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Best & Worst Years of Cadillac CTS – Graphs & Owner Surveys

The best years of the Cadillac CTS are 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016-2017, and 2019. The years you should absolutely avoid are 2003-2007, 2008-2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2018. The main issues in the worst years are related to catalytic converters, timing chains, oxygen sensors, and high repair costs. 

Black saloon car Cadillac CTS in the city street.

A luxury sedan offered by General Motors from 2003-2019, the Cadillac CTS is popular among drivers seeking great comfort, stylish design, and impressive performance. Standing for “Catera Touring Sedan,” the CTS replaced the Cadillac Catera produced from 1996-2001. Its affordability helped it quickly become a competitor to the BMW and Mercedes-Benz mid-size luxury lines. 

The CTS won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 2008 and 2014, cementing its position in the luxury sedan space. Despite the awards, there are some years of the CTS that we recommend avoiding (2008 included). Drawing off data from FIXD devices installed in thousands of vehicles and owner surveys, we determined which years of the Cadillac CTS are best and which ones to avoid. 

The table displays the most important information about the best and worst years of the Cadillac CTS. We then give a detailed analysis of the NHTSA safety ratings, fuel economy, market value, and annual costs of repairs before diving into a more in-depth overview of the good and bad years.

Best Years Why? Worst Years Why?

Great reliability, low DTCs, low number of recalls and complaints

>> See 2016 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Low reliability scores, large number of recalls, expensive to repair and maintain

>> See 2003-2007 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Low ownership costs, great reliability scores, excellent safety ratings

>> See 2017 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Low safety scores and severe DTCs that require a catalytic converter and timing chain

>> See 2008-2009 Cadillac CTS for sale 


No recalls to date, low number of DTCs, low repair costs

>> See 2019 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Low reliability score, moderate DTCs, low fuel economy

>> See 2015 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Great start to the last generation, with good reliability, low prices to own

>> See 2014 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Engine trouble and a high chance of catalytic converter replacement, low reliability

>> See 2011 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Low number of recalls and DTCs, low repair costs for DTCs that appear

>> See 2012 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Low FIXD Reliability, expensive to repair DTCs, long time spent in shop

>> See 2013 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Good reliability, low number of DTCs and recalls

>> See 2010 Cadillac CTS for sale 


Low reliability, severe DTCs, power train complaints at an early age

>> See 2018 Cadillac CTS for sale 

Cadillac CTS Engine Reliability Score, Safety Ratings, MPG and Value v.s. Maintenance & Repair Costs – Year by Year

We looked into multiple sources to determine the best and worst years of the Cadillac CTS. The most sway is given to the FIXD Reliability Score and the Owner Reliability Score. We derived the first from FIXD devices installed in numerous Cadillac CTS and the second from survey responses of CTS owners. 

We also dove into public data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and fuel information from fueleconomy.gov to create the following graphs. Next, we graphed the current market value from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) with the annual repair and maintenance reported by CTS owners. 

After reviewing the graphs, we dive into the best and worst years of the Cadillac CTS in more detail. We include the most common diagnostic trouble codes (DTC), and safety recalls that a potential or current owner of the CTS should know about.

If you’re in the market for a car, take a look at our article on the USAs’ most reliable and cheapest to repair cars in the U.S. Don’t get stuck with a lemon, use our data to help you shop.

Engine Reliability Score – Over The Years

Cadillac CTS Engine Reliability Score

While we looked at multiple factors to determine the best and worst years of the Cadillac CTS, reliability is the most important one. We’ve devised two unique scores using our exclusive data, making it easy to compare. Both scores use the same scale: 1 is the lowest, 5 is the average, and 10 is the highest level.

The first score is the FIXD Reliability Score, represented by the green line on the graph. We calculated this score by tracking the number of check engine lights (CEL) reported by our app users and dividing it by the number of cars. We then weighted the score based on an average of 12,000 miles driven annually.

The second score, the Owner Reliability Score (gray line), comes from surveys taken by Cadillac CTS owners. These surveys capture their firsthand experience and provide subjective opinions on reliability. We translated these responses into numerical scores. For more details on the question asked and our methodology for determining this score, please refer to the note about data and information section located at the bottom of this article.

Typical reliability scores show that newer models have higher reliability scores. While the first years start much lower, the CTS follows more of a roller coaster pattern. The Owner Reliability Scores are more consistent and higher than the FIXD Reliability Score across all years. 

A car’s reliability is often worse than an owner might want to believe. We hypothesize that owners of older models slowly become accepting of higher-than-average check engine lights being thrown because they have owned the car for a long time. They are either a frog in a pot of boiling water, not realizing the car is deteriorating slowly and getting worse. OR they simply haven’t compared the reliability of their older model to the often newer and more reliable models of today. 

Loyalty to an older vehicle may also affect the Owner Reliability Scores. If a car has lasted 20 years, it would be immensely reliable in the owner’s eyes, even if it had to have repairs and triggered many CELs along the way. 

Another common trend is that the first year of a new generation having a low reliability score. This is due to new issues and problems new technology and advancements create. You can see this pattern in 2003 and 2008, but the first year of the third and final generation, the 2014, is one of the best years of the CTS. 

These reliability scores are helpful if you own a Cadillac CTS or shop for a used one. If you want to learn more about the check engine lights behind the scores, we have an article about the most common DTCs in the Cadillac CTS.

NHTSA Safety Score – Over The Years

Cadillac CTS NHTSA Safety Rating

NHTSA safety ratings are another aspect we considered while ranking the best and worst years of the Cadillac CTS. The green line on the graph above represents the average safety rating of the CTS, while the gray line represents the average of all cars for which we have NHTSA data. 

The Cadillac CTS has impressive safety ratings and scores above average in 8 out of the 15 years we have data (there isn’t safety data available for 2011 and 2014). The scores never fall below four out of five stars, which is vital for a car primarily used as a family vehicle. 

Excellent safety scores can help you get cheaper car insurance rates. If you’re looking for a used CTS, stick to 2012 and beyond for the best safety ratings. However, safety isn’t the only factor in your used car shopping, and even some years with high safety ratings (such as 2015) should be avoided. 

If you live in one of the states listed below, we can show you the cheapest vehicles to insure in yours. 

What Used Cars Are the Cheapest To Insure In:
North Carolina
New York

MPG – Over The Years

Cadillac CTS Average MPG

Most luxury cars aren’t focused on fuel efficiency, and most drivers aren’t too concerned about saving money at the pumps. However, knowing which years of the CTS will be easier on your wallet at the pumps is helpful, especially if you’re shopping for a used one. 

We formed the graph above from data found on fueleconomy.gov, and the green line shows the average combined miles per gallon for the Cadillac CTS. The early years of the sedan stayed between 18-20 mpg, and it finally jumped to 22 mpg in 2016 due to the introduction of stop-start technology. It reached its all-time high of 23 mpg in 2018. 

Current Market Value of All Cadillac CTS Years & Cost Per Year to Repair and Maintain Each

Cadillac CTS Market Value vs Cost of Repairs

We graphed the market value from KBB.com as a green line and the annual repair and maintenance cost using a gray line. Newer vehicles have higher market value, but there are several instances where the more recent car is worth less than the older one. An unexpected drop like this is usually caused by a higher than average mileage being reported.

You’ll notice this occurs several times on our graph. The 2008’s value is only $4,927, while the older 2007 is worth $5,456. This is because the 2007 CTS only has a reported 75,000 miles, while 2008 has 137,500. It happens again with the 2010 model, which reports 145,000 miles compared to 2009’s 120,000. The most obvious example however, is the 2016 ($12,766), worth $5,286 less than the older 2015 ($18,052). The average mileage for 2016 is 125,000, while only 50,000 in 2015. The value of the vehicle is inversely affected by the mileage. 

The overall maintenance and repair costs are high for the Cadillac CTS, averaging $723 yearly. However, 2017-2019 was only $250. You can see from the graph that the most expensive years are 2003 and 2016,  $1,500 and $1,375, respectively. 

When shopping for a used Cadillac CTS, it’s important to keep in mind that not all vehicles are cared for equally. To protect yourself from lemons, take along a FIXD Sensor on your test drive. FIXD connects to a free app on your smartphone to tell you more about the vehicle you’re checking out, including check engine lights and other hidden issues that the owner or dealership may be attempting to hide. Click here to learn more and get FIXD for only $19.99 (regular price $59)!

