Cadillac has been doing quite well in the hot SUV market with the XT5 and Escalade remaining popular choices. So much so that it is sometimes possible to forget that they have a line of sedans. Cadillacs carry their own identity and appeal to a different buyer, and when they puts too much focus on going head-to-head with the Germans they lose that edge. My tester is a 2022 Cadillac CT5 Premium Luxury equipped with the optional twin-turbocharged V6 that is also shared with the CT5-V.
The Premium Luxury trim package is essentially the traditional Cadillac buyer’s package; it’s the top trier luxury package, without getting into all the performance stuff that comes with the V-series cars. Interestingly though, the Premium Luxury is available with the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that’s in the CT5-V, only it’s slightly de-tuned here.
Another interesting piece of kit is the Diamond Sky Special Edition Package; it’s only available with this unique off-white color, Diamond Sky, but includes a number of performance and aesthetic upgrades including rocker moldings, rear diffuser, grey-tinted tail lamps, white leather seats, unique 19-inch alloys, and big Brembo brakes with blue calipers. These upgrades bring the CT5 pretty close in appearance, and performance, to the CT5-V, without all the chassis upgrades like Magnetic Ride Control, limited-slip or the harsher performance suspension.
The Diamond Sky colour is quite striking as it’s a very cold and grey shade of off-white that shows off the car’s lines. Stylistically, the car looks upscale and agreeable, with clean flowing lines and sporty looking front and rear ends. Cadillac does a great job with their alloy wheel designs, and the 19s on this are no exception, and the result is a very handsome luxury sedan. It doesn’t however, have the presence that I was hoping for.
The interior on the other hand is very good to look at, and spend time in. The white heated and cooled seats up front are very comfortable and gorgeous to look at thanks to a unique perforation pattern used exclusively in the Diamond Sky model. The dash layout is clean with real buttons to control the climate and frequent use functions such as the heated/cooled seats right below the 10-inch HD touch screen. There is also a rotary control knob for the infotainment system, along with a volume knob, mounted on the center console.
From an easy and ergonomics of controls perspective, the CT5 is about as good as it gets in the segment. Despite the easily accessible controls, Cadillac managed to maximize the center console space which includes two cup holders, a generous center console storage bin, wireless phone charger, and even a convenient slot in front of the arm rest that perfectly held my wallet. As stated, it is a very comfortable place to spend time.
Similar can be said for the rear seats, which offer loads of legroom and a bench wide enough to easily fit two car seats and have room for an extra adult passenger. That said, headroom in the back is at a premium, but that’s not unexpected in a sedan of this size. Cargo space is adequate as the trunk is surprisingly deep, but it is shallow and quickly filled up with a stroller and a couple bags. As a young family of four, the CT5 would been much too tight cargo-space wise to be our primary family hauler.
Of course, as a top-trim Cadillac you get an extremely well equipped space with luxuries like the Ultra View power sunroof, 15-speaker Bose audio system, heads-up display, navigation, 12-inch HD digital and totally configurable gauge cluster and air ionizer. You also get the full suite of driving aids such as HD surround vision (front, rear and birds-eye view cameras), parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, and more.
From the driver’s seat though, what matters most is how the Cadillac drives, and that’s where the CT5’s chassis really does shine. The standard turbocharged four cylinder was replaced in our tester with the optional 3.0-liter twin turbocharged V6, making a very healthy 335 horsepower and 405 lb-ft. of torque, mated to a slick shifting 10-speed transmission that flows power to the rear wheels, or if equipped, to all four through Cadillac’s all-wheel-drive system. Our tester came with the $2,200 AWD option, which is likely a popular choice here in Ontario.
The twin turbo V6, while slightly detuned from the 360 horsepower version you’ll find in the CT5-V, delivers plenty of punch to move the CT5 around with authority and grace. The 10-speed transmission does a good job keeping the RPMs right in the perfect spot for sharp throttle response from any speed. That powerful acceleration is met with a very audible exhaust note, but unfortunately it’s a higher-pitched whir rather than the deep grunt one might expect to hear from a charging Cadillac.
Powertrain aside, the CT5’s chassis continues to impress. It’s sharp, taut and a very willing dance partner if you decide to have a little fun with it. It offers great steering feel, despite the electric power steering system, and powerful braking as well, both of which contribute to the desire to toss the car around a little bit more than a traditional Cadillac owner might. However, when you’re just cruising the boulevard or chewing through miles on the highway the CT5 transforms into a soft and scene cruiser, which is exactly what it should be.
Fuel economy is on par with expectations for an all-wheel drive V6 sedan, with ratings at 12.7L/100km city, 9.1 highway, and 11.1 combined. After a week of mixed driving I landed right on target at 11.1L/100km, which lends some credibility to the ratings. Regardless of your driveline choice, the CT5 needs to be fed premium fuel, as would just about every other luxury sedan in the segment.
Pricing is one area where Cadillac definitely sticks it to the competitors with the CT5. The starting price for a base CT5 is $41,498, and at $44,898 you could choose between the Premium Luxury like our tester with its more refined option list, or the Sport which offers sportier aesthetics and interior appointments. Those figures significantly undercut close competitors such as the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-Class, and while the CT5 does jump up in price if you start adding options, it always remains at least a couple thousand less than a comparable German option.
Our tester, which came very well optioned, rang in at $61,913, and includes some pricey options such as the AWD system ($2,220), the boosted V6 engine ($4,025), sunroof ($1,685), technology package ($1,500), navigation and Bose audio ($1,685), parking package ($2,060) and of course the unique Diamond Sky Edition package ($3,295).
The CT5 is a very competitive offering in this segment, and quite honestly doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves. This is likely a reflection of the status and focus of the Cadillac brand right now more than anything. It is not a traditional Cadillac in the sense that it can definitely hang with the Germans through the twisties or on a road course, but when asked, it can provide that quiet scene driving experience that nobody delivers quite like Cadillac, and for that I am grateful.
The V6 delivers the necessary punch as well, but the exhaust note is a turn off for someone looking for more of a traditional Cadillac experience. Lastly, the interior controls are some of the easiest to use in the business, which is a dramatic improvement over Cadillacs from only a few years ago where the operating system was one of the most frustrating on the market. The 2022 Cadillac CT5 Premium Luxury is a worthy entry into the competitive luxury sedan class and is well worth a look whether you’re a Cadillac loyalist or simply looking for a great value.