Decades ago, Cadillac was pretty much the benchmark that every other luxury automaker tried to hit.
The German brands were relentless and Cadillac had to do a lot of catching up because the market became so saturated with really good products. And now even Hyundai has decided to come out with its own luxury brand called Genesis, which puts even more pressure on Cadillac. Can Cadillac hold its own against this luxury newcomer?
The Cadillac CT6 and the Genesis G90 are two full-sized executive luxury sedans that ring in at around the same price as equipped. Both represent the best of what each brand has to offer and both are really impressive whether you’re a driver or being chauffeured.
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CT6’s Winning Chassis
Cadillac has really been on a roll lately. The products have been pretty great and they keep getting even better, and this CT6 is no exception. It has a great road presence and gets a lot of attention driving around.
This CT6 is powered by a smooth 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and has all-wheel drive, both optional features. As standard, the sedan has a turbo-four and only drives the rear wheels. The Genesis ups Cadillac by offering a twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel drive as standard equipment, but the CT6’s starting price is much lower than the Genesis’ base price.
The motor in this CT6 makes 404 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. This twin-turbo V6 is a fantastic engine. It has loads of torque all over the rev range and there is barely any turbo lag. You bury the pedal and you are instantly rewarded with a big rush of power.
|Vehicle||Cadillac CT6||Advantage||Genesis G90|
|Engine||3.0L twin-turbo V6||-||3.3L twin-turbo V6|
|Horsepower||404 HP||Cadillac||365 HP|
|Torque||400 lb-ft||Cadillac||376 lb-ft|
|Transmission||8-speed auto||-||8-speed auto|
|Curb Weight||4,385 lb||Cadillac||4,784 lb|
|Trunk Room||15.3 cu-ft||Genesis||15.7 cu-ft|
|Rear Leg Room||40.4 in||Cadillac||37.8 in|
|EPA Fuel Economy (MPG)||22 combined||Cadillac||20.5 combined|
|CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km)||11.2 combined||Cadillac||11.9|
|US Price (As-Tested)||$76,985||Genesis||$68,100|
|CAN Price (As-Tested)||$87,115||Genesis||$84,000|
The chassis is also great, helping the car feel mostly comfortable at low speeds and stable at higher ones, and it feels athletic and willing to have some fun. The car is a lot lighter than the Genesis and it feels very obvious behind the wheel.
All the CT6 engines are hooked up to an eight-speed automatic, which feels less refined than I would expect in a big luxury sedan. The transmission seems to get confused and make clunky gear changes from time to time. This is a bit of a shame because the engine is so great, but it’s not a deal breaker by any means.
Luxurious Interior, But It’s Not Perfect
The Cadillac has a lovely interior with some very luxurious materials. The infotainment system and climate controls are also really well laid out and easy to use. The touchscreen is really responsive and user-friendly for the most part, but you can also control it with a little touchpad similar to ones found on laptops, which I find awful to use. You’re better off just using the touchscreen. The CT6 has a bit more legroom for rear passengers than the Genesis, but it feels like a smaller car to drive.
What kills me about the CT6, however, are the little things that add up to be really annoying. There are a lot of gimmicky features that just take away from the whole experience and a lot of them just don’t work that well. For example, the fact that the driver seat vibrates as a warning when the proximity sensors are activated is so awful and jarring that I just turn it off.
Another example is the video feed in the rear view ‘mirror’ showing what’s behind the car. It seems like it would be a great idea, and it is in theory, but it’s pretty terrible to use at night, and even during the day, it just takes too long for me to process this new point of view. I imagine that’s something people will just learn to get used to, but I just ended up using the traditional mirror. The panel gaps are also uneven and large, and the fit and finish lacks a certain precision you’d be right to expect in a luxury car.
In general, the CT6 is a great car, especially as a driver’s car, but it’s not perfect. It lacks a certain cohesiveness I look for in a luxury car.
Genesis G90 Deep Dive
That brings us to the Genesis G90, which was very hard for me to find anything wrong with. There wasn’t one moment when I was driving the Genesis when I thought, “That doesn’t make sense” or “Why did they do that?” which is something I found thinking a lot in the Cadillac. As a package, the G90 is well thought out and it feels like a lot of effort was put into the engineering.
The first thing you notice about the Genesis is how smooth and quiet it is. It has a regal air about it when you drive it that the Cadillac is lacking. What struck me immediately about the Genesis was how well executed and refined it felt. The interior is sumptuous, smart and user-friendly, and fit and finish are excellent. The switchgear is also nice to use and well laid out, with the only real issue with the interior is not enabling a full touchscreen — drivers control the infotainment with a rotary knob (a touch keyboard becomes available when the car is in Park).
The G90’s suspension is calibrated for comfort and not sport, so it’s much better at giving you that floaty feeling people want in big luxury sedans. It just glides over rough roads, but that doesn’t mean it’s sloppy in the corners. The G90 definitely isn’t as performance oriented as the Cadillac, but I don’t see that as a deal-breaker for this kind of car.
Although it’s also powered by a twin-turbo V6, the G90 has 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, which is significantly less than the Cadillac. Combined with its heavier weight, the G90 isn’t as fast or as sporty as the CT6, but it also doesn’t need to be. That doesn’t mean, however, that it feels lifeless to drive. Power delivery is strong and smooth, steering is well weighted, and the transmission, which also has eight speeds, fires off seamless shifts and never gets confused. The G90 feels like a larger car to drive than the Cadillac, but it’s still entirely manageable and pretty easy to park. The only thing I wish the Genesis had that the Cadillac does is a parking assistant that will help you parallel park.
The Genesis is really good at being a big, comfortable luxury car. It has a bunch of little details, too, like soft-closing doors, a head-up display, and slightly excessive puddle lights that add up to make the experience a little more special than the Cadillac. It simply doesn’t suffer from the little annoyances that really mar the experience in the Caddy.
At this price point, the Genesis also has more technology included, like all the driver and safety assistants you could ever want. The best part is that they aren’t as jarring as the ones in the Cadillac, which are mostly all optional. A base Genesis does cost quite a bit more than a base CT6, but it also has a much more impressive list of standard features. It basically comes fully loaded, and there are barely any other options that can be added on except for the V8 engine and more back-seat amenities. As tested, the Genesis rings in lower than the comparable CT6, so it offers better value.
The Verdict: 2017 Cadillac CT6 vs 2017 Genesis G90
If you want a luxury sedan that is more focused on driving dynamics than anything else, the Cadillac is the one you want because it’s a better driver’s car. It has a fantastic chassis, but the car, as whole package, comes up a bit short.
If you’re the typical shopper in this segment looking for a big luxury sedan and you want class and comfort, the Genesis out-Cadillacs Cadillac and proved much better at providing an uncompromised luxury experience. Although the G90 is more refined and luxurious, one big issue is that no one knows what Genesis is yet, whereas Cadillac is a household name when it comes to luxury cars. As long as you’re not a snob and don’t care about brand cachet, it’s clear that the Genesis G90 is the real winner here.