Important Features Timeline

Cadillac CTS Timeline of Important Features

2003: First year of the first generation

2004: Introduction of 3.6-liter V6 and new Sport package

2005: Standard six-speed manual transmission

2006: 18-inch wheel package available

2007: Minor updates, upgraded satellite navigation

2008: Beginning of second generation, a complete redesign, all-wheel drive available

2009: Bluetooth technology available

2010: Introduction of Sport Wagon model, new 3.0-liter direct injected V6 engine

2011: Unchanged from the previous year, available in 5 trim levels

2012: 3.6-liter engine gets a slight power increase, new Touring package added

2013: Drops the base trim and manual transmission options

2014: The introduction of the third generation, wholly redesigned with exterior styling and the latest touch-screen technology

2015: Self-parking available, new driver awareness featuring lane-keeping and lane-change assist

2016: Addition of stop-start technology in the 3.6-liter V6 and turbocharged 2.0-liter

2017: Rear camera mirror, Carbon Black appearance package added

2018: Only minor changes from the previous year

2019: Last year of the CTS before it is replaced with the CT5

The Best Years of the Cadillac CTS

Side view of white Cadillac CTS driving on the road in evening. Night traffic scene.

The best years of the Cadillac CTS are listed from best to worst. We used the FIXD Reliability Score, Owner Reliability Score, safety ratings, and fuel economy to determine the overall position of each year of the CTS. We also go over the most prominent DTCs and important safety recall information. 

2016 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score: 8/10

Owner Reliability Score: 10/10

KBB Value: $12,766

Fuel Economy: 22 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $1,375

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

The 2016 Cadillac introduced a new 3.6-liter V6 engine with stop-start technology and new 8-speed transmission, increasing fuel efficiency and performance. The market value is lower than the surrounding years due to the high reported mileage of 125,000. This is just proof that people love to drive this Cadillac.

The FIXD Reliability Score is the highest of all the years of Cadillac CTS, at 8/10. The Owner Reliability Score is a perfect 10/10, with 22% of owners saying they liked the comfortable seats and 11% believing the car will make it past 200,000 miles. 

Safety ratings for the Cadillac CTS are great, with 2016 being above average and scoring an almost perfect 4.8/5. This high score is good news for shoppers looking to utilize the CTS as their primary family vehicle. 

The repair costs of the 2016 CTS are its biggest weakness, at $1,375. While the CTS has high average repair costs overall, at $723, 2016 almost doubles it, and 100% of owners say they had the car in the shop for a $500+ repair in the last year.

One of the most common DTCs is P0128, which commonly means the coolant thermostat is stuck open, and replacing it could cost between $358-$512. The next code is P0700, meaning “Transmission Control System Malfunction,” which may cost as much as $750 to $800 if you need to replace the Transmission Control Module or up to $1000 if you need to replace the Transmission Valve Body.Topping off transmission fluid is a possible fix, costing $50-$200.  Worst case scenario, a new transmission typically costs $1000+ to $3500 to replace.

The 2016 Cadillac CTS only has two recalls and 24 complaints, a low number compared to some cars, such as the 2016 Ford Fusion, which has ten recalls. The two recalls in the CTS are for a possible loss of power steering assist and damaged seat heaters that can cause a fire. 

2017 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score: 7/10

Owner Reliability Score: 8/10

KBB Value: $21,374

Fuel Economy: 22 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $250

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

In 2017, the CTS introduced a new Carbon Black package, which gave the car an aesthetic upgrade to match the great performance and safety ratings. The market value increased massively from the previous year to $21,374 due to an average of only 58,333 miles reported for 2017. 

The FIXD Reliability Score is 7/10, meaning the number of check engine lights recorded is manageable. Owner Reliability Score is 8/10.

Safety stays above average at 4.8/5 stars, scoring higher than the Ford Fusion (4.4) and Chevrolet Impala (4.4) for the same year. 

A significant improvement from 2016, repair costs are at the lowest in 2017, costing only $250 a year. This number may increase as the average miles in 2017 increase, but as of this writing, owners report only spending half a day in the shop, which is over a day less than the average of 1.7 days. 

Another great aspect of the 2017 CTS is the low number of CELs triggered. The most common DTC we have data for is P0700, which could be a severe transmission issue if not addressed immediately – discussed in the previous section about the 2016. 

The 2017 CTS only has one recall and eleven complaints. This single recall is related to the loss of power steering assist and would be repaired for free by a dealership.

2019 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score: 6/10

Owner Reliability Score: 10/10

KBB Value: $33,523

Fuel Economy: 21 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $250

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

It would be more surprising if the newest possible CTS weren’t on the best side of things, and the last year of this Caddy got excellent reliability scores with low annual ownership costs and high safety ratings. 

The 2019 CTS scores 6/10 on the FIXD Reliability Score, meaning it has more CELs triggered than in 2016-2017. However, it still gets a perfect 10/10 Owner Reliability Score, showing that owners are willing to look past the additional codes or aren’t aware of the seriousness of the most common DTCs. 

Safety ratings stay impressive for 2019 (4.8/5), only scoring less than perfect on its front passenger side crash test. 

Repair costs are meager, with owners choosing the lowest possible option on their surveys at $250. This could be because only 25,000 miles have been driven on average for the 2019 CTS. This low mileage makes it the highest-valued car on our list, at $33,523. 

The most common DTC is P0128, a Coolant Thermostat Temperature Below Regulating Temperature. Replacing the coolant thermostat fixes this code. The following most common code, P0024, means “Exhaust Camshaft Timing- Over-Advanced Bank 2.” The main culprit is often lousy oil or solenoid failure.

Lastly, P0700 made a common appearance in 2019, which we also saw in 2016-2017 and could indicate a transmission issue. 

The 2019 Cadillac CTS has no open recalls at the time of writing this and only has six complaints. However, one complaint is hard shifting at lower speeds, so be wary of this paired with DTC P0700. 

2014 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score: 6/10

Owner Reliability Score: 10/10

KBB Value: $10,735

Fuel Economy: 19 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $417

Safety Rating: N/A

The 2014 CTS started the last generation of this luxury sedan. We often see the first year of a new generation landing on the worst side of the list, but this CTS has great reliability scores and low ownership costs. It does have a higher number of recalls, which isn’t uncommon for a freshman vehicle. 

The FIXD Reliability Score is 6/10, while Owner Reliability Score is 10/10. Owners once again have a different sense of the reliability of their car, but it isn’t so far off to count them as delusional. 

The 4.8 star safety ratings from NHTSA for the 2014 CTS is unsurprising as it has most of the same safety features as the surrounding years. A couple of recalls may affect safety, such as front seats not remaining anchored in the vehicle. Ejection seats may be useful for James Bond, but the common driver doesn’t need the added risk. 

Repair costs are relatively low for the first model year of the third generation, with owners reporting only paying $417 annually. This is over $300 less than the average across all years of the CTS. 

The two most common DTCs are P0300 and P0305, both related to misfires. Spark plug replacement is generally the repair needed and costs between $111-$450. Another common engine code is P0171, meaning engine bank 1 has too much air or insufficient fuel. This could be related to several things, including a vacuum leak, a dirty mass air flow sensor, or a clogged fuel filter.

Safety recalls are significantly higher for the 2014 Cadillac CTS. It has six recalls and 123 complaints. They aren’t enough for us to recommend avoiding this car, but if you’re shopping for a used one, you should make sure the recalls are taken care of. Have the car taken to a local dealership by the seller to check for recall repairs. It’s wise to have the seller repair these issues before buying, if it is a recall repair that’s necessary, the dealer should cover it.

2012 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score: 5/10

Owner Reliability Score: 10/10

KBB Value: $7,657

Fuel Economy: 18 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $679

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

The 2012 Cadillac CTS brought more power to its V6 engine. It introduced a Touring package to help it continue to compete with BMW and Mercedes. It also made Bluetooth standard in all trim levels and some of the nicest interior designs of any luxury model. 

The FIXD Reliability Score averages 5/10, while the Owner Reliability Score gets another perfect 10/10. It is safe to say that people who own a 2012 Cadillac CTS are generally happy with their sedan. 

45% of owners reported using it as their family vehicle, while 27% reported for luxurious and lots of driving (travel/commute). 

Safety ratings are above the overall average again, scoring 4.8 stars out of 5. Safety ratings are paramount but especially for those who hit the road every day. 

The 2012 has an average mileage of 117,857, which is higher than the previous year’s average of 91,667.

Repair costs stay below average at $679. 100% of owners reported having a repair over $500, and 20% of those were transmission related. 

The most common DTC for the 2012 Cadillac CTS is P0442, an evaporative emissions leak. A loose gas cap could cause this. However, the next two most common codes are P0171 and P0174. Paired together, these codes usually resulted in replacing the mass airflow sensor and costing owners between $172-$309. 

2012 Cadillac CTS follows the trend of low recalls. This model has only two recalls with 63 complaints. Most complaints deal with exterior lighting, as the headlight assemblies seem to collect moisture and discolor. 

2010 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score:  3/10

Owner Reliability Score: 8/10

KBB Value: $5,389

Fuel Economy: 20 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $850

Safety Rating: 4.3/5

Two years after a complete redesign in 2008, it seems there are fewer problems than initially came with a new generation. While the 2010 Cadillac CTS is at our side of best, it doesn’t come without its fair share of faults. 

The FIXD Reliability Score is unimpressive at only 3/10, which would make us suspect many serious engine codes. However, the Owner Reliability Score stays pretty high at 8/10, meaning the American luxury car continues to be loved by drivers. 

One fault is the lower-than-average safety score of 4.3 out of 5 stars. This isn’t bad, but it’s about a tenth of a point lower than all vehicles in 2010. There are safer options when it comes to mid to full-size cars, but the 2010 isn’t that far off the mark. 

Repair costs are another weak point of the 2010 CTS, costing owners $850 annually. This higher cost also matches that 80% of owners have paid over $500 for a single repair. 

The most common code for the 2010 Cadillac CTS is one we haven’t seen yet in the CTS, P0420. This common code often results in replacing a catalytic converter, which can be a repair costing $1,538 to $2,041. Another common code in 2010 is P0008, or “Engine Position System Performance Bank 1.” This severe code dealing with the timing chain can cause internal engine damage if it is not remedied. 

There are three recalls and sixty complaints in the 2010 Cadillac CTS.

The Worst Years of the Cadillac CTS

Front view of Cadillac CTS in black color

This is the list of Cadillac CTS years you should absolutely avoid. We again looked heavily at FIXD and Owner Reliability Scores before ranking them from the worst to the best. We also looked at NHTSA safety ratings, combined miles per gallon, annual maintenance cost, diagnostic trouble codes, and safety recalls.

2003-2007 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score: 1/10

Owner Reliability Score: 6-9/10

KBB Value: $2,642-$5,456

Fuel Economy: 18-19 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $417-$1,500

Safety Rating: 4.2/5

Although the Owner Reliability Scores are above average, we recommend avoiding the entire first generation of the Cadillac CTS. While there are some good parts, such as high levels of comfort and performance, the low FIXD Reliability Scores, safety ratings, and fuel economy land the entire first five years on the side of worst. 

The FIXD Reliability Score stays at 1/10 across all five years of the first generation. The Owner Reliability Score fluctuates from 6 to 9 out of 10, reiterating the fact that owners often believe their car to be more reliable than it is. 

The safety rating stays above four, which is something to be grateful for if you already own one of these models. However, 4.2 out of 5 stars for all five years is lower than the overall average and much lower than other CTS years on the other side of the list. 

Repair costs for the first generation are extremely high, especially in 2003, where it tops the list at $1,500. Spending that much on a car worth two to three thousand dollars is questionable. 2005 and 2007 will also cost over $1,000 yearly for maintenance and repair. The 2004 model stays low for ownership costs, only requiring $417. This could be due to the average miles on these models in our data being only 100,000, which is extremely low for a car almost 20 years old. 2006 CTS stays around the average for annual costs at $750. 

The diagnostic trouble codes make a real showing in the first generation, which explains the FIXD Reliability Score of 1/10 across the board. In 2003 the most common codes are P2176, P0161, and P0160. P2176 typically replaces the throttle body ($321-$460). P0161 and P0160 require new heated oxygen sensors ($153-$306). The 2004 model also requires oxygen sensor work triggered by codes P0036 and P0056.

The codes P0420 and P0430 are prominent in all model years between 2005-2007. These issues are the dreaded catalytic converter repair that costs $1,538-$2,041. Another common code 2005 is P0037, “H02S2 Heater Control Circuit Low (Bank 1, Sensor 2).” 

2006 CTS adds P0300, multiple misfires detected. You can add another $51-$173 to the repair bill if it needs ignition coils. Lastly, 2007 has a common P0455 DTC, which is luckily less serious than the others and is often just a loose gas cap

The first generation of the CTS has many more safety recalls than the other side of the list. Although recalls are repaired free of charge, the sheer number of previous points made about 2003-2007 make us recommend avoiding these years completely. The 2003 Cadillac CTS has four recalls and 321 complaints. 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 all have seven recalls, with multiple investigations and hundreds of complaints. 

2008-2009 Cadillac CTS

2008 Motor car Cadillac CTS at the city street.

FIXD Reliability Score: 1/10

Owner Reliability Score: 8/10

KBB Value: $4,927-$6,034

Fuel Economy: 20 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $750-$854

Safety Rating: 4.3-4.5/5

On our list of Cadillac CTS years you should avoid, the only way to go is up from the first generation. 2008-2009 don’t improve much from a FIXD reliability standpoint, but there’s a difference in overall repair costs and the number of safety recalls. It was also a complete style redesign, creating American Luxury to compete with foreign automakers. 

