- The Cadillac CT5 replaces the Cadillac CTS as the American luxury brand’s midsize sedan.
- The CT5 has a sharp new look, modern technology and attractive pricing, which make it a competitive luxury car.
- The CT5 V-Series performance model is less powerful but more affordable than the outgoing CTS V.
The way Cadillac names its cars has been downright confusing for most of the 21st century. A brand that used to be defined by elegant names like Eldorado and De Ville switched to an alphabet soup naming scheme in the early 2000s in an effort to be more like the Germans. Now, in 2020, Cadillac has finally figured out a naming method that’s cohesive across the brand (with the exception of the Escalade). In short: CT means sedan, XT means SUV, and the bigger the number at the end, the bigger the vehicle. A 4 means small, a 5 means medium and a 6 means large. Figuring out what a Cadillac model’s name means is like a little puzzle.
In the case of the brand’s midsize sedan, the name got a change with its newest generation. The CTS is gone, and the CT5 — which could simply be considered a fourth-generation CTS with a slightly different name — has arrived. But there are plenty of changes to more than just the name.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences and similarities between the outgoing CTS and the all-new CT5.
The looks of these two sedans are representative of the Cadillac corporate design language at the times they were designed. They have a few aesthetic similarities, but the CT5 has a few more sharp lines in the taillights and in parts of the bodywork, giving it a more modern look. That said, the third and final version of the CTS, which first came out in 2014, has a handsome design that’s aging well so far. See the 2019 Cadillac CTS models for sale near you
These sedans are similar in size, with a couple of small differences in the dimensions. The CTS is a little longer, and the CT5 is a little wider. They both fall right in line with the sizing of the rest of this class compared to competitors such as the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E Class. See the 2020 Cadillac CT5 models for sale near you
The interior is one area where the CT5 is noticeably more modern than the CTS. The interior design of the all-new CT5 is more premium and straightforward, with plenty of modern technology. The controls are easier to use, and while it might not be up to the standards of some of Cadillac’s German competitors, the new CT5 is just plain nicer on the inside than the CTS, which has an interior that isn’t aging as well as its exterior.
Despite being a little shorter, the CT5 has slightly more legroom in the backseat, which was always a weakness of the CTS. That makes the CT5 a little more suitable as a family sedan than its predecessor. Each has a trunk space that’s about average for the class.
The CTS and CT5 come standard with rear-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive.
2019 Cadillac CTS Engines
- 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four; 265 horsepower, 295 lb-ft of torque; up to 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy
- 3.6-liter V6; 335 hp, 285 lb-ft of torque; up to 19 mpg city/29 mpg hwy
- 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6; 420 hp, 430 lb-ft of torque; 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy
- 6.2-liter supercharged V8; 640 hp, 630 lb-ft of torque; 14 mpg city/21 mpg hwy
2020 Cadillac CT5 Engines
- 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four; 237 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque; up to 23 mpg city/32 mpg hwy
- 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6; 360 hp, 405 lb-ft of torque; up to 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy
The outgoing CTS is a much more performance-oriented car than the CT5. The base engine in the CT5 is a little better on gas than the base engine in the CTS, but it’s down enough on power and torque to be noticeable. On the high end, there’s no CT5 that comes close to the power of the CTS V. We like the fuel economy of the new twin-turbo V6 in the CT5 V-Series, but its performance leaves a bit to be desired when compared to the twin-turbo V-Sport version of the CTS. The CT5 V-Series stands on its own as a respectable sports sedan, but we can’t help but compare it to its predecessor.
The CT5 is a little more generous with standard driver-assistance technology than the CTS. In the CT5, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection comes standard, and available tech includes lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Cadillac has promised that the Super Cruise hands-free semiautonomous driving system will eventually be available on the CT5, but we don’t know when that will be.
Standard safety tech in the CTS includes a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and not much else. Lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning, a surround-view parking camera, a rearview mirror camera, automatic parking assist, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams and adaptive headlights are all optional.
As for infotainment tech, the new 10-in system in the CT5 is much more user-friendly than the frustrating system in the CTS. The new system can be controlled by interacting with the touchscreen or with a rotary dial located near the shifter. The outgoing CTS uses an 8-in touchscreen. Some of its menus are hard to navigate, and many of the controls used touch-sensitive buttons rather than traditional knobs and buttons. Both systems come standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.
The CT5 is more competitive on price than the CTS. The 2019 CTS has a starting MSRP of $46,995, which still undercuts its European competitors. The CT5 is even more affordable, starting at just $36,895. Not surprisingly, the CTS gets much more expensive on the high end because of the CTS V, which is a 4-door supercar starting in the mid-$80,000 range. The more modest CT5 V-Series starts in the high-$40,000 range, which is still more affordable than the starting price of many of its competitors.
On the inside, the CT5 is roomier, more modern and more high-tech than the CTS it replaces. However, when it comes to the driving experience, it’s a step backward. If you’re looking for a sports sedan with exhilarating performance and don’t mind a dated interior or a lack of the latest technology, then you’ll find more to love in the muscular CTS, especially from the higher-performance engine options. If performance isn’t that important to you and you’re just looking for a sharp, modern luxury sedan on the affordable end of its class, then you’ll probably prefer the all-new CT5. Find a Cadillac CTS for sale or Find a Cadillac CT5 for sale