2021 Cadillac CT5

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
March 2, 2021

Buying tip

The base Luxury trim offers lots of car for the money, but we can’t blame you for stepping up to 6-cylinder power.

features & specs

4-Door Sedan Luxury
4-Door Sedan Premium Luxury
4-Door Sedan Sport
MPG
23 city / 32 hwy
MPG
23 city / 32 hwy
MPG
23 city / 32 hwy
MSRP
$36,995
MSRP
$40,795
MSRP
$41,795

The 2021 Cadillac CT5 adds Super Cruise to its luxury credentials.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Cadillac CT5? What does it compare to?

The 2021 CT5 is a style-forward mid-size luxury sedan with excellent underhood power and entertaining handling. Shop it against the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Audi A6, plus the Lexus ES and Volvo S90. 

Is the 2021 Cadillac CT5 a good car?

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The agile, entertaining CT5 is a good choice among mid-size luxury sedans, and certain versions are a downright bargain. We give it a TCC Rating of 7.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Cadillac CT5?

After bowing last year, the CT5 adds to its portfolio a slew of new features headlined by the company’s Super Cruise hands-free driving tech. Additionally, a new V-Performance Package for rear-wheel-drive versions tosses in magnetic dampers and a mechanical limited-slip rear axle, a Diamond Sky trim package drapes the car in unique interior and exterior trim, a 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster is more widely available, and wireless smartphone connectivity brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the screen.

The CT5, which replaced the CTS last year, has a hatchback-esque body but a conventional trunk. Its styling is derivative of the smaller CT4, albeit with added complexity to its C-pillar. The interior doesn’t quite match BMW and Mercedes-Benz for style, but the only German luxury sedans you’ll find with these dimensions for under $40,000 are in the pre-owned lot.

Underhood, look for a choice of turbo-4 and twin-turbo V-6 power. Base cars put 237 horsepower to the rear or all four wheels, while the 6-cylinder spools out as much as 360 hp in V-Series trim. Performance is good with the base engine, brisk with the 6-cylinder. A slick 10-speed automatic transmission makes the most of what’s underhood, and the rear-biased chassis delivers great handling. Optional all-wheel drive improves grip and makes the CT5 an acceptable winter choice. 

Fuel economy is good with the turbo-4 and predictably thirstier—but not outrageously guzzling—with the V-6. 

This year’s new Super Cruise allows the car to drive itself on certain divided highways, and it can automatically brake to prevent collisions. The NHTSA has awarded the CT5 five stars overall, though the IIHS hasn’t had its go yet. 

How much does the 2021 Cadillac CT5 cost?

The CT5 comes in four basic flavors—Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, and V-Series. It’s possible to squeeze in under $40,000 for the base Luxury, though most shoppers will probably spend somewhere in the mid-$40,000 range on a Premium Luxury.

We wouldn’t say no to a V-Series car, which has more power and special chassis tuning. Figure somewhere around $55,000 for an all-wheel-drive V-Series with a few niceties. That’s about where Mercedes-Benz starts its E-Class lineup, so we consider the CT5 to be a genuine bargain.

Where is the 2021 Cadillac CT5 made?

In Lansing, Michigan.

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2021 Cadillac CT5

Styling

The 2021 CT5 has a fastback-like profile that we find appealing.

Is the 2021 Cadillac CT5 a good-looking car?

Thanks to its fastback profile, the Cadillac CT5 is an attractive design overall—though we’ve seen the same look on more pedestrian family sedans, quite recently. We rate it at 7 out of 10, with points above average for both inside and outside.

There are some quirky lines, especially the curious detailing at the C-pillar and the way the trunk jabs inward, but overall the CT5 is a stylish car that will definitely garner a second glance.

Inside, the look isn’t as bold, but it is attractive, modern, and conveniently arranged. The base black trim can be overwhelming, so opt instead for one of the lighter hues that helps show off the variety of surfaces and interesting details. 

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2021 Cadillac CT5

Performance

The CT5 balances luxury and performance well, especially with the optional twin-turbo V-6.

Is the CT5 4WD?

Cadillac offers all-wheel drive as a line-item option on every version of the CT5 for around $2,500. 

How fast is the CT5?

In base form, the CT5 is plenty fun, while the 3.0-liter twin-turbo amps things up considerably. We rate the CT5 at an impressive 8 out of 10, adding points to its resume for its handling, ride quality, and underhood muscle.

We haven’t driven the base 2.0-liter turbo-4, but it should be just fine based on our experience with this willing engine in other General Motors cars—the smaller CT4, for example. The base engine puts out 237 horsepower to the rear or all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission.

That same gearbox is shared with the V-6, which delivers 335 hp in Premium Luxury trim and 360 hp in the rortier V-Series.

