2021 Cadillac CT5 Premium Luxury

The CT5 packs plenty of get-up-and-go power for that extra motivation behind the wheel.
The CT5 packs plenty of get-up-and-go power for that extra motivation behind the wheel.

by Ben So | August 30, 2021


New sedan launches have gotten rare, with the exception of the compact luxury sedan segment that seems to have defied this trend. New compact luxury sedans are still being developed and we see manufacturers pushing the envelope to try and take back some of the spotlight from across the showroom floor. The latest effort comes from Cadillac, with a brand-new model boasting a line of powerful powertrain options with the company’s latest technologies. This the 2021 Cadillac CT5 Premium Luxury.

Even with brand new sheet metal, the styling of the all-new CT5 is instantly recognizable as a Cadillac luxury sedan. The Cadillac crest is displayed proudly up front on the bright-accented grille exclusive to the Premium Luxury models, and we appreciate the chiseled side and rear profile and athletic stance. The CT5 is well proportioned as a compact sedan and the optional 18-inch alloy wheels are well suited to the Shadow Metallic paint which in turn enhances the sophisticated appearance.

The 2021 CT5 Sedan can be powered by either a 237-horsepower 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine or the optional 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 found in our tester. Power is rated at 335-horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque. Buyers who want the extra sportiness can step up to the 2021 Cadillac CT5-V with extra power squeezed out of the same V6 powerplant.

Even without the V-treatment, the CT5 packs plenty of get-up-and-go power for that extra motivation behind the wheel. What got some of us going even more is the fake but burly engine sound that was pumped into the cabin. Though, not everyone on our team liked it and those who dislike it will be glad they can tune it down or off in using the configurable drive modes.

The CT5 uses a ten-speed automatic gearbox to direct power to the wheels, and buyers can choose to have it sent to its rear wheels or to all four as sampled on our all-wheel-drive tester. The transmission is quick and smooth when you leave it to find its own gears but we observed a slight delay when using the paddle shifters. Steering response is accurate with the right amount of steering force, though road feel is somewhat lacking. The chassis, codenamed Alpha, is a good one as it feels planted and lively throughout our testing, putting it amongst the best performers in its class.

The twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre engine with all-wheel drive comes with rated fuel consumption of 12.7L/100km in the city and 9.1L/100km on the highway. We observed an average of 12.0L/100km over our mixed commute, which is about average and predictable for a 300+ horsepower sports sedan. Premium 91-octane gasoline is required for its 66-litre fuel tank.

The Cadillac CT5 features a simplistic interior design with most features well within reach. We would prefer to see a bit more contrast in the rather monotonous interior, but the materials used are above-average for the price range. The heated and cooled seats are comfortable and we particularly liked the feel of the leather steering wheel. Interior space is generous up front with wide opening doors, and rear passengers will not be upset with the spacious legroom. Trunk capacity is rated at 337 litres which is below average for the class but it is deep enough to hold longer cargo with a passthrough into the cabin.

Infotainment is delivered by the new and improved Cadillac user experience (CUE) system, using a 10-inch touchscreen atop the centre console. Command inputs can be accepted using touch or using one of two rotary dials (one below the screen and one below the shifter), a refreshing change from Cadillac’s previous touch-sensitive system. The climate control system is now controlled by physical buttons and volume adjusted by a knob.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported wirelessly and the Premium Luxury and above trims get a wireless charging tray. The standard nine-speaker sound system is adequate but music lovers will not regret opting into the 15-speaker Bose premium sound system tested here.

Driver assistance is an area that Cadillac emphasized in recently, and it starts with the optional Super Cruise feature that uses LiDAR map data, high-precision GPS, and its host of camera and radar sensors to enable drivers to drive hands-free on more than 130,000 miles of limited access highways in Canada and the United States. While driver attention is always going to be required, the Super Cruise system can alleviate some of the duties while keeping drivers focused on the road using its driver attention system.

Our tester was not equipped with this optional feature so we are not able to tell you about its effectiveness, but the rest of the features from the optional Driver Awareness Plus package (Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning and automatic high beam) worked well throughout our test period.

Pricing of the 2021 Cadillac CT5 sedan starts at $40,098 for the rear-wheel drive Luxury, with our Premium Luxury getting a base price bump to $49,123 with the V6 engine and all-wheel drive. Our tester had the Shadow Metallic paint that costs $900 more, plus the additional dual-pane sunroof that expands to the second row for $1,685, Lighting package for $690, Driver Awareness Plus Package for $575, the optional 18-inch wheels for $690, plus some additional accessories that brought it to an as-tested total of $54,398.

At this price range, the 2021 Cadillac CT5 Premium Luxury is closely matched against the Acura TLX, Lexus IS 300, and is significantly cheaper than the BMW 330i xDrive. The CT5 brings a lot of performance and value to the table in this hotly contested segment by offering a turbocharged six-cylinder engine at the sub-$50K price point. Buyers used to driving crossovers will instantly notice the CT5’s engaging driving dynamics and it is a serious dark horse at the price point.

See Also:

2021 Lexus IS 300 AWD

2021 Acura TLX Premium Elite

2019 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC

Vehicle Specs
Engine Size
Horsepower (at RPM)
Torque (lb-ft.)
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Ben So


Ben has been living and breathing car magazines, spec sheets, and touring auto shows for his entire life. As proud member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, he keeps a close eye on the latest-and-greatest in the auto industry. When he isn't geeking out about the coolest new cars, he's probably heading to the next hidden-gem ice cream shop with his three quickly growing kids.

Current Toys: '97 Integra Type R, '07 LS 460 RWD, '08 Corvette Z06, '13 JX35 Tech


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