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2018 Cadillac CTS Review

The 2018 Cadillac CTS has powerful engines and tight handling, but it ranks in the bottom half of our luxury midsize car rankings. It comes up short on cabin and cargo space, and it has a poor predicted reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Athletic handling
  • Potent engine options
  • Extensive technology
  • Poor predicted reliability rating
  • Cramped rear seat
  • Undersized trunk
  • Weak base engine




Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 9.3
Interior: 7.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.8
Safety: 9.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Cadillac CTS Overview

Is the 2018 Cadillac CTS a Good Used Car?

The CTS is an OK used luxury midsize car. While it has some enticing traits, it has too many flaws for us to recommend over much better rivals.

The 2018 CTS boasts several highlights:

  • Thrilling, responsive handling
  • Muscular twin-turbocharged V6 engine option
  • High-performance CTS-V trim
  • Long list of standard and available features
  • Commendable safety score

Despite these positives, it’s held back by many more weaknesses:

  • Terrible predicted reliability rating
  • Underpowered base engine
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Some confusing infotainment menus
  • So-so interior quality and materials
  • Little rear-seat legroom
  • Small, oddly shaped trunk
Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 43 Cadillac CTS reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability ratings and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has decades of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Cadillac CTS?

Based on listings for the 2018 Cadillac CTS on our site, the average list price is $40,500, which is typical for the class. Prices range from $27,000 to $80,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Cadillac CTS Cost to Own?

The 2018 CTS’ five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $29,100, or $5,820 per year. That’s about average for a luxury midsize car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New CTS?

Since Cadillac made no major changes to the CTS for the 2019 model year, you’re better off buying an otherwise identical used 2018 CTS to save money. List prices for a 2018 CTS range from around $27,000 to $80,000, while pricing for the 2019 Cadillac CTS ranging from $47,000 to around $87,000.

Read about the new Cadillac CTS »

The 2018 CTS is part of a generation that began with the 2014 model year. The 2018 model is practically identical to the 2017 CTS, so consider shopping for a model that is one year older and less expensive. For 2017, Chevy refreshed the CTS' exterior styling, and it added standard Teen Driver and an available rearview mirror camera. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay debuted in the 2016 CTS, and that model year saw the introduction of the 420-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 CTS »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Cadillac CTS?

The 2018 Cadillac CTS has the lowest-possible predicted reliability rating of two out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about CTS reliability »

2018 Cadillac CTS Recalls

At the time of writing, there is one recall for the 2018 Cadillac CTS:

  • Electric power assist steering may fail

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Cadillac CTS safety recalls »

Which Used Cadillac CTS Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Cadillac CTS is available in six trims: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, V-Sport, V-Sport Premium Luxury, and the high-performance CTS-V. Base and Luxury models come standard with a four-cylinder engine, and a V6 is available in the Luxury. The Premium Luxury comes standard with that V6, and a twin-turbocharged V6 powers V-Sport and V-Sport Premium Luxury models. The CTS-V features a supercharged V8. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available in base, Luxury, and Premium Luxury trims. V-Sport and CTS-V models are only available with rear-wheel drive.

The base model has most of the infotainment features you'll find throughout the lineup, but go with a Luxury trim if you want leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and navigation. That model also includes driver assistance features like forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and lane keep assist. You also might want to find a Luxury model with the V6 engine, which provides better performance than the standard four-cylinder. If you have room in your budget, go for one of the twin-turbo V-Sport models for the best combination of performance and value.

  • Cadillac CTS: The 2018 Cadillac CTS comes standard with synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and the Teen Driver system. The standard Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system includes an 8-inch touch screen, an 11-speaker Bose stereo, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, wireless device charging, and two USB ports.
  • Cadillac CTS Luxury: The CTS Luxury has genuine leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a split-folding rear seat, navigation, a sunroof, and a 13-speaker Bose surround-sound stereo. It also comes with driver assistance features such as forward collision warning, following distance indicator, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a safety alert seat.
  • Cadillac CTS Premium Luxury: The CTS Premium Luxury adds heated rear seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, rear window sunshades, a head-up display, automatic parking assist, a rearview camera mirror, a surround-view parking camera, and the Magnetic Ride Control suspension. Available features include semi-aniline leather upholstery, 20-way power-adjustable front seats, adaptive cruise control, and forward and reverse automatic emergency braking.
  • Cadillac CTS V-Sport: The CTS V-Sport has most of the same features as the Luxury trim along with automatic parking assist, a surround-view parking camera, Brembo brakes, and an electronic limited-slip differential.
  • Cadillac CTS V-Sport Premium Luxury: The V-Sport Premium Luxury has the same performance upgrades as the V-Sport model and the same comfort and tech features as the Premium Luxury trim.
  • Cadillac CTS-V: The high-performance CTS-V features carbon fiber design accents, upgraded Brembo brakes, race-derived traction management, and launch control. A performance data and video recorder is available.

