Test Drive: New Cadillac keeps big luxury sedan tradition

Americans may love their trucks and sport-utility vehicles, but there’s still a place in the driveway for the traditional, full-sized luxury sedan. Virtually every automaker, even the South Koreans, compete in this market. Only Fiat Chrysler has checked out; the Imperial brand is long gone. Not surprisingly, Cadillac upholds this tradition better than most in terms of ride, performance, luxury and classic American style.

As a rule, European luxury sedans ride more firmly than their American and Japanese counterparts but handle more crisply. The Japanese and Korean models — Acura, Infiniti, Lexus and Equus — largely disconnect the driver from the road. Cadillac’s CT6 succeeds on both fronts — delivering nimble handling and a soft, compliant ride. (We haven’t driven Ford’s entry, the Lincoln Continental, but we love the new Connie’s look.)

We didn’t expect the CT6 to be fun to drive, but fun it was — thanks mainly to its mighty 404-horsepower, twin-turbo V-6 engine linked to a predictable, smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The interior was quiet as a tomb.

The seats are plush but supportive, and there’s plenty of room in front and back. Our tallest driver didn’t need to bring the seat all the way back, as he does with most cars and trucks — but he was struck by the short range of the electrically telescoping steering wheel. After placing the seat for optimum leg room, he had to move forward to put the steering wheel into a comfortable position.

While the CT6 provides ample passenger room, its trunk is small for a big luxury sedan at just 15.3 cubic feet. We’ve driven midsize cars, such as the Chevrolet Malibu, with similar or even slightly bigger trunk dimensions.

As much as we enjoyed driving the CT6, its $91,685 sticker price induced a bit of shock. But our test car, a 2018 CT6 Platinum with all-wheel drive, was fully loaded and then some. In addition to having the most powerful of the three available engines, our CT6 had a standard-features list that included all the infotainment, safety, visibility and convenience features known to man. It even had a responsive touch pad between the front seats, where other automakers place controller knobs.

The CT6 price range is uncommonly wide. A well-equipped base version has a sticker price of $55,090. Fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 265-horsepower Four and rear-wheel drive, it lacks many of the Platinum model’s technological flourishes and luxury features. But it’s still a Cadillac, so it comes with leather upholstery, satellite radio, remote start, Cadillac User Experience infotainment system, rear-vision camera, wireless charging and more.

Crash-test data aren’t available. According to data compiled by U.S. News & World Report, the CT6 is slightly more reliable than most cars in its class.

We averaged about 23 mpg in mixed highway and urban driving. The CT6 is rated at 18 mpg city, 26 highway, and requires premium unleaded gasoline.\

 

2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum AWD

Price: $91,685

Engine: 3.6-liter twin turbo V-6, 404 horsepower, 400 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic

Drive: all-wheel

Weight: 4,399 lb.

Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear

Wheels: 20×8.5-in. Midnight Silver alloy

Tires: 245/40R20 all-season

Seating capacity: 5

Luggage capacity: 15.3 cu. ft.

Fuel capacity: 19.5 gal.

Fuel economy: 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway

Fuel type: premium unleaded gasoline

Steven Macoy ([email protected]) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.

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