Slow improvements over time are always the most impressive. It tends to reveal true commitment and character. That’s why, when I drove the new 2016 Cadillac CTS recently, I realized that this powerful and even sporty sedan has the makings of a really stand-out business car. (The first CTS debuted way back in 2002.)
Here's the main reason. Business has become a 24x7 activity these days. We are all working constantly, tapping into our phones and cracking open a laptop even at the side of the road -- safely parked away from the rest of the traffic in an urban area, of course. What I really liked about the 2016 CTS, other than the sleek look (the car lost the higher rear-end back in 2014 and a bit of the classic Caddy look) and quick acceleration, is that it has two key tech innovations that make it ideal for staying on top of things as you drive.
One is that it supports Apple CarPlay. (Two other vehicles in the GM line also support CarPlay including the slightly smaller 2016 Cadillac ATS and the 2016 Chevy Corvette.) This syncing system basically mirrors the main functions of your iPhone on the touchscreen of the CTS like text messaging, music, and calls.
I connected up with an Apple iPhone 6s and noticed how the CTS recognized the connection right away and popped up a special screen with large icons that map directly to functions on the phone. They are big and colorful, so there's no question about the fact that you are now interacting directly with your phone. In fact, if someone picks up your phone as you drive and looks at texts, the display switches to that view.
I was impressed with how easy this was to use. You can interact with Siri and ask questions (you just have to long-press on the voice command button on the steering wheel). When you get a new text, you can have Siri read it to you. For directions, you can just say something obvious like “find directions to the movie theater” and Siri will pop up a map. This isn’t the Cadillac CUE map, which is baked into the car, but is the iPhone map. You lose a bit in features -- it is a fairly stripped down navigation service, and you don't see as much detail--but you gain easy spoken commands that lead to more immediate results. CarPlay also made it easier to control my music. I even set up a quick streaming station for a alt-rock band I liked. When I jumped back in the car a day later and re-connected my phone, the radio station picked up where I left off.
The second big tech feature on the CTS is that it lets you connect over Wi-Fi to the 4G LTE service. Since I just recently moved, I was curious if I could maintain a fast, consistent connection now that I am much closer to a major metro area. The CTS stayed steady at around 5Mbps according to the Speedtest app on my iPhone 6s and didn’t stray too far below or above that range, even in a more rural area.
It’s handy mostly because it saves on using my own data plan, but it also means any passenger can also connect with a laptop or tablet. It’s a great business car because the CTS looks streamlined and a bit elegant on the road yet has some of the latest tech you need to keep employees or clients happy on a longer road trip.
One important note is that the CTS and the CUE system (CUE stands for Cadillac User Experience and has been around a few years now) can support Android Auto but it requires a trip to the dealer to activate that feature and it is not quite ready yet. The CTS has a 3.6-liter engine that’s sporty and powerful. Cadillac also added a new 360-degree camera that shows you around the car and in front. There’s a Qi wireless charging system for phones that support the PMA 1.0, WPC 1.0 and WPC 1.1 standards. This includes many recent Google Nexus phones and Samsung models. (For the iPhone, you need a special case.) The charger is tucked inside the storage compartment under the touchscreen, which helps with security because it doesn't look like a compartment.
The 2016 CTS has a base price of $45,560. The one I drove with the surround-camera, lane-keeping features, adaptive cruise, and a premium Bose stereo costs $66,425.
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