True compact sedan replaces CTS and ATS in lineup
We’ve waited a long time for the CT5, the newest kid in Cadillac’s sedan class, and the one that has to choose whether to sit in the seat left vacant by the ATS or the larger CTS.
When the 2020 CT5 arrives this fall, it will take an empty chair and pull it up to a vacant desk. The sleek compact sedan is shorter than the CTS but has a longer wheelbase. Cadillac is repositioning its sedan lineup, which was notorious for “tweeners” fitting between normal segment sizes. Going forward, Cadillacs will line up more directly against the competition.
CT5 is a new nameplate. The compact sedan rides on the next generation of GM’s Alpha rear-drive platform, updated for a smoother, quieter, and more enjoyable ride. All-wheel drive will be available on all trims. The sedan still has a front multilink strut and five-link rear suspension, but these have also been enhanced. Passive dampers are standard.
Under the hood you’ll find a new version of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the same twin-scroll turbo-four that debuted in the 2019 CT6 refresh. The engine generates 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Optional is a 335-hp, 400-lb-ft 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that has been modified with smaller turbos; it makes its debut in the CT5. Both engines have active fuel management that shuts down cylinders when they’re not needed. Each is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
This new sedan’s hood and dash-to-axle proportions afford it a stately elegance. It has a fastback profile, a softening of the hard edges, and wheels pushed to the corners. The lower beltline is designed to make the car look more spacious, said Andrew Smith, executive director of global Cadillac design. This design better suits bigger wheels, and the CT5 will come with 18-, 19-, and 20-inchers. Run-flat tires as well as self-sealing tires are among the choices.
Smith wants each sedan to be instantly recognizable as a Cadillac while having its own distinctive character. As part of the design evolution, vertical LED headlights and taillights remain a signature, but new horizontal lines are designed to differentiate the CT5, especially from the back.
The CT5’s grille is derived from the Escala concept, though each trim will have its own slightly different take; for example, the Premium Luxury grille is different from the Sport grille, which was inspired by the V-Series.
The Luxury trim is the base, with Premium Luxury and Sport as higher trims. A Platinum package is available on both top models: For Sport, accents are black; Premium Luxury gets chrome. A CT5-V is expected in the future.
The CT5 was given a more rigid body with engineering emphasis on reducing harshness. Acoustic underbody treatment and glass contribute to a quiet cabin, along with the active noise cancellation system.
In addition to the regular Tour, Sport, and Snow/Ice drive modes, there’s also My Mode that allows you to personalize your settings.
Super Cruise is coming, but not until 2020 for some select models. With a short 2020 model year planned, look for the hands-free highway driving system to arrive next spring for the 2021 model year. Standard driver assist features include forward collision alert, pedestrian detection, low-speed automatic braking, and an alert when you exit the car and leave something (or someone) in the back seat.
Options include adaptive cruise control, enhanced auto emergency braking, park assist, front and rear auto braking, and rear pedestrian detection—all courtesy of four radars, six cameras, and 12 sensors.
New door handles hide the release inside the handle. Inside, there’s elegant use of carbon fiber and open-pore woods. Sport is more industrial in its material choices, whereas Premium Luxury has a warm maple sugar leather and wood interior. Front seats are heated and cooled, with optional lumbar massage. The steering wheel is also heated, and an air purification ionizer is available.
Because China is this vehicle’s key luxury market, it was important that the rear seat be spacious as that’s where the owner or special passengers ride. Cadillac could have gone further in providing amenities, though There are rear air vents but no dual climate-zone controls. Seats are not heated, and the sunroof doesn’t extend over the back row.
In terms of connectivity, a 10.0-inch touchscreen is standard. The enhanced navigation system accesses real-time traffic. The driver screen is a standard 4.2 inches and can be upgraded to 8.0 inches.
In the past, Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system was criticized for replacing volume knobs with touchscreen controls. The CT5 has not one, but two, volume knobs in addition to voice command and buttons on the steering wheel.
Device care is critical. The CT5 has two USB outlets in the front, as well as an SD card. There’s a slot for your phone and a tunnel to keep the cord neatly tucked away, so you won’t be forced to place your phone upside down in a cupholder. There’s also a pad for wireless charging. In back is another USB port and a power outlet.
The trunk is decently sized, and a hands-free decklid is optional. New rear badging denotes a rounded-off torque figure in newton-meters.
Built at the Lansing Grand River plant in Michigan, the CT5 will go on sale this fall. Pricing is expected to start in the mid- to high-$40,000 USD range.