Sedans & Coupes

Consumer Reports Is Wary About the 2020 Cadillac CT4

Since its introduction, the Cadillac name has always been associated with quality. With an entire list of SUV models to complement their luxury sedans, Cadillac has made its way into nearly every corner of the North American auto market.

To capitalize on its success, they’ve engineered and released the 2020 Cadillac CT4, a car with a lot of promise. But it’s a strange year for the auto industry and many of Cadillac’s competitors aren’t taking any risks this year. How does Cadillac’s replacement for the ATS fit into the market?

The CT4’s confusing reception

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Consumer Reports published their review of the vehicle in June of this year, and they’ve been largely complimentary. Cadillac knows they need to push to compete with BMW and Mercedes-Benz offerings in the same class, and that effort is evident in the CT4.

The review expands on how well the car rides and handles, pointing out that its smaller stature makes all the parts work together better than they do in something like the Cadillac CT5 (formerly CTS).

Consumer Reports also praised the overall feel of the car. It performed quietly and comfortably. Navigating the infotainment screen is straightforward and it always feels like the driver is in control of the car, even when it reaches high speeds or RPMs.

The design’s physical impact

A 2020 Cadillac CT4 on display at an auto show
A 2020 Cadillac CT4 on display | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

However, Consumer Reports also found plenty to criticize. The 2020 Cadillac CT4 is built well, but some of the design decisions don’t really translate into the physical product.

Aside from slightly-crowded leg space, everything is fine for the driver and potentially a passenger. But past that, everything seems to break down. Even getting into the back seat is difficult, and passengers have plenty to contend with once they’re in there.

The ceiling is too low in the back seat and there’s not enough legroom. Additionally, the Consumer Reports review went into detail about visibility issues.

However, the biggest complaint from all of Consumer Reports’ testers was the engine noise. It’s quiet in the cabin but the “wheezy-sounding” engine starts off unpleasant and gets worse as throttle is applied.

It likely won’t have the negative reception of something like the Cadillac Cimarron, but Cadillac is making a risky move this year and it’s fair to wonder where they might come up short.

Continuing to monitor the 2020 Cadillac CT4

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With largely positive results from the initial review, there are still plenty of aspects of the Cadillac CT4 to keep an eye on. If the engine produces such an unpleasant sound when brand new, will it get worse as the car rolls past the 10,000-mile mark? Perhaps it’s something that will shake out and sound better as the CT4 ages. It’s tough to say at this point, but caution is certainly understandable.

The fuel economy of the vehicle is average for its class. A Cadillac CT4 isn’t necessarily a common purchase for those looking to save money, but Cadillac could have scored some points by adding a few dozen miles to its range.

Cadillac vehicles have traditionally suffered from reliability concerns, adding some confusion to their decision to move ahead with the CT4 at this time.

The bottom line on the CT4

However, fuel economy isn’t the reason to buy a Cadillac, and plenty of drivers couldn’t care less about backseat comfort. Cadillac isn’t going to take over the luxury sedan world with the CT4.

But the vehicle might be enough to keep long-time fans and win a couple of additional drivers from BMW or Mercedes in a year when those companies aren’t willing to gamble. The Cadillac CT4 is an interesting vehicle, to say the least. It would be a wise move for consumers (and competitors) to keep an eye on it.