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2020 Cadillac CT5 Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2020 Cadillac CT5
Balanced comfort and performance

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Cadillac has upped its sedan game with the new 2020 CT4 and CT5 models. With many new vehicle buyers interested in SUVs you might wonder: Why new sedans?

Prior to Covid-19 around six million cars—sedans, coupes and convertibles were sold in the U.S. each year. The mid-size segment accounts for about two million sales, and that’s where the CT5 sits. Indeed, there is good opportunity for a new premium-luxury entry.

The CT5 is all-new and replaces the CTS.

Car sales today make up around 25 to 28-percent of new vehicle sales. So the good news is, people are still buying what we would call a traditional car. Not everyone wants an SUV, pickup or van.

It will be interesting to watch the trends in the sedan market. Research says that many young people are considering sedans. There’s interest among a significant percentage of Gen Z and Gen Y buyers. Why? Price, fuel efficiency and “I don’t want daddy’s car” are three main reasons. This can only help Cadillac as they are looking to attract younger buyers.

Another noteworthy reason for Cadillac’s new sedans is China. GM’s sales in China grew by 12% in the third quarter of this year. This in part due to the demand for Cadillacs.

My drive experience with the CT5 turned out to have two parts, driving two different trims. The CT5 is offered in Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport trim levels. And there also is the performance-oriented V-Series, CT5-V.

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My first exposure to the CT5 was in the V-series where I had about an hour’s time behind the wheel. This all took place in a very ex-urban area of Northern Michigan where I was able to put the 360hp being pumped out of its 3.0L twin-turbo V6 to good use.

A 10-speed automatic connects to either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive and gets the CT5-V to 60mph from stop in 4.6 sec. I was able to stretch out the CT5-V on some empty roads which gave good opportunity to experience the balance and poise provided by its Magnetic Ride Control suspension supported by 4-piston Brembo brakes when the need arises to scrape off some speed.

Personally I like the appearance of the CT5-V with its blacked-out trim that enhanced the overall elegant look.

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Following this drive and before my most recent drive experience around my Chicago home, which was in a Premium Luxury trim CT5, I joined my colleagues in the Midwest Automotive Media Association to learn not only about the CT5 but to hear about Cadillac’s new platform, Cadillac Live. A live product specialist in a studio gave us a virtual tour of the CT5 and other Cadillac models. This virtual showroom, sort of like a personal auto show, complements a local auto show or dealer visit with the intent to broaden a shopper’s online interest into a sale.

The standard CT5 engine is a 237hp 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder with strong low-end torque providing good response in city-type driving. Optional on the Premium Luxury is a 335hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. This is a lower output version of the CT5-V engine mentioned previously.

All trim levels have a 10-speed automatic and are offered in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The Premium Luxury trim CT5 I drove had the optional V6 as well as all-wheel drive. This time around a road trip was on the schedule that would take my wife and me from Chicago across lower Michigan to the southeast corner of the state.

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Naturally, a road trip is the perfect opportunity to monitor fuel consumption. EPA test-cycle ratings for the V6 with AWD are 21 mpg combined with 18 city mpg and 25 highway mpg. Our all-highway trip of about 260 miles each way is along an interstate posted at 70mph. Well, you know how that goes, and I’m no slacker. I was truly surprised and impressed in averaging 26-27 mpg. The V6 is equipped with GM’s Active Fuel Management, that is, cylinder deactivation that helps to reduce fuel consumption. And when you need it, there is plenty of get-up-and-go from all six cylinders.

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The CT5 proved quite comfortable on our trip. Eight-way power front seats for both my wife and me allowed for small tweaks in position along the way. The 4G WiFi hotspot gave my wife a connection she needed for some business. The center and door armrest provided good arm support for me as I drove. The head-up display eliminates the downward glance to the speedometer. Wireless phone charging eliminated the snarl of cords. Heated seats, ventilated seats and heated steering wheel all added to our comfort so we could enjoy the 15-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system.

Pricing for the CT5 starts at $37,890, including the $995 destination charge. The Premium Luxury V6 AWD vehicle I drove is priced at $48,280. At the top is the CT5-V AWD at $51,290.

More details on the 2020 Cadillac CT5 are at Premium Luxury and Sport models are also available with a Platinum Package

A full suite of driver assistance safety features is available. Although not on my test car, the CT5 is available with Cadillac’s exclusive Super Cruise, the first true hands-free driver assistance feature for limited- access freeways, is available on more than 130,000 miles of limited-access freeways in the U.S. and Canada.

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With a look to the future, Cadillac is said to be taking the V-Series sub-brand a bit higher. It will eventually include ultra-performance variants that carry the Blackwing name. A future, track-capable CT5-V Blackwing will feature specially tuned chassis, vehicle control technologies and engine. Also, a manual transmission may be offered. Premium racing-inspired seats with carbon fiber seat back will feature a precision book-matched design and laser-etched V-Series logo. The seats will also include other customer-centric innovations and features. The CT5-V Blackwing is expected to be available starting in summer 2021.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy