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Cadillac CTS wins Consumer Reports luxury sedan comparo, still not recommended

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Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Acura, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz

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Cadillac CTS - Click above for high-res image gallery

The Cadillac CTS sedan outscored its competition from Audi, Acura, Mercedes-Benz and Lincoln in a Consumer Reports competition of luxury sedans over $50,000. The CTS was given an "Excellent" overall road test score of 84, four points better than the closest competitor. CR says that the CTS gives up next-to-nothing to its overseas competition, adding "the ride is supple and controlled and handling is agile and sporty." The Cadillac's 3.6-liter V6 and six-speed automatic were also given kudos for punchy acceleration and smooth shifting.

The Acura RL came in second with a "Very Good" road test score of 80. The Acura was given high marks for technology but was marked down for a less than sporty ride and a less than best-in-class rear seat. The Mercedes E350 and Audi A6 3.0T followed with "Very Good" scores of 79. Interestingly, CR says the E350 was marked down because it didn't handle as well as the last generation E-Class, adding "handling is still capable, but not exceptional, and the ride isn't as absorbent as before." The A6 is given generally high marks all around including interior, ride and handling, but its performance evidently wasn't enough to elevate it to the head of the class. The Lincoln MKS Ecoboost brought up the rear of the group with a "Very Good" score of 75. CR says the MKS has an "ordinary" driving experience, but the testers gave it good marks for a well-resolved interior.

As a bonus, CR engineers also tested the new Lexus HS250h. The dedicated luxury hybrid was given an "Excellent" score of 83 - just above that of the Toyota Prius - though the publication dings the Lexus because it "doesn't have the refinement, quietness, and ride comfort associated with the Lexus brand." CR says the HS250h makes up for these shortcomings, though, with terrific real world fuel economy - they achieved an average 31 miles per gallon during its testing.

Though the CTS took top honors in Consumer Reports' road test, the quality-driven publication still does not recommend the vehicle due to reliability issues. Only the Acura was given a "Recommended" nod, though the A6 and the MKS contain engines that are too new to receive a recommendation. The luxury test appears in the February issue of the magazine. Hit the jump to read over the official press release.



Continue reading Cadillac CTS wins Consumer Reports luxury sedan comparo, still not recommended

Cadillac CTS wins Consumer Reports luxury sedan comparo, still not recommended originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Jan 2010 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Consumer Reports doesn't know how to test cars. This is an odd assortment to begin with, the MKS is over a foot longer than the CTS or E350, the E350 is $10,000 more than a CTS, and the Acura RL is 5-6 years old and irrelevant. The Audi and CTS are similar in size/price, but the Audi interior is way better, and although I am not a big Audi fan, it gets good reviews. Motor Trend did a similar test with $50k plus sedans, the 5-series won, E350 was 3rd out of 8. The Acura RL wasn't even considered, it is by far the worst car in that class, yet CR recommends it.

On a side note, shouldn't Cadillac quality be better? Squeaks and rattles shouldn't exist in a 100,000 mile Cadillac, let alone a new one.

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Not that CR holds any credibility with me, but the article did NOT state the A6 interior bested the CTS's, and certainly not "way better". CR :

CTS >>"The interior is plush, with well-fitted padded panels and nice touches of wood and chrome."<<

A6 >>"The rich interior is trimmed with high-quality materials and panels are tight-fitting."<<

CTS >>"The ride is supple and controlled and handling is agile and sporty."<<

A6 >>"Handling remains responsive and secure."<<

CTS >>"The six-speed automatic transmission shifts responsively. Braking is excellent."<<

A6 >>"six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. Braking is very good."<<

CTS >>"The CTS gives up virtually nothing to the premium European cars tested in terms of refinement, powertrain, ride, or handling."<<

A6 gets good reviews, CTS gets better reviews (as long as you place any value on what CR says).

Edited by balthazar
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I've sat in both, the A6 interior is better than the CTS. Audi's leather is better, the wood is better, panel gaps are tighter, and the aluminum trim is indeed aluminum, not plastic made to look like aluminum. The quality and feel is just better on the A6. I don't care much for the A6, but I give them credit for the interior materials and build quality.

Given the cars in that test, I'd agree the CTS gives up nothing in refinement, ride or handling, but the 5-series wasn't in there. The BMW straight-6 is more refined than any V6 car I've ever been in, it's more refined than my V8.

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^ That's your opinion, CR has their own, others have their own.

You might consider occasionally sticking in an 'IMO'; your social compatability will stretch a LOT farther.

I heard the hype RE audi interiors, that they are so amazing, so orgasmic.... then I sat in one for the first time. What a huge letdown (not that I believed the degree of hype). It was awful- poor materials, terrible ergonomics, dated design. Oh yes; and it was orange & black- absolutely perfect for 1 day of the year.

Hype disproven & discarded (tho I suppose there were those that still raved about it).

5-series has nothing on the CTS in ride & handling, just like the M5 has nothing on the CTS-V in on-road performance. Too closely matched for cars (CTS, 5-series) that do not race each other.

Edited by balthazar
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I've sat in both, the A6 interior is better than the CTS. Audi's leather is better, the wood is better, panel gaps are tighter, and the aluminum trim is indeed aluminum, not plastic made to look like aluminum. The quality and feel is just better on the A6. I don't care much for the A6, but I give them credit for the interior materials and build quality.

That's great until the Audi interior falls apart like nearly every aged Audi I've been in. Good thing about that aluminum trim being real aluminum, that way it can go straight into the recylcing bucket when it falls off.

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I wouldn't buy an Audi, I am just saying I think their interior is better than Cadillac's. I haven't driven an A6, so I can't compare on driving dynamics, I've driven the A4, and it drives fine, but is too noisy. I like the CTS more than the A4.

