2016 Cadillac CT6 Platinum: Fleetwood Fini?

It’s officially spring, and this past Monday I was out just cruising around. I had gotten a picture frame for a 1966 Lincoln Continental ad I’d acquired awhile back at an antique store. But the previous night, while putting it together, I pressed the back a little too hard and broke it. Dagnabit! So it was off to the store the next day to get another one. Oh well, at least it was cheap.

Anyway since it was nearby I stopped at McLaughlin to chat with my friend there, Brian Cox. As I checked the inventory two caught my eye, a 2018 CTS in Red Horizon with only 13,000 miles, and a black on black 2016 CT6 Platinum with only 26,000 on the clock. All the goodies too, AWD, heated and cooled seats, massaging seats, dual power moonroofs and more.

I’d already driven two CTSs with the 2.0 four/AWD combination, but was curious about the CT6, the last large Cadillac sedan-at least as of this writing. Unlike Lincoln, which cheerfully axed ALL sedans after the 2020 model year, Cadillac still offers two: the CT4, which is essentially a facelifted ATS, and the CT5, a new model that appeared in 2020 to replace the CTS.

I found Brian and we chatted while he went to the service deparment and got a full set of rubber mats for a Subaru Ascent he was delivering soon, and we discussed Cadillacs, Town Cars, the state of the crossover and other important stuff. I inspected the Ascent as he was equipping it. Not a bad vehicle, not a sports car, but lots of room. This one was brand new, in a rather nice mocha color, with a two tone ivory and black interior.

Subarus do seem to be rather honest vehicles, though the sportsy outdoorsy advertising does get a little old sometimes. But I enjoyed the new flat six Outback I tried out a few years ago. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would-perhaps because it’s one of the few honest to God station wagons left, albeit not marketed as such.

But as you may surmise, my first love is domestic luxury, so Cadillacs were discussed. The Ascent fully accessorized, we went inside the showroom to yak, and Brian asked if I wanted to try out the CT6. With a twin turbo V6, room and style to shame the snazziest combover. Hmm. Gee. OK.

This was an approximately 85-90K car when new, so it was supremely ritzy. Power retractable sun screens for the rear passenger doors, power retractable sunscreen for the rear window. Two power sunroofs, front and rear, with power sunshades for each. Heated, cooled, massaging seats. The massaging seats were particularly swell. I remember driving a brand new 2018 Continental a few years ago, engaging the massaging seats, and accidentally almost driving to Maysville as a result. But I digress.

When the CT6 appeared in 2016 and the Continental appeared the following year, I was all excited. New, top of the line, large luxury sedans from Lincoln and Cadillac, awesome! It would be like an all-new king of the hill, like back in the ’70s between the Mark IV and the Eldorado!

Alas, it was not to be, as the sheep that drive modern leases, oops, I mean, sales, gravitate to various and sundry combovers that the fat, old buyers can fit their cabooses into without tripping and needing to activate their medic alert bracelet, or have someone bring them a bag of Butterburgers from Culvers. Oops, did I say that out loud? I usually just think it in silent frustration.

Anyway, the new big sedans did not last, with the CT6 zapped after 2020 (except in China, naturally, where a four-cylinder hybrid version is still available) along with the Continental. Though it saddened your author, I can’t fault their logic. If the small SUVs sell, that’s what they’ll offer.

At least Cadillac still offers sedans, Lincoln killed them all. Like a giant middle finger to people who don’t want SUVs. Swell! But I digress. Unless the market changes, the 2016-20 CT6 will be the last traditional Cadillac: Long wheelbase, big seats, super comfortable, and lots of oomph. The remaining sedans are just too small to give the usual Cadillac space and smooth ride-except perhaps the Escalade, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to include SUVs.

It had been a long time since I had driven a turbocharged car, so I had to refamiliarize myself with the concepts of turbo lag and turbo boost. This thing moves, as it should, with 400 horsepower. Acceleration was effortless. You’d be moseying along at 42, floor it, and suddenly be going 86, and it still felt like you were going 42.

For instance, I was on the Interstate headed back when an Altima (of course it was an Altima!) decided to get cute and pass me on the right. There was a slow Suburban in front of me in the passing lane. Lo and behold, he moves over, I floor the Caddy, and the Altima became a distant battered speck far in the distance. Cue your author cackling like Dr. Evil.

