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2018 Cadillac CT6: New Car Review

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 is a fully modern luxury sedan, offering a combination of performance, driving dynamics, interior design, feature content and overall size that lines up far better with the best of Europe than the big Cadillacs of old. Interestingly, though, “the best of Europe” can refer to different segments, as the middle-ground CT6 is sized somewhere between a Mercedes E-Class and S-Class (to name just one competing brand). That puts the CT6 in a distinctive position to cater to a greater variety of buyers.

Plus, that variety expanded last year with the CT6 Plug-In hybrid model. With a solid 31 miles of all-electric range and smooth, rapid acceleration, there’s a lot to like about what this new model brings — especially since there aren’t any other plug-in big sedans. The fact that it’s built in China may dissuade some, but one would assume that helps keep costs down. Regardless of trim or powertrain, however, we think the CT6 is well worth a long test drive.

What’s New for 2018?

This is the first full year of the CT6 Plug-In hybrid model. Otherwise, there are only minor updates for the 2018 CT6. The electronic interface has been revised slightly, and can now be upgraded with over-the-air updates. Those in frostier climes should appreciate that the rearview camera now washes itself, while the available automatic parking system now operates the brake and accelerator for you rather than just the steering.

What We Like

Surprisingly sharp handling; lots of technology; generous feature content and interior space for the money; appealing engine selection; tastefully stylish inside and out

What We Don’t

Complicated infotainment system; pricing can get high with options; relatively small trunk

How Much?

$54,100-$88,300

Fuel Economy

The CT6 offers four powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid. All of the gas-only choices come with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard with the base 4-cylinder and plug-in hybrid, while all-wheel drive is standard with both V6 engines.

Base models use a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which makes 265 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. It returns an excellent 22 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in combined driving. Moving up to the 3.6-liter V6, which produces 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque, reduces fuel economy to a still-commendable 18 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined. The range-topping 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (known as the 3.0L) essentially gets the same fuel economy despite boasting an ample 404 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque.

The CT6 plug-in features a pair of electric motors and a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produce a total of 335 hp and 432 lb-ft of torque. It’s capable of going 31 miles on electricity only and, when in hybrid mode, averages 25 mpg in combined driving. Total estimated driving range is 430 miles, but it could be much more depending on how much you drive on electricity only.

Standard Features & Options

The CT6 is offered in five trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, Platinum and Plug-In.

The CT6 ($54,100) comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, automatic LED headlights, a backup camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, 8-way power front seats with driver memory settings and two-way power lumbar, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel, OnStar emergency communications, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, a 10-in touchscreen interface with a redundant touchpad controller, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, four USB ports, wireless smartphone charging, satellite radio and an 8-speaker Bose sound system. The optional Driver Awareness and Convenience package adds automatic high beams, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, power-folding mirrors, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, integrated navigation and heated front seats.

The Luxury ($59,200) adds all the base-level CT6’s options (aside from the 3.6-liter V6, which remains optional), plus an automated parking system, a 360-degree parking camera, rear window shades, a power trunk opener and a 10-speaker sound system. Options include heated rear seats, ventilated front seats and a unique rearview mirror camera that provides a wider viewpoint than the regular mirror.

The Premium Luxury ($65,300) adds the 3.6-liter V6 as standard equipment. It also adds the Luxury’s options, along with a head-up display. The optional Super Cruise package adds an enhanced adaptive cruise control with steering assist system known as “Super Cruise,” along with a magnetically controlled suspension. Also available are a night-vision system and an improved forward-collision braking feature.

Both the Luxury and Premium Luxury also offer two optional packages. The Rear Seat package boasts a rear entertainment system and 4-zone climate control, while the Active Chassis package includes larger wheels, the magnetic suspension and active rear steering. Drivers can also opt for an impressive 34-speaker Bose Panaray sound system.

Topping the range is the Platinum ($84,300), which comes standard with all the features and options we’ve described above. It also boasts upgraded upholstery, more adjustments for the front seats and even 8-way power rear seats with ventilation.

The optional 3.0L turbocharged V6 is available in the Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum trims.

The CT6 Plug-In ($75,100) comes standard with most of the Luxury and Premium Luxury options. Exceptions would be the Panaray sound system, Super Cruise and the Rear Seat package, which aren’t available.

Safety

The 2018 CT6’s safety equipment includes side-curtain airbags, front-knee airbags and OnStar emergency communications. Options include forward-collision warning with automatic braking, night vision, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic warning, and the enhanced Super Cruise adaptive cruise control system, which can do most of the driving when on the highway.

The CT6 has not yet been crash-tested by a third party.

Behind the Wheel

This is not your granddad’s big Cadillac. The CT6 is one of the most agile flagship sedans on the market, benefiting from a relatively low curb weight and excellent chassis tuning. The lightest model, the rear-wheel-drive 2.0T, feels particularly light on its feet, and you’ll be surprised at how well the turbocharged 4-cylinder gets it up to speed. Opting for one of the V6 engines sacrifices some of that agility for added oomph, but we think most buyers will probably be just fine with that. However, don’t expect either of those engine upgrades to blow you away with its power, as some other luxury sedans are apt to do. The Plug-In Hybrid provides effortlessly smooth electric acceleration around town and, with a 0-to-60 time of 5.2 seconds, is definitely not a laggardly hybrid.

Ride comfort is quite good, especially with the available magnetically controlled suspension; but in general, the CT6 lacks the suppleness and isolation you’ll find in a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Those cars still represent a step above, which is fitting given their substantially heftier prices.

Inside, the CT6 boasts the best craftsmanship and most tasteful design the brand has accomplished in decades. Cadillac’s previously maligned touchscreen interface is also much easier to use now, though it can certainly be complicated for new users, and the redundant touch-operated controller on the center console just chews up space.

But if you’re really concerned with space, the CT6 should not disappoint. It offers more back-seat room than smaller yet similarly priced luxury sedans (BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class). That back seat can also be equipped with heating, ventilation, massaging and power adjustments — a collection of pampering items those competitors do not offer. The Plug-In’s interior space is the same, but its trunk is smaller.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Genesis G90 — Like the CT6, the Genesis G90 is a recent entry into the flagship luxury sedan game. It too boasts more size and equipment than similarly priced sedans, and is a compelling alternative as a result.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class — The redesigned Mercedes-Benz E-Class is an exquisitely luxurious sedan that challenges its S-Class big brother for opulence and refinement.

2018 Lexus LS 500 and LS 500h — The redesigned LS should be considered against the upper CT6 trim levels. Much as the CT6 is a dynamic jump from past big Cadillacs, so too is the LS from past Lexus sedans. It is also one of the few big sedans to offer a hybrid.

Used Jaguar XJ — The CT6 and Jaguar XJ have a lot in common. They’re both uniquely styled, relatively light in weight and possess lithe driving dynamics. Altogether, they’re compelling alternatives to the typical go-to German sedans. Prices are higher than the CT6’s, though, so you’ll want to consider a used model.

Autotrader’s Advice

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 is an excellent full-size luxury sedan with impressive performance, a bold design inside and out, and a lot of cutting-edge tech features. You can’t go wrong with any engine (don’t write off the base turbo four or the Plug-In hybrid), but we’d point you in the direction of the midgrade Luxury trim, which represents a sweet spot in the model range and is a great deal compared to European rivals.

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