2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport Review

Fun without overcomplicating things.

By: Andrew Krok

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: October 22nd, 2014

We've come a long way from the time when you'd immediately look at a Cadillac and go, "That's something my grandfather would drive." These days, there are a number of cars in the automaker's lineup that appeal to the younger folks, the ones that still like to put their right feet down and feel something. Nowhere is that more evident than in the current CTS Vsport, a twin-turbo, 420-horsepower middle finger to the Cadillac stereotype. Detroit (or now, New York, we guess) has been nipping at the heels of the Germans for some time now, and with the Vsport, Caddy manages to clamp its teeth down on a sizable chunk of midsize-luxury flesh.

  • Interior

    There's no way the CTS Vsport's interior could be misconstrued as being "for old people." All of the infotainment and HVAC controls are placed on the lower half of the center stack, and when the car turns off, all the buttons (and all the steering-wheel controls) seemingly disappear into the expanse of shiny piano-black veneer. It makes the car look like a robot; that is to say, it imparts a uniquely 21st-century feeling on both the car and the brand.

    If you opt for the full-LCD gauge layout, it gets even more futuristic; our tester, though, came with the standard gauges, which are laid out well, if a bit on the boring side. Even with all this technological trickery going on, the interior is still somewhat simply laid out; it's far less busy to look at than, say, an Audi A6.

    Overall, the CTS Vsport has a very comfortable interior. The front and rear seats will keep you comfortable on both long and short hauls, although the rear-seat occupants have just slightly less room than they would in a comparably-equipped BMW 550i. Most everywhere your hand falls, it'll land on a comfortable material; however, especially on the steering wheel, there's just a bit more cheap-feeling plastic than we'd like on a car that starts at $59,000.

    As for the infotainment, which Cadillac calls CUE (it's a variant of Chevrolet's MyLink), it can be a bit on the laggy side. CUE provides haptic feedback and is able to do just a bit more than MyLink is, which is good, but that extra functionality puts a strain on the computer's resources, and as a result it can be laggy at times, which isn't good.

  • Exterior

    The Vsport is a looker. Granted, the old one was pretty sharp in its own right, but the new generation of CTS gives the car a streamlined look that's every bit as professional as an Audi or a Mercedes. We're especially fans of the giant daytime running lights (DRLs) that start at the tip of the headlight and practically touch the bottom of the front bumper. It's a unique light signature, so you can see these cars a mile away on the road. The only negative thing about the car's sheetmetal is that it tends to make the wheels look a little small, despite being 18 inches in diameter.

  • On the Road

    It doesn't matter how fast you're going; if you want to go faster, just breathe on the gas pedal, and you'll accelerate. The Vsport's 420-horsepower V-6 provides a suitably aggressive soundtrack, growling its way up and down the revs - no, it doesn't have the heart-stopping qualities of a V-8, but for a six-cylinder engine, it sounds great.

    The only issue with acceleration is that it might take a second; the transmission, Cadillac's first eight-speed, can be slow to respond. It will also jump between seventh and eighth gears on the highway, perhaps a little too much; if that bothers you, just throw it into manual mode and lock it in its highest gear. At that point, it won't be hard to achieve the Vsport's estimated 24-mpg highway rating; with the transmission grabbing at gears, the car might struggle to top 22 mpg or so.

    Otherwise, the ride is wholly worthy of a luxury car. It will drive over roads of dubious quality without much hassle, and while the chassis is stiff enough to keep things fun in the corners, it's not so stiff that it'll break your back on the drive to work. You can thank GM's magnetorheological shocks (they call it Magnetic Ride Control) for that. Put the Vsport next to a BMW 550i, and there's a world of handling difference between the two - in case you couldn't guess, the Caddy is better.

  • Final Thoughts

    If you love the way that German cars drive, but if you don't love the way that German cars can occasionally overcomplicate things (by putting, say, 400 buttons on the center stack - we're looking at you, well-optioned Audi A6), the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport is the perfect compromise. The interior is laid out in a sensible manner, the exterior hits the perfect mark between aggression and subtlety, and it has a nigh-unbeatable driving feel. Small complaints aside, the Vsport shows that Cadillac is pulling out all the stops to shove a wrench into the German midsize-luxury machine, and it's succeeding.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: 3.6-liter, twin-turbo V-6

    Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive

    Power Output: 420 horsepower / 430 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 16 city / 24 highway

    Base Price: $59,070

    As Tested: $59,995 (incl. $925 destination)

    Available Features: Engine block heater, performance brake linings

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