2018 Cadillac CTS

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MSRP: $46,495 - 86,495

2018 Cadillac CTS Review

The 2018 Cadillac CTS boasts outstanding performance highlighted by a powerful engine lineup and agile handling. However, it sits in the middle of our rankings because many competitors offer roomier, more upscale cabins.

8.5

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 9.2
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 9.4
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Punchy twin-turbo V6 and supercharged V8 engines
  • Athletic handling
  • State-of-the-art tech features
  • Cramped back seats
  • Unrefined four-cylinder base engine
  • Low gas mileage estimates
  • Below-average predicted reliability

Is the Cadillac CTS a Good Car?

The 2018 CTS sedan is a good car, especially in terms of handling. It easily maintains its composure around corners, and V-Sport and high-performance CTS-V models up the ante with more power. This Caddy’s interior is filled with mostly top-notch materials and various high-tech features. However, there are a few downsides. The base engine struggles under hard acceleration. Several class rivals deliver superior fuel economy and more room for passengers and cargo. The CTS also has a below-average predicted reliability rating.

Should I Buy the Cadillac CTS?

Consider purchasing the CTS if you're looking for a luxury midsize car with one of the best performance ratings in the class. You’ll want to focus on models with either a V6 or V8 engine, since the base turbo-four is unrefined and not as fuel-efficient as four-cylinder competitors. For a nicer interior with more space all around, consider the higher-ranked Audi A6. If you want to stay under the Cadillac nameplate and are willing to trade the CTS’s sportiness for space and a richer cabin, consider the Cadillac XTS.

Compare the CTS, A6, and the XTS »

Should I Buy a New or Used Cadillac CTS?

The Cadillac CTS saw no major changes for 2018. Given how fast luxury cars depreciate, it may be worth shopping for a nearly identical used 2017 model. It could likely save you thousands of dollars. However, if you were hoping to save even more money by going with an older car, you'll have to balance price against changes from year to year. The 2016 CTS received an updated infotainment system with newly available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Also, the mid-range V6 gained 14 horsepower (up to 335) over the 2015 model’s engine, and a new 420-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 became available. For 2017, the CTS received a minor exterior styling refresh, the Teen Driver safety feature as standard equipment, and an optional rearview mirror that shows a live video feed for improved rearward visibility.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Cadillac CTS. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page for savings and incentives on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Cadillac CTS »

We Did the Research for You: 43 Reviews Analyzed

To help you decide if the Cadillac CTS is the right car for you, we've gathered and analyzed 43 professional reviews. We've also included information about the CTS' fuel economy, safety scores, features, and more to give you an idea of its strengths and weaknesses. This 2018 Cadillac CTS review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2014 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs for since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To keep our reviews free from outside influence, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party manages the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Cadillac CTS Cost?

The CTS' base price falls right around the middle of the class, with the lowest CTS trim starting at $46,495. The range-topping CTS-V performance model is priced at $86,495. That's significantly higher than many V8-powered rivals.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.

Cadillac CTS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Cadillac CTS or Audi A6?

The Audi A6 has many of the same strengths as the CTS, including potent optional engines, lithe handling, and a luxurious interior. However, the A6 takes things a step further. Its cabin offers more room for passengers, and it has slightly better crash test scores than the CTS. The A6 also has a more refined base engine than the CTS, and it delivers better gas mileage estimates. The A6 costs more than the CTS, but it's worth the extra $3,000.

Which Is Better: Cadillac CTS or Cadillac XTS?

The Cadillac XTS and the CTS share similar styling and many of the same features, but these stablemates were built with different buyers in mind. While the CTS comes up short on cabin and trunk space, the larger XTS has plenty of room for passengers and their cargo. In terms of performance, the XTS is a comfortable cruiser and not as agile as the smaller CTS. Unlike the CTS, the XTS has a powerful base V6 engine. Choose the XTS if you prioritize seating space and passenger comfort, and go for the CTS if you'd rather sacrifice those things for edgier performance..

Compare the CTS, A6, and XTS »

CTS Performance

CTS Engine: Go for the Twin-Turbo

The CTS engine lineup consists of a standard turbocharged four-cylinder and two optional V6s (one of which is twin-turbocharged). The best engine of the three is the twin-turbocharged V6, which has plenty of grunt. The base four-cylinder and non-turbo V6 are not competitive in the class. All three engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

A brawny supercharged 6.2-liter V8 powers the performance-oriented CTS-V. This potent powertrain accelerates the sedan from zero to 60 mph in as little as 3.7 seconds.

CTS Gas Mileage: Subpar for the Class

Many rivals with four-cylinder engines are more fuel-efficient than the CTS, which only gets up to 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The CTS' non-turbo V6 gets slightly lower fuel economy of 20/30 mpg city/highway.

CTS Ride and Handling: Sporty Sedan

Few other luxury sport sedans can match the CTS' cornering prowess. Around twists and turns, the Cadillac shows off its agility with precise steering and plenty of grip. The high-performance CTS-V is even sportier. The CTS doesn't sacrifice ride comfort for this athleticism, so the ride is smooth even over rough roads. Rear-wheel drive comes standard in the 2018 CTS, and all-wheel drive and an adaptive suspension are optional.

Read more about performance »

CTS Interior

How Many People Does the CTS Seat?