Regardless of what’s underhood, the CT5 delivers great handling that belies a curb weight that can top 4,000 pounds with a full tank of fuel and a passenger aboard. This sedan is nimble, and its electric power steering system delivers more feel than we’ve come to expect from a car of this size. An entertaining machine on a curvy road, the CT5 is docile—if a little firm—around town. Available magnetic dampers quell bigger bumps while ensuring flat cornering.

Our only caveat is that the V-6 can drone when pushed, though it’s a silent operator in the background most of the time. 

It hasn’t shown up yet, but Cadillac’s promised a V-8-powered CT5-V Blackwing, possibly with a manual transmission.

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2021 Cadillac CT5

Comfort & Quality

Spacious and gracious inside, the CT5 boasts a good level of tech as well.

 

The 2021 Cadillac CT5 is no land yacht. This modern, stylish interior earns 8 out of 10 on our scale for its comfy front seats, its rear-seat leg room, and its terrific quality.

Base versions feature synthetic leather that is nearly as good as the real thing, as well as aluminum or wood trim. The front seats offer good support in base versions, while the optional sports seats found in Sport and V-Series trims have good bolstering. The Premium Luxury trim swaps in leather upholstery with even softer hides available.

Rear-seat leg room is better in practice than the 37.9 inches quoted by Cadillac. The 11.9-cubic-foot trunk, on the other hand, is a tad small.

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2021 Cadillac CT5

Safety

This year’s addition of Super Cruise to the options list elevates the CT5 to the upper echelon.

How safe is the CT5?

The IIHS still has to report, but for now the CT5 earns an 8 for safety. The NHTSA rates the car at five stars overall; standard collision-avoidance tech is par for the course, and Cadillac's best safety feature is now available.

You’ll find automatic emergency braking standard; options include adaptive cruise control, active lane control, lane-departure warnings, and blind-spot monitors. Most of this ought to be standard by now, but we applaud Cadillac for now offering its impressive Super Cruise technology that allows limited hands-off driving on certain closed-access highways.

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2021 Cadillac CT5

Features

Overall, the 2021 CT5 is a good value—or a great one if you’re careful with options.

Which CT5 should I buy?

Cadillac offers the CT5 in four trims, starting with the Luxury for around $38,000 or a tad over $40,000 with all-wheel drive. Though not lavish, the base car is an exceptional value with its convincing synthetic leather upholstery, basic safety set, and good infotainment. We give it a 7 for features.

Navigation, a sunroof, heated seats, and a few other niceties are available, though adding too much to the Luxury would prompt us to spend up for the Premium Luxury trim, which adds real leather, a few more safety features, and the ability to unlock even more options.

Unfortunately, some of those options are walled off into expensive packages. Want a surround-view camera system on that Premium Luxury model? You’ll have to spend $10,000 on two option packages before you can select it.

Figure on spending around $45,000 for a Premium Luxury with typical options. Cadillac asks $2,500 for Super Cruise—a worthwhile option if your budget stretches. 

Though the Premium Luxury is a decent value, we can’t fault you for spending $49,000 for a V-Series. Leather is optional, but a careful selection of options can keep the price tag to around $60,000 for a wonderfully-equipped performance sedan. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Cadillac CT5?

Tick all the boxes and Cadillac will want a little shy of $70,000 for a loaded CT5 V-Series, though a lot of those extra-cost features like 20-inch wheels, painted brake calipers, and special paint hues are easy to skip.  

A 4-year/50,000-mile warranty applies to the CT5; it doesn’t include scheduled service, unlike many rivals.

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5

2021 Cadillac CT5

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Cadillac CT5 is fairly frugal in base form, thirstier with more power.

Is the 2021 Cadillac CT5 good on gas?

Base versions of the CT5 aren’t too thirsty. The EPA says to expect 23 mpg city, 32 highway, 26 combined, figures sliced by around 1 mpg each with all-wheel drive. 

That puts the CT5 at 5 out of 10 on our scale. 

The 6-cylinder uses more fuel, but even it’s not really all that much of a guzzler. The thirstiest V-Sport with all-wheel drive is rated at 18/26/21 mpg, which isn’t bad given the power underhood.

All CT5s are rated to run on premium unleaded.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$36,995
MSRP based on 4-Door Sedan Luxury
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7.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 8
Features 7
Fuel Economy 5
Compare the 2021 Cadillac CT5 against the competition
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  • 2021 Lexus ES

    7.3
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  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz E Class

    7.8
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2021 Cadillac CT5 Pricing Insights

  • 2021 CT5 supplies look good; 2020s gone
  • Lease: From $369 for 39 months
  • Rebates: Up to $3,250 off
  • Finance: From 0.9% APR for 72 months + up to $1,750 bonus
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