Cadillac has plans to end the current line of sedans such as the CT5, but only to replace them with electric vehicles. The future of consumer vehicles is steadily heading in that direction, but the current CT5 is still competitive with the current market.
Despite sharing most of the same name and components, the CT5-V is a different tier of vehicle that Cadillac markets separately, so this review treats them as such.
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The Cadillac CT5
Overall, the CT5 hits all the check boxes that make for a decent enough mid-size luxury sedan. It’s not the absolute best in any one metric, but it delivers plenty of value at a price that’s low compared to its strongest competitors.
Trim Levels and Pricing
The Cadillac CT5 has three trim levels, in order of pricing: Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport.
The Luxury trim’s entry level pricing starts at $37,295 before additional features. The two highest trims are a bit of a jump but close in price to one another at $41,795 MSRP for the Premium Luxury and $42,995 MSRP for the Sport.
When fully loaded with options like the Platinum Package and Onyx Package, the price tops out around $62,710 on the Sport trim. The 3.0L engine is only available in the Premium Luxury trim, which does bump the starting cost to $45,295 despite not reaching the Sport trim’s maximum price.
Performance and Efficiency
The CT5 isn’t the zippiest car on the road, but it strikes an acceptable balance between speed and efficiency that’s satisfactory for the mid-size luxury tier.
The standard 2.0L twin-scroll turbocharged engine gives the CT5 237 horsepower, which hits 60 mph in 6.6 seconds with the RWD version and 6.9 seconds with the AWD. An upgrade to a 3.0L twin turbo V6 with 335 horsepower is only available on the Premium Luxury trim, but it takes that acceleration to a more competitive 4.9 seconds.
Each trim level has rear-wheel drive (RWD) by default, but all-wheel drive (AWD) is available for a $2,000 markup that’s closer to $3,000 with the 3.0L option.
Fuel efficiency is better on the 2.0L engine than the 3.0L. The former gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway, dropping slightly to 22 mpg and 30 mpg with AWD. With the 3.0L, that lowers to 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with RWD.
Interior and Comfort
The CT5 will seat 5 with a standard sedan layout of driver, passenger, and back seating. The interior is comfortable enough without spending more, but the nearly all-black default interior may be too gothic for some drivers, even with the illumination from the display panels.
The 2022 CT5 was involved in a recall concerning the improper installation of side curtain airbags along the roof rail. As of the time of writing, the 2022 model was not yet rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
All trim levels come with Cadillac’s Smart System of driver assistance features with the usual warnings that any automated driving feature is no justification for a lack of driver awareness. For example, the front pedestrian braking feature is potentially life-saving, but it only works below highway speeds and with clear visibility.
Other safety features include lane changing with side blind zone alerts, rear cross traffic alerts, forward collision alerts, lane keep assistance with departure warning, and more. The following distance indicator displays the time in seconds of vehicles moving ahead of the CT5, a handy safety habit tool.
All trims also come with the Buckle to Drive feature, requiring seatbelts to start. The feature can be turned off, but it’s a good way to reinforce good habits.
Tech, Infotainment, and Connectivity
The CT5 comes standard with a sizable digital display panel with physical buttons, support for both Apple and Android automobile software, and the ability to create a local Wi-Fi hotspot.
Additional tech options include safety, convenience, and utility features. The 12″ reconfigurable instrument cluster, automatic parking assist with braking, is available only at higher trim levels.
The Top 3 Cars Similar to the Cadillac CT5
These three cars either come close or surpass the CT5 in its own game, pushing them to the top of the list of similar vehicles.
1. Does the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Outclass?
The E-Class ranks among the best mid-sized luxury sedans out right now, but even this competitive vehicle shows how the CT5 hits a nice bullseye between cost and performance.
It costs more to start with the E350 sedan, but that gets a crawling acceleration time of 6.1 seconds to 60 mph. Moving all the way up to the E450 4MATIC costs about the same as a loaded CT5 with the 3.0L while still falling just short of its acceleration power.
There is something in the refinement of the E-Class vehicles that the CT5 line doesn’t match, though. Everything’s a bit smoother, a bit more polished, or a bit more efficient. That includes achieving 23 city mpg and 30 highway mpg on the faster E450.
2. The New Competition: Tesla Model 3
With Cadillac planning to phase out the CT line for an electric line somewhere in the late 2020s, checking out the middle tier of electric sedans highlights the market shifts.
The base Model 3 has a suggested MSRP just a touch over the CT5 at $46,990. Against the CT5 with the 3.0L, it doesn’t quite match the speed, but it would theoretically have a reduced price of ownership over time from gas savings.
Spending a bit more on the Long Range and Performance trims adds extra electrical motors that cut the acceleration times to 4.2 seconds and 3.1 seconds. With all the extras like autonomous driving, the Model 3 Performance will cost less than the CT5-V Blackwing and still accelerate faster than it.
The back seat leg room is just a little more cramped than the CT5, but the cargo space is significantly larger. You don’t have to worry about using a yoke steering wheel, since regular steering wheels are – as of now – still an option on Model 3s.
Related: 15 Cars similar to the Tesla Model 3
3. The 2023 Cadillac CT4, or the Shrunken CT5
The CT4 is like the CT5’s smaller sibling. The overall dimensions are a little bit lower, but it’d be hard to spot the difference from down the road. The 6″ of lost length are taken mostly from the rear seats, which lose about 4″ of leg room and 2″ of shoulder space. It’s not much cheaper, but a similar build with similarly named trims saves.
Despite a smaller body and only a 2.7L engine upgrade option, the upgraded CT4 hits 60 slightly faster than the 3.0L of the CT5. The basic 2.0L has an easier time pushing the CT4, so it’s also faster than its bigger counterpart.
Unless you absolutely need that minimal extra space, it’s hard to see a strong reason to purchase the CT5 over the CT4. It’s a little faster, a little more fuel efficient, a little cheaper, and a little smaller. The logo on the car is the same, and the bodies are hard to distinguish for the average driver.
Other Cars Similar to the Cadillac CT5
The rest of the cars also have traits that make them a competitor for the CT5 or its future descendants.
Not being in the top 3 doesn’t necessarily mean these cars are worse. Some are here because they’re not quite as similar to the CT5. Others fall behind in a heads-up comparison, but they are still worth checking out while car shopping.
4. Keep an eye on the BMW 330e
The 330e is BMW’s electrified version of the 3 Series sedan. The starting MSRP is within the CT5’s range at $43,300 for the basic version and $45,300 for the xDrive version. The pricing value gets a little touchier when it costs extra to add some features that are standard on other vehicles, like a digital heads-up display.
Its acceleration isn’t a standout amongst other EVs at 5.6 seconds from 0 to 60. That’s still better than a lot of basic luxury sedan engines, including the CT5’s 2.0L engine and the single-motor Tesla Model 3.
Since the CT5 currently occupies a spot of decent performance for a low price, it’s possible that the replacement line might aim for the spot the 330e currently holds.
5. Lucid Air, Luxury Prices for Cleaner Breathing
The Lucid Air is a high-priced luxury electric vehicle. The jump in price is fairly significant from even a fully loaded CT5, but it’s not too rough when compared to a CT5-V Blackwing. For those who don’t like the look or style of Tesla’s EVs, Lucid is a good alternative with a smaller line up of vehicles.
Going all the way to the top trim level will get you a car capable of hitting 60 mph in only 2.6 seconds. The price of the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance trim is solidly in a different tier than even the CT5-V Blackwing, but it shows how new EVs can meet the need for speed.
6. Flying in the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing
The CT5-V is not too different from the Premium Luxury CT5 with the upgrade to the 3.0L twin turbo V6. Even the seating dimensions are exactly the same as a CT5, but it does start at a slightly higher MSRP of $50,095. It’s possible to spend that much by including additional features on the CT5, so it’s not too big of a budget jump.
Once you add the Blackwing trim, the CT5-V soars to 60 in 3.4 seconds thanks to a 6.2L supercharged V8. All that extra performance comes at a significantly higher premium. The V-Series Blackwing’s starting MSRP is closer to upper tier luxury and performance vehicles at $83,995.
7. Jaguar XF Stalks from Behind
The XF leans heavily into the “luxury” side of “luxury vehicle”. The touchscreen is huge, the seats are cozy, and the vibe is posh. It’s not too incredibly expensive, though still pricier than the CT5.
Where the XF fails to deliver is performance. The fuel economy is decent at up to 25 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway, but the 0-60 times hit 6.6 seconds at the fastest.
8. Acura TLX
Acura’s TLX has a similar vibe to the CT5, but the interior has a bit of color to help break up the darkness. The two cars start around the same price, but the TLX has a bigger jump in price.
That increased cost does pay off with slightly better performance. The TLX clocks its 60 time at 4.7 seconds, faster than both the 3.0L CT5 or 2.7L CT4.
9. Lexus ES Is Okay, I Guess
The Lexus ES has a starting MSRP just a hair above the CT5’s at $40,950, and it doesn’t surpass the highest starting MSRP by much, even though it has a much higher trim count to filter through.
The vehicle’s performance is comparatively sluggish for the cost. Upgrading to an ES 350 trim variation will still only get an acceleration time of 6.1 seconds to hit 60 mph.
10. Wherefore Art Thou, Alfa Romeo Giulia?
While the Alfa Romeo USA website claims the Guilia has the “most powerful engine in its class”, the 5.1 seconds it takes to reach 60 mph lags behind many mid-sized luxury sedans – including the CT5 with a 3.0L engine.
It’s not a bad vehicle, though, and it ends up costing just a little less than the only CT5 trim that outperforms it. The close proximity of the Guilia’s price and performance warrants a deeper look if you like the CT5.
11. Account for the Audi A4
The A4’s performance value slides just under the CT5’s 3.0L. The upgraded 45 TFSI quattro S tonic AWD engine reaches 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, or a little less than half a second behind the CT5 with a 3.0L.Seating space is roughly equivalent, but the A4 does have a bit more cargo space.
The starting MSRP is $42,000 for the basic A4 Premium with the upgraded engine. Even if that specific price and performance point doesn’t work for you, the A4
12. Vet the Volvo S60
The S60 comes in both a conventional engine version and one with a hybrid engine. The T8 eAWD hybrid engine can reach 60 in 4.3 seconds, but the B5 “mild hybrid” engine takes 6.2 seconds with AWD and 6.4 seconds with FWD.
While closer to the CT4 than the CT5 in size, the car keeps a decent amount of room for passengers and cargo.
Some drivers have a hard time going fully electric, so the hybrid version of the S60 – the S60 Recharge – hits a decent middle ground. The price is higher than the conventional version, but not by much.
13. Infiniti Q50, Just Beyond a Good Deal
There are faster cars on the list, but the Q50 Red Sport 400 still commands respect with a 4.5 second acceleration time. The main thing dragging the Q50’s overall ranking down is its price. At $55,950 to start for the Red Sport 400, you can get the same or better performance for a much lower price with the CT5 and several other options.
14. Toyota Camry, Because It Can
The Camry is not a luxury vehicle, but those eyeballing the CT5 might care more about performance and price than comfort and aesthetics. Every V6 variant of the Camry costs less than the CT5, and they deliver a respectable 5.6 seconds for acceleration time.
Many features that might be considered “luxury” are also increasingly common on these cheaper models. There’s more room on the inside, a bigger trunk, and plenty of standard and optional tech features.
Sure, saying that you’re driving a Camry might not have the same conversational impact as mentioning a BMW or Cadillac. As far as the ride goes, the Camry can save a few thousand while delivering more than the baseline CT5.