We take a look at the 2019 Cadillac CT6 Sport AWD, a sharp-looking beast and a marvelous vehicle to cruise around in… or should we say Super Cruise around in?
The 2019 Cadillac CT6 is a very large automobile. The kind of car that you can stick 6-foot-plus drivers and shotgun riders into and still have space for their 6-foot tall pals in the back seat and enough trunk space to hide at least 4 of their kids. Not that I would ever put my kids in the trunk, but if allowed I think they’d enjoy the ride in the “back-room”. Somehow, though, the Cadillac design team has managed to camouflage this beast into looking like a “normal” sedan. Sure, the grill up front is massive, and the razor-sharp LED light-strips on either side give it the aggressive stance we have come to associate with Cadillac. But still, at first glance, and without anything close by to compare it to, you might not realize how large this car is. It was first upon backing into a parking spot between two regular-sized sedans (whatever that might mean nowadays?) that I noticed the hood of the Caddy sticking way out. And I had put the top-down view and back-up camera to good use when pulling in, making sure I was all the way in.
The Cadillac CT6 fills the entire parking spot.
The first thing I do when I get into any vehicle that I am reviewing is to play around with the infotainment system and the other gadgets laid out in the usual mishmash of user-friendly (or, sometimes: user-non-friendly) buttons, knobs, and screens. The second thing I check is the Monroney sticker; the piece of paper with a list of the features and options included in the specific vehicle. Glancing through the Monroney I tick off the features/gadgets that I found and understood on my own – these are on the good side on the scale of usability – and then actively go looking for the features that I had not found on my own. Lastly, for the features found on the Monroney that I can’t find just by looking around the car, I take out the user handbook. Given the sheer amount of vehicles I have driven and reviewed during the last 15 years, the number of features I have to look up is usually small. As is the case with the Cadillac CT6.
But, first things first: Where the heck is the button to open the darn glovebox?! The Monroney is usually in the glovebox for us journalists to find, but the CT6 seems to have a very secret way of opening said box. It took me a while to find the “button” in the top right of the touch-screen – as if it was part of the infotainment system. To my defense, anybody I invited into the car, many of whom are automotive journalists, all had to work at locating the darn thing. However, once that button is located, all is well. Life can go on, and the elusive button to open the glovebox turns into quite a fun conversation-starter with any new passenger.
Looking around the cockpit of the Cadillac CT6 a couple of things stick out immediately. The B-pilar is rather large, obstructing my visibility and in turn widening my blindspot. Conveniently, this Caddy comes with a blind spot warning system, so that becomes a non-issue pretty fast. Another thing that becomes noticeable once you turn on the radio, and even more so when you turn your head either way, is the fact that a couple of the 34 speakers included in the Bose Panaray audio system are built into the headrest of the driver and front passenger seats. This makes the music seem like it is coming from everywhere when you are facing forward, and you really only notice that there are speakers an inch from your ears when you turn your head and “listen to the headrest”. Those speakers do a great job putting the driver and front seat passenger in the middle of the music.
Speaking of the Bose Panaray 34-speaker audio system… Wait, let’s pause there. If you didn’t already reflect on the fact that there are 34 speakers in this car, take a moment and let that sink in. This car has speakers everywhere! The center speaker does the obligatory slow-mo move out of the top of the dashboard when the car starts up. Looks appealing, and most of the luxury manufacturers are doing something similar with their center speaker. It looks cool when it magically appears, but it also looks great in the up position, why not leave it there? On that point, it doesn’t seem to go away when you turn off the car or stereo system, but it is hidden when you get in the car the next time. Magic!
Being the top-of-the-line, cutting-edge, razor-sharp, (enter any snazzy analogy here), Cadillac, the CT6 has all kinds of tech-features and options. The heads-up display is worth its weight in gold (it might actually cost more than that saying predicts); with it I can keep my eyes on the road, even when receiving routing instructions from the built-in navigation system, and I’m always aware of how fast I’m going since that’s right there for me to see. The automatic parking assistant can find a spot and park the car in it, all the driver needs to do is follow some simple instructions like “stop”, “put the car in reverse”, “proceed slowly”, etc; the system will turn the steering wheel just right and slip this large chunk of metal into the chosen spot like a fat kid cutting in line at the candy-kiosk.
the system will turn the steering wheel just right and slip this large chunk of metal into the chosen spot like a fat kid cutting in line at the candy-kiosk.
As with most new features and driving aids, they take a little getting used to. The rear-view mirror showing a real-time movie of what is going on behind you, for example, plays games with your eyes. My eyes are used to finding a certain depth in the mirror, but now they are suddenly looking at a screen, trying to make sense of a moving picture. However, once the eyes have adjusted, and the brain caught up, this camera-thing works really well. It’s especially helpful while driving in the dark or in the rain (it rains in L.A.?!), showing a much clearer picture of what is behind you than what you normally see in the mirror through a wet, glaring rear window.
There is one feature, however, that makes the Cadillac CT6 stand out from the crowd: Super Cruise. This is the creme-de-la-crop of cruise controls, and as such we figured it deserves its own article. Stay tuned for a standalone review of the Super Cruise – cue the drumroll please.
