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The Best From Cadillac in 2020

Reviewing the 2020 Cadillac Lineup

Cadillac CT6-V front 3/4 view

It took them years, but after a dramatic change in marketing strategy, careful planning, and a complete revision of their entire fleet, Cadillac’s fortunes appear to be turning around. From an uninspiring badge associated with retirees, GM’s top division has once again become cool and desirable by trendsetters. And yet, in the last 30 years, Cadillac’s U.S. sales haven’t amounted to more than 250,000 units or slid to below the 150,000-unit mark – not counting 2009, when total sales stopped at 109,092 units due to the recession. We’ll now focus on the 2020 Cadillac lineup and its sales potential in the coming years.

The luxury GM division is finally coming alive after a few years of stagnation. They marketed 156,440 vehicles in the U.S. in total during 2017, which saw their market share drop below 1 percent for the first time in brand’s history. Their 2018 U.S. sales came to a stop at 154,702 units which is a barely significant drop compared to 2017. If the first half of 2019 is any indicator, Cadillac is finally on its way of getting out of this recent sales slump.

GM estimates their top brand’s story of success is only at its beginning as Cadillac’s global sales volume is expected to increase 100 percent by 2021. This should be achieved by an influx of no fewer than five all-new models. In other words, GM is planning on introducing a new Cadillac every six months from now on. One of them is the new CT5 sedan, which is supposed to stand in for both the current  ATS and CTS sedans, and has already been confirmed for MY 2020 after being revealed at the 2019 New York auto show.

Here’s what else to expect from Cadillac when it comes to MY 2020.

And here are some of the most obscured Cadillac cars that probably deserved more credit.

What’s Hot in the New 2020 Cadillac Lineup

07. 2020 CT5

As mentioned above, the all-new Cadillac CT5 replaces both the compact ATS and intermediate CTS luxury sedans. Size-wise, the CT5 takes the place of larger of the two mentioned models, with a smaller CT4 set to arrive at roughly the same time and replace the ATS.

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 is built on the same Alpha platform as the CTS but is slightly shorter than its predecessor due to Cadillac’s new positioning strategy (it does get a longer wheelbase though). This also means the CT5 comes at a slightly reduced price, but at almost $38,000, the difference is barely significant.

The new car also boasts a revised 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with modern integration capabilities and a control knob on the side. By the time calendar year 2020 is upon us, the CT5 will have been offered with company’s advanced optional Super Cruise autonomous driving system as well.

The newest Cadillac sedan retains a similar powertrain lineup as its predecessor. The base 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder now makes 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque instead of 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of twist. An optional 335-horsepower 3.6L V6 has been scrapped and in its place, Cadillac has introduced a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 mill with 335 ponies and 400 lb-ft of torque.

Moreover, the performance-oriented Cadillac CT5-V models will be able to draw as much as 360 horses and 400 lb-ft out of the same engine. They’ll also get a uniquely tuned chassis with Magnetic Ride Control 4.0. and larger Brembo 13.6-inch rotors.

Most CT5’s will be offered with rear-wheel drive as standard, all-wheel drive as an option, and are tied to a modern 10-speed automatic transmission.


06. 2020 CT4-V

The CT4, as mentioned above, replaces the already discontinued and gone ATS. Although it shares its predecessor’s wheelbase, the new car is actually longer by almost 4.5 inches, but slightly heavier as well. The compact luxury car is available as of early 2020, together with the larger CT5.

The most interesting iteration of the newest Cadillac compact car has to be the CT4-V performance variant which will be pitted against the mid-range BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class, and Audi S4. Apart from a more potent powertrain than that of the conventional version, the Cadillac CT4-V also sports a stiffer suspension, larger brakes, and distinctive visual enhancements.

The latest of Cadillac performance models starts from around $45,500, while their CT5-V counterparts cost some $3,000 and spare more.

A 2.7L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 320 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque is the first four-banger in a V-Sport Cadillac model. Paired with a contemporary 10-speed auto, the CT4-V is available in both the rear and all-wheel drive configurations, but the latter warrants additional $1,100.

Every model comes standard with a limited-slip differential and Magnetic Ride Control for further improved driving dynamics and performance. There are even talks of the potential CT4-V Plus model which should be able to generate around 400 horsepower thanks to a new 3.0L twin-turbo V6 mill. This hotter version of the CT4-V should be pitted against the most potent iterations of its rivals but it’ll still come short in terms of available power. It also won’t be available for model year 2020 so let’s leave that story for another time.

05. 2020 XT6

Unless you opted for the humongous Escalade, there was no way to get yourself a three-row crossover SUV in the Cadillac lineup. Until the day the XT6 made its debut in Detroit, that is. The brand’s third XT-branded crossover, after the 5 and 4 chronologically, is the first to offer three rows of seats and some added versatility to boot.

The mid-size SUV will be pitted against the likes of the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, and a bit closer to home, the revised Lincoln Aviator. That’s a tough opposition – especially considering all have been or will soon be updated – and the XT6 will have it’s work cut out for it.

Not only is it similar to its smaller siblings when it comes to design, but it also shares the XT5’s C1XX platform. A better-appointed cabin with a few more features available from the get-go are also part of the XT6 when compared to its smaller siblings. The 7-passenger SUV starts from under $54,000 which plugs a gaping hole in the Cadillac portfolio, but fully loaded units won’t come as “cheap.” All units come with standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, and front and rear parking sensors, but adaptive cruise control is still optional on most models.

The initial XT6 models are powered by a naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 engine which is more than capable of moving a vehicle of its weight around with ease thanks to 310 horsepower on tap. Also standard are a front-wheel drive and a 9-speed auto, while an all-wheel drive config remains optional.

Those in need for more power or efficiency will remain disappointed as this is the only engine in Cadillac’s plans at the moment. They might decide to include one of its twin-turbocharged V6 mills into the equation – most likely a 3.0L one – at a later date, but certainly not during MY 2020.

At the moment, most XT6’s competitors are available with some sort of a hybrid powertrain as well, but Cadillac still hasn’t announced that particular possibility. We’ll have to wait ans see when/if that’ll happen.

04. 2020 XT5

Having debuted back in 2017, the best-selling Cadillac model has received a mid-term makeover in 2020. This should help provide the luxury compact crossover with a boost in sales which already amounts to around 60,000 units a year.

Like most new Cadillacs, the XT5, too, dons the Escala concept’s design cues – most notably a wider grille and revised bumpers. The interior gets a new rotary controller for the infotainment system and a completely revised digital gauge cluster. The complete center console has been revised as well. Meanwhile, heated front seats have become standard, while night vision has found its way to the list of optional features.

The entry-level models dubbed Luxury start from around $45,000, while the range-topping Sport models require around $56,000. The mid-range Premium Luxury trim requires almost $50,000. All prices include destination charges.

Arguably the biggest issue XT5s had until now was a lack of powertrain choices. Every model was condemned to a 3.6L V6 with 310 horsepower and an 8-speed auto. This engine becomes optional for MY 2020. The 2020 Cadillac XT5 gets a new standard engine – a 2.0L turbo four which produces 237 horses. Also new is a more contemporary 9-speed automatic transmission.

With some meaningful changes to both its design, features, and powertrains, the Cadillac XT5 for 2020 already looks like a better choice than its predecessor but we can’t fail but to notice its prices have also gone up.


03. 2020 XT4

The subcompact XT4 completes the Cadillac’s newest lineup of crossovers and SUVs. Being introduced for model year 2019, the smallest of Caddy crossovers is still far from requiring a mid-cycle update. Instead, it carries over virtually unchanged with only some minor revisions like a revised shifter, different infotainment controller, and new color options. Also, all models now come with standard automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and front pedestrian detection.

Priced from $36,700, the XT4 represents a relatively affordable way of owning a luxury crossover. However, the most expensive units can warrant a price tag as high as $58,000 if fully loaded with factory options.

Needless to say, there are a lot of better (and larger) options out there for that amount of money. Still, the Cadillac XT4 offers a good value for money and passenger space that borders on class-leading. Moreover, things can only improve for the subcompact from here on out.

The 2020 Cadillac XT4 remains a single powertrain affair. The subcompact’s sole engine, a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder, is rated at 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of rotational force. It’s paired with a modern 9-speed automatic gearbox and comes in either front or all-wheel drive configurations.

The future, however, promises to be interesting for the small crossover. Apparently, GM is working on putting some performance emphasis to Cadillac models which, in the XT4’s case, means a possible V performance unit. The XT4-V is, however, not due for a MY 2020 debut, but if GM engineers do manage to speed things up, it’ll be a welcome addition for Cadillac. Especially considering all of their German competitors have similar models of their own. It’s still unclear which engine the proposed XT4-V would use, but it’ll have to be good enough for north of 300 horsepower. Let’s wait and see how things develop from here.


02. 2020 Escalade

Introduced back in 2015, the fourth-generation Cadillac Escalade has been overdue for a full redesign for quite some time now. The fifth-gen models are, incidentally, set to make their debut sometime during 2020, but probably not for MY 2020. The 2020 Cadillac Escalade remains a hulking beast with its hallmark boxy shape mostly intact. However, the next-gen models will feature a completely redesigned interior with an even bigger emphasis on comfort and technology.

The current models carry over without significant changes before their successors roll out later on in 2020. Only news is the Sport Edition appearance package and the new Dark Mocha metallic paint job which, by the way, isn’t compatible with the former.

The biggest news about the next-gen Escalade lies in the revised powertrain department, but 2020-year models remain unchanged in this department too. A 420-horsepower 6.2L V8 is paired with a modern 10-speed automatic gearbox which routes all that power either to the rear or all four corners. With it, the Escalade can tow up to 8,300 pounds of trailer.

