Cadillac has undergone a renaissance of sorts. Gone are the Brougham, DeVille and Fleetwood that comprised large, full-size boaty sedans from GM’s top-line carmaker. In place are vibrant, sexy and chiseled lines of the SRX crossover, CTS and CTS-V coupes, sedans and wagons all with performance and handling characteristics comparable to many pricey Euro cars.
My 89-year old mother recently, and reluctantly, sold her low-mileage and beloved ’89 Brougham that I hated to drive even to the local filling station for her because of its roly-poly handling, behemoth size and mushy ride. It was, however, a good comparison to what Cadillac’s are today.
And the new XTS sedan is a prime example of modern day Cadillac and the company’s redefined quality and image. The XTS has replaced even the more recent DTS and STS models that were the sedans of choice for older buyers.
Gone too is V8 power. The new XTS is now propelled by