So yes, it was an extremely nice car, a car fit for a captain of industry from decades back. But today’s fattuccinno-sipping CEOs would likely frown at a competent sedan and would instead be driving a Lexus Cimarron, oops I mean NX350h, and wearing a chartreuse and lilac track suit. Such is the 2020s. But you can still find these here and there, lightly used, like this one, if you’re so inclined.

As always, thanks to Brian and McLaughlin Cadillac for allowing me access to one of these surviving domestic luxury sedans!

39 Replies to “2016 Cadillac CT6 Platinum: Fleetwood Fini?”

  1. John C.

    Tom’s picture taking has me thinking about grilles and hoods. That picture from the driver seat with all the Crosstechs? Subaru he was about to move around in his bigger Caddy sedan. The hood of the Caddy slopes away in the modern way. Would not it be better if you to see a little of a dramatic large hood tipped with a vertical wreath and crest to enhance your feeling of superiority as you maneuver around, … you know Crosstechs?

    I know chrome isn’t really chromed steel anymore, but that shot looking down on the grille shows how much chrome you can still use on a grille for dramatic effect if you try. Try designers, please… maybe even with real chromed steel. Feel free to delete the weird interior neon lights in compensation, it just attracts the wrong element.

    Reply
    • jc

      My buddy made the ebay LED’s in his truck blink with the music. You’d hate it. It’s super entertaining. Especially when you’re drunk.

      Reply
  2. Mark

    Us Americans left the Sedan buying upper middle class market unattended for so long, save for the trucks, that this Caddy didn’t have enough runway to potentially capture it’s intended audience, our parents in it’s more meager price point variations. The Camaro, Corvette and Mustang weren’t enough to stave off non-performance drivers from finding their way into German and Japanese luxury vehicles that felt “right”. My boomer 1940s rust belt parents who used to drive beautiful Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs and Mercurys and won’t buy foreign now ride around in an old fully loaded Jeep Liberty and can’t figure why they hate every small crossover SUV they try. They either don’t understand my answers about FWD unibody construction or just don’t care. They just hunt around blindly for a car that feels tolerable. After being stuffed into a Buick crossover they hated with an attractive lease by an overzealous sales team, GM barely recognized the equity in the car at lease end due to creation of a dealer mini-monopoly disallowing 3rd party buy-outs. Alas, they will start from essentially scratch again, never get their big big beautiful CT6 or other luxury car to ride into the sunset in, and will likely arrive in two Jeeps which gives them the feeling of a “real” car underneath them. My Dad used to say about his Lumina Z34 “This car would be an all time great if it were RWD.” I wonder if the rest of the public would have had similar buying feelings? These buyers have watched the market morph into something that isn’t for them with only a brief appearance of a car they might like and almost never at the Oldsmobile, Pontiac, snd Mercury…scratch that Chevy, Buick/GMC, Ford dealers they “trust”.

    Reply
  3. Trucky McTruckface

    Not only are these still on sale in China, they’re getting a redesigned version. Based on the spy shots that were out last week, it ought to look pretty close to the Escala concept from awhile back (in other words, a bigger, better-proportioned CT5). Too bad. Your beloved Lincoln sedans just got a China-only replacement, too.

    These actually sold okay by flagship sedan standards – the Lexus LS and Genesis G90 do worse. At least Cadillac’s supposed to have a replacement with the Celestiq in a couple of years, even though it’s going to be a friggin’ EV.

    Reply
    • John C.

      There was talk a while ago of Russia getting a new Zill style flagship based on the Chrysler 300. Interesting what happens when you leave men in charge who know who they are, where they came from, and what is expected of them, and then ask them what they want in a vehicle.

      Reply
    • CJinSD

      It does seem like there’s a high correlation between people who miss these barges and people who buy Chinese cars.

      Reply
  4. hank chinaski

    I’ll give Caddy this: they did the best job of adapting their signature look into the regulation, cookie-cutter, big blunt nose that passenger cars are required to have now.
    What was your take on NVH with those Conestoga wheels?

    Reply
  5. Ken

    We cross shopped this when buying the Continental. I think the Caddy has fantastic lines and with the refresh they improved on the front-end w/the lights and grill. Ultimately, we liked the Lincoln interior more, and went that route.

