Cadillac is the last American luxury marque with sedans in its portfolio as Lincoln has gone the only-utility-vehicle route. The Cadillac sedan lineup is comprised of CT4, CT5, and CT6 (retired this year) models. That’s a far cry from the Seville, DeVille, and Fleetwood nameplates that once defined the brand. Naming conventions aside, Cadillac’s current crop of sedans hold their own in a market now dominated by European models.
Cadillac offers the 2021 CT4 in four trims: Luxury ($33,395), Premium Luxury ($37,595), Sport ($38,695), and CT4-V ($44,895). Add $995 for the destination charge. The CT4 is a rear-wheel-drive sedan with room for five. Choosing available all-wheel drive adds up to $3,000 on some trims.
At the turn of the millennium, Cadillac introduced its “art and science” design language. That look was represented by short overhangs, sharp creases and lines, and pronounced cutouts. It was a far departure from the stately sedans of Cadillac’s past, designed with a purpose to take on Europe’s finest models.
Over the years, the language has evolved with the lines relaxed and the overhangs pushed out slightly, especially with the CT4. It’s as if Cadillac sought a middle ground between traditional American design acuity and European finesse. We think it’s lovely and it works.
Inside, the cabin lives up to its compact proportions. The front seats are all-day comfortable with tall drivers having ample space to maneuver. But that comes at the expense of most anyone sitting on the rear bench seat. Indeed, legroom is tight no matter how you look at it. Even the trunk is small, measuring just 10.7 cubic feet. We think families will gravitate to the CT5, while solo buyers will find the CT4 fine for two.
Safety & Technology
This year, Cadillac adds standard automatic emergency braking, which includes front pedestrian braking. Adaptive cruise control and rear automatic braking are bundled within a package upgrade or included with the upper trim models.
Also new this year is Cadillac’s Super Cruise system, which represents the brand’s foray into all things autonomous driving. You’ll still need to keep your hands on the wheels, but when activated the system supplies inputs to keep the sedan centered.
An 8-speaker audio system, an 8-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi compatibility, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility come standard. The list of upgrades includes a 14-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, and wireless phone charging.
Cadillac models were once defined by large-block V8 engines that developed reasonable amounts of power while sucking gas like there was no tomorrow. Well, tomorrow has arrived and the current Cadillac lineup is more efficient than ever. Only the Escalade still offers a V8 engine with the now-retired CT6 sedan no longer in the mix.
Instead of the big-block engines, Cadillac offers a pair of turbocharged four-cylinder engines with the 2021 CT4. The first one displaces 2.0 liters and is good for 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This one works with an 8-speed automatic transmission. In its most efficient form, the CT4 earns an impressive 34 mpg on the highway.
The second engine displaces 2.7 liters and is one of the largest four-cylinder engines available anywhere. This one makes 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, but in the V-Series, it’s tuned to produce 325 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Power travels to the wheels utilizing a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Our test V-Series RWD model delivered the punch we expected. Our earlier misgivings about a four-cylinder engine vanished once we hit our favorite backroads and put this sedan through the paces. In its most potent form, the CT4-V doesn’t disappoint as this performance sedan offers a quick start, ample highway acceleration, engaging handling, and a comfortable ride. Its 0-60 mph time is about 5 seconds and that’s laudable for a small engine.
If you’re looking for a gurgling boom of a big engine, the CT4-V doesn’t have that. But it does execute power as promised and the backpressure still builds and sends out toots through the sport exhaust system. We like how this small sedan hugs curves with ease and moves in and pulls out of corners without drama. The adaptive suspension system — known as Magnetic Ride Control — which is also used on the Corvette, shines under aggressive driving – Bubba Wallace might feel at home here.
The CT4 in any form is a delightful sedan. Although we didn’t test the base model with the standard engine, we think it would please most shoppers. Notably, with the usual discounting, a well-equipped model can be had for about $40,000 and that’s an important price point in the luxury realm.
Photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.