Cadillac CT4-V It was very much designed to be a driver’s car, but it can drive itself… sometimes.
Available with the latest version of the compact sports sedan Cadillac’s Super Cruise highway driving systemWhich offers hands-free lane-focusing adaptive cruise control.
Super Cruise uses high definition cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar to monitor its surroundings, while ultra-precise GPS maps help it position itself on the road.
It now operates on over 400,000 miles of certified roads in North America and can also check for traffic and automatically change lanes at the flick of a turn signal or when there is a slower car in front of it.
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Its operation requires drivers to pay attention to the road ahead, and a facial recognition camera that can tell if they’re alert with their eyes open ensures they are. Additional capabilities could be added in the future, but Cadillac is launching a new Ultra Cruise system with the $300,000 Celestiq that adds lidar and will eventually be able to handle 95% of driving on all types of roads, according to the automaker .
I took the CT4-V for a trip the length of the New Jersey Turnpike and about four hours back, with surprising results.
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During the entire trip, the system only asked me to take back control twice, once in each direction as we were passing through a major construction area that it knew about via map updates. It tells you it’s connected with a green light bar at the top of the steering wheel, which starts blinking red when it’s your turn to drive for a while.
The data is refreshed “regularly,” according to Cadillac, though it won’t specify how often. Still, when the car encountered some temporary construction projects bordering the highway, she informed me they were on her digital dashboard, but she continued on like it was no big deal.
There was also light rain and heavy traffic along the way, through which it made dozens of lane changes without much enthusiasm. It also deals well with other cars cutting into it, even from the right.
This has happened at times because it can be a little left-lane robber, not quickly returning to the center after making a pass. It’s never really clear what the strategy is for that, but it’s something that may need a bit of work. The car also has no idea where it’s going, other than straight ahead, so you need to control the splits and exits, which goes back to the focus thing.
At first, it seems like it might be redundant. What good is it if you have to be ready to jump into action when something goes wrong like a baby sitting on your lap like in the old days? But the level of confidence it takes is quickly apparent, and it takes the edge off a long haul, leaving you free to do some quality air guitar exercises during otherwise wasted time.
Super Cruise has a nominal price of $2,500, but is only available in the CT4-V for $3,700 or as part of an $8,100 option package. After three years, you’ll need to pay $25 monthly for a data subscription to keep it on.
It’s not a big hit on the $100,000 Cadillac Escalade or gmc hummer ev, which use similar technology, but the CT4-V starts at $47,690, so the value of Super Cruise really comes down to how boring your daily commute or road trip is. But the CT4-V isn’t boring at all. The sporty model sits in the middle of the CT4 lineup, which is bookended by the entry-level 237 hp $35,790 Luxury and the high-performance 472 hp $62,390 CT4-V Blackwing.
Its turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder is rated at 325 hp, and gets suspension, brake, and tire upgrades to make the most of it. The CT4 is based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Camaro and comes standard with rear-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive is a $500 option.
The interior is appropriately tailored for the price, but has a comfortable rear seat compared to aspirational competitors like the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Its infotainment touchscreen is also small by today’s standards, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Most of the controls are still operated using the many toggles, buttons and knobs below it. The car’s cameras also provide a 360-degree parking view and can be used to record what is happening while driving or if there is a disturbance in the car.
Rear-wheel-drive cars are equipped with computer-controlled suspension systems, but the all-wheel-drive CT4-V I haven’t tested. It wasn’t too much of a loss as the ride quality was excellent. I drove over 800 miles in it and it was no worse for wear. The bucket seats have adjustable thigh extensions and deep side bolsters for when the road gets windy.
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It’s a lot of fun when the CT4-V does it. The AV button on the steering wheel sets the throttle, transmission and steering to their most aggressive modes to enhance the experience. With 380 lb-ft of torque, it’s good to hit 60 mph in under five seconds, and the power is perfect for a car this size. Even the all-wheel-drive model handles like a rear-wheel-drive car, ready to drift until it needs the extra traction to move forward. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, but I averaged over 30 mpg on my cruise through Tony Soprano land.
Getting that much power and performance in a European car would cost about 10 grand more. While it may come with more luxury and a slightly less gruff engine than the Cadillac, the Michigan-built CT4-V doesn’t leave you wanting more. But it may be out soon.
The CT4 is one of a trio of four-door “cars” that General Motors still sells in the US, with CT5and the Chevrolet Malibu, and all their days are numbered as the brand moves towards SUVs and electrification.
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Enjoy driving them while they last. Or in the case of the CT4-V, not driving them.
It’s been a fun ride.
2023 Cadillac CT4-V
Base Price: $47,690
As tested: $57,790
Type: 5-passenger, 4-door all-wheel-drive sedan
Engine: Turbocharged 2.7-litre inline four-cylinder
Power: 325 hp, 380 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: 10-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy: 20 city/28 highway.