    I suppose my Wife is a fluke, being a 35-year-old millennial, as every other female (or male for that matter) in our age group / social circle – drives a CUV and if it’s not a CUV it’s definitely not domestic.

    There’s this terrible stigma, amazingly still, to buy an American car. Why people are proud to NOT to buy American or seem to think that American cars are lesser / for the poor – is beyond me. Then people see the car and then are surprised what they offer.

    To be honest, I suppose we thought the same. Our parents spurn by 80s GMCs and Fords – turning to Nissan and Toyota in the 90s. We gave Ford a chance 15 years ago when we were just starting out in our early 20s together (and I guess were poor!). We were able to get more car for our money in a lightly used domestic.

    Not saying we’re 100% domestic buyers now (European cars and Japanese ones round out the driveway) – but they are 1st choices when shopping. It’s a shame, these sedans are great cars.

    At least the Koreans are still keeping the torch alive there…

    Reply
  6. Mike

    My parents retired and mom bought the Caddy she thought she wanted, a CTS, in red. After decades of Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Buick ownership, they were ready for the wreath and crest.

    Alas, the Cadillac turned out to be a pile of shite. The paint was abysmally poor quality, orange peel for days. My Mazda3, built the same year, had noticeably better fit and finish everywhere. The fuel economy of the Caddy was lower than expected. And then around 60k miles, the electrical gremlins started popping up.

    So the Caddy went away, and mom ended up with a GMC Acadia. So far, she’s been much happier with it all around. Score another one for team SUV/ CUV.

    Reply
  7. Gary

    I’m not sure fat people buying crossovers killed this Cadillac.

    I think an $85k price tag on something that sure doesn’t look like $85k did.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      For $85K a Caddy sedan should at least have the Continental kit, Landau vinyl roof, and fake wire wheels, otherwise I just don’t see the value.

      Reply
    • CJinSD

      How much with a six-cylinder engine and an equipment level higher than a Camry XLE? Believe it or not, I’ve tried shopping for a new Cadillac twice in the past twenty years.

      The first time was when I became disillusioned with BMWs and took a look at the new CTS that was all over billboards in San Diego with the base price in giant numerals. At least the base model didn’t have a four-banger, but the dealers didn’t want to talk about whether or not they existed either. The ‘invoice pricing’ of all actual CTSs to be found was more than 35% higher than the advertised price. I recall thinking that Cadillac dealers would be better off buying BMWs at retail and then trying to make money on fees and financing. Thankfully, it was the incentive I needed to look at Acuras.

      The second time I looked at new Cadillacs was because my boss was impressed by what he’d heard or read about the 2016 CTS-V. His young(relative to me anyway) friends had been dazzled by a video about how CUE would make your new car as ergonomic and durable as your iPhone, Trump was campaigning on a pro-American platform, and the new V was going to have all the power in the world. Unfortunately, the lease on the Audi A6 I was driving was up before the new CTS-V would arrive at dealers, so we went to look at a 2015 or 2016 CTS V-sport. The contrast between the interior of the 2012 Audi and the new Cadillac was fairly dramatic. I remember the seat adjuster feeling like it was going to break when used and having a strange feeling of high friction followed by a snap that made it seem like it had broken. It had not broken, but it wasn’t reassuring. The center stack consisted of low sensitivity touch controls and moved when you applied enough force for it to recognize your input. The cacophony of discordant cut-lines and seams on everything from the steering wheel hub to the center console did not read as quality, nor did it convey a sense of peacefulness or luxury. I’d love to tell you how it drove, but seeing the interior was enough to change my boss’s mind about imposing a Cadillac on me since he’d be using it too when he went to see our biggest client. We wound up with an A7, which was almost as nice as the A6 it replaced. If I recall correctly, the sticker on the CTS V-sport was closer to the A7’s than it was to the A6s, which was better in every way as a luxury sedan. Base prices only matter when the cars are sold near base price.

      Reply
      • John C.

        God forbid the Boss forcing a Caddy on the Asian skateboard driver. You can’t let him do that. Next thing you know, he will tell you to shave daily, stand up straight, and clean your cubicle.

        Reply
        • CJinSD

          I work from home more than 2,300 miles from the office now, but had I remained in San Diego, chances are that my company car would now be a full-sized pickup with multiple place names on chrome badges.

          Reply
          • John C.