See 2018 Cadillac CTS trims and specs »


How Safe Is the CTS?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Cadillac CTS an overall safety rating of five out of five stars with five stars in the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests. The CTS-V received a four-star overall rating with five stars in side crash and rollover tests and four stars in the frontal crash evaluation.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CTS the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the driver-side small overlap front test. CTS models equipped with forward automatic emergency braking earned the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention, while models with forward collision warning (and no emergency braking) received the lowest rating of Basic. The CTS also received the lowest score of Poor for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • rear parking sensors
  • Teen Driver (lets you do things like set limits on speed and audio volume for secondary drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • forward collision warning
  • following distance indicator
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • lane departure warning
  • lane keep assist
  • automatic high-beam headlights
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • safety alert seat
  • head-up display
  • automatic parking assist
  • rearview mirror camera
  • surround-view parking camera
  • adaptive cruise control
  • forward and reverse automatic emergency braking

See CTS safety scores »

2018 Cadillac CTS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Cadillac CTS or 2018 BMW 5 Series?

The 2018 BMW 5 Series is one of the most well-rounded luxury midsize cars, finishing near the top of the class in almost every measure. It's just as engaging to drive as the CTS, with a lineup of engines that includes a plug-in hybrid and a 600 horsepower V8. Both cars seamlessly blend dynamic handling with a posh, luxurious ride. When it comes to cabin luxury, the 5 Series trounces the CTS. The BMW boasts a spacious rear seat and a huge trunk, with about 5 extra feet of cargo space. Build quality and elegance are through the roof, and the BMW has user-friendly features and cool technology like gesture control. An excellent predicted reliability rating and high safety scores solidify the 5 Series' standing. This Bimmer doesn't come cheap, though – even used, the 5 Series has an average list price of around $50,000, and it has one of the highest five-year ownership totals in the class, about $3,000 more than the CTS.

Which Is Better: 2018 Cadillac CTS or 2018 Audi A6?

The 2018 Audi A6 is one of the best values in the class with a solid ranking and low average prices for the segment. The A6's average price is about $4,300 lower than the CTS', but you get standard leather seats and a more capable base engine. Across the lineup of both cars, horsepower ratings are comparable: 268, 335, and 420 for the CTS and 252, 340, and 450 for the A6. Audi doesn’t have an answer for the 640-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V though. The A6 serves up more back-seat space and a nicer interior than the CTS, along with more straightforward infotainment operation. You're likely to be much better off with the Audi than with the Caddy.

Compare the CTS, 5 Series, and A6 »

2018 CTS Performance

How Does the 2018 Cadillac CTS Drive?

The 2018 Cadillac CTS comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It feels harsh and unrefined, which is out of place in a sporty luxury car. The available naturally aspirated V6 engine isn't much better, delivering merely adequate power and acceleration. Your best bet is the twin-turbo V6 that gets you moving very quickly from a stop. The high-performance Cadillac CTS-V is powered by a supercharged V8, capable of sprinting from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 200 mph.

Few other luxury sport sedans can match the CTS' cornering prowess. Around twists and turns, this car feels agile and boasts precise steering and plenty of grip. Thanks to some performance upgrades, the CTS-V is practically ready for the racetrack. The CTS doesn't sacrifice ride comfort for this athleticism, so the ride is smooth, even over rough roads. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive and an adaptive suspension are optional.

  • Base engine: 268-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engines:
    • 335-horsepower 3.6-liter V6
    • 420-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6
    • 640-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Cadillac CTS Get Good Gas Mileage?

With any of its engines, the 2018 CTS gets below-average fuel economy for a luxury midsize car.

  • Four-cylinder, RWD: 22/30 mpg city/highway
  • Four-cylinder, AWD: 21/29 mpg
  • V6, RWD: 20/30 mpg
  • V6, AWD: 19/27 mpg
  • Twin-turbo V6, RWD: 16/24 mpg
  • Supercharged V8, RWD: 14/21 mpg

Read more about CTS performance »

2018 CTS Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 CTS Seat?

The 2018 CTS seats five people in two rows. The front seats have plenty of space and lots of power adjustments for passengers to get comfortable. With less rear legroom than you'll find in rivals, taller passengers may feel a little cramped in this Caddy's back seats.

For the most part, the CTS' cabin is fitted with first-rate materials. However, there are some surfaces and trim pieces that cheapen the luxury feel. The carpet and synthetic leather feel shabby, and some critics complain about interior surfaces being too shiny or reflective.

Standard seating features:

  • synthetic leather upholstery
  • 12-way power-adjustable front seats
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel

Available seating features:

  • genuine leather upholstery
  • semi-aniline leather upholstery
  • 20-way power-adjustable front seats
  • heated and ventilated front seats
  • heated rear seats
  • heated steering wheel
  • rear window sunshades
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Cadillac CTS?

The 2018 CTS has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. The lower anchors are set deep in the seats, and it takes some force to attach the car-seat straps to the anchors.

2018 Cadillac CTS Features

The standard Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system has crisp graphics, and it responds quickly to your touch inputs. Still, you have to sift through multiple menus to find some controls. For things like volume and climate control, the CTS has digital and touch-sensitive buttons, which could be a nuisance to some folks. You may have better luck with the redundant controls on the steering wheel that will let you quickly adjust the volume and some other functions. A voice recognition system also lets you control CUE, though it can be frustrating to use.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, an 11-speaker Bose stereo, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, wireless device charging, and two USB ports
  • Available infotainment features: navigation and a 13-speaker Bose surround-sound stereo
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and remote start
  • Other available features: a sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a 110-volt household-style power outlet

See 2018 Cadillac CTS specs »

Read more about CTS interior »

2018 Cadillac CTS Dimensions

Cadillac CTS Cargo Space

The 2018 Cadillac CTS has 13.7 cubic feet of trunk space, which is below average for the luxury midsize car class. Utility is limited by the trunk's odd shape and an uneven floor. A rear-seat pass-through is standard, and a split-folding rear seat is available.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Cadillac CTS Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet, 3.5 inches to 16 feet, 5.6 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,652 to 4,141 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Cadillac CTS Built?

General Motors built the 2018 Cadillac CTS in Michigan.

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