The CTS outscores some of the best of the imported luxury sports sedans. Drivers will like the responsive steering, agile handling, eager acceleration, and excellent brakes. All passengers should appreciate the steady, composed ride and plush interior. However, the cockpit was too snug for some, and the rear seat is a bit tight.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
NA
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
NA
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
NA
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
NA
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
NA
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
NA
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
NA
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
NA
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
NA
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
NA
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
NA

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
NA
2016
2017
2018
NA
2019
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
2007
NA
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
2019
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags standard from 2000. Head protection air bags standard from 2003. ESC available from 2003, standard from 2008.
Model Summary
The CTS is as capable as its German rivals. It has a firm yet supple ride and steers nicely. The 3.6-liter V6 is smooth and refined. The interior is nicely furnished and constructed of quality materials with impressive fit and finish. The cabin is quiet and the front seats are comfortable, but the rear seat is snug. The 3.0-liter engine lacks low-end power. The high-performance CTS-V uses a 556-hp, supercharged V8. Wagon and coupe versions are also available.
Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
wagon
coupe
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 3-liter V6 (270 hp)
  • 3.6-liter V6 (318 hp)
  • 6.2-liter V8 supercharged (556 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Cadillac CTS owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

"Bolt through the u joint worked out, and was hitting the heat shield, which in turn slapped the floor pan on the passenger side"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.6-L V6)

"Right rear wheel bearing failure"

Richard W., OH (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.6-L V6)

"Mounting of drive shaft brokek, bolts came loose"

Anonymous, MD (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.6-L V6)
4WD/AWD components

"HAVE AN INTERMITTENT CHECK ENGINE LIGHT WITH A "SERVICE STABLE TRAK" WARNING"

Fred W., TX (2012 Cadillac CTS Unsure Unsure)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"In the last year of ownership the check engine light has been activated a total of three times for purge valve and fuel cap replacement. Check engine light is on again for emissions currently and a smoke test will need performed to discover defect"

Brad H., PA (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.6-L V6)

"a valve stuck open and was replaced at factory expense"

Anonymous, OH (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.6-L V6)
Fuel injection system

"check engine light on due to cloged air filter. needed new filter and cleaned fuel injectors"

Anonymous, OH (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.6-L V6)

"Car performed perfectly until routine oil service at dealer. Check engine light came on while driving hone and the nightmare began. There are no more "auto mechanics" just "technicians". Changed the same part 3 times. B cause the "computer" said so. Obviously, the next technician failed to see what had been done previously. After changing the gas tank, sending unit, fuel pump, the check engine light is off. I believe after the oil change during their "complementary 32(?) point inspection" sens"

Anonymous, GA (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.0-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

"The car has a moon roof. The seal has to be replaced because of a leak"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.0-L V6)

"Leaking around the sunroof. I took it in twice I still don't know for sure if it's fixed. It hasn't rained lately. They said if if the adhesive seals don't work this time I will need a whole new sunroof/ tracking system. I'm selling the car ASAP...I will never buy a cadi again"

Haydee R., FL (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.0-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"Steering column has a squeak. Not very noticeable, but still there"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.0-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

"Leaking shock"

Edward L., TX (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.6-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Body control module

"Electrical harnesses for rear door power supply are too long and kink when the rear door is opened, eventually leading to harness failure. Passenger-side harness has failed and Cadillac has refused to repair"

Brad H., PA (2012 Cadillac CTS Base 3.6-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

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