            Normally I would make fun of your employer for saddling you with a pickup truck, as if your job is to move bales of hay around Southfork Ranch. But since they have you 2300 miles from where you could present yourself in a professional manner daily befitting a luxury car, it would just seem cruel.

      • Carmine

        And then we opened the glove compartment and it was filled with cat turds …..and then all the wheels fell of the car right in the middle of the showroom and then the entire body rusted away in 5 minutes.

        Then the sales manager put on a KKK hood and called us a racial slur….

        Reply
      • jc

        ” I remember the seat adjuster feeling like it was going to break when used and having a strange feeling of high friction followed by a snap that made it seem like it had broken. It had not broken, but it wasn’t reassuring. …”

        Ah yes, that wonderful GM switchgear feel.

        I starting driving in GM cars in 1976 and that feeling seems to have been baked into them as every subsequent one I’ve driven has had the same issue.

        Reply
        • John C.

          You could always move to South Korea. That way you could delight in the joys of Asian switchgear. South Korea is also expert in the industry of plastic surgery. A little work on your appearance and the fun of learning a new language could allow you to self identify with those you love. Soon the bitter memory of Vega seat switches will fade and the post traumatic stress it caused will eventually end.

          You could also bring your friend with the loud, flashing truck. It sounds like he is already living big Gangnam style.

          Reply
          • jc

            Is there some actual meaning hidden in that comment?

            I think you might consider recalibrating the meds.

      • Tom Klockau Post author

        Yes, and a Whirlpool garbage disposal is even cheaper yet! Or 28,000 Dixie cups!

        Just for chucks I’ll relate a story Brian shared. For a long time he had a low mile, 2-3 year old ES350 as a demo. Water pump went out. Just the labor was $2900. Lexus/Toyota has been coasting on their reputation since probably 1997, just like GM has since, oh, let’s say 1980. But that’s totally different, I’m sure.

        Reply
        • CJinSD

          I like Toyotas because I know about car repair. Your local shop apparently charges over five hundred dollars an hour for warranty work, or someone isn’t telling the truth.

          Reply
          • Tom Klockau Post author

            I relayed what I was told. However, the local Lexus dealer being a ripoff artist wouldn’t entirely surprise me; in its previous incarnation, the locals called them Screwjacks instead of Lujacks. And it wasn’t just Lexus, at the time they also had Mercedes, Jaguar, Porsche, Subaru, Honda and Chevrolet. Could be that still is the case, despite new owners. Though they no longer have Chevy, Porsche or Jaguar. And McLaughlin got their Subaru franchise about fifteen years ago.

        • John C.

          Hah, I knew when you told that story, with the obvious truth that our Japanese friends are now as hollowed out and lost as we are, that you would be doubted by an import or walk guy here.

          Reply
          • CJinSD

            https://www.clublexus.com/how-tos/a/lexus-es-rx-how-to-replace-water-pump-367528

            Truth isn’t on your side today. Do you think a Lexus dealer had a labor rate under a hundred dollars an hour in 2015? That would make book rate for doing an ES350 water pump work out to 4.5 hours. $2,900 in labor was the number that Tom suggested, assuming everyone here is as ignorant as a Geely driver.

            Tom, when you want to make something up to pretend that your opinions are based on some sort of logic, don’t make up labor charges for repairs on Japanese cars. There are easily accessible sources that tell how many hours a shop can charge for any job you can make up a story about. Also, try to keep in mind that warranties and good-will repairs will typically cover any engine work that happens in your first three years of Lexus ownership.

          • John C.

            A two-three year old loaner is under warranty, so the bill went to Lexus. Anyone who has medical insurance sees how jaw dropping high the provider bills to insurance are, with then the payer deciding what to actually pay. Surely a car warranty works the same way. That was how Tom phrased it, you don’t need to insult him as a liar because what he said doesn’t fit your narrative. Even your article on an older one says you have to lift the engine out of the car twice. Do you think that process got easier on the newer one.

          • CJinSD

            Warranty repairs are done at book rate on a good day. Many manufacturers actually pay for less time than book rate for many repairs. They never get soaked for five times book rate to do a repair on a car that they know inside out.

          • John C.

            Why would the dealer service techs or the manufacturer know the repair to precision when it almost never happens. I mean Lexus is where all the old, lonely, never any work to do, Maytag repairmen ended up after Wall Street gutted Maytag right.

          • CJinSD

            Toyota figures this stuff out when they design the car. They don’t just design the car to be assembled by solvent-sniffing pot heads and then rely on their lawyers to escape the worst warranty claims like GM. Warranty work is good for the technicians when it is something that breaks all the time. They get good at fixing it and they get paid for the difference between the time they spend on the repair and the book rate for doing the repair. They often get screwed on the completely unusual repair, as the book rate has been determined by what an average time would be, and they’re spending time figuring it all out, not having a special tool or buying one they’ll use only a few times, and then they’ll never have the opportunity to amortize that time spent on subsequent quick repairs where they are paid for more time than they need. That’s just how it works. It still doesn’t mean that anyone ever billed Lexus $2,900 for a job that has a book rate of 4.5 hours or less.

  8. Disinterested-Observer

    Saw a Continental in the wild a couple of months ago. That was odd for two reasons. One, there aren’t that many in the first place, and two, there aren’t a lot of domestic luxury cars where I live. As my niece from the heartland observed on a trip to the mid-Atlantic “There sure are a lot of foreign cars here.” The Connie was beautiful. From the outside it didn’t look much bigger than a mid or maybe full-size sedan, but the legroom in the backseat was like a limo.

    Reply
  9. stingray65

    The fact that they had two low mileage CT-6s on an otherwise largely empty lot tells you all you need to know about the popularity of luxury sedans these days. It would be interesting to know what they were traded in for – a Caddy CUV or a Subaru?

    Reply
  10. jc

    ” I remember the seat adjuster feeling like it was going to break when used and having a strange feeling of high friction followed by a snap that made it seem like it had broken. It had not broken, but it wasn’t reassuring. …”

    Ah yes, that wonderful GM switchgear feel.

    I starting driving in GM cars in 1976 and that feeling seems to have been baked into them as every subsequent one I’ve driven has had the same issue.

    Reply
  11. KoR

    Really, really wanted one of these when I was shopping for a new car. Looked high and low, but they were tricky to find in a spec I wanted and a price I was comfortable with. Couple that and middling reliability reputation and my high-mile commute, and unfortunately for me I had to stray elsewhere.

    Wound up settling for a new body style Volvo S60 T6, which has its own myriad issues but was much cheaper, still an extremely nice place to be in for hundreds of miles at a time, AND has an insane CPO warranty.

    So it goes. Maybe one day.

    Reply
  12. danio

    I liked these cars, they’re big and comfortable.

    Re: cars vs. crossovers. Most of this phenomena is due to how the CAFE rules are written to favor Light Duty Trucks at the expense of passenger cars. Give the cars sufficient ground clearance, approach and departure angles and the obligatory AWD and voila, millions in fines avoided. Out of necessity automakers invest in LDTs at the expense of cars because they have to build cars for the government first.

    Reply
  13. Glenn Kramer

    Tom,
    You’re right about the abandoning of sedans. I recently bought a 2017 MKZ from my Lincoln dealer and he was bemoaning the fact that 20 year loyal customers would walk in, find no sedans and go to Cadillac/Audi/Mercedes. He found me a great MKZ, but it took a while!

    Reply
  14. dejal

    Put trunks back on cars like the “Good Old Days” and maybe people come back. Not everyone can afford to have Toys like the author because he likes Toys. For many people, their rig has to do just about everything. Most people really Don’t GAF about rides either. Why should they? The average rig these days is extremely competent. Average in 2022 would be outstanding 25 years ago. Also, the toys that used to be in high end models, have trickled down to lower and lower price points.

    Many people have no need to impress others. I personally don’t GAF if you like my ride. GFY.

    Reply
    • John C.

      May I interest you kind sir in our new Crosstech. 2022 being so wonderful, some of the tech that comes standard on the Crosstech is currently not operative but I just sold one to Jill and her wife Latoya and they barely noticed and were thrilled with the donation Subaru made to LBGTQ++ Pride to fight Don’t Say Gay in Florida.

      Salesperson thinks to herself, I hate when men come in to this safe space and harsh my jam with their potty mouths. It is so toxic. I should have passed this up to Brian, the token normie.

      Reply
  15. LynnG

    Carmine, that is just to funny, reminds me of the Editors comments in Phillips article on the new 2002 Esclade EXT….

    Reply

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