Cadillac CTS

Before the release of the Cadillac CTS, anything bearing the Cadillac name was associated with luxury and quite often sheer size. While a few offerings in the 1980s introduced smaller vehicles to the storied Cadillac line, they were generally considered boxy and aesthetically displeasing—with the introduction of the CTS, all of that changed.

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Cadillac CTS Origins

The 2003 Cadillac CTS—introduced in 2002—was nominated as the North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The honorable mention was based on the Cadillac's ability to offer sport styling, premium performance, and luxury within a midsize sedan. The CTS also offered drivers a reliable and economical 3.2-liter V-6. Rear-wheel drive was implemented into the CTS, a first for a Cadillac model since the late 1980s.

The first generation of Cadillac CTS manufacturing lasted from 2003 to 2007. The present generation, beginning in 2008, came with upgrades in terms of power and body styling, and it improved interior quality and options.

About the Cadillac CTS

In essence, the Cadillac CTS broke the cycle of the 1980s and 1990s, when there were several models released that were considered automotive regression for the brand. The CTS took over where the Opel-based Cadillac Catera left off and changed the public’s opinion of American-made sport sedans. The CTS was an ideal option for the Cadillac purist, who preferred something a little less than the Cadillac DeVille, without sacrificing the luxury options.

The Cadillac CTS was the first attempt at offering performance substance as well as signature Cadillac comfort and style. With each continued year of design, the team at Cadillac presented consumers with models that were increasingly comparable to their European and Japanese competitors. In 2012, the most sought-after family member of the CTS platform was the high performance CTS-V—a model capable of outperforming its competitors.

Modern Cadillac CTSs

The Cadillac CTS will never be able to escape from comparisons to its competitors, manufactured by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti. However, where CTS struggles, it more than makes up through available models. The CTS is more of a complete line when compared to its foreign rivals. When considering the entire family, including the CTS-V, there are more than a few options to choose from.

Cadillac offers the 2012 CTS in four packages, all with appropriate price tags: The Base package, Luxury package, Performance package, and Premium package round out the 2012 line. Prices range from $35,915 for the Base, to $48,290 for the Premium.

Under the hood of the 2012 Cadillac CTS there are additional options. The standard CTS continues to run on a robust V-6 engine, yet the Performance and Premium offerings boast a slightly larger, 3.6-liter 315 horsepower V-6. Compare this to the 3.0-liter 270 horsepower V-6 found in the Base and Luxury models. All four of the models offer the choice between a six-speed manual transmission with rear-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. This is a key selling point based on driver preference.

The Base and Luxury packages are rolled out on 17-inch wheels, while the Performance and Premium cars enjoy a little more flash and dash with 18-inch wheels. There is also 19-inch wheel option available for increased vehicle performance.

The Performance and Premium packages slightly edge out the Base and Luxury in terms of efficiency, presenting 27 mpg highway to the 26 mpg tested on the less expensive CTS packages. All four vehicles were tested at 18 mpg city, an impressive number when considering the performance capability.

With four packages to choose from, potential buyers will enjoy the many options associated with the 2012 CTS. The seven choices of paint are appropriately matched to five premium-leather options for the interior.

The angular design is well constructed to match the exterior lines; however, one of the few drawbacks of the 2012 CTS may be the available space of the interior. Adults of significant height or size may struggle to find a comfortable driving position due to the converging angles within the design of the center stack.

Safety features include four-wheel, anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control; front-seat and side-curtain airbags; and the OnStar Emergency system.

Cadillac CTS Evolution

Cadillac CTS models from yesteryear can still be found at relatively low prices. The CTS first generation, released in 2002 with the 2003 model, focused on steady upgrades to performance engineering and increases in power. For the first four years of production, the CTS was only offered as a sedan.

With the advent of the second generation, in 2008, Cadillac invested additional time and resources into overhauling the level of quality within the interior, while also offering multiple body styles. While continuing to offer the four-door sedan, in 2009 Cadillac introduced a five-door station wagon—as expected, the model did not gain popularity. The following year, the CTS was offered as a two-door coupe, which sold well, as expected.

Select a Cadillac CTS Year

2019 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

2018 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

2017 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

2016 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

2015 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

2014 Cadillac CTS

Coupe, Luxury, Sedan, Wagon

2013 Cadillac CTS

Coupe, Luxury, Sedan, Wagon

The 2013 Cadillac CTS will be replaced next year, and not a moment too soon.

2012 Cadillac CTS

Coupe, Luxury, Sedan, Wagon

The CTS' optional 3.6-liter V-6 gets 14 extra horsepower and loses 20 lb., adds a new grille, and gets a new Touring package.

2011 Cadillac CTS

Coupe, Luxury, Sedan, Wagon

For 2011 the Cadillac CTS adds a new bodystyle to its repertoire, the CTS Coupe. Otherwise identical to the CTS Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon, the Coupe bodystyle gives the CTS a more aggressive appearance and another angle of attack on the German standard bearers. A heated steering wheel and rear vision camera are now standard on all models.

2010 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan, Wagon

2009 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

The 2009 Cadillac CTS is a midsize, entry-level luxury sport sedan that offers performance and style to compete with its foreign competitors.

2008 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

Cadillac goes back to the drawing board for the 2008 Cadillac CTS and completely redesigns it in an attempt to keep up with its German and Japanese competitors.

2007 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

The 2007 Cadillac CTS is a solid entrant in the crowded entry-level, midsize luxury sport sedan segment.

2006 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

2005 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

If you like speed and style, the 2005 Cadillac CTS deserves a look.

2004 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

2003 Cadillac CTS

Luxury, Sedan

The 2003 Cadillac CTS is a sedan with a 3.