2014 Cadillac CTS: can America beat Germany at its own game?

The Cadillac CTS has been quite the success story for its maker. First launched in 2002, it was billed as the first proper American luxury sedan that could compete with the established German players in the market.

TORONTO (Ontario) – The first generation model did quite well, but things got even better when the second-generation model showed up in 2008. The second CTS got slightly bigger, offered more style, more power and more technology. This model also did well in sales, but when Cadillac launched the ATS last year, the second-gen CTS really started showing its age.

So, Cadillac did what it needed to do: come up with a new CTS that would not only move the goal posts further for itself, but also make a car that can truly compete with its latest German rivals. The end result is something Cadillac is very proud of, and in celebration, threw a launch party unlike any other.

Search for used Cadillac

On October 8, 2013, General Motors launched the production version of the 2014 Cadillac CTS in Canada in a fancy gala event at the prestigious Shangri-La Hotel. The event drew a crowd of not just auto journalists, but also brought together people from the fashion and lifestyle industries. So the news reporters, TV personalities, the rich and the famous gathered to socialize and look at Cadillac’s latest achievement.

While many of the attending crowd openly confessed to not know anything about cars (some said they just came because the invite was at the Shangri-La), they did admire the new car and took plenty of selfies, which are undoubtedly all over Facebook and Twitter.

Whether any of these hip, urban dwellers will actually buy the 2014 Cadillac CTS remains to be seen, but they did come to support and by using their medium of self expression, did put this new Caddy on the pedestal, at least for one evening.

So, the product got a glamorous launch, but what’s it actually like? To find out, the auto journalists in the crowd got to spend the next day on the road with the new CTS, to see if it’s any good.

From a styling point of view, the 2014 CTS is an attractive vehicle, and it really looks its best when you spot one in the rearview mirror while it has its tower of LED lights on. While on the subject, this new CTS has the nicest looking interior and exterior rearview mirrors I have ever seen on a production car, you need to see them to know what I mean.

Back to the overall design, while the profile is smart, its rear end is rather plain. I also wish it didn’t look so similar to the ATS. Even when parked side by side, it is very hard to distinguish the two models between them. Sure, the CTS is bigger, but still, many will be guessing which model they are actually looking at.

Open the door, and again the similarities between the ATS and CTS continue. However, the CTS has more room, is finished in higher quality materials, and the dash-mounted air vents are in a better location. Like the other new Cadillac models such as the ATS and XTS, the CTS also features a hidden storage compartment on the dashboard.

Speaking of storage, the trunk is huge and the opening is wide, however you do have to lift the items quite high to get them in. So if you’re someone who has to pull strollers in and out all the time, you might not be a fan of this trunk. Also, the trunk has no power close feature, which is something most luxury cars offer these days.

As for gadgets, its Cadillac CUE infotainment system has plenty to offer, although you do need to spend some time getting to familiarize yourself with it. On the plus side, the voice command feature works quite flawlessly.

So, an impressive car, and we haven’t even gotten to the driving bit yet. To move you along, you get a choice of three engines, starting with a turbocharged 2.0L I4. This motor produces 272 hp and 292 lb-ft of torque. Power can be sent to just the rear wheels, or all of them, via a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Next up is the 3.6L V6, which develops 321 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. This motor gives you two gearbox options: the all-wheel-drive version gets a six-speed auto, while the rear-wheel drive model gets a brand-new eight-speed automatic.

The top model is known as the CTS Vsport and it features a new twin-turbo 3.6L V6. This engine produces 420 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, and is sensational. Not only does it feel wonderful, it sounds good too, and allows the car to cover distances very quickly indeed. The 0 to 100 km/h run is done in 4.4 seconds, which makes it quicker than some respected sports cars.

One of the main reasons this new CTS performs as well as it does, is because of its low weight. Not only is it much lighter than the model it replaces, it weighs less than most of its competitors, and the diet has had a positive affect on its performance, ride and handling. Honestly, if you drove a 2014 CTS Vsport and it didn’t have the Cadillac crest on the steering wheel, you’d think you’re driving some sort of Audi or BMW. It’s that good.

I spent time in all three models of the new CTS, and found them all to be quite amazing. However, my personal advice is if you can’t afford the Vsport, buy the 2.0L. The normally aspirated 3.6L is a fine motor, but the 2.0L is more fuel efficient and has more torque, plus it’s the cheaper model.

All in all, the 2014 Cadillac CTS is a good car, with its Vsport model deserving of the “great car” tag.

Annoyances? I found the centre console armrest to be too low and also quite hard when you do set your elbow on it. As mentioned earlier, I wish its rear end looked better, and had a lower-opening, power-closing trunk. In short, I mainly have issues with its rear end.

When compared to the likes of the BMW 5 Series, the main rival for the new Cadillac CTS (according to GM), it is priced well. The base CTS is yours from $50,895, while the range-topping CTS Vsport starts at $74,495.

Cadillac is confident that they have created a great car, and to show that the brand has been great for a long time, took us to the Plunkett Estate in London, Ontario. Steve Plunkett is known as Mr. Cadillac and has one of the largest, most stunning collections of vintage Cadillacs in the entire world. He has models that are one-offs, and are priceless. His collection shows how glamorous the brand once was, and while Cadillac has had its fair share of rough years, it has been on an upswing for the last decade. Judging by the 2014 CTS, Cadillac is poised to keep that momentum.


4/5: Lots of space for the kids, even those with long legs.

In collaboration with Canadian Tire.


The Best Alternatives

  1. Test Drives 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate: the party crasher
    Look's showing up uninvited again at the midsize luxury sedan shindig? Full story
  2. Test Drives Audi A6 2016: Haven’t I seen you before?
    In the midsize luxury sedan market, three German manufacturers are engaged in a fierce battle. We have BMW with the 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz and its E-Class, and Audi with the A6. Slightly modified, the 2016 Audi A6 is the bridge between the current model and the next-generation A6, but has Audi done enough to steal a few sales away from its main rivals? Full story
  3. Test Drives 2015 Hyundai Genesis: learning German
    With the second-generation Genesis, the Koreans prove once again that they can compete with the best of them. Full story
  4. Test Drives 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8GT: showing teeth
    It was obvious that Hyundai meant business when they launched the 2010 Genesis Coupe. With rear-wheel drive and up to 306 horsepower, it had the potential to rival a whole bunch of sports cars. The 2013 version is even better. Full story

104 used Cadillac CTS for sale in your area

  1. 2010 Cadillac CTS $16,495
    Disbrowe Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC Ltd.
    96,591 km
    Saint Thomas, ON
  2. 2013 Cadillac CTS $22,862
    Disbrowe Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC Ltd.
    55,583 km
    Saint Thomas, ON
  3. 2009 Cadillac CTS $29,995
    54,223 km
    London, ON
  4. 2015 Cadillac CTS $51,995
    12,136 km
    Calgary, AB
See all Used Vehicles