Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A white 2023 Cadillac CT5 is shown driving down a highway away from a Cadillac dealer.

Should You Choose the Cadillac CT4 or CT5?

The Cadillac CT4 and CT5 have more than a few similarities, which begs the question: if you were to choose between the CT4 and CT5, should you go with the compact or midsize option? This question is going to take us on quite the journey because, despite their similarities, the differences between these two models come down to more than just size. There is a lot to consider, and you may just have to visit a Cadillac dealer to test drive the two cars side by side before you make your final decision.

The first point to cover is pricing because this is a matter that often influences buyers’ decisions before they even see the vehicles in person. Price ranges are a thing, but ultimately, the pricing between the CT4 and CT5 isn’t as out of reach as you may think. The 2023 Cadillac CT4 starts at an MSRP of $34,395, and the 2023 Cadillac CT5 at $38,195. Both vehicles share a familiar trio of trim levels––Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport––and have V-Series performance variants. Regardless of which of the three trims you purchase, the prices between the CT4 and CT5 don’t deviate too far from one another.

One Step Forward, One Step to the Side

I believe the most valid for the CT4 comes from a performance perspective. The CT5 can be the more powerful vehicle, but that’s not what will occur if you purchase the base models. Simply put, you don’t buy a base CT5 over a base CT4 because it’ll perform better, and this is because the same turbocharged 2.0L I-4 engine comes standard on both cars. The main difference between the two is the CT4 pairs it with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the CT5 instead utilizes a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Both base engines perform almost identically, with a minuscule difference in fuel efficiency. In both cars, the 2.0L engine outputs 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and both models offer your choice of rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The compact CT4 gets EPA-estimated ratings of 23 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway with rear-wheel drive or 22 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway with all-wheel drive. The larger CT5 is almost a match but falls slightly behind with its ratings of 23 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway with rear-wheel drive or 22 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway with all-wheel drive.

Where you see the CT5 take one step forward is when you compare the available powertrain options. The CT4 can be optioned with a slightly larger 2.7L turbocharged four-cylinder paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The CT5 ups the ante by switching to a 3.0L turbocharged V6 engine. Of course, the fuel efficiency of the V6 engine isn’t as good as the turbocharged I-4 in the CT4, but performance is where the largest difference is.

Ultimately, the performance stat that sees the largest jump is its torque output––horsepower gets a boost too, but it is not as pronounced. For example, the turbocharged 2.7L I-4 engine outputs 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, while the turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine outputs 335 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. This may not sound like much, but a 14% increase in torque output accompanied by an 8% uptick in horsepower may influence the decision of many shoppers. However, its fuel economy ratings will certainly leave drivers looking for that kind of thing unsatisfied, in which case, the turbocharged I-4 engine remains the better choice.

However, those looking to save the most money possible will likely opt to stick with the aforementioned turbocharged 2.0L I-4 engine that comes standard with both sedans. As for the fuel economy ratings, the turbocharged 2.7L I-4 engine in the 2023 Cadillac CT4 gets 21 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway with rear-wheel drive or 21 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway with all-wheel drive. This contrasts with the turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine in the 2023 Cadillac CT5, which is rated for 19 MPG in the city and 27 MPG highway with rear-wheel drive or 18 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway with all-wheel drive. As you can see, performance is one of those things that shouldn’t be the sole influence behind your buying decision, but the CT5 expectedly has a slight edge, so it’s worth knowing that.

A black 2023 Cadillac CT4 drives down a highway into the setting sun.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Aside from the performance differences––or similarities, depending on how you look at it––it’s the features you’ll find inside the cabin that separate the CT4 and CT5 from one another. The CT4 is incredibly well-equipped for its price, but there’s no denying that Cadillac sees the CT5 as the CT4 with all loose ends tightened up, meaning everything is better, but not to a ground-breaking degree.

Cargo space is something that you should always consider if you’re purchasing a sedan, as they offer less room for your belongings than an SUV or pickup truck. This is especially annoying when packing for a multi-day getaway, but it can also be the difference between fitting that last bag of groceries in the trunk or sitting in the front row next to you. Unsurprisingly, the midsize CT5 offers more space where it matters the most. You will find 10.7 cu.ft. of room for cargo in the trunk of the CT4, while the pricier CT5 has a small boost to 11.9 cu.ft. A small but noticeable upgrade, no doubt.

Another area where the CT5 outclasses the CT4 is by providing a larger screen to display Cadillac’s infotainment center software. Inside the CT4 is an eight-inch screen, which I don’t believe is a bad thing. However, the CT5 instead has a 10-inch screen, which is ultimately preferable. How does that impact the overall experience? Having a larger screen enhances ease of use and makes text easier to read, but the eight-inch screen is far better than some of the other base-level infotainment centers on the market. Aside from the infotainment screen size, both vehicles feature Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, among other similar amenities commonly found in infotainment suites.

The interior of a 2023 Cadillac CT5 is shown with Sedona Sauvage leather seats.

How It Should Influence Your Decision

If you’re in the market for a CT4 or CT5, which one would you buy? Generally, the CT4 is the way to go if you’re looking for a Cadillac but want to save a few thousand dollars. In fact, the CT4 is the most affordable Cadillac on the market. This is where many people may find themselves, but there’s also a large portion of drivers who will have the extra money to spend on the CT5 and may want the slightly better performance, interior cargo space, and infotainment screen, among other differences.

If you find yourself in that group of drivers with larger aspirations of what you expect from your vehicle, I say you should go for it; get the CT5, no questions asked. However, if you’re keen on the idea of saving money, you’d be hard-pressed to find much to be disappointed about with the CT4. In fact, you may even prefer the more nimble handling of the smaller luxury car. Of course, the best way to decide for yourself is to visit your local Cadillac dealer and take these two amazing sedans for a test drive.