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A bit more about the Cadillac CTS
Cadillac designed the CTS for a blend of luxury and performance. The CTS features a sport tuned suspension and a quiet ride that are the focus of some drivers. A typical CTS is powered by either a turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder engine that gets better gas mileage or a larger 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine that puts out a bit more horsepower.
Upgrading from the CTS to the CTS-V means getting up to a 4.4-liter 8-cylinder engine with a supercharger. This is one of the faster Cadillacs available and can reach from 0-60 in about 3.8 seconds while the smaller engines are between 4.5 and 5.1 seconds. While all levels of the CTS are reasonably quick cars, the CTS-V being added to this range adds a bit to the range of tires you might want to get for this vehicle.
The Best Tires for the Cadillac CTS
The tires we will present are based on a few categories. Since some drivers see the CTS as an everyday driver and might want to know about regular all season tires, we’ll include those as well as higher end tires that are meant for more precise handling and higher speed. We’ll use TireRack data to discuss what each one is capable of.
Grand Touring All-Season
These kinds of tires are for people who want a lower priced tire that still does a very good job of making them comfortable on the road with the CTS. They offer an overall balanced ability to have comfort and handling in wet and dry, and they last a while longer than some other tires we’ll present.
Michelin CrossClimate 2
If you plan to drive your CTS every day to and from work and other places, and you live in a place that isn’t rather dry year round, these might be the best tires for Cadillac CTS for you. The CrossClimate 2 rates very well in dry and wet conditions and provides exactly the balance you’ll want to feel confident on the road after a small amount of snow, or on a dry sunny day.
The CrossClimate 2 is so well balanced that TireRack subjective ratings put both the wet and dry handling at a pretty outstanding 9.4 out of 10 while other tires in the same category don’t reach above a 9.2 in either category. They also do well in the winter, rating at an 8.6 though we wouldn’t consider them an extreme winter tire.
Starting at $260 per tire, the Michelin CrossClimate isn’t exactly cheap but it might be worth the extra dollars.
Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive
When it comes to overall handling and performance, the Goodyear Assurance is a close second to the Michelin CrossClimate 2. Coming in at a 9.3 in dry and a 9.0 on wet, the Goodyear Assurance holds its own well in all climates. The snow and ice rating is a bit lower at 8.1, so if you truly do live in a place that gets frequent snow, the CrossClimate might be a better option. Otherwise, the Goodyear Assurance does well.
Both the Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive and the Michelin CrossClimate 2 score well across the board. If you want to have a little more confidence that the tire will handle a variety of weather types well, we would suggest the CrossClimate 2 though the comparison is quite close.
You’ll pay a little less for the Goodyear Assurance as the tire starts at around $210 depending on the size you want. See it here on TireRack.
Vredestein Quatrac Pro
We’ll start by saying that the Quatrac Pro has priced a little lower starting at around $180 per tire. It’s not as much of a high performance tire as the CrossClimate 2 or Goodyear Assurance, but it comes pretty close. Rated at 9.1 on wet and 9.2 on dry, it still offers an exceptional balance in different handling conditions. The only downside is that the subjective tread life rating is not as good at 8.4.
If you are looking for a cheaper option that might not last quite as long and wear a bit more quickly, this is actually a good option.
Ultra High Performance Summer Tires
As the name indicates, these tires are made more for nimble handling and speed than anything else. These should not be driven in the winter or in cold conditions. These are starting to be what is called a sticky tire - or a tire made from special compounds that enhance grip under turning and acceleration.
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is as expected at its best on dry roads where it handles a 9.2 out of 10. The Firehawk Indy still gets a solid 8.5 on wet, which outranks tires in our previous category in some cases.
The Firehawk Indy 500 gets an 8.6 for comfort, which is actually quite good considering that the category itself doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being especially comfortable. According to TireRack tests, this tire is especially well known in the category for its handling abilities, which can help you and your Cadillac CTS take urban corners and tight turns easier.