The FIXD Reliability Score doesn’t improve from the first generation, still grabbing the lowest score of 1/10. Owner Reliability continues to be slightly delusional at 8/10, but the pros must outweigh the cons in the eye of the driver. 

Safety ratings are just above average in 2008 with 4.5 stars out of 5, and slightly below average in 2009 with 4.3 out of 5. Another American mid-size sedan, the Chevrolet Impala, scored 4.8/5 in both 2008 and 2009. 

While repair and maintenance costs don’t break over $1,000, they still rank above average ($723) at $750 in 2009 and $854 in 2008. Both years have average miles over 120,000, which is considered high mileage for a Cadillac CTS. Therefore, repair costs are catching up with it and will continue to increase as the miles are tacked on. 

Based on the most common DTCs, the 2008 and 2009 Cadillac CTS will eventually need both a timing chain and catalytic converter. The two engine codes pointing to the timing chain are P0017 and P0008. P0008 means “Engine Position System Performance Bank 1,” and replacing the timing chain can cost between $1,046-$1,615. 

P0430 and P0420 are the codes that point to a bad catalytic converter ($1,538-$2,041) and add to why we recommend staying away from these two years.

Recalls aren’t as bad in these years as the first generation, but they are still worth avoiding. The 2008 CTS has only two recalls but 167 complaints. Twenty of those complaints are engine-related. 2009 has five recalls and 160 complaints – 48 of the complaints are related to the engine. 

2015 Cadillac CTS

2015 White Cadillac CTS car display at an auto show

FIXD Reliability Score: 1/10

Owner Reliability Score: 6/10

KBB Value: $18,052

Fuel Economy: 20 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $500

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

The 2015 Cadillac CTS introduced new technology and safety features such as self-parking and lane-change assist. It also has the most significant jump in market value over the surrounding years. This is primarily due to the low average miles in our data (50,000), but we don’t recommend buying a used one for that price. 

FIXD Reliability Score is 1/10, and Owners Reliability Score drops to 6/10. This decrease from the previous year and increase the following year show that owners know there are some reliability issues with 2015. 

Safety is a strong point for this CTS, scoring 4.8 stars out of 5. 

The annual cost of repairs and maintenance is also pretty good for this year, at $500. This is a solid $223 less than average. 

The volume of DTCs is a major reason 2015 is on the list of worst years of the CTS. The first and third most common codes are P0171 and P0174, meaning banks 1 and 2 are too lean, indicating a vacuum leak. These are moderate severity and could be caused by multiple issues. The second most common code in the 2015 CTS is P0496, “EVAP Flow During a Non-Purge Condition.”

The 2015 Cadillac CTS only has three recalls and sixty complaints, but the recalls can cause extremely unsafe driving conditions.

2011 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score: 1/10

Owner Reliability Score: 9/10

KBB Value: $7,538

Fuel Economy: 19 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $583

Safety Rating: N/A

Offered in five different trims, the 2011 Cadillac CTS was relatively unchanged from the previous year. While 2010 was able to stay on our list of best of the CTS,  several serious DTCs landed 2011 on the side of worst years. 

The FIXD Reliability Score is 1/10, a common score amongst the worst list. Owner Reliability is 9/10. 

Safety ratings were omitted for the 2011 CTS in this article because only one rating was present for this year on the NHTSA website, a rollover star rating of 5/5. While this is an excellent score for this metric, this year is missing all other standard safety ratings. Using the one rating as the basis for an average would create a heavily skewed number – it would be based on only one safety test style instead of 5 like many of the other CTS years included in this article. The safety ratings are probably similar to surrounding years, but without the official tests, it is hard to decide about the safety of this car for you and your family. Therefore, we recommend you choose a CTS on the other side of the fence. 

Repair costs are also relatively low for the 2011, reported by owners as $583. 67% of those surveyed said that they paid over $500 for a repair, and 33% of those repairs were engine repairs. This data coincides with the 1/10 FIXD Reliability Score. 

The most common trouble code is P0430, catalyst system efficiency below threshold. This resulted in that expensive engine repair, the catalytic converter, which is well over $500 ($1,538-$2,041). The next common code of concern is P0138, which means an O2 sensor has high voltage. 

Recalls are fairly low for most Cadillac CTS years, and most bad years are no exception. The recalls in the 2011 Cadillac CTS are manageable, only having two. 

2013 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score: 1/10

Owner Reliability Score: 9/10

KBB Value: $10,096

Fuel Economy: 19 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $694

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

At first glance, the 2013 CTS doesn’t look like it belongs on the worst of the CTS list but remember, the reliability scores are king, and there is a significant difference from the previous year. 

The FIXD Reliability Score drops to 1/10 from 5/10 the year before, and the Owner Reliability Score drops one point from 10 to 9. This indicates that owners know there is a reliability dip, they just don’t feel the impact as much as our FIXD devices did. 

Safety ratings stayed as solid as all Cadillac CTSs after 2012, with 4.8 out of 5.  This is good news if you already own this CTS, but if you’re shopping, you should look at the years toward the top of the article. 

Repair costs are below average, but owners reported annual spending of $694. A fairly large percentage (90%) claimed to have spent over $500 for repairs in one go. Another negative about the 2013 CTS is the average of 1.9 days spent in the shop. With an average of only 75,000 miles, you’d expect both numbers to be lower for this model year. 

Common DTCs are similar to other models around this year, with P0171 and P0174 being two of the most prominent. A mass air flow sensor replacement fixes this code combination and will run between $172 and $309. P0496, “EVAP Flow During a Non-Purge Condition,” is actually the most common code this year. The usual fix for this EVAP issue is replacing the EVAP Purge Volume Control Valve, which might cost $150-$200. Other potential culprits are an EVAP Line ($20-$100) or EVAP Pressure Sensor ($280-$330).

The 2013 Cadillac CTS has only two recalls and 66 complaints. 

2018 Cadillac CTS

FIXD Reliability Score: 1/10

Owner Reliability Score: 9/10

KBB Value: $27,521

Fuel Economy: 23 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $250

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

The 2018 Cadillac CTS is another year with a significant drop from the previous year in the FIXD Reliability Score. The FIXD Reliability came in at 1/10 after 2017, scoring the second highest FIXD Reliability Score of 7/10. 

The Owner Reliability Score is back on the rise to 9/10 after dropping from 10/10 in 2016 to 8/10 in 2017. 

Safety ratings remain unchanged at 4.8 out of 5 stars. 

Repair costs are reported at $250, but we have insignificant data for most of the repair details provided by owners about the 2018 CTS. 

The FIXD devices have provided us with enough data to know the most common DTC is P0300, which is random multiple misfires. Spark plugs, ignition coils, or a combination are common fixes for this CEL. Another trouble code to be aware of with this CTS is P0128, an engine coolant thermostat – it also shows up in other model years. 

Almost all Cadillac CTS models would be sitting pretty if the list were ranked solely on recalls. The 2018 CTS has the second-best safety recall and complaint numbers, with only one recall and four complaints. The recall is for a loss of power steering assist, and fifty percent of the complaints are about the power train.


What years of the Cadillac CTS have engine and/or transmission problems?

Most of the Cadillac CTS years have engines and transmissions that stand the test of time. However, we recommend avoiding the first generation due to catalytic converter issues. 

The early years of this Caddy have timing issues, specifically, the 2008 CTS, which has 20 engine complaints. 

The 2009 CTS has 27 powertrain complaints, with reports of early transmission failure and jerky shifting.

Engines and transmissions should be treated on a case-by-case basis. We recommend a mechanic inspection to see if your CTS or one you’re considering purchasing has any concerning problems. Contrasts in driving and maintenance can affect each engine or transmission differently. 

What is considered high mileage for a Cadillac CTS?

The highest reported mileage for a Cadillac CTS based on FIXD data is 155,000, while the average is only 90,210 miles. Based on this data, it might be considered high mileage for a Cadillac CTS at anything above 105,000 miles. 

The overall mileage of a CTS compared to its age also affects whether the car is considered to have high mileage. If the average number of miles driven per year is 12,000, a three-year-old CTS with 72,000 miles would be considered high, while a 6-year-old with only 36,000 would not. 

Each CTS should be treated as an individual case, and we recommend an inspection to determine how the miles driven have affected your CTS or potential CTS. Every vehicle is treated differently by its owner. Driving conditions and maintenance consistency can affect a vehicle’s overall condition, regardless of miles. 

What other vehicles should I consider? 

There are many viable options for a used Cadillac CTS. However, there are multiple other mid-size luxury vehicles you should consider. One prominent option is the BMW 5 Series, known for its athletic driving dynamics and luxurious cabin. The 5 Series offers a range of powerful engine options, precise handling, and a comfortable ride.

