materials aren’t as luxurious as what you’ll find in many European rivals. Additionally, this Cadillac rates poorly for predicted reliability. 

Should I Buy the Cadillac CTS?

If you’re shopping for a fun-to-drive luxury sedan, the 2019 CTS is definitely worth considering. Its roughly $47,000 price tag is about average for the class, though you’ll want to upgrade to a higher trim to get a stronger engine. There are better luxury midsize cars available, but they’re more expensive. The 2019 BMW 5 Series (starting at $53,900) is well-rounded and has powerful engines, dynamic handling, and a roomy, upscale interior. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class (starting at $53,500) oozes luxury, from its first-rate cabin to its pampering ride quality.

Should I Buy a New or Used Cadillac CTS?

Since there were few changes made to the CTS over the years, you may want to buy a used 2017 CTS or a 2018 CTS instead of a new model. Doing so will also likely save you thousands of dollars. If you’re shopping for a used model, a 2016 CTS is probably as far back as you’ll want to go. The infotainment system was updated for that model year to include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The midrange V6 engine received a bump in horsepower, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission debuted.

We Did the Research for You: 35 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 35 Cadillac CTS reviews – along with performance specs, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2019 CTS is the right new car for you. This 2019 Cadillac CTS review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2014 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Cadillac CTS Cost?

The 2019 Cadillac CTS starts at $46,995, which is about average for a luxury midsize car. Several higher trims add lots of features and come with different engines, pushing the CTS’ price to nearly $72,000. All models come standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional for $2,000. The high-performance 2019 Cadillac CTS-V retails for $86,995.

Overall, the CTS is a lot cheaper than many competitors. The BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Audi A6 all start at around $54,000. The CTS’ starting price lands in the middle of Cadillac’s car lineup though. The Cadillac ATS coupe starts at $38,995 while the Cadillac XTS sedan starts at a comparable $46,895. The Cadillac CT6 sedan starts at a pricier $62,595.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also view details of excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.

Cadillac CTS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Cadillac CTS or BMW 5 Series?

The BMW 5 Series is one of the best cars in this class. It outshines the CTS in terms of interior quality and refinement, offering roomier space for back-seat passengers, a larger trunk, and nicer materials. The 5 Series also tops the Cadillac with its easier-to-use iDrive infotainment system, and it rates much higher for predicted reliability. That being said, both models are similarly agile and enjoyable to drive, especially the potent BMW M5 and Cadillac CTS-V variants. You may have to spend a bit more to buy a comparable 5 Series, but it’s the better car overall.

Which Is Better: Cadillac CTS or Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

The Mercedes E-Class offers a different take on the luxury midsize car experience. Its handling isn’t as sporty as the CTS', so if that’s an issue, you’ll want to stick with the Cadillac. Otherwise, the E-Class is likely the better option. The Mercedes offers a truly lavish interior with high-end materials, an enormous 12.3-inch infotainment screen, and supremely comfortable seats. Its ride quality is supple – even over rough pavement – and it’s available in a wider range of body styles, including sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon models. Like the Cadillac, the E-Class boasts a similarly muscular array of engine options. As with the 5 Series, you may have to spend more to buy an E-Class, but it’s the better pick for most shoppers.

CTS Interior

How Many People Does the CTS Seat?

The Cadillac CTS sedan seats up to five people. The front seats are plush and provide enough comfort for long road trips, and there’s good side bolstering to keep you supported as well. You might find the seats a little narrow compared to some other luxury cars, though. With plenty of seating and steering wheel adjustments, it’s easy to find a relaxing driving position. Outward visibility is mostly good. Accommodations aren’t as good in the second row. Headroom is a little tight for taller passengers, and legroom is just OK.

CTS and Car Seats

The CTS has two full sets of LATCH child-seat connections in the second-row outboard seats. There’s an additional top tether anchor for the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for its ease of use. The lower anchors are located in slits in the upholstery, and you have to reach into the seat to access them. It also requires a decent amount of force to attach the car-seat straps to the anchors.

CTS Interior Quality

The CTS’ interior includes upscale trim pieces like wood and suede, and you can upgrade from the standard leatherette upholstery to real leather or premium semi-aniline leather. In this uber-competitive segment, however, that's not enough: Other luxury midsize cars have superior materials and better overall build quality.

CTS Cargo Space

The 2019 CTS has below-average trunk space for its class at 13.7 cubic feet. That's enough for two sets of golf clubs, but most class rivals offer more space. The BMW 5 Series has one of the largest trunks in the class at 18.7 cubic feet. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan has marginally less space than the CTS, but its coupe version has 15 cubic feet of trunk space. Both the 5 Series and the E-Class are available in wagon body styles that offer a lot more cargo space.

The CTS’ trunk opening is wide, and the lift-in height is a little above average. The trunk’s narrow back gives it an oblong shape. The base CTS model’s back seats don’t fold down, and there’s only a small pass-through for cargo. You’ll have to purchase a package or upgrade trim levels to get a 60/40 split-folding rear seat that allows you to haul larger items.

CTS Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 2019 CTS has a long list of standard features. These include dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity key entry, push-button start, remote start, and an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with wireless charging, a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, two USB ports, satellite radio, an 11-speaker Bose audio system, and smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

You’ll want to take advantage of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to connect your phone to the system instead of using the native interface. Cadillac’s User Experience infotainment setup (CUE) functions OK, but some menus are hard to navigate, and the system isn’t that straightforward. Even simple controls like volume and climate are adjusted through touch-sensitive buttons instead of traditional physical knobs.

