If there is a downside to reviewing a different car every week, it’s that we reviewers become a bit jaded, and dare I say, spoiled. Cars that rate very highly on normal folks’ wish lists become old news and can almost start to feel like little more than an impediment to the next new thing that’s to be reviewed the following week.
Leading up to the 2016 North American International Auto Show, I requested the CTS to use as my personal shuttle to Detroit from my home near Toronto. The drive along Highway 401 in Southwestern Ontario can be treacherous in January, with frequent snow squalls wreaking havoc over the flat and exposed motorway.
This year was no exception, and just past London, Ontario, the skies opened up and covered the landscape in one of the few serious snowy shows we’ve seen this winter. With a rapid temperature drop, the pavement quickly became a skating rink and more than a half dozen transport trucks came to a rest facing the wrong way, and in the ditch.
Climate control set to a comfortable temperature, heated seats and steering wheel on, and with a great set of Michelin winter tires GM’s PR team thoughtfully fitted to my all-wheel-drive CTS; it meant that I was comfortable and secure motoring along at a reasonable pace while the white chaos swirled around me. One particularly nasty incident on the highway snarled the traffic to a stop with me right beside an off ramp leading to some obscure rural route. Putting my faith in the Cadillac’s CUE navigation system, I took the off ramp figuring it better to blaze my own trail than sit stationary on the highway.
Not more than a kilometer or two down the road, the CTS and I charged head-on into whiteout conditions and significant drifting across the road. The Cadillac plowed onward, undeterred and unflappable in its stability. This is a car that instills confidence even in inclement weather.
Nearing Detroit, the storm front had passed and the sun was breaking through the clouds again. On clear roads, too, the CTS is a brilliant cruiser, powering along at high speed feeling solid, planted and comfortable. In a strange twist of fate, it’s now Caddy’s competitors that feel aloof and unbuttoned in the corners, where the CTS (and its smaller ATS sibling) exhibit not only impressive handling, but genuinely engaging steering as well.
The brakes – Brembos up front – give a good solid performance too, contributing to an overall driving experience that gives credit to the notion that Cadillac actually builds sport sedans these days. (For further proof of this, look no further than the CTS V-sport, or the absolutely beastly CTS-V).
Did someone say V8? First Drive: 2016 Cadillac CTS-V
The CTS can be ordered up with everything from 4-cylinders, to the absolutely bonkers supercharged V8 found in the CTS-V. One step from the bottom is the 3.6L 24-valve V6 found in this test car. Despite being the same displacement as last year’s engine, this is Cadillac’s new mill, first introduced in the new CT6 sedan. The old 3.6 was a great engine – putting out 321 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, it was sufficient to keep the mid-size Caddy cooking along at a brisk pace. This year’s 3.6 is quieter thanks to a new cam drive system, and it now puts out 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque.