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2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0t AWD Luxury ( Used Car Review)


regfootball

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DRIVEN - short take review

Used 2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0t AWD (20k on odometer)

HIGHS

  • -Wow!  The steering!  Perfect speed, awesome feel.
  • -The ride is also pretty much spot on, it's comfy and allows some fun, too.
  • -Car feels SOLID but not heavy.
  • -Terrific views out of the car.  Slender pillars in front.  Even with the long hood, it is low and it falls away from your line of sight.
  • -Car is just about the perfect size for a drivable fun sedan.  Just big enough, not too big, not too small.
  • -Gauges are nicely in line in front of you.  They may look cheap to some but I liked the layout and liked their classical Cadillac look.
  • -Some nice interior design elements.  Nice spot to rest the arm on the doors.
  • -The big double sun roof is bangup! I am convinced it is a must have.
  • -VERY quiet at cruising speed.  Quietness reminiscent of cars like my mom's DTS.
  • -2.0t is yeoman like in that it can build power in a smooth fashion, if you don't ask for it all immediately.
  • -trunk size is not bad for the greatly tapered rear end.
  • -there is some electronic bling inside which may impress some folks

LOWS

  • -The powertrain demonstrates more hesitation than i feel it should.  Takes the boost too long to spool up (maybe there just isn't enough of it) and the tranny doesn't want to kick down quick enough.  OK, disclaimer.  I didn't find the sport mode on the transmission until i got back from the test drive.  That may have helped.
  • -So is it redundant to say here that probably this thing needs a bit more power and torque to be ideal?  And a little more engaging personality.  GM needs to go back to the drawing boards on a better 4 popper or put the 3.0t v6 in here.  I imagine the non turbo 3.6 v6 may move this thing out a little better but that too probably needs greater torque to make this car sing.
  • -Sorry, but why does GM have such thin, poorly shaped and fitted uncomfortable seats lately?  With cheap trimmings too?  
  • -Nice center console area unfortunately intrudes on where your gas leg wants to be.  They need to redesign this area to give you more space to SPLAY your leg while you cruise through the cornfield states.
  • -Not gonna get much into CUE, and the radio and climate controls.  Suffice to say I think there is benefit to knobs, even though the glitzy slider bars look cool.
  • -I think some of the trimmings and buttons on the steering wheel are a little too weird and cheesy / shiny / strange.
  • -The interior in general, while not overall classifying as 'cheap' or 'bad' has many opportunities for improvement.  Among this is some better materials here and there (leather and plastics I am talking about you), and to be honest it has the look of materials that don't line up terribly precisely.  Cadillac just never achieves the bangup impression with their interiors that the like MB does.
  • -I didn't try the back seat, and with the RWD layout and this not being a classically perceived family car, I don't want to make any real stink of it.  But there may be some folks out there who would like more room in the back.  I think i would be ok with it if i owned the car.
  • -The one thing that i think holds the sales of this car back the most is the truly strange front end design.  There is just no conclusion that you can come to on the front end styling of this vehicle that entices people...that makes you go, wow that is a sexy frickin car.  Really sad it does that because after driving it, I can pretty much live with the rest of the styling of the car.

SUMMARY

Wow.  The reviews that talk about the steering and handling of this car, are really true.  Such a nice car to drive.  And really apart from that just a few simple fixable things away from greatness.  Why this isn't Cadillac's best selling car is beyond me.  But I get back back to the few 'simple fixable things'.

Problem is, Johan and the bunch put no attention on the 'simple fixable things' and now the 2018 model year is rolling out and the car is still for the most part unchanged to the buying public.  I am sure the 8 speed AT probably helps and some motor tweaks help so i should take one of the new ones out and see what's improved.  And i should take a v6 out.  I am probably not man enough for a CTS v.  Why not the 3.0t or 3.6t in the option sheet?****  Why not some better seats and a revised dash and interior?

Well, peasants like me can't obsess over these small things.  I am already thinking that maybe when my Malibu lease is done, I need to get me a nice pre owned one of these.

No rating, just "ME LIKEY" in a YUGE way.  gonna try to talk my mom into one too.

**** edit, see post below

Edited by regfootball
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-The one thing that i think holds the sales of this car back the most is the truly strange front end design.  There is just no conclusion that you can come to on the front end styling of this vehicle that entices people...that makes you go, wow that is a sexy frickin car.

Personally, I don't think there is a better / meaner front end in this class.

2017-cts-gallery-exterior-3-1280x400.jpg

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of course, different strokes for different folks.  My biggest beef with these recent Cadillac designs is the tininess of the headlights, and the bare plastic swatches inbetween the headlights and the trim on the bottom.  There should be more bling on each side of the grille, and some sort of a chrome bumper look.  Perhaps the vertical LED lights need to be much wider and much more dramatic.

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IMO, the 'bare swatches' below the headlights are the horizontal bumpers to either side of the full-height grille. And those elements, plus the smaller headlights, give the car visual width, whereas their absense/ larger lights would make it appear narrower. Cadillacs should be wide.

The ONLY thing I see I'm indifferent on is those 2 small angled-outward lines to either side of the bottom air intake- I would like to see what they'd look like following the angles of the grille sides. Otherwise, the CTS is the freshest lux mid-size (without getting mad weird like over at toyota-lexus or hardcore dated like the 5-series.

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***** I have to admit that missed the ball on a couple things.  

The Vsport has the 3.6t option (but I was thinking only AWD cars when writing the review since RWD cars are toy cars in this neck of the woods).

Also, apart from the 8 speed upgrade, the CTS got enhancements to a reconfigurable gauge cluster now as an option.

Edited by regfootball
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The LGX 3.6L V6 and 8-speed auto should be a sweet spot for daily performance and responsiveness for people that don't need all the upgrades of the V-Sport 3.6T.

I personally don't want a 2.0T in a vehicle like this. ATS? Sure. Malibu? No problem. 3700 lb luxury sedan? V6 or better. I bet if someone did a scientific real-world fuel economy test, you'd find rapidly diminishing fuel economy returns when using 2.0T versus V6 as weight goes over 3500 lbs. Not to mention the dynamics of moving a heavier car from a stop with 4-cylinder turbo lag.

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1 hour ago, regfootball said:

i do see your point.  i think though the 3.6 should be replaced with like a 2.7 or 3.0t v6   smoothness plus turbo lunge.  

I'm not opposed to this. Personally, I was perplexed GM built a nearly all-new V6 and kept almost identical displacement (it went from 217 ci to 223 ci). I thought GM would bore it out to something like 3.8L to create an ideal low cost volume engine to straddle the output of the 2.0T and 3.0T. I know the block supports up to 4.0L.

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On 7/26/2017 at 0:05 PM, cp-the-nerd said:

The LGX 3.6L V6 and 8-speed auto should be a sweet spot for daily performance and responsiveness for people that don't need all the upgrades of the V-Sport 3.6T.

I personally don't want a 2.0T in a vehicle like this. ATS? Sure. Malibu? No problem. 3700 lb luxury sedan? V6 or better. I bet if someone did a scientific real-world fuel economy test, you'd find rapidly diminishing fuel economy returns when using 2.0T versus V6 as weight goes over 3500 lbs. Not to mention the dynamics of moving a heavier car from a stop with 4-cylinder turbo lag.

And yet Malibu is hampered by the 1.5...noticed even by my wife when we were looking at cars. 2.0 only with top trim.  Agree with needing more than the 2.0 in a Luxury car over 3500 lbs.

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  • 11 months later...

For kicks I test drove a CTS AWD 3.6 with the V6 this time.  

Love the car, but it felt less sharp and more cushy / less telepathic than I remember last time.  V6 likes to rev up and it is smooth but it really would be boss if it had more torque from a turbo to go with it.

The console and dash really make the car feel tight, but it also feels intimate and well arranged.  Hard to dislike even if it feels a bit claustrophobic.  Comfy seats, even with the simple shape to them.

The v6 and 2.0t seem to be about equally as fast as each other.  Might have been a mistake for Cadillac to have two separate engines that produce about the same acceleration.  Some may prefer the smoother feel of the v6 and some may like the torquey chug of the 4 cylinder.  I think having 2 engines that do the same numbers contributes to Cadillac's identity crisis for the cars.  I hope the CT5 has the new 2.0t with free revving and torque and i hope the optional v6 is the 3.0tt to actually make it a real upgrade and difference in acceleration.

Edited by regfootball
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On 7/15/2017 at 5:41 PM, regfootball said:

of course, different strokes for different folks.  My biggest beef with these recent Cadillac designs is the tininess of the headlights, and the bare plastic swatches inbetween the headlights and the trim on the bottom.  There should be more bling on each side of the grille, and some sort of a chrome bumper look.  Perhaps the vertical LED lights need to be much wider and much more dramatic.

Have to disagree with you. I hate this baby boomer everything is chrome bling thing. NO thanks, a sexy luxury auto can be bold like the front end of the CTS without a ton of Bling. 

In fact, the best thing Cadillac can do is offer a black chrome package that gives one a bit of bling subdued so you have more of a monochromatic look that is still rich and luxurious.

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