$9,192 - $11,562

2011 Cadillac CTS Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 Cadillac CTS was new.


Interior: 8.3

The passenger cabin of the 2011 CTS impresses reviewers with a level of fit and finish that exceeds what many European and Japanese rivals have to offer. Build quality is excellent, the materials are upscale and equal to the price, and the space boasts a sense of personality reviewers find missing from some competitors. It's also one of the most spacious cars available at this price point. The CTS is classified as a midsize car primarily on price -- it's actually as large as many cars we rank one class up from this -- so while most buyers compare it to a BMW 3-series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, it's nearly as large as a 5-Series or E-Class.

The 2011 CTS Coupe, with its bold exterior design, gets mixed reviews. Some critics say they would have preferred some more unique design elements in the interior to match the edgy exterior, although most agree that build quality in the CTS Coupe remains as excellent as that of the sedan. In the CTS Coupe, however, adults may find the rear seat a bit cramped because of its dramatic, sloping roofline.

  • "The cabin of the Cadillac CTS is impressive both in design and in the quality of materials used. A pleasing mix of available wood accents, tasteful alloy trim and stitched soft-touch dash make the CTS interior one of the most elegant designs in its class." -- Edmunds
  • "At least the lack of changes should ensure top-quality fit and finish. Even our non-salable development mule was free of the issues one usually finds on early-build models." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The interior of the CTS feels completely fresh yet entirely like a Cadillac, and it looks as elegant as anything on the road." -- AutoWeek
  • "There’s plenty of kneeroom back there, but the sloping roof rudely rubbed the balding pate of your five-foot-nine-inch author." -- Car and Driver
  • "If you find the interiors of German machines nicely done but a bit somber, you might like the CTS." -- Road and Track
  • "There's nice form to the dash and center console, intelligently grouped controls and gauges, plus just enough brightwork to add style without gaudiness.  While Cadillac has excelled in simple, luxurious interiors for years, the new generation CTS aims for more upscale ambience with more visually stimulating ornamentation." -- Detroit News


Driver and passengers in the 2011 CTS have plenty of space, although rear-seat entry and exit can be difficult for taller passengers. But test drivers consistently say the standard front seats aren't supportive enough, particularly in a car that begs to be driven enthusiastically.

New for 2011 are the optional Recaro sport seats taken from the high-performance CTS-V. Although a pricey option at $2,800, some buyers may find them worth the extra bucks. Make sure to thoroughly test drive them because sport seats tend to have harder padding and narrower width.

  • "Some have found the front seatbacks to be on the hard side, and several CTS test cars have all featured a driver seat bottom that squeaked in turns." -- Edmunds
  • "Seats are roomy and supportive, complemented by a standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel. Rakish roof line hurts visibility, however, with thick rear pillars being a particular hindrance to the outward view. Note that some testers found that one of the central-dash vents blew directly onto the driver's hand, and could not be adjusted away--a major annoyance with the air conditioning running." -- Consumer Guide
  • "We really appreciated the range of adjustment offered by the power seats and the power steering column adjustments; we've always felt that all cars should have tilt-and-telescope columns for ultimate comfort and proper driving position." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "As small sport sedans go, the CTS doesn't lack space. Much of that is due to efficient design. The front seats have 'thin-seat' technology to enhance backseat legroom, the doors have sculpted cutouts for elbows, and the center armrest is low and narrow." -- Cars.com
  • "Bolsters were a little too far away to keep me firmly in the seat, especially on the track. But that's only because I was able to take corners at 60 mph, so I was more likely to be tossed around the seat." -- Detroit News
  • "During exuberant driving, we wished for more lateral support." -- Car and Driver

Interior Features

Auto writers are impressed with the interior build quality in the 2011 CTS. Surfaces blend tastefully, and LED interior lighting provides a cool, modern touch. One common complaint with cars in this class is complicated cabin electronics, but many reviewers have compliments for how Cadillac has integrated the technologies in the CTS. The available navigation system and 40-gigabyte hard-drive-based stereo also earn praise.

  • "The center stack...blends almost seamlessly with the dashboard and delineates the occupant area while maintaining a sense of airiness. The wood and brushed-metal touches mix nicely, while the interior overall strikes a perfect balance between traditional elements, such as the analog clock, and modern technologies, such as the optional navigation screen rising from the top of the stack." --  AutoWeek
  • "Splashes of LED lighting are spread throughout the cabin of the new car. The center stack is finished with a satiny metallic material or Sapele wood. The upper dash surfaces and door trim are cut, sewn and fitted by hand. The hand-finished center console flows seamlessly into the center stock for a strong, cockpit-style ambience." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Even with Bluetooth hands-free cellphone and navigation -- which displays on a pop-up LCD screen that tucks away from turned off -- the automaker has found a way to avoid button-and-knob proliferation." -- BusinessWeek
  • "The sophisticated audio system includes iPod and USB connections, plus a 40-gigabyte hard drive which can be used to record radio programs for later play back." -- Detroit News
  • "The stereo benefits from the navigation system's hard drive, in that you get some of its space for music storage. This is another feature we really like. You can load it with music from CDs or USB thumb drives." -- CNET


The trunk of the CTS provides 13.6 cubic feet of storage space -- slightly above average for this class, and beyond what buyers get from the BMW 3-Series, but well below the Audi A4's 17 cubic feet. Some reviewers have complained that interior storage is limited.

  • "Usefulness of the boxy trunk is compromised by a small opening. The optional split folding rear seatbacks fold completely flat to accommodate longer parcels. Interior storage includes a center console and glovebox that aren't that large." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Loading bulky items into the 13.6-cubic-foot trunk is hampered by a very short deck." -- Edmunds

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