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2021 Cadillac CT5 Review By Larry Nutson

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Delivers your wants and needs

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

I had my first drive in Cadillac’s new CT5 sedan last year, notwithstanding Covid-19. I recently found myself again behind the wheel of this premium/luxury midsize sedan.

Yes, people still buy cars. Not everyone wants or needs a utility vehicle. The expectation is that cars—sedans, coupes, station wagons and convertibles will continue to be around 20 to 25% of total new vehicle sales in the U.S.

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.

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As often is the case when a new vehicle comes to market the second year of production brings about adjustments to the product program. Four trims are still available for 2021: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport and V-Series. A 227-hp turbo four-cylinder engine is standard. A 335-hp turbo V6 is available on the Premium Luxury trim. Both engines use a 10-speed automatic and are mated to either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

For the performance minded, a CT5-V is available powered by a 360hp 3.0L Twin Turbo V-6 engine.

New for 2021 is a Diamond Sky Special Edition on Premium Luxury trims. Unique Diamond Sky exterior color, unique front grille, body color rocker extensions and rear lower diffuser, clear tail lamp lenses with crystalline inner, 19-inch alloy wheels with unique finish, Brembo front brakes, blue brake calipers at all wheels, grey/black leather seating, unique wood trim and alloy pedals are featured in this package.

Also new is an upgrade to Super Cruise now with lane change capability, a V-Performance package with Magna Ride control for Sport trims, new 12-inch reconfigurable cluster, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Buckle to Drive feature (fasten seatbelt to shift out of Park), Sirius XM360, revised leather steering wheel and two new colors on the V-Series.

The 2021 CT5 has a starting MSRP of $37,990, including the $995 destination charge. 

For this most recent drive experience I drove a V6 equipped Premium Luxury trim with all-wheel drive. With a starting MSRP of $40,795 plus $9,665 in options the total price topped out at $51,445 including destination.

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This CT5 drive didn’t have me on any road trips but was concentrated around my Chicago home. The CT5 provides decent comfort both up front and in the rear with its well-appointed and nicely roomy cabin. It’s quiet and refined. This is balanced with a right-size exterior that makes for easy maneuvering in a crowded, densely populated city.

The V6 delivers plenty of performance with good torque characteristics for quick acceleration as well as highway merging and passing. GM’s Active Fuel Management, cylinder deactivation that is, helps to reduce fuel consumption. EPA fuel economy ratings for the V6 are 21 combined mpg, with 18 city mpg and 26 highway mpg.

Selectable Drive Modes — Tour, Sport, Snow/Ice and My Mode, alter the calibrations for transmission shifting, steering and brake feel, AWD front/rear torque split and vehicle sound character to customize the driving experience for driver preference and road conditions.

All season tires on 18-inch alloys combine with a nicely compliant suspension to provide a comfortable ride balanced with precise handling and confident control. Chicago’s streets are always a challenge and very low profile tires can prove problematic.

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Fourteen-way power front seats, leather seating, 4G WiFi, head-up display, 15-watt wireless phone charging, heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, 15-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system all make for pleasurable driving. A full suite of driver assistance safety features is available.

More details on the 2020 Cadillac CT5 are at Premium Luxury, Sport and V-series trims are available with a Platinum Package. 

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The CT5 is a competitive entry in the premium midsize sedan class. It will give well-regarded European as well as Asian brands a run for the money. Style, performance and passenger accommodations come at a relatively good value.

Soon the CT5-V Blackwing will make its appearance. An upgraded 6.2L supercharged V-8 using a higher flow air intake and revised exhaust system will develop 668 horsepower and 659 lb.-ft. of torque. A Tremec six-speed manual transmission or an available 10-speed automatic transmission, Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, high performance Brembo brakes, forged aluminum wheels and performance staggered-size tires will complete the package.

The track-capable 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing goes on sale in late summer with extremely limited availability. It will be the most powerful production Cadillac ever. Top speed is over 200mph.

Happy motoring!

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy