Cadillac’s nomenclature can be difficult to understand since it keeps changing. Here’s Cadillac model terminology easily explained.

Have you ever wondered why Cadillac insists on incomprehensible letters and numbers instead of actual names for its models? Well, you’re not alone.

The alphanumeric names are like a puzzle. Once you solve it, you know exactly what you get.

When Cadillac first started to manufacture its vehicles, the company named its cars with letters: Model H, Model S and so on.

Afterward, from the 1930s until the ‘60s, they moved toward the Series, the latest being Series 75. So, let’s look at Cadillac models terminology in more detail.

Model Terminology

Those familiar with Cadillac may remember when the models were labeled with full words.

Perhaps it was Fleetwood, the luxurious model made before the start of the 21st century. Or maybe you recall the Eldorado with its fancy name and unforgettable frame.

But times move on. These days, Cadillac names its new models differently. The title usually comes in three letters, such as CTS or ATS. A number might also be in the mix, like XT4 or XT6.

The meanings can be a bit contradictory. Some are clear, while others can only be guessed.

For example, TS almost universally means Touring Sedan. Add an X to it, and you have XTS – Crossover Touring Sedan. But not all of Cadillac’s terminology is easily deciphered.

Name Controversies

A good example is CTS. Many agree it stands for the original Catera Touring Sedan.

But some think the C doesn’t mean anything. There’s even a theory the C means C-series. It’s the same with ATS – A can mean American or Alpha or maybe A-series.

Even the most dedicated Cadillac fans can’t know their true meanings. Some definitions are readily available and others are left for interpretation, if they mean anything at all.

The X in XTS means crossover. And RX means reconfigurable crossover. But some say the famed X might not mean anything and was intended only as a temporary place holder.

Three-letter names even take over well-established models. Escalade is now often called by letters too. EXV stands for Escalade crossover version. An ESV is an Escalade built for high-performance.

Performance Labels

When it comes to engines, Cadillac has specific terms for them as well. The Northstar V8 was the reigning power between 1992 and 2011.

Blackwing is Northstar’s successor. It’s a twin-turbo V8 engine exclusive to Cadillac. It first appeared in 2019 with the CT6-V model.

The V in Cadillac names stands for the power of the engine. V Series vehicles come from Cadillac’s performance division. V Sport is a sporty version of the V series and slightly below the usual V models.

Vehicle Models

Here’s how the letters identify the vehicle model. CT can be read as Cadillac Touring. That’s its most popular application. But now it’s mostly used for new cars that aren’t SUVs.

XT stands for Crossover Touring and it’s used for SUVs. SUV is a sport utility vehicle. Usually, it’s a powerful vehicle with four-wheel drive.

In CTS-V, CTS could stand for Cadillac Touring Sedan. The C might also mean Catera, the name initially associated with the CTS abbreviation. The V stands for high-performance. This means the model is a lighter vehicle than an SUV and has an excellent performance engine.

The XT4 is an SUV, a compact Crossover Touring model released in 2019. It’s a first-generation vehicle with a turbocharged 2.0-liter. Due to engine capabilities and its lower measurements compared to other models, the XT4e doesn’t have the V in its title.

Keep in mind the number in the title doesn’t mean the sequence of models. Thus, the XT4 is a newer model than XT5.

Want to Learn More?

The vehicle’s alphanumeric ID hides its model and performance. If you want an SUV, skip all the CT models. Alternatively, if you seek a sturdy vehicle, the XT might be just what you need.

Nowadays, Cadillac terminology is full of abbreviations. But once you understand them, finding the car for you will be no trouble. For more information call us at (402) 238-1729.

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