There are seats for five occupants in the 2018 CTS. The front seats have plenty of space to get comfortable, yet the cabin still feels driver-focused. Tall passengers in the back will be less comfortable. The cramped rear seats offer less legroom than you'll find in rivals.

CTS and Car Seats

Each of the outboard rear seats has a full set of LATCH connectors to safely install child safety seats. There's an additional upper tether on the middle rear seat.

CTS Interior Quality

For the most part, the CTS' cabin is fitted with first-rate materials. There are some surfaces and trim pieces that cheapen the luxury feel, however. The carpet and leatherette feel shabby, and some surfaces are deemed too shiny or reflective by some critics.

CTS Cargo Space

Most cars in the class have more cargo space than the CTS, which only has 13.7 cubic feet of trunk space. In addition to the trunk's small size, its usefulness is limited by an odd shape and an uneven floor. However, you can carry long, narrow items – like skis – thanks to a standard rear-seat pass-through. A folding rear seatback is optional.

CTS Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Every CTS model comes with Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, which features an 8-inch touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. (For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.)

CUE has crisp visuals and responds quickly to touch inputs, but you must sift through menus to find some controls. There are redundant audio controls on the steering wheel to 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.

Read more about interior »

CTS Reliability

Is the Cadillac CTS Reliable?

The 2018 CTS has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Cadillac CTS Warranty

Cadillac covers the 2018 CTS with a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

CTS Safety

CTS Crash Test Results

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the CTS earned a five-star overall rating, with five stars in every test category. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the CTS with the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and a Marginal rating (the second highest) in small overlap front driver-side test. Many competitors have similarly high safety ratings.

CTS Safety Features

The base CTS comes standard with a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Higher trims offer significantly more advanced safety tech, including forward collision warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and a Safety Alert Seat, which vibrates to alert the driver when one of the other safety systems detects a hazard.

Read more about safety »

Which Cadillac CTS Model Is Right for Me?

Even though the base model has a lot of tech features, it's missing leather upholstery, heated front seats, and advanced safety features. The base trim is also only available with the unrefined four-cylinder engine. Therefore, we suggest stepping up to the Luxury trim and upgrading to a model that offers a V6 engine. If you have room in your budget, go for one of the twin-turbo V-Sport models for even more satisfaction.

A four-cylinder engine comes standard in base and Luxury models, while a V6 is optional in the Luxury trim. Premium Luxury models have a non-turbo V6, while a twin-turbo V6 powers V-Sport and V-Sport Premium Luxury models. A supercharged V8 comes in the CTS-V. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available for $2,000 in base, Luxury, and Premium Luxury trims. V-Sport and CTS-V models are only available with rear-wheel drive.

Cadillac CTS (Base)

The base CTS starts at $46,495 and comes standard with leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 11-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless device charging, a rearview camera, and rear parking sensors.

The Seating package ($2,500) adds leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power-tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel, and split-folding rear seats.

Cadillac CTS Luxury

Priced at $52,195, the Luxury model adds leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power-tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel, split-folding rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, a 13-speaker Bose surround-sound system, navigation, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a Safety Alert Seat.

The V-Sport package ($2,465) adds an adaptive suspension, performance brakes, and unique styling elements.

Cadillac CTS Premium Luxury

The Premium Luxury model starts at $59,695 and comes equipped with the non-turbo V6 engine, an adaptive suspension, heated rear seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking.

The Performance Seat and Cluster package ($1,830) gets you 20-way power-adjustable front sport seats, sport pedals, and a digital gauge cluster. The V-Sport package ($1,465) adds performance brakes and unique styling elements.

Cadillac CTS V-Sport

With prices starting at $61,195, the CTS V-Sport has mostly the same features as the Luxury model, but it comes with performance upgrades like a twin-turbo V6, an adaptive suspension, performance brakes, and a limited-slip differential.

Cadillac CTS V-Sport Premium Luxury

The V-Sport Premium Luxury trim costs $71,295. It 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 is priced at $86,495. It comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, an adaptive suspension, performance brakes, and a limited-slip differential. The CTS-V has the same features as the Luxury trim.

The Luxury package ($2,500) adds tri-zone automatic climate control, heated rear seats, and split-folding rear seats.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.

See 2018 Cadillac CTS specs and trims »

The Final Call

Though it has less rear-seat space than many other luxury midsize sedans, the 2018 CTS offers great performance and safety. The CTS has sporty handling and potent engines in the top trims, but its fuel economy is low for the class, and the base engine is underwhelming and a bit unrefined. In the cabin, the CTS has upscale materials, numerous features, and comfortable front seats, though back-seat passengers will wish for more legroom. The CTS also can't match the trunk space of many rivals. 

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Overall, the CTS holds its own in this class and should be a solid pick, especially if you're looking for a luxury sedan with a high sporting quotient." -- Edmunds
  • "In terms of dynamics, performance, luxury, and feature availability, the CTS is a strong competitor to more established upper-line models in the premium-midsize segment, with a bold design character that stands apart from its European rivals." -- Consumer Guide (2016)
  • "It's been a while since Cadillac has truly been able to deliver on the promise of its 'Standard of the World' tagline. The athletic ATS sedan comes close on the handling front, but it's the polished, well-rounded CTS that really has what it takes to match – and sometimes exceed – what the best luxury cars from all corners of the globe can offer." -- Left Lane News (2016)
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