Another notable feature found in the CT6 is that the surround vision system (used for parking, mainly) has a record feature. So instead of having to install a dash-cam, the Surround Vision Recorder allows the driver to record, store (on an SD card), and playback a video of the images recorded by the vehicle’s front and rear cameras. The fact that it has taken this long for a feature like this is beyond me – cameras have been built into cars for quite some time – so this is one feature that I think everyone will find a use for. Parents to young drivers, for instance…
One comment on the camera system – and this goes for most cars with a top-down view or just a plain back-up camera – how hard would it be to have a button that brings up the top-down view and/or the front/rear cameras. This way I would be able to hit that button whenever I enter a parking garage or tight space, quickly getting access to these great driver aides. These top-down view turns on automatically when reverse is engaged, so when I am pulling into a spot head-on I have to stop and momentarily engage reverse to bring up the cameras. This turns out to be a faster way to get the cameras going rather than flipping through the menu and starting the cameras after finding it there. A single button would be nice.
A small detail that is thoroughly appreciated is the fact that the seat adjustment buttons are found on the door next to the door handle, rather than hidden on the side of the bottom of the seat where nobody knows what button they are touching before they feel what way their seat moves. Speaking of the seats: they’re really comfy, but I expect no less from a Cadillac for over 80 thousand dollars. Coupled with the really smooth ride of the CT6, the seats – both front and back – are a really nice place to spend an hour in while meandering down PCH. Note, however, that the rear center “seat” is not at all on par with the others – a kid will do fine in the middle but this is a four-adult vehicle.
I set the temperature for the two sections in the back to arctic and equatorial and within a couple of minutes I could switch between a frigid polar expedition and a full-on Moana experience just by scootching over from left to right.
The fact that there are four zones in the climate system cements that statement. The “Quad-Zone Climate Control” is really magnificently efficient. I set the temperature for the two sections in the back to arctic and equatorial and within a couple of minutes I could switch between a frigid polar expedition and a full-on Moana experience just by scootching over from left to right. I’m hoping that the group of readers interested in a Cadillac has switched from being old men to include young(er) people who might have young kids – and judging by Cadillac’s marketing and segmenting the last couple of years they are too. If I’m right, you understood my Disney reference.
Driving characteristics of the Cadillac CT6 do not match the sheer size of the vehicle. Driver and passengers are seated like royalty, in plush seats with an abundance of leg-room, yet this boat handles like a jetski. The all-wheel-drive system moves the 404 horses from the 3.0L twin turbo V6 to the pavement in a stable (equestrian pun intended) and predictable way, making even the short entrances to the 110 in South Pasadena a breeze. The Active Rear Steering system, nicely matched with the Magnetic Ride Control, transform this cruiser into a sports-car capable of hugging corners and whipping down onramps. Not that you would do that in this car, it’s much too sophisticated for juvenile play.
When hustling around town with 404 horses things tend to shift around within the car. However, my phone is always where it is supposed to be. The cordless charging spot is a semi-covered slot where the phone sits and doesn’t move around. Proof that smart design in engineering is a great thing. A place where that smartness doesn’t show is in the positioning of the volume control. It’s a nifty touch-sensitive slide-bar directly under the infotainment touch-screen. So, if the driver or front seat passenger is doing something on the touch-screen chances are that any little bump on the road will cause a part of that person’s hand to accidentally nudge the volume control in some direction.
With a vehicle like the 2019 Cadillac CT6 Sport – and pretty much any car going for north of 80 thousand dollars – there will be an immense list of cool gadgets included. We can’t list them all here, but you can always drool over said list on the Cadillac website. However, I want to give a quick shout-out to some of the nifty things I noticed in the CT6 during our time together:
– The Cadillac logo projected onto the ground behind the car – a neat way to show you where to wave your foot to activate the handsfree trunk-opener.
– The OnStar system and the associated in-car WiFi-system – often with a much better connection and speed than the 4G in my phone supplied.
– The classy mood-lighting within the car during the dark hours – something that unconsciously adds to the smoothness and luxury that this car exudes.
All in all, the 2019 Cadillac CT6 Sport AWD is a really nice car. A really, really sweet ride. Even though I’ve come to expect no less from Cadillac – especially in their flagship sedan – and there are many better and more sophisticated ways to say it, sweet will be my ending superlative.
Bonus Round from Glenn Oyoung
I would have titled this little blurb “Counterpoint,” but that wouldn’t apply because like J-F I really liked the CT6. My mom and dad had Cadillac’s growing up so I can literally say…wait for it… this is not your mommy and daddy’s Caddy (boom. I can retire from writing now.)
The CT6 looks great and proves why Cadillac is the rightful standard-bearer for American luxury in the auto market. While the angles persist, the cutting edge (see what I did there) stealth-fighter design language of the Cadillacs from the 2010’s has evolved into a thing of beauty that even the most die-hard import fanboys have to acknowledge.
Inside, it’s everything a Caddy is supposed to be — roomy, plush and full of the latest tech. I loved the Panaray sound system and the carbon fiber everywhere. Speaking of those two, the 3.0L twin-turbo V6 had me thinking I was in a Vette and Bondurant again. It crackled and burbled on downshifts to my absolute delight.
When I say “absolute delight,” that’s code for this is a vehicle I can sell to my wife and when she and the kids are gone, haul keister. I’ll be eyeing CarMax for a CT6-V with the “Blackwing” 4.2L V8, an engine so beloved that it prompted Cadillac’s head honcho to say it would be in a Corvette “over [his] dead body,” according to Motor Trend. Why CarMax? Simple: it’s already sold out.
Speaking of dead bodies, the ginormous rear trunk can hold more than five as my fellow Good Fellas fan club members pointed out. If the point of a big luxury car is to be comfortable and to leave a wake of impressed bystanders, the CT6 does that in spades. If anyone sees a CT6-V for sale, hit me up. I may have to make some major changes to the stable.