CTS Performance

CTS Engine: 1 Dud, 3 Studs

The 2019 Cadillac CTS comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It puts out 268 horsepower, which is an OK amount for a performance-oriented luxury car. Since this powertrain is a little underwhelming, you may want to consider one of the optional V6 engines. The middle of the lineup is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 335 horsepower, and there’s a twin-turbocharged V6 that puts out 420 horsepower. Both V6 engines deliver good power for accelerating and cruising at high speeds, but the twin-turbo version is noticeably more muscular. All engines are mated to a refined eight-speed transmission that shifts seamlessly, though it can hesitate to downshift in manual mode.

The head honcho of the CTS lineup is the high-performance CTS-V. It’s powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that puts out a whopping 640 horsepower. The CTS-V rockets from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 200 miles per hour.

CTS Gas Mileage: Not That Great

With its standard four-cylinder engine, the 2019 CTS gets 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are below average for the class. Adding optional all-wheel drive drops each figure by 1 mpg. The midrange V6 engine returns 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, and the twin-turbo V6 gets 16/24 mpg city/highway. Fuel economy with the CTS-V is 14/21 mpg.

The 2019 BMW 5 Series and its standard turbo four-cylinder engine gets 24/34 mpg city/ highway. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has very similar fuel economy numbers to the CTS.

CTS Ride and Handling: Deft and Dynamic

A big part of the CTS’ excellent performance scores is its razor-sharp handling and athleticism. The car feels as comfortable on long winding roads as it does carving tight corners, thanks to great road grip and controlled body motions. The CTS rides a little stiff for a luxury vehicle, though. It’s not so harsh that it hinders daily driving, but rivals do away with bumps in the road better. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.

CTS Reliability

Is the Cadillac CTS Reliable?

The 2019 Cadillac CTS has a predicted reliability rating of two out of five from J.D. Power. That's a poor rating, and one of the lowest in the class. 

Cadillac CTS Warranty

Cadillac covers the CTS with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

CTS Safety

CTS Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 CTS a five-star overall crash test rating, with five out of five stars in the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests. The CTS earned the highest score of Good in four crash tests at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. IIHS also gave the car a score of Marginal (the second-lowest rating) in the driver-side small overlap front crash test, a score of Superior for its front crash prevention features, and a rating of Poor for headlight performance. 

CTS Safety Features

The 2019 CTS comes standard with rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and the Teen Driver function, which lets you set speed and volume limits for secondary drivers. Optional advanced safety features include lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, a following distance indicator, a head-up display, a surround-view parking camera, a rearview mirror camera, automatic parking assist, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, adaptive headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a safety alert seat.

Which Cadillac CTS Model Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Cadillac CTS comes in five trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, V-Sport, and V-Sport Premium Luxury. The CTS-V is a high-performance model. The standard engine differs between trim levels, and all models come with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional for $2,000. The standard CTS comes loaded with a ton of features and is a good choice if you’re fine with the base engine. It has amenities like a Bose stereo, smartphone integration, wireless charging, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Cadillac CTS

The 2019 CTS starts at $46,995 and comes with a four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Standard features include leatherette upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity key entry, push-button start, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, the Teen Driver function, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth, two USB ports, satellite radio, an 11-speaker Bose stereo, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, wireless charging, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.

For $2,500, the optional Seating package includes leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and a heated, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. A sunroof is optional for $1,450.

Cadillac CTS Luxury

The CTS Luxury costs $52,695 and comes with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, split-folding rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a 13-speaker Bose stereo, navigation, a sunroof, automatic high beams, adaptive headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a safety alert seat, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and a following distance indicator.

The V-Sport package ($2,465) includes a sport suspension, magnetic ride control, performance brakes, and a special wheel and tire combination.

Cadillac CTS Premium Luxury

The Premium Luxury trim starts at $60,195. It adds a V6 engine, magnetic ride control, heated rear seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power rear-window sunshade, rear-side-window sunshades, a head-up display, a surround-view parking camera, a rearview mirror camera, and automatic parking assist.

For $1,830, the Performance Seat and Cluster package comes with 20-way power-adjustable front sport seats, sport pedals, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The V-Sport ($1,465) adds a sport suspension, performance brakes, and unique wheels and tires.

Cadillac CTS V-Sport

The CTS V-Sport retails for $61,695 and comes with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, magnetic ride control, a limited-slip differential, and enhanced steering. It has all the features of the Luxury trim in addition to automatic parking assist.

Cadillac CTS V-Sport Premium Luxury

The V-Sport Premium Luxury trim costs $71,795. It includes 20-way power-adjustable front seats, a high-definition performance digital instrument cluster, tri-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, and forward and reverse automatic emergency braking.

Cadillac CTS-V

The 2019 CTS-V starts at $86,995. This high-performance model comes with a 6.2-liter V8 engine, performance traction management, launch control, Brembo brakes, performance wheels and tires, and aggressive exterior styling. Options include 16-way power-adjustable Recaro front seats ($2,300) and a performance data and video recorder ($1,600).

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.

The Final Call

The 2019 Cadillac CTS sits in the middle of its class because it’s short on passenger room and overall quality despite having performance chops that few rivals can match. There are tons of great options in the luxury midsize car class, so it’s worth shopping around before pulling the trigger on a CTS.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2019 Cadillac CTS review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


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