2018 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In vs. 2017 Tesla Model S

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The CT6 Plug-In’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Model S doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Tesla Model S doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The CT6 Plug-In’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the front seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The Model S doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The CT6 Plug-In has standard Reverse Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Model S doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

An active infrared night vision system standard on the CT6 Plug-In helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Model S doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The CT6 Plug-In has a standard Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Model S only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

To help make backing safer, the CT6 Plug-In’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Model S doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The CT6 Plug-In has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model S doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the CT6 Plug-In and the Model S have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rearview cameras.


The CT6 Plug-In’s corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model S’ (6/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

Cadillac pays for scheduled maintenance on the CT6 Plug-In for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Cadillac will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Tesla doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Model S.

There are almost 15 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CT6 Plug-In’s warranty.


The CT6 Plug-In’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid produces 20 more horsepower (335 vs. 315) and 107 lbs.-ft. more torque (432 vs. 325) than the Model S 75’s standard electric motor. The CT6 Plug-In’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid produces 11 more horsepower (335 vs. 324) and 116 lbs.-ft. more torque (432 vs. 316) than the Model S 60D’s standard electric motor. The CT6 Plug-In’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid produces 7 more horsepower (335 vs. 328) and 45 lbs.-ft. more torque (432 vs. 387) than the Model S 75D’s standard electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

The CT6 Plug-In’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel and a full charge is 483.4 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model S’ range is only 214-294 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The CT6 Plug-In has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model S doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction and acceleration, the CT6 Plug-In has larger rear tires than the Model S (265/45R18 vs. 245/45R19).

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CT6 Plug-In’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the Model S (122.4 inches vs. 116.5 inches).

Passenger Space

The CT6 Plug-In has 27.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Model S (121.2 vs. 94).

The CT6 Plug-In has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 3.7 inches more front legroom, .9 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 2.7 inches more rear headroom, 5 inches more rear legroom and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Model S.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the CT6 Plug-In’s available rear seats recline. The Model S’ middle row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style and remote trunk release lockout, the CT6 Plug-In offers cargo security. The Model S’ hatchback body style and non-lockable folding seat defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the CT6 Plug-In’s trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Model S doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the CT6 Plug-In to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model S.


Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Model S, the CT6 Plug-In has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The CT6 Plug-In’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Model S doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The CT6 Plug-In has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Model S doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

On a hot day the CT6 Plug-In’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Model S can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The CT6 Plug-In’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model S doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the CT6 Plug-In has standard extendable sun visors. The Model S doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the CT6 Plug-In to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Model S doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The CT6 Plug-In has standard front air conditioned seats and offers them optionally in the rear. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Model S doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The CT6 Plug-In has a 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Model S doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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