Premium midsize car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $9,200 – $46,900*


2008 Cadillac CTS Sedan Rear


2008 Cadillac CTS Interior


2009 Cadillac CTS Sedan Front


2009 Cadillac CTS Sedan Rear


2009 Cadillac CTS-V Interior


2010 Cadillac CTS Wagon Front


2010 Cadillac CTS Wagon Rear


2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Front


2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Rear


2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Rear


2011 Cadillac CTS Profile


2011 Cadillac CTS Profile-2


2012 Cadillac CTS Coupe Front


2012 Cadillac CTS Sedan Front

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Handling
  • Quietness (CTS)
  • Ride (except CTS-V or CTS w/Summer Tire Pkg.)
Cons:
  • Cargo room
  • Rear-seat room
  • Rear visibility

Major interior upgrades addressed the previous CTS’ most glaring flaws, while the new direct-injection engine delivers class-appropriate refinement and performance. Cadillac’s smallest sedan is finally a legitimate alternative to cars from Audi, BMW, and Infiniti. We especially like the Direct Injection model for its refinement and performance. Competitive pricing when these cars were new served as icing on the cake for this premium midsize sedan, which can also be a good value secondhand. The enthusiast-oriented CTS-V offers blistering acceleration and near-world-class handling, but at a hefty price premium.

Overview

Redesigned for 2008, the Cadillac CTS enjoyed new styling, more available power, and new features. Similar in size to the 2003-07 generation, the 2008 CTS also had comparable interior accommodations. Rear-wheel drive remained standard, but all-wheel drive was available for the first time. Base and Direct Injection models were offered. Base models had a 263-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. Named for its engine, Direct Injection models held a 304-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Both engines teamed with a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. The automatic had provision for manually selected gear changes. Competitors included the Acura TL, BMW 3-Series, and Infiniti G37.

CTS-V, the performance version of the CTS, was relaunched in 2012. What the M series was to BMW and AMG is to Mercedes, so the V was to Cadillac. The CTS-V added more power and a sport suspension to the base car. The CTS-V also had unique styling cues and interior treatment. We considered the BMW M5, Infiniti M56, and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG as likely rivals for the CTS-V.

The CTS Sedan (see separate report) was redesigned for 2014, while the coupe, wagon, and high-performance CTS-V continued on the previous-generation design.

The Cadillac CTS included a standard complement of expected and federally mandated safety features.

Yearly Updates

2009 CTS
Regular CTS sedans were largely unchanged, but Cadillac relaunched a high-performance CTS-V model with a supercharged 6.2-liter version of the Chevrolet Corvette’s V8 engine. Generating 556 horsepower, the CTS-V engine mated with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Magnetic Ride Control automatically adjusted suspension firmness within two selectable modes. Standard Performance Traction Management was similar to GM’s Stabilitrak system, but set to intensify performance in spirited driving. The CTS-V also got an upgraded interior, including available Recaro-brand seats with 14-way adjustment and a suede-like microfiber wrap for the shift lever and steering wheel. CTS-V sedans came only with rear-wheel drive.
2010 CTS
The 2010 Cadillac CTS lineup gained a wagon body style and a new base engine in the form of a 270-horsepower 3.0-liter V6, which replaced the 263-horsepower 3.6-liter V6.
2011 CTS
The 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is the latest addition to the lineup of Cadillac’s best-selling cars. The 2-door coupe joins 4-door sedan and wagon body styles, which see no major changes for 2011.
2012 CTS
For 2012, the Cadillac CTS’s available 3.6-liter V6 gained 14 horsepower for a total of 318.
2013 CTS
For 2013, remote vehicle start became standard on all models.
2014 CTS
The CTS sedan (see separate report) was redesigned for 2014. Coupe, wagon, and high-performance CTS-V models were carried from the previous generation unchanged.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

Initially, the CTS came standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produced 263 horsepower. In models with Direct Injection (D.I.), the 3.6-liter V6 generated 304 horsepower; in 2012, it went to 318. For 2010, a 270-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 became the base engine. A supercharged 6.2-liter V8 went into the ultra-performance CTS-V sedan. Each engine works with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive was available. The new 2014 sedan added two new engines to the CTS lineup: a 272-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 rated at 420 horsepower. The normally-aspirated 3.6-liter V6 returned with horsepower increased to 321. The 4 cylinder mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. An 8-speed automatic is available with V6s,

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/217
Engine HP 263
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 253
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
16/25
18/26
19.1
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 270
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 223
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
NA
18/27
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/217
Engine HP 304-321
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 273-275
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
8-speed automatic
16/25
18/26
19/29
22.2
Supercharged ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.2/376
Engine HP 556
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 551
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
13/18
12/18

Road Test

With automatic transmission, both 3.6-liter V6 engines deliver good low-speed punch and plenty of passing power, with the Direct Injection model providing more muscle at all times. The automatic provides seamless and timely shifts. We have not yet tested a CTS with the new-for-2010 3.0-liter V6. The CTS-V accelerates ferociously. GM claimed 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.9 seconds with either transmission, which sounds about right. The manual CTS-V shifter works smoothly, with a precise but meaty feel. An alert automatic in the CTS-V provides crisp, smooth shifts. It includes a sport mode for sharper-yet gear changes, and may also be shifted manually via the console lever or steering-wheel buttons.

A base-model CTS with automatic averaged 19.1 mpg, versus 22.2 mpg for a Direct Injection sedan with the automatic transmission. All V6 models use regular-grade fuel, but Cadillac recommends premium for the CTS-V.

Especially if the available sport suspension is installed, the CTS has a reassuring, solid feel, with a compliant ride and excellent bump absorption. Most road imperfections are more heard than actually felt. The available Summer Tire Performance Package is a huge detriment to ride quality, adding undue stiffness with little appreciable gain in handling. The CTS-V is never harsh, but always taut, and can grow jittery over rough pavement. Mild differences in bump absorption occur between the Magnetic Ride Control’s “Tour” and “Sport” modes.

Handling with a standard-suspension CTS approaches, but cannot reach, the high standards set by the BMW 3-Series and Infiniti G35/G37. Steering is precise with excellent road feel. Body lean in corners is well-checked, though the CTS doesn’t feel quite as agile during quick transitions as its competitors. Brake feel and performance are impressive on all models. Direct Injection models have uprated brakes and provide sports car-like stopping ability. The available Summer Tire Performance Package does little to enhance CTS’ sporting character, but takes a huge toll on ride quality. Expect super-sharp moves all around from the CTS-V, though it slightly trails top European rivals in overall composure.

Cabins are impressively hushed overall. Coarse pavement tire roar can intrude at speed, but it’s noticeable only because the rest of the car is so quiet. The base V6 engine is generally well-behaved, but can sound unrefined during acceleration. The Direct Injection engine is notably more polished, and well-muted even when pushed. Road noise levels increase with the available summer tires. Engine and tire noise is more pronounced with the CTS-V. Its V8 emits a baritone burble while cruising, plus a growl accompanied by moderate supercharger whine during fast acceleration.

Major gauges are large and easy to read. Some testers feel the CTS puts form over function when it comes to use of major controls. The V-shaped center-console stack places most buttons into a rather small area of the dashboard, though the buttons are high-set and easy to see and reach. The navigation screen (if installed) is large, legible, and quickly powers up or down.

Cadillac addressed a major CTS complaint for 2008, upgrading interior materials and design markedly. Luxury-grade trim now rivals the best in this highly competitive class, with apparent improvements in assembly quality. The CTS-V’s unique trim pieces and available suede-like upholstery inserts impart a racier ambiance.

Front seats are roomy and supportive, complemented by the standard tilt/telescopic steering wheel. The CTS’ rakish roofline hurts visibility, however, with thick rear pillars a major hindrance. 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. CTS-V sport seats have more-pronounced bolstering, with no major comfort penalty. Optional Recaro-brand seats for the CTS-V have handy power-adjustable bolsters to tailor the best possible comfort/support ratio.

Rear-seat space is adequate, though larger adults will feel crowded. Marginal headroom is further reduced by the available sunroof. Legroom is reduced by almost an inch in coupes, but there’s still more space back there than you would expect from a 2-door. Coupes use a pop-up-only style sunroof to keep from further cutting headroom.

