2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport Verdict
A perk of this job is driving a lot of new cars every year. With so many coming and going, it's easy not to get too attached to any of them. There are a few, though, that I actually miss once they're gone, and our long-term 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport is one of those cars.
Our Red Obsession-painted CTS Vsport joined the fleet by virtue of winning our 2014 Car of the Year award. The award, of course, went to the entire CTS line, but although we loved all the CTS models, we're car enthusiasts, and when given a choice of which to spend a year with, we went with the fastest. And we do mean fastest. Our Vsport's only option is the red paint. This car is as light and performance-focused as it gets.
Reducing weight was a primary goal for Cadillac's engineers, and the payoff is in the car's nimble, responsive chassis. It turns this leather-filled luxury sedan into a sports car at every twisting freeway on-ramp, adding a silver lining to even the worst commute. Its powerful, lag-free twin-turbo V-6 and intelligent eight-speed automatic make merging and overtaking an opportunity for a little fun, and that's just in the city.
Get the Vsport out on a country road and dial up the computer's performance modes, and the Vsport becomes a serious sports sedan. The steering weights up nicely, the chassis responds instantly and smoothly to your inputs, the brakes provide excellent feedback and don't fade, the transmission's always in the right gear, and the engine's got all the power the car could need. There are plenty of luxury sedans you can drive fast, but few are this fun and rewarding.
Not speccing any options did have a drawback or two. The base analog instrument cluster is uninspired at best and unbefitting the car. One or two people also complained the standard seat doesn't adjust enough to make them comfortable on long trips—nothing deal-breaking, but enough to make you think twice about not checking a few more boxes on the order form.
"Six months isn’t enough. I wish the Vsport had been mine for the whole year."
The only other common complaint was against Cadillac's CUE information and entertainment system. Some people absolutely hate it, but if you can make it over the steep learning curve and understand how to operate it, it's perfectly serviceable. Once you know how to touch it properly, it responds pretty well. Everyone hated BMW's iDrive at first, but given enough development it became lauded. CUE can and should follow that path.
A complaint was also lodged against Cadillac's safety seat, as some folks just don't like the vibrating seat. Personally, I greatly prefer a slight vibration under my backside to loud, irritating beeps or a shaking steering wheel.
One thing we couldn't complain much about was the car's reliability. The Vsport made three trips to the dealer, and one of those was for a screw in the tire that could've been handled at any tire shop had the dealer not been conveniently located. It set us back $29.95. The first stop was for a routine oil change at 7,000 miles that was covered by Cadillac's limited free maintenance program. Its final trip, at 13,000 miles, was spurred both by the need for another oil change and by a warning message. Our car was struck by a small casting defect in the rear differential that allowed the high-pressure fluid reservoir to slowly leak down. The defect afflicted fewer than 100 CTS Vsport prototypes and engineering development cars, all of which are owned by GM (including ours). Although the problem didn't affect the drivability of the car in any way, Cadillac replaced the differential free of charge. During that trip to the dealer, the only real malfunction we ever had from the car -- a bad tire pressure sensor -- was also addressed.
During the Vsport's stay, GM's massive ignition switch recall struck. It didn't affect our car, but the scandal spurred GM and other automakers to issue recalls for every last potential problem they could think of. In our case, this included a recall for the windshield wiper control module and one for the automatic transmission shift cable. Both were replaced for free. Just before the car was slated to be returned, another recall was issued for the chassis control module.
As the recalls and repairs happened to coincide with oil changes, the CTS didn't make any unscheduled trips to the dealer. Thanks to the warranty and Cadillac's limited free maintenance plan, our total out-of-pocket cost was just $29.95 for the tire patch.
We can't complain about the Vsport's fuel efficiency, either. Although the EPA rates it at 16/24/18 mpg city/highway/combined, our Real MPG testing showed considerably better results of 19.9/27.4/22.7 mpg city/highway/combined. Under our editors' lead feet, we recorded an average of 18.9 mpg at the pump, still beating the EPA's combined number.
A year later, the CTS Vsport continues to be everything we wanted it to be. It's a quiet, comfortable, and refined luxury sedan that seamlessly morphs into a powerful, precise cornering machine at the drop of a hat. It's immensely fun to drive at all times yet never feels crude or punishing, and it's one of the few press cars I'll truly miss.
More on our long-term 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport:
|SERVICE LIFE||19,770 mi|
|OPTIONS||Red Obsession Tintcoat paint ($995)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$60,990|
|AVG ECON/CO2||18.9 mpg / 1.03 lb/mi|
|PROBLEM AREAS||Rear differential carrier, TPMS sensor|
|MAINTENANCE COST||$0 (oil change, tire rotation, inspection)|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||$26,226|
|RECALLS||Windshield wiper system, transmission shift cable, front seat brackets, chassis electronic module|
|*Automotive Lease Guide data|
|2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||217.5 cu in/3564 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||420 hp @ 5,750 rpm*|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||430 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm*|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||9.4 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F;R||13.6-in vented disc; 12.4-in vented disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||8.5 x 18-in; 9.5 x 18-in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||245/40R18 93Y; 275/35R18 95Y Pirelli P Zero Run Flat|
|TRACK, F/R||61.4/61.7 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||195.5 x 72.2 x 57.2 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||36.7 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,938 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST., F/R||52/48%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||39.2/37.5 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||42.6/35.4 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||56.9/54.8 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||13.7 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||2.2|
|QUARTER MILE||13.0 sec @ 109.4 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||100 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.96 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.5 sec @ 0.78 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,500 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$60,990|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, front knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||6 yrs/70,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||6 yrs/70,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||19.0 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||16/24/18 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||211/140 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.03 lb/mile|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||20/27/23 mpg|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|