Although we’re eagerly anticipating the all-new Escalade for MY 2021, the 2020 models still encapsulate the essence of Cadillac and represent the best the most luxurious of GM brands has to offer.


01. 2020 CT6-V

As the current flagship of the legendary Cadillac sedan lineup, the CT6 represents the best money can buy – at least when it comes to Cadillac passenger cars. Since the CT6 dates back to 2016 and isn’t all that “young” anymore, GM had to find a way to freshen things up. Their answer is the V performance model which comes in to replace the vaunted CTS-V muscle sedan.

The all-new Cadillac CT6-V also benefits from a substantial facelift that conventional models went through during MY 2019. Apart from a whole different level of performance, the V-models also get a revised stiffer suspension and retuned steering. This should help them perform much better around corners and eliminate any unwanted body roll.

Price-wise, the CT6-V is, naturally, more expensive than the CTS-V which last started from the $87,000 mark. It starts from just under $93,000 but can quickly work its way into a six-digit territory.

The all-new Cadillac CT6-V serves as an instrument for debuting GM’s all-new 4.2L twin-turbocharged V8 engine. Code-named “Blackwing,” the new “hot V” mill is good enough for 550 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of twist. It’s paired with a contemporary 10-speed automatic gearbox and mandatory all-wheel drive which helps the CT6 achieve marvelous acceleration figures (0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds). This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering about 90 percent of the total torque is available from as low as 2,000 rpm.

The same engine is available across the non-V range as well, where it manages to crank up still-overwhelming 500 ponies instead. Although the CTS-V and its ludicrous 640 horsepower will obviously be missed, the CT6-V is more than a worthy successor.

Sadly, this might just turn out to be the CT6’s swan song as Cadillac still hasn’t disclosed any plans of continuing with the sedan after its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant closes its doors in early 2020.


What’s Not in the New 2020 Cadillac Lineup

02. 2020 XTS

The full-size XTS sedan is not long for this world. It’s one of three current models (alongside the ATS and CTS) that are making way for the CT (insert random number here) line of future sedans. Being a better seller than both of its smaller cousins, the XTS is bowing down last with production ending in October, 2019.

At $46,500, the large luxury sedan obviously represents a good value for money – once again, as evident from its total sales which amounted to 17,727 units in the U.S. during 2018. Actually, it’s one of the cheapest options in its class and provides an ample amount of space for both the passengers and their cargo.

Then again, the Cadillac XTS comes with a number of downsides as well. It’s far from being the most refined vehicle in its class and comes with very few tech features in its base form. The XTS, as mentioned, is bowing down during MY 2020 without any significant updates being performed, because why squander resources on a soon-to-be goner? Note also that the XTS is expected to coexist with the car brought in to replace it – at least for a short duration.

The 2020 XTS’s powertrain lineup also remains largely unchanged. Most models are offered with a naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 engine available in both front and all-wheel-drive configurations. They’re all good enough for 304 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque, and are paired with a somewhat outdated 6-speed automatic transmission. It wouldn’t hurt GM to at least ease the XTS’s suffering by upgrading its gearbox, but that won’t happen either.

The one XTS that doesn’t come with a normally aspirated motor sits atop the lineup and starts from almost $73,000. It’s the V-Sport Platinum model with a 410-horsepower 3.6L twin-turbo V6 mill and mandatory all-wheel drive. It still comes with a six-speed, though.

01. 2020 CTS

As already mentioned a couple of times, the CTS is nearing the end of its 15-year-long run. This is the luxury brand’s second sedan to get the ax after the ATS had already disappeared from the lineup. Unlike the smaller ATS, which has been unavailable for a while now, the CTS has featured throughout MY 2019. Also, a number of leftover models are expected to remain in stock in spite of its successor’s arrival during MY 2020.

Needless to say, Cadillac hasn’t done anything about their outgoing intermediate sedan and will instead focus on future projects. The leftover CTS’s remain as they are, having received their last update during model year 2017. With conventional units ranging from $47,000 to $72,000, and the ultimate CTS-V requiring at least $87,000, the CTS sedan is probably a bit over the top in terms of prices. Especially considering it has no real future.

At least the luxury sedan was available with a wide selection of engines, though. Not counting the performance-oriented CTS-V and its 640-horsepower supercharged 6.2L LT4 V8, the conventional lineup offers no fewer than three additional choices. Base models are available with a fuel-conserving 2.0L turbo four capable of producing 268 ponies and 295 pound-feet of torque. A conventional 3.6L V6 is a step up the ladder with 335 ponies and 285 lb-ft, while the V-Sport trims benefit from a 3.6L twin-turbocharged V6 mill which produces 420 horsepower.

All models are paired with 8-speed autos, with the V-Sport getting a high-output version of the gearbox. While every single one of them has a strength of its own, neither is devoid of downsides either. The four-banger isn’t as refined as its German counterparts, the normally aspirated six struggles to compete with its own competitors, and the turbocharged V6 is simply too expensive and inefficient for its class, despite being the best performer.


About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!