The Cadillac Deville 1968 vs Cadillac CT5 2023
There is no question that Cadillac has built a legacy of luxury for decades. For years, if Americans wanted to experience the affluence that few could only dream about, they chose King Cadillac. But despite the years of dominance, the past decade or two have seen the crown get tarnished, as most feel that Cadillacs are not built with the same quality as they once were.
The 1968 Cadillac Deville
The Deville began its journey as a separate nameplate in 1959 when Cadillac made the wise choice to offer a more mainstream luxury model under the high-priced El Dorado to boost sales. Americans loved the more affordable option ($5,250) and snatched up 53,000 in the first year alone.
In 1968, the Coupe De Ville had established itself at the heart of the Cadillac lineup, having endured three generations. The sweeping lines offered an elegant and affluent appearance; driving one meant you had arrived. The car had a monster V8 and luxurious amenities, and when put in gear, it cruised down the highway like an arrow straight and true.
The 2023 Cadillac CT5
The CT5 is a mid-sized luxury offering built in the fastback tradition of early Cadillacs of the 40s. With sporty, sleek body lines, the CT5 has more of a Lexus or Infiniti look than anything resembling the Deville. Powered by a choice of two engines, a 2.0L (LSY) turbo-charged inline-4 or a more powerful 3.0L (LGY) turbocharged V6, the car has a ten-speed automatic transmission and many modern features like the second generation Super Cruise (a self-driving feature) as an option. Equipped with the fourth generation of magnetic ride control since the 2021 model, the CT5 easily handles road imperfections.
Production figures for the 2023 model year indicate that Cadillac has sold almost 10k units (through June) and is well on track to beat the 2022 figure of 15,896 units.
Dimensions Between ‘68 Deville And ‘23 CT5
The most apparent difference between the new CT5 and the iconic Deville is size. The 1968 Deville seemed to stretch forever, with long, straight body lines that offered an imposing appearance. With a length of 224.7 inches (the wheelbase was 129.5 inches), a width of 79.9 inches, and a height of 55.6 inches. The curb weight was nearly 4,751 lbs.
The 2023 CT5 has a length of 193.8 inches, a stance of 74.1 inches, and a height of 57.2 inches. The wheelbase is a foot shorter than the 1968 at 116.0 inches. The CT5 is more than 1100 lbs lighter than its more prominent predecessor.
Regarding interior volume, the four-door ‘68 offered a “limousine”-like roominess with ample legroom, headroom, and hip room, seating six passengers. The 2023 CT5 is a mid-sized vehicle not designed for more than four adults (although the center rear section has seat belts). Taller adults will like to feel confined by the CT5 limited rear seat area.
Power And Performance
There was only one engine choice for the 1968 Cadillac Deville: the 7.7L (472 ci) V8, producing 375 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque. The V8 engine had a 4.36 x 4.06 bore and stroke and, at the time, was the largest passenger car engine ever produced. The 7.7L offered a 10.5:1 compression. The Deville could still do 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds, almost as fast as a 302 V8 Mustang.
The Devilles big drawback was that it sucked gas like nobody’s business. Since GM formulated the engine at the height of the muscle car era, when bigger was always better, no thought was given to fuel efficiency. The 1968 Deville’s robust V8 got a combined 9.6 mpg, barely squeaking out 13 miles to the gallon at highway speeds.
One of the best features of the ‘68 was its impeccable ride. Large springs and shocks worked with the adaptive suspension system to provide a ride that felt like many German luxury sedans.
The 2023 CT5 has a choice of two engine offerings: a 2.0L DOHC 16-valve inline-four that is turbocharged or the 3.0L V6. The four-cylinder puts out 237 hp and 258 lb-ft, with a 3.27 x 3.63 bore and stroke. The compression is 10.1:1. While the CT5 is speedy, doing 0 - 60 mph in 6.6 seconds.
The 3.0L V6 twin-turbocharged engine produces 335 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. The bore and stroke for the 3.0L is 3.39 X 3.35, with 24 valves and a compression of 9.8:1. This CT5 is blisteringly quick, posting a 4.6 second 0 - 60 mph time. Paired with a ten-speed automatic, the car has plenty of power.
Fuel economy is not bad for a Cadillac, as the 4-cylinder gets 27 mpg, and the V6 posts 21.5 mpg combined.
What makes a Cadillac a Cadillac is the fabulous luxurious interiors. When the 1968 Deville came out, Cadillac offered 147 different upholstery combinations for the car. Owners could choose bucket or bench front seats in cloth, leather, or vinyl. All Cadillacs were equipped with power windows and locks, power brakes, power steering, and power seats. Optional equipment included automatic climate control, an AM radio, and ostrich-grained leather.
A 1968 sales brochure remarked that no what configuration of Deville a customer chose, they “would enjoy a rich new dimension in motoring pleasure.” One of Cadillac’s slogans in ‘68 was, “It speaks eloquently about you, yet barely whispers.” For 162k customers who experienced it, that message rang true.
The 2023 CT5 has a nice interior like its forerunner. The company uses premium materials in its upholstery with heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats. A heated steering wheel and driver-centric items with LED lighting round out the cabin. The Bose audio system is an excellent state-of-the-art system with a user-friendly entertainment center. However, the cargo capacity is not very good, and there are a plethora of plastic knobs and dials that, as one reviewer stated, “seem out of place in a luxury car.” The same US News and World Report review rated the 2023 Cadillac CT5-V last (5 out of 5) for mid-sized sports sedans with its “unimpressive cabin.”
Frankly, given Cadillac vehicles' legacy in the past, we expected more.
Cost for Both The ‘68 Deville and the 2023 CT5
The window sticker of the 1968 Cadillac Deville was a bit over $5,750 (about $50k in today’s dollars), but it could go much higher with options. Unlike its two higher-priced siblings, the Fleetwood and the Eldorado, the Deville offered a lot of style and value for the money to young urban professionals who were itching to exercise their good fortunes.
The 2023 CT5 has a base price of $38,195, although with options, it can increase. The Premium and Luxury trims are usually priced in the $40s, with the CT5-V series starting at $50,495 and the special edition Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing fetching $91k.
If you can handle the gasoline that the 68 Deville is likely to burn through, buying one can be an excellent addition to any collector’s garage. (Many are still for sale and reasonably priced). As it is still too early to know what the 2023 CT5 will be worth in forty years, we doubt that it will have as much of a reputation as the iconic Cadillacs of the past. (The 2023 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing might be the only exception). If we were advising the next generation on which Cadillacs to snatch up, we’d advise our future selves to pass on the CT5.