Bottom line though, is even GM knows the CTS isn't on par with the A6, 5-series, or E-class, the CTS is $34,990 (after cash back offer). If GM really thought the CTS was as good as the German sedans, they'd raise the price $10,000-15,000.

What is interesting is the Acura TL and Lexus ES350 are both $35,100 and a Lincoln MKZ is $34,115 and all 3 are close in size to the CTS. Even a base Volvo S80 (same size car as the CTS) is $39,200. Why is Cadillac positioning themselves with that group, but claiming to be in the 5-series class?

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I've heard from lots of people that the 1st Gen CTS seems to be more reliable than the 2nd Gen CTS (which I also understand is really rattle prone), mainly because of the electronics. I'm not suggesting that they're lemons, it just seems that they have their share of problems. That being said I think the CTS interior looks light years better than the A6, especially in Gray or Tan with the wood. When it comes to exterior styling there is also no contest.

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I am surprised that you can option a CTS over $50k, but looking at the Cadillac website and sure enough you can.

The TL would do far better in this crowd, being newer and better than the RL in most ways; however it tops out around $45k so it doesn't qualify.

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Are we all looking at the same cars? The CTS's whole console is gray plastic, the Audi has real wood. CTS's gauges that stick out look like what Chevy does, Audi's gauges are better integrated. Audi just has better materials, and the details, like the stitching on the leather or the metal trim around the wood, they just add up and matter. The best interior Cadillac ever did was on the SRX they just killed off.

2009-Audi-A6-Avant-Interior-1280x960.jpg

2008-cadillac-cts-4.jpg

Edited by smk4565
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To my eye, the CTS interior is far more modern; the audi has that flat instrument panel going right into the console that reminds of a '90s-'80s dash design philosophy. There's no dynamics, no flow.

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CTS's interior is cramped though, my knee hits the center stack near the temperature control. The old CTS had better leg room and I liked the angled center stack. The window controls are too low also, the CTS got more modern, but the layout was better on the old one. And if they want to be modern, what's up with the Analog clock? You won't find that on an XF or 5-series. I actually like the 2011 5-series interior more than Audi's but I'd take the Jag in a second over any of these cars.

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Are we all looking at the same cars? The CTS's whole console is gray plastic, the Audi has real wood. CTS's gauges that stick out look like what Chevy does, Audi's gauges are better integrated. Audi just has better materials, and the details, like the stitching on the leather or the metal trim around the wood, they just add up and matter. The best interior Cadillac ever did was on the SRX they just killed off.

The Audi gauges look like what I had to pay $800 to replace on my ex's '01 Passat. Center stack looks fairly similar too except the Audi has NAV. I loooove the position of the cupholder under the center armrest. What's that for? Juiceboxes?

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CTS's interior is cramped though, my knee hits the center stack near the temperature control. The old CTS had better leg room and I liked the angled center stack. The window controls are too low also, the CTS got more modern, but the layout was better on the old one. And if they want to be modern, what's up with the Analog clock? You won't find that on an XF or 5-series. I actually like the 2011 5-series interior more than Audi's but I'd take the Jag in a second over any of these cars.

I will agree that the new CTS isn't as roomy as the previous one, however, just having spent 7 hours in a 2010 CTS Wagon yesterday I can also safely say it doesn't feel cramped.

And OMG, you're gonna harp on the analog clock now? Are you going to do the same to Infiniti? Why not go back to all digital gauges... My '1985 Toronado and 1985 Lincoln Continental were more modern than that Audi in that case. The analog clock is a classy touch. Digital readouts for clocks just seem cheap in this day and age.

We all know that you would perform sexual favors for a Jag. No need to point it out in every post.

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The Audi interior has a center stack design that looks a bit dated, but the materials everywhere are top notch.

The Audi gauges look like what I had to pay $800 to replace on my ex's '01 Passat. Center stack looks fairly similar too except the Audi has NAV. I loooove the position of the cupholder under the center armrest. What's that for? Juiceboxes?

The arm rest folds up, if you want to use the cup holders. I personally keep my arm rest up all the time, as it's easier to shift. I only use cup holders once a month or so, on the odd occasion that I go to a fast food restaurant and decide to buy something to drink. I'm sure there are other cup holders as well.

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If I get the CTS-Wagon out of the valet tomorrow, I'll have to take a picture so Audi can see how it's done.

It's difficult to see in the above picture, but when the CTS is in drive, the shifter falls exactly into hand if you plan to use the manumatic feature. It's also the perfect height so that one can leave the armrest down and use the cupholders and shift at the same time.

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And OMG, you're gonna harp on the analog clock now? Are you going to do the same to Infiniti? Why not go back to all digital gauges... My '1985 Toronado and 1985 Lincoln Continental were more modern than that Audi in that case. The analog clock is a classy touch. Digital readouts for clocks just seem cheap in this day and age.

I don't like analog clocks in any car (it works on an old world Rolls or Bentley). It screams of Town Car or Grand Marquis and just looks old fashioned. I don't like it in Infinitis either, I don't even like it in the Jag XJ very much (XF and XK don't have one). Digital gauges are just as bad, at least the old green ones. Now if the CTS switches to an LCD display for the gauges like the S-class, XJ, and Range Rover have, that would be cool.

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LCD OR digital is the same thing- done & done again.

The reason you have seen a few analogs creep back into some luxury cars is because it's 'fresh' again, plus it breaks up the monotony of the rest of the digitals, PLUS it's classy.

Go look at the world of luxury wristwatches- primarily analog... Rolex is ALL analog. It's more expressive and it's more timeless (no pun intended, but what the hell).

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An analog clock is far more pleasant to look at than any digital or LCD.

The word "timepiece" comes to mind.

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