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Car Review: 2017 Cadillac CT6 Review By Steve Purdy

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2017 CADILLAC CT6 Review

By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

Who would have thought we would be driving a large Cadillac - referred to as the brand’s “flagship sedan” - powered by a four-cylinder engine. Amazing! What’s even more amazing is that it performs and feels smooth and powerful enough to do the job – at least adequately. Yes, we experience a bit of turbo lag when we punch it, and the muffled sound of that small engine adds nothing to the acoustic aesthetics of the car, but that’s not what this car is about. It has enough power and sophistication not to embarrass itself. Enough power, I’ll confirm, to launch itself into traffic very well, indeed.

This big, rear-wheel drive luxury sedan breaks some new ground for Cadillac, not just with the powertrain, but in style, design and chassis engineering as well. It sits on a new light-weight platform shared with Camaro and ATS featuring mostly aluminum with high-strength steel in its midsections. The structural rigidity makes for a solid feel on bumpy surfaces and allows engineers to tune the suspension with more creativity. Our test car weighs in at just about 3,700 pounds - mighty lithe for such a big car.

The exterior reflects the latest evolution of Cadillac’s Art and Science design language dating back to the 1990s that has aged so well. Angular surfaces with vertical front and rear details, large wheel arches, and minimal shinny bits become just a bit more homogenized with this car as it shows some more gentle curves. The long hood, short deck profile with wheels exaggeratedly pushed to the corners of the car has styling queues from the Cadillac Sixteen and particularly last year’s Elmiraj, the immediate precursor of this design.

Interior design, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, is vastly improved over recent Cadillac products. Swoopy horizontal lines and smooth uncomplicated surfaces complimnent excellent quality materials and nearly flawless fit and finish. We have a two-tone interior with bright, butterscotch-colored seats and door trim with Alcantara faux-suede on the dash, inside pillars and headliner. Interesting metals fill spaces where we expect to find wood.

It was not long ago I counted nearly 50 buttons, digital displays and controls on the dash of an Esclade. Now, nearly everything is done on the multifunction screen and the buttons on the steering wheel. A new touch sensitive control pad on the console makes for less distraction when managing functions on the screen. It is not the best system out there but it works well once we get a feel for it. The latest version of Cadillac’s CUE system is reasonably intuitive with large, sensible icons.

Ingress and egress through the driver’s door was a bit of a challenge for this oversize reviewer as the B-pillar got in the way. Rear doors are bigger than the fronts it seems. We had rear seat passengers this week who raved about the room and comfort back there as well as the rear seat heaters and climate controls. Interior volume is about equal to short wheelbase BMW 7-series. No word on whether Cadillac will offer a long-wheelbase version. Trunk space is listed as 15.3 cubic-feet and it looks downright cavernous with a great distance between the rear lip and the back of the rear seat.

Ergonomics, convenience and sensibility of controls are good but the traffic congestion function on the navigation system leaves much to be desired. It reads rather limited geography compared to many other systems we’ve used. Our regular driving route follows I-96 from Lansing into Detroit and the traffic monitor failed to warn of serious backups beyond a certain point even though that section of road is heavily traveled. I’m not sure how those systems are designed, but this one needs some enhancement.

This diminutive 2.0-liter, direct injected, turbo four, smallest of three engines offered in the CT6, puts out a decent 265 horsepower and an impressive 295 pound-feet of torque. That torque number is better than the 3.6-liter V6 in the next CT6 up the ladder. The top-end performance CT6 gets a 400 horsepower, twin-turbo V6. The 8-speed automatic transmission, shared with all three engines and many other Cadillac products, performs well, not stellar. Fortunately, this application in the CT6 does not have the awkward electric shifter we found in last week’s XT5. Rather, the more conventional t-shaped sliding shifter is much more easily managed.

The EPA suggests we should get in the neighborhood of 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway using regular fuel. With a 19.5-gallon fuel tank we have plenty of range. We managed 27.3 this week with lots of freeway driving, but a decent amount of city driving as well. I never felt as if I needed more power although I needed to anticipate time for the turbo to scroll up when accelerating briskly from mid-speeds.

Ride and handling are impressive. Smooth and quiet with a confident and gentle feel. This Cadillac’s American luxury cred is unblemished. It is surprisingly agile for a large American-style sedan though it makes no pretense at being as sporty as the German competitors. Suspension favors the soft and comfortable rather than the firm and harsh like the Europeans.

Our 2.0 Turbo CT6 “Luxury” shows a base price of $58,395 and that includes a good level of content like 18-inch aluminum wheels, premium Bose sound system, capless fueling, push-button remote start, start/stop, CUE Information and Media Control System, OnStar 4G LTE WiFi, full slate of safety equipment and plenty more. Our test car has a bunch of options including an even more premium Bose sound system with 34 speakers, rear seat entertainment, 19-inch wheels and a “vision and comfort” package. With the destination charge the bottom line shows $69,010.

All-wheel drive is offered only with the V6 models. Top-of-the line 3.0-L Twin-Turbo Platinum with AWD begins at $87,495.

Cadillac’s new car warranty covers the whole car for 4 years or 50,000 miles and the powertrain for 6 years or 70,000 miles.

It seems the older I get the more I appreciate big, comfortable luxury cars. And, I like this one. Maybe this does not bode well for Cadillac in luring youngsters into the brand but Cadillac has plenty of smaller, faster, sportier models for them.

After all, it is we boomers that have all the money now – right?

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

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