Another contender is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, renowned for its refinement. It might be a more expensive option, but it has a stylish exterior and a sophisticated interior. A final option, the Audi A6 is a luxury sedan popular among drivers looking for sporty handling. 

What owners of the Cadillac CTS like to use their car for:

Considering the Cadillac CTS is a luxury sedan, it is no surprise that luxurious driving is the main use reported by 22% of owners. However, 51% of owners use their CTS as a family vehicle, which is understandable due to its spacious interior and great safety ratings. 13% use the sedan for travel or a long commute, while 5% use it as an office on wheels. Another 9% of owners surveyed said they use the Cadillac for sport or fast driving, which is a testament to its powerful engine and performance. Thankfully, 0% use it for towing and off-road driving.

Frequent Use Categories: How Useful? (Out of 5 Stars)
Family Vehicle *****
Lots of Driving (travel/long commute) **
Hauling/Towing *
Office on Wheels *
Sport/Fast Driving *
Luxurious Driving ***
Outdoor/Off-Road *

A Note About Data and Information Sources

This article has many details about Cadillac CTS reliability; here’s what we used for our assumptions and recommendations.

  • FIXD Reliability Score & Data: Engine reliability information is captured via the FIXD App

The FIXD Reliability Score is calculated using the number of DTCs per year, weighted by mileage. This is then turned into a scale of 1-10 for easy graphing. 

This is an objective score.

  • Owner Reliability Score & Data: This data is the result of surveying Cadillac CTS owners who use FIXD. 

The Owner Reliability Score comes straight from owners of the Cadillac CTS.  

This is a subjective score.

To determine the Owner Reliability Score we ask each car owner:

How reliable would you say your Cadillac CTS is?

a. Just point A to point B driving

b. A Daily Commuter

c. Good for a 100 mile road trip

d. Good for a 500 mile road trip

e. I could take a cross-country road trip, no problem

From here we translate their answers into the Owner Reliability Score:

a. = 2

b. = 4

c. = 6

d. = 8

e. = 10

Keep in mind, owners may think their car is more or less reliable than it actually is. 

One potential problem is that people often buy the same make or model they are used to when they go car shopping, just a newer year.

Ford, for instance, has a number of consumer loyalty awards for the Ford F-Series, Ford Mustang, and Ford Expedition.

Car owners may be so loyal to the make or model they currently own that they would have trouble accurately comparing their cars’ reliability to others. 

It’s for this reason that we ask car owners a question that is relative to mileage rather than relative to other cars. 

Still, be mindful of the accuracy of these Owner Reliability Scores, people’s perceptions and unconscious blindspots can skew data. 

We suggest looking at both the FIXD Reliability Score and the Owner Reliability Score for this reason.

  • KBB Value: Average private-seller valuations as supplied by Kelley Blue Book (KBB), based on a Cadillac CTS with typical mileage for that respective model year.
  • Fuel Economy: Mileage-per-gallon estimates according to the EPA MPG on Fueleconomy.gov
  • Annual Maintenance/Repair: Upkeep expenses as reported by surveyed Chevrolet Equinox owners
  • Safety Rating: Crash test data collected and reported by NHTSA. We average all ratings for each year to come up with a simplified, average safety score. This makes it easier to look at on a graph.


  1. Cadillac CTS model-specific information, edmunds.com (various dates). Retrieved May 31, 2023, from https://www.edmunds.com/
  2. Model-specific recall information as per the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Retrieved May 31, 2023, from https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls
  3. Cadillac’s New Sedan Just Won A Major Car Award — Here’s Why It’s A Big Deal, by Alex Davies (November 8th, 2013), Business Insider. Retrieved May 31, 2023, from https://www.businessinsider.com/cadillac-cts-motor-trend-car-of-the-year-2013-11
  4. Cadillac CTS Sedan Generations, carbuzz.com. Retrieved May 31, 2023, from https://carbuzz.com/cars/cadillac/cts-generations
Keith Rollins Headshot

Keith Rollins is a copywriter and author that has been involved in the automotive industry for over 12 years. He has written for hotcars.com and is featured on Copywriting.org. When he’s not writing he’s spending time with his three kids, hiking, working on cars, or running. You can see his work at keithrrollins.com.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.


About the Author

Keith Rollins

Keith Rollins

Keith Rollins is a copywriter and author that has been involved in the automotive industry for over 12 years. He has written for hotcars.com and is featured on Copywriting.org. When he’s not writing he’s spending time with his three kids, hiking, working on cars, or running. You can see his work at keithrrollins.com.

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