In the world of SUVs, it is refreshing to get behind the wheel of a genuine luxury car. The younger generation typically eschews full-size luxury cars for luxury SUVs. No doubt that the Escalade outsells the wonderful Cadillac CT6. But here is the kicker: Because the CT6 is built as Cadillac’s flagship, it can integrate the latest technologies into the new vehicle platform. And one of those technologies is among the coolest to date – and something you will not find on anything this side of a Tesla. More on that later….
My daughter was the first to jump into the Caddy flagship, so from her perspective the optional Rear Seat Package was two thumbs up! The Cadillac features a quad-zone climate control, two monitors that motorize out of the backs of the seats, two USB ports, an HDMI input with 110V power outlet (why not bring along a video gaming system), wireless headphones and heated/massaging rear seats. She wondered why she would ever want to leave.
Three drivetrains are offered in the CT6: a 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder, a 3.6-liter V-6, and a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that cranks up the horsepower to just over 400. It is coupled to an all-wheel drive system that allows you to take the boulevardier out on a snowy day without the fear of getting stuck. Plus, the CT6 will even park itself with an easy-to-find parking button next to the center CUE (Cadillac User Experience) display.
Safety is of paramount importance in the CT6, and the vehicle offers forward collision alert, lane keeping assist, front pedestrian protection and even night vision. You can scroll the instrument cluster display to show a night vision window that will brighten up the darkest roads without relying on a Jeep-style lightbar, but rather uses infrared technology. If anyone has ever encountered a deer on a dark road, it will be almost mandatory. If you happen to live in rural, large-mammal-crossing-the-road country, FLIR does make an aftermarket unit that may be tempting to you. An even more tempting technology is the Rear Mirror Camera that transforms the standard rearview mirror with an LCD display. It takes a minute to get used to, but you’ll realize the rear field-of-view now includes vehicle blind spots! In other words, you’ll be able to see a wider area behind you. Bonus: We had to bring some large balloons to a party in the cabin. This would have usually obscured the view with a balloon eclipse. But the electronic mirror camera is attached to the rear of the vehicle. So, you can load up on the balloons, tall passengers and even leave headrests in the highest position without struggling to see behind you.
But the real reason everyone wants the CT6 is Super Cruise. Yes, the cruise control system will drive itself on major interstates. After trying it, I can attest it is mind-blowing (just like Tesla Autopilot with some advantages). Super Cruise uses data from Lidar, map data, cameras and GPS. All work in concert to keep the CT6 in its lane and on its intended course. The driver just needs to remain attentive – you can’t just start texting and driving. In fact, sensors monitor whether the driver is paying attention to the road. Doze off for a little while and the system will start to vibrate the seat and flash a red light on the steering wheel to alert you. But the end user needs to just look for the steering-wheel icon in the center display, hit the Super Cruise button and then look for a large green LED on the wheel to illuminate. Then you can kick back and enjoy the scenery. It makes even more sense in this Cadillac application vs. a Tesla because of its gas engine and long-range capability without having to stop and recharge. The CT6 will make for a wonderful long-distance interstate hauler.
How about the audio system? The 34-speaker Bose Panaray audio system is among the best in the business. Even the dedicated center-channel speaker gracefully rises out of the dashboard. But there is one major gripe: no volume knob. The CUE system relies on a touch-enabled bar you can swipe to quickly raise or lower the volume. But it just isn’t responsive enough. I found myself relying on the steering-wheel control buttons.
The CT6 is a tech-lover’s delight. But there are still some items the aftermarket can help with to make it the ultimate comfortable cruiser. Overall, it is great to see GM offer some technologies not seen anywhere else and keep the brand on the cutting edge, especially for people who may not associate Cadillac with technology.