Utility of the reasonably large, boxy trunk is compromised by a small opening, and the coupe’s shorter deck costs a few cubic feet of trunk space.. The optional split rear seatbacks (standard on the coupe) fold completely flat to accommodate longer parcels. Interior storage includes a center console and glovebox that are on the small side.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2013 CTS Direct Injection w/automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 8
80%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 8
80%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 10
100%

Total: 68

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.4 188.5 74.1 55.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.5 18.0 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
36.9 34.6 42.4 35.0
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.4 191.6 72.5 58.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.6 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 37.2 42.4 35.9
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.4 191.3 72.6 59.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
53.4 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 37.2 42.4 35.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 CTS 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Airbags
Description: The passenger airbag light my illuminate and the seat belt reminder may sound if electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops or iPods are placed on the seat. (2009)
Air conditioner
Description: Some vehicles manufactured without air-intake vents on front fascia. This could cause air conditioning to shut off under certain circumstances. (2014)
Clutch
Description: The clutch pedal on cars with manual transmission may not return to its original position when released at highway speeds or may drop to the floor. (2012)
Engine misfire
Description: Faulty main or rod bearings could cause the engine to seize. (2014)
Keys
Description: Driver may not be able to turn off engine or remove key from ignition lock. (2009)
Oil pump
Description: A sticking oil-pressure-relief valve may cause low or no oil pressure. (2009)
Timing belt
Description: Timing chain could wear prematurely. (2008)
Windows
Description: Power windows may be misaligned and move slowly or not at all. (2008-14)
Electrical problem
Description: The DVD monitors in the front seat headrests may quit working because the video feed cable comes loose requiring installation of cable clamps. (2005-08)
Electrical problem
Description: The “service park assist” warning my display due to either one of the sensors failing or problems with the reference voltage circuit. (2008-09)
Electrical problem
Description: Engine control wiring harness could rub on alternator bracket and damage wiring. (2014)

Recall History

2008-09 CTS with heated washer fluid
Description: A recall was implemented in 2008 to add a fuse to the control circuit harness to address the potential consequences of a printed circuit board (PCB) electrical short. However, there have been new reports of thermal incidents on HWFS modules after this improvement was installed. These incidents resulted from a new failure mode attributed to the device’s thermal protection feature. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2008-14 CTS
Description: The weight of a key fob and/or road conditions may cause the ignition switch to move out of run position, turning off the engine and airbags.
2009 CTS
Description: Under certain conditions, a software condition within the passenger sensing system may disable front-passenger airbag when it should be enabled, or vice versa.
2009-2010 CTS AWD
Description: In the event of a crash, the front passenger may be at an increased risk of leg injury. Dealers will replace the glove compartment assembly and, in some vehicles modify the instrument panel structure. This service will be performed free of charge.
2009-2010 CTS-V
Description: In the event of a crash, the front passenger may be at an increased risk of leg injury. Dealers will replace the glove compartment assembly and, in some vehicles modify the instrument panel structure. This service will be performed free of charge.
2009-2010 CTS
Description: Some of these vehicles have a condition in which a wax coating on the rear suspension toe link jam nuts may allow the nut(s) to loosen. If a nut sufficiently loosens, the toe link could separate and the rear wheel would be able to turn inboard or outboard. Owners may hear a metallic clanking noise coming from the rear of the vehicle that may warn of a loosening nut. The driver may experience sudden changes with vehicle handling and may not be able to control the vehicle increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will clean all wax residue free of charge from the rear suspension toe link and install two new jam nuts and if necessary the rear suspension toe link may be replaced.
2011 CTS
Description: Vibrations from the drive shaft may cause the curtain side airbags to deploy.
2012 CTS
Description: Power vacuum brake boost pushrod retention nut may not be torqued to specification. The nut could loosen and separate the pushrod from the brake pedal, causing loss of braking.
2013-14 CTS
Description: The chassis electronic control module may be faulty and cause engine to stall.
2013-14 CTS
Description: The transmission-shift-cable adjuster may disengage from the shift lever. A shift lever in Park may not engage Park for the transmission and the vehicle could roll.
2014 CTS
Description: A bad weld in seat hook bracket assembly could break in a crash.
2014 CTS
Description: If the vehicle is turned off with wipers left on and the wipers become covered in ice or snow, the vehicle’s battery could go dead. Upon being jump started, the wipers would be inoperative.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.