Easier turns come in part from the Indy 500 using larger, longer independent shoulder blocks meant to hold a continuous grip while you are cornering so you can feel like the vehicle is constantly paying attention to your steering.
At $195 on TireRack these aren’t a bad price either. One thing you’ll want to keep in mind within this entire category is that the prices may be a bit lower because the tread life isn’t as long as traditional all-seasons.
General G-MAX RS
The General Alti-Max is quite similar to the Firehawk Indy, except the ratings are just slightly lower at 9.0 for dry and 8.7 for wet. Part of what makes the General a good option for the CTS is the use of a center rib for a balanced steering feeling - so you feel like you are always starting from the middle and not compensating for worn tires.
One advantage that the General has over Firestone is price. At $175 per tire, you might find the $100 total price savings over the Firehawk Indy worthwhile.
Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires
These are similar to our previously mentioned summer tires, only they are made to handle colder weather and tend to have some level of snow rating too - so these are good for almost any climate.
Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+
With such a nuanced, number and letter filled name, you’d hope that this tire lacks the pack for ultra high performance all season tires. The good news is that for Cadillac CTS tires, you’d be right. The Potenza achieves a 9.2 on wet handling and a 9.4 on dry handling. These are indeed high performance tires.
While not every tire has this, the Potenza is equipped with full depth 3D sipes that carry water, ice, and anything else liquid away from the treads on the tire. Some tires in the same category and especially in all-season don’t offer this - but this is also how the Potenza achieves a nice high wet handling rating.
While previous tires meant for performance have independent and solid shoulder blocks, the Bridgestone Potenza opens these a bit to allow water through while maintaining an excellent connection to the road while cornering.
Overall, the Potenza is worth it to achieve high speed stability, even in less than ideal conditions. They are also a few more dollars than one previous high at about $222 per tire at TireRack.
Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus
The ExtremeContact is built much like the Potenza, with a different rubber compound to keep the tire even more flexible in the winter and cold months. The result is a higher rating for snow at 7.7 than Bridgestone though you lose just a little bit, literally .1, in dry and wet handling. If you are the type of driver who is more nervous in snow with your CTS, this might be a good balance of performance and all season.
Overall, the ExtremeContact makes great use of smaller knobs in the corners in an effort to let some ice and snow out when needed. Another cool feature from ExtremeContact is the inclusion of an alignment verification system with indicators that show when your vehicle is potentially out of alignment, which is nice since tires on a suspension that is out of alignment will wear out faster.
The ExtremeContact also starts at a slightly lower price point than the Potenza at about $200 per tire at TireRack.
Vredestein Hypertrac All Season
Vredestein continues to be associated with a great value for what you get with their Hypertrac all-season. The Hypertrac scores a 9.1 on dry and 8.9 on wet, just slightly lower than the two previous tires that were priced a bit higher. Wide, channeled shoulder sipes allow the Hypertrac to eject water and ice quickly, making this a decent overall all season tire, and actually rating it higher than Continental or Bridgestone on snow and ice at 8.9.
At $176 per tire at TireRack, these are a great deal while also offering outstanding performance. These are our picks for the category.
Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4
The Michelin Pilot Sport All Season is a rather well known tire - and for good reason. These are nice for Cadillac CTS tires rating at a 9.3 on dry, 9.1 on wet, and providing good comfort for a true performance tire at 8.8.
How does the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season do it? They have a unique compound that Michelin calls Extreme Silic that provides microscopic biting edges and 360 degree variable sipes that usher away the unwanted liquid.
The Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season is not the cheapest tire on our list with a price on TireRack of about $235 but they could certainly be worth it for Cadillac CTS tires that are the most useful in multiple weather conditions.
BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S PLUS
For a slightly lower price, the BFGoodrich g-Force offers slightly less performance. This one earns an 8.9 on wet and 9.2 on dry, which is still pretty good. The only challenge with the BFGoodrich tire in this scenario is that comfort marks aren’t all that high at 8.3 and treadwear isn’t great either at 8.1. With that said, for $173 per tire on TireRack, you get a good bargain that is perfect for Cadillac CTS tires that aren’t driven all that often.
These overall handle well with large side blocks that wrap around near the front of the tire, providing good high speed stability. For performance tires, these are a pretty good price!
So what Cadillac CTS tires should I choose?
Many shoppers of tires for the Cadillac CTS find the process difficult because it is hard to know the true difference between tires. Drivers should rely on raw data about what the tire can really do instead of weird rating systems provided by tire shops. We’ve seen rating systems that were out of 4 or 5 stars, but compared the tire's ability against other tires of the same brand, which only confuses some people.
We suggest using TireRack tests to compare tires directly. In some cases, they go so far as to consider how many feet a tire takes to stop in specific conditions, which is good to know, though again, are done with a skilled driver who is aware of what is happening.
Still, they provide a great idea of what performance tires can do.
Climate and Weather for Cadillac CTS tires
The next thing to consider is what kind of driving you plan to do. As you can see above, there are several types of tires to choose from. If you plan to drive your Cadillac CTS year round and you live in a state or place where rain or snow is common, we definitely recommend getting all season tires for the purpose. Note that while we can call them all season tires, many of the above tires were actually high performance all season tires, meant to lean a little toward getting a good grip. This comes more with a higher priced tag and maybe slightly less comfort than reducing the tire's ability to provide superb handling.
If you live in the southwest or south where the air is generally dry and you don’t expect to get much snow, it might be worth going with a tire that doesn’t have all that high of a snow or wet rating. Just keep this in mind when it snows or rains - just slow down, drive with caution, and you’ll be fine.
Tire Sizes and the Cadillac CTS
The Cadillac CTS actually has three standard tire sizes depending on the look you like, and the package you bought. The CTS can handle anywhere from 17” tires all the way up to 19” tires. Note that the pricing we offered above is based on the smallest wheels possible and the price will go up if you choose to get bigger tires.
Bigger tires add a bit of ride height and in some cases, owners and drivers of the Cadillac CTS do it because they think it looks cool. To each their own in that respect, but we can certainly understand people wanting to be able to see more of the road!
Does the CTS need performance tires?
In many ways, the CTS would definitely use performance tires. Especially if you are driving the CTS-V with the more serious 8-cylinder engine, you’ll find performance tires more useful in getting a better grip and better handling out of your vehicle. The CTS-V is also built to make better use of better tires, so we could suggest getting at least high performance tires to make the most of our investment.
The same typical all season tires you put on a minivan or SUV might not quite unlock the performance you are looking for when buying a Cadillac CTS. One potential suggestion: Should you move while you own your Cadillac CTS, you could consider getting new tires to better match your climate. We didn’t list any snow tires though they are available - bringing your tires in to swap them out during the winter isn’t all that hard and can be done with a routine oil change or winterization of the vehicle. This also keeps the tread life on both sets of tires lasting longer because you aren’t driving one for an extended period of time.
How does TireRack work?
We like TireRack because of their tests and a large collection of tires to choose from. You might be wondering how these tires make their way to your Cadillac CTS. TireRack has thousands of affiliates nationwide that will accept shipments of tires from TireRack - or sell directly to TireRack customers, and install tires for you.
Another option is to have tires shipped to your home, where you can install them yourself for a little less. Keep in mind that any mechanics shop or dealership will charge you a fee for old tire disposal and mounting new ones - but that is very common and will even happen if you buy a tire from the dealership.
There are other sites out there that take user reviews for tires, but not many of them offer actual tests and data as performed by the company. While you can take written user reviews for something, a person might have a different standard for their tires than you do - or might be really picky! Honestly, tire shopping is much easier with real data from real tests.
In most cases, you can’t literally just return tires without a significant headache for yourself and the selling tire shop.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding