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Home Road Trip 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing 48-State Road Trip

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing 48-State Road Trip

by Staff

From the November 2023 issue of Car and Driver.

A road trip that puts tires in all 48 contiguous states and hits 50 major U.S. landmarks was the perfect exclamation point to put at the end of our time with our long-term 2022 CT5-V Blackwing. Our route followed the framework of a 13,699-mile itinerary designed by a data scientist in 2015.

We figured we could get it done in about 30 days if we kept a steady supply of fresh drivers, so we sliced it into seven chunks, with keys handed off from one pilot to the next about every four days at various points around the country. Some staffers brought a spouse, a child, or a friend along for the ride, and all reveled in the cathartic healing of a road trip exploring the vastness of our country.

We introduced the CT5-V Blackwing to both natural and manufactured beauty. We drove past the Grand Canyon and through Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, and Glacier National Parks and posed in front of the White House, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin house in Wisconsin, and the Breakers, the Vanderbilts’ dramatic summer home in Rhode Island. The Mall of America was not on the route, but we stopped there anyway. It is decidedly not beautiful.

No one would expect such a high-performance sedan to be so adept at the long haul, but the CT5’s ride quality is luxury-car fantastic, although many found the firm seat bolstering and armrest padding a little tiresome after hours in the saddle.

Car and Driver

The vast amount of soak time means nothing escaped our watchful eyes. For example, the seat’s lateral elements are black—black wings, get it? Also, as the temperature drifts upward from a cool morning, the air conditioning often doesn’t keep up. Following a restart, it seems to reset itself and comes on full force.

If you keep the speeds modest, fuel economy can be quite good (23 to 24 mpg), on par with boring midsize crossovers. A small-block V-8 turning slowly is a time-tested fuel-saving strategy. But from the Blackwing’s CTS-V origins, Cadillac’s megasedan has always had a relatively small tank, with none of us able to stretch it to even 400 miles between fill-ups.

Even though some drivers reported hitting the brakes no more than a couple of times a day, somehow, late in our time with the Blackwing, its rotors became curiously warped. This is quite surprising, considering that a few spirited laps at Virginia International Raceway months prior had no ill effects.

We also had plenty of time to ponder some of life’s big questions. Like, considering the wide-open spaces we drove through in Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, the Dakotas, and Nebraska, what percentage of the cows in this country have now seen a CT5-V Blackwing? Also, why do some historical landmarks attract so much kitsch? The biggest eye-roll goes to the vendor outside Mount Rushmore whose billboard dangled the loftiest of promises: “Be President, Next Right.” And why does the road quality sometimes change so abruptly right at the state lines? When crossing into Minnesota from South Dakota, for example, the roads immediately become Michigan-grade atrocious.

We overshot the theoretical 13,699-mile distance by nearly 2000 miles, some of that necessary to facilitate handoffs at major airports. The roughly 400-mile detour to visit Car and Driver contributor John Phillips’s Montana compound was the best kind of meandering diversion taken in a fantastic car on the open road.

The Blackwing flies under the radar of the general public, but those in the know—and we ran into them all over, from a recreation area in Oklahoma to a gas station in rural Washington to a porch outside of O’Neill, Nebraska—know to be in awe. The welcome sign in Winner, South Dakota, pretty much says it all.

Total Distance: 15,678 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 20 mpg
Number of Fuel Stops: 59

Where’s Blackwing?

Ever wonder what computer-science grads do when they’re bored? Here’s one example: Randy Olson, at the time a student at Michigan State University, digitized Where’s Waldo? books and then created a program that determined the best path for people’s eyes to follow to located the red-and-white-striped wanderer most quickly. He used the same algorithm to find the shortest distance through 50 landmarks and thus devised this route (meanwhile, Google Maps lets you enter only up to 10 waypoints at once).

Leg 1: From Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Washington, D.C.

2022 cadillac ct5 v blackwing

  • Fox Theatre, Michigan
  • Shelburne Farms, Vermont
  • Mount Washington Hotel, New Hampshire
  • Acadia National Park, Maine
  • USS Constitution, Massachusetts
  • The Breakers, Rhode Island
  • The Mark Twain House and Museum, Connecticut
  • Statue of Liberty, New York
  • Liberty Bell, Pennsylvania
  • Cape May Historic District, New Jersey
  • New Castle Historic District, Delaware
  • Colonial Annapolis Historic District, Maryland
  • White House, Washington, D.C.

Leg 2: Washington, D.C., to Mobile, Alabama

2022 cadillac ct5v blackwing

  • Mount Vernon, Virginia
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial, North Carolina
  • Lost World Caverns, West Virginia
  • Fort Sumter National Monument, South Carolina
  • Okefenokee Swamp Park, Georgia
  • Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
  • USS Alabama, Alabama

Leg 3: Mobile, Alabama, to Carlsbad, New Mexico

2022 cadillac ct5v blackwing

  • French Quarter, Louisiana
  • Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi
  • Elvis Presley’s Graceland, Tennessee
  • Toltec Mounds, Arkansas
  • The Platt Historic District, Oklahoma
  • The Alamo, Texas
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Leg 4: Carlsbad, New Mexico, to St. George, Utah

2022 cadillac ct5v blackwing

  • Pikes Peak, Colorado
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Leg 5: St. George, Utah, to Seattle, Washington

2022 cadillac ct5v blackwing

  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  • Hoover Dam, Nevada
  • San Andreas Fault, California
  • San Francisco Cable Car Museum, California
  • Columbia River Highway, Oregon

Leg 6: Seattle, Washington, to Minneapolis, Minnesota

2022 cadillac ct5 v blackwing road trip

  • Hanford Site, Washington
  • Glacier National Park, Montana
  • Fort Union Trading Post, North Dakota
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota
  • Ashfall Fossil Beds, Nebraska
  • Fort Snelling, Minnesota

Leg 7: Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Ann Arbor, Michigan

2022 cadillac ct5v blackwing

  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, Wisconsin
  • Terrace Hill Governor’s Mansion, Iowa
  • C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, Kansas
  • Gateway Arch, Missouri
  • Abraham Lincoln’s Home, Illinois
  • West Baden Springs Hotel, Indiana
  • Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
  • Spring Grove Cemetery, Ohio
Headshot of Dave VanderWerp

Dave VanderWerp has spent more than 20 years in the automotive industry, in varied roles from engineering to product consulting, and now leading Car and Driver‘s vehicle-testing efforts. Dave got his very lucky start at C/D by happening to submit an unsolicited resume at just the right time to land a part-time road warrior job when he was a student at the University of Michigan, where he immediately became enthralled with the world of automotive journalism.

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