America has gone insane for SUVs and crazy for crossovers. Many of them – the Suburban, the Explorer, the Durango – have been around for decades and continue to move people and their stuff to their offices, homes, and vacation destinations.
Others are newer products of this country’s demand for spacious vehicles that ride higher than traditional sedans. There was a time when BMW just had the X5 “Sports Activity Vehicle.” Then came the X3…and the X1. Now there’s an X2. Pretty soon, the X7 will top BMW’s SAV range. Mercedes-Benz has traveled the same path. In the 1990s, it introduced the ML-Class. Once the brand started officially importing the legendary G-Wagen in the early 2000s, it had two off-road models at two distinct price points to offer to consumers. Cadillac has seen the wisdom in producing SUVs and crossovers. Its Escalade has been a fixture in the luxury SUV category for 20 years. The smaller XT5 is making a name for itself, as well. According to the automaker, “The U.S. market saw its strongest March since 2014, with volume growth across all Cadillac vehicle lines resulting in total volume up 12.7 percent year over year. Sales were driven by impressive performances of both the Cadillac XT5 and the Escalade, which continues to gain market share with retail sales up 15 percent for the month.” The upcoming XT4 should continue that positive trend.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still great sedans out there. They continue to push the boundaries of luxury, technology, and performance. Cadillac did just that when it introduced its new CT6 flagship for the 2016 model year. Through the extensive use of aluminum, other lightweight materials, and advanced construction techniques, engineers were able to make the CT6 approximately 218 pounds lighter than a similar car predominantly made out of high-strength steel. The cut-and-sewn leather interior could be filled with a high-end 34-speaker audio system, heated/ventilated/massaging front and rear seats, and exotic woods. An optional new twin-turbo V6 with 400+ horsepower made sure the CT6 had the go to match its show.
The 2018 CT6 lineup ranges from the turbo four-cylinder Standard model to the Luxury with optional naturally aspirated V6 power and rear-wheel drive to the Premium Luxury with a standard V6 and all-wheel drive to the top-of-the-line Platinum with all-wheel drive and the availability of the almighty twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. Cadillac was kind enough to send me a CT6 Platinum to drive around Austin, Texas for a week. I saw dozens of SUVs and crossovers through its windshield. They were nice to look at, but I was perfectly happy being inside of Cadillac’s most luxurious sedan yet.
2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum Exterior
Before Cadillac’s logistics service dropped off my test car, I had only seen the CT6 in passing. Once it was front of me, it was everything I had hoped it would be. More importantly, it was everything I thought it should be. After all, it wasn’t just a Cadillac, but the brand’s top-of-the-line sedan. It had to be bold, stately, and sleek. And it was. The Platinum-specific grille pointed outward toward the dramatic and unusual Indirect Fire LED headlights with vertical LED light blades. In profile, the CT6 looked as if was leaning forward on its 20-inch painted/polished aluminum wheels, ready to unleash the ample power of its enhanced V6. The quad exhaust pipes in the rear echoed that visual statement. When I had the CT6 parked in front of my apartment or at the grocery store, it was a singularity, a glorious example of American automotive styling. When I drove the CT6 to the Long Center to drink wine and watch a ballet performance with my girlfriend, it looked right at home.
2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum Interior
My gal and I got great seats for the ballet. It was same way in the CT6, no matter where we sat. Up front, the semi-aniline leather thrones were heated and ventilated and offered 20-way adjustability and five modes of massage at three levels of intensity. A head-up display made looking at the primary gauges unnecessary. I didn’t even have to keep my foot on the brake at stop lights thanks to the auto hold feature. Apple CarPlay, a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 10-inch touchscreen with control pad backup made using my iPhone as the primary infotainment source quick and easy.
The back seat was so well-equipped and spacious that it made me wish someone else had also been authorized by Cadillac to drive the CT6. There was plenty of legroom and an abundance of features. The outermost rear seats had more than enough legroom for my 5’10” build and were ready to pamper my girlfriend and our pals with heating, ventilation, or a massage. A pair of 10-inch HD screens in the backs of the front headrests and two pairs of wireless headphones were there to entertain them.
Everybody in the CT6, no matter where they were seated, was able to enjoy the CT6’s quiet acoustics, quad-zone climate control, panoramic power sunroof, and 34-speaker Bose Panaray audio system with multiple focus modes.
2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum Performance
The CT6 Platinum comes standard with a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 with 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque. My review vehicle had the optional twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 that put out a stout 404 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. Cadillac paired that with an eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, and an Active Chassis Package that included Magnetic Ride Control and active rear steering.
At highway speeds, the CT6 floated along quietly and comfortably just as a big Cadillac should. I could’ve driven it 500 miles without a complaint, especially with the massage function at full intensity. Switching the Magnetic Ride Control to its Sport mode didn’t significantly degrade ride quality, but it made the steering feel heavier and more focused on getting me through curves. Unfortunately, the “manual” shifts I performed with the shift paddles behind the wheel were a little slow for my liking. Turning the traction control off made the powerful V6 feel more enthusiastic and willing to play.
2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum Safety
The CT6 Platinum comes with a multitude of safety features. There are those you’d expect in a high-end luxury sedan, such as front, front side, front knee, and head curtain airbags. Same for the Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Forward and Reverse Automatic Braking, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Then there are the features that make safety technology cool. I could pull up a Night Vision display in the main instrument pod and use it to look out for pedestrians and animals in the dark of night. It did its job well. In fact, it saw a person walking across a street in front of me before I was able to. A surround view video recording system could collect footage from the front and rear cameras while the CT6 was moving and use all four exterior cameras while stationary in the event of an attempted vehicle break-in. Above all, the coolest safety tech in the CT6 was Super Cruise. It combined a driver attention system that made sure I was looking forward with speed and steering controls, and precision LiDAR map data to ensure my safe and hands-free travel down major highways. I drove the 30 or so miles from Austin to Kyle and back with my hands on my knees and a look of astonishment and satisfaction on my face.
2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum Overall
Amongst the numerous crossovers and SUVs out there in the market place, there are plenty of appealing sedans. The 2018 Cadillac CT6 is one of them. Prices start at $54,095.* My loaded CT6 Platinum had an as-tested price of $89,290. You can get your very own at an AutoNation Cadillac dealership.
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.