2020 Cadillac CT4 Review & Buying Guide | Cadillac recommits to the small sedan

Byron Hurd


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The 2020 Cadillac CT4 is a brand-new entry into the baby luxury sedan space, replacing the ATS. With an excellent rear-wheel-drive chassis and a performance-oriented “V” trim (to be topped by a yet-wilder “Blackwing” model), the CT4 is aimed at the enthusiast end of the segment.

Cadillac fields the lone American entry in this class, meaning the CT4’s main competitors — the Audi A3, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe and the Mercedes-Benz A- and CLA-Classes — are all European. However, since it's a bit bigger than those and features a rear-wheel-drive platform (all-wheel drive is available), it's hardly an apples-to-apples situation. The Genesis G70 is perhaps a closer comparable. In any event, the CT4 is a compelling, American alternative that delivers excellent comfort, interior quality and driving dynamics at a price that strongly challenges the various competitors from Europe.

What's new for 2020?

The Cadillac CT4 is new for 2020, alongside the bigger CT5. You can check out our first drive of the hot CT4-V model for more on Cadillac’s new sedan strategy.


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What's the CT4's interior and in-car technology like?

The Cadillac CT4 packs the sort of high-quality materials and convenience features one expects from an entry-level luxury model. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and in higher-end models, the front buckets are offered with heat, ventilation and massage features. The CT4 also boasts what GM calls a “sound-optimized” interior coupled with active noise cancellation and amplification to mitigate unpleasant frequencies and enhance desirable ones. In all, we find the CT4’s interior much more compelling than that found in other recent Cadillac products such as the new XT4 crossover.

The infotainment system is controlled by an 8-inch touchscreen with an optional rotary-control interface. The base setup includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration and offers USB Type-A and Type-C connectivity and charging. Upgrades include navigation and multiple Bose audio packages, all of which bring with them wireless device charging.

How big is the CT4?

Like many of Cadillac’s previous sport sedans, the CT4 is a bit of an oddball size-wise for the segment it targets, stretching more than a foot longer than the Audi A3 and nearly 9 inches longer than the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. However, this doesn't translate into a comparable interior space advantage because of the CT4 rear-wheel-drive platform. Instead, things are effectively evened out so that cabin space is similar to those competitors in terms of leg, head and shoulder room. The turning circle is also identical, though increases with a foot when equipped with all-wheel drive.

The trunk is smaller than most, checking in at just 10.7 cubic feet, beating out only the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan.

What's the CT4's performance and fuel economy?

Cadillac is offering its new small sedan in three states of tune. The Sport and Luxury models are equipped with a 2.0-liter inline-four good for 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is the most potent base engine offered in the class. Like all CT4 models, it comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission, active fuel management (can run on only two cylinders to save fuel) and rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option. EPA-rated fuel economy is 23 mpg city, 34 mpg and 27 mpg combined with RWD and 23/32/26 with AWD.

Premium Luxury models get the option of a 2.7-liter inline-four that makes 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, while returning 20/30/24 mpg with RWD and 20/28/23 with AWD.

The CT4-V gets the same basic engine and nearly identical fuel economy figures, but gets a bump up to 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft. That may seem like a pittance considering the outrageously powerful V models of Cadillac’s past, but GM’s luxury arm has decided to re-jigger its performance hierarchy by eliminating “V-Sport” entirely, shifting “V” down to fill that role, and introducing a series of new range-topping performance models dubbed “Blackwing.” This positions the CT4-V against the Audi S3, BMW M235i Gran Coupe and M240i, and Mercedes-AMG CLA35, which all play in the exact same space with similar power figures.

What's the CT4 like to drive?

So far, we have only had the chance to drive the performance-oriented CT4-V. On the road, it strikes a near-perfect balance between luxury and performance. When you’re on the highway, the CT4-V is composed and buttoned-down without being in-your-face. Its selectable adaptive cruise control (part of the $1,100 Driver Assist package) maintains speeds just about perfectly, demanding little attention and prompting little consternation. The seats are relatively plush but supportive and offer plenty of adjustment for individual preferences.

Its eagerness and athleticism never encroach on its luxury mission until you ask them to, whether you dial in your own drive mode profile — Cadillac calls it “My Mode” — or you simply reach for the one-click V-Mode option on the steering wheel. Thanks to the Magnetic Ride Control and the CT4-V’s drive-by-wire systems, virtually everything about the sedan changes depending on the mode you select. In Sport or Track modes, the brakes react to the most minute pedal pressure, ready to bring the CT4’s 3,600-pound heft to a stop if need-be.

What more can I read about the 2020 Cadillac CT4?

2020 Cadillac CT4-V First Drive | The Cadillac of compact Cadillacs

This may not be the V of old, but it’s still a winner.

 

2020 Cadillac CT5-V First Drive | The lowercase v series

Like the sound of the CT4, but want more space? Here's our review of its big brother, the CT5-V. 

 

Cadillac confirms 'Blackwing' name, manual gearboxes for pumped-up CT4-V, CT5-V

GM also confirmed the two will be offered only in limited numbers.

 

What features are available and what's the CT4's price?

The “Luxury” model represents the entry-level CT4. It starts at $33,990 and includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, power front seats (12-way driver and 10-way passenger; both with power lumbar adjustment), leatherette upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and an eight-speaker sound system.  

Stepping up to the Premium Luxury model adds 18-inch wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlights and wipers, and driver’s seat memory settings. This trim also makes the 2.7-liter engine available, along with packages that include advanced driver aids and safety systems.

The Sport is positioned as an alternative to the Premium Luxury for those who prefer a more youthful, performance-oriented style. It’s still offered exclusively with the 2.0-liter engine, but includes blacked-out trim, unique wheels, and sport-themed interior surfaces and accents.

The CT4-V is the performance trim. It comes standard with the enhanced 2.7-liter engine and adds a mechanical limited-slip differential, bigger brakes, Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and V-specific wheels. Both summer and all-season tires are available.

There are quite a few available options, most of which are bundled into packages. Below you'll find the base prices for each trim, but you can check out the 2020 Cadillac CT4’s full pricing, specs and feature breakdown here on Autoblog.

All prices are for the rear-wheel drive model and include a $995 destination fee:

  • Luxury: $33,990
  • Sport: $39,590
  • Premium Luxury: $38,490
  • CT4-V: $45,490

What's its safety equipment and crash ratings?

The 2020 Cadillac CT4 Luxury model comes with no advanced safety systems standard. Stepping up to the Premium Luxury, Sport or CT4-V models adds forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with front pedestrian detection. The available Driver Assist package available on these higher-trim models adds adaptive cruise control, a higher speed threshold for the forward collision systems and reverse automatic braking.

The Driver Awareness Plus package throws in lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high beams.

Cadillac’s SuperCruise highway semi-self-driving system will be available on the CT4 starting with the 2021 model year.

Neither the U.S. government nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have yet evaluated the CT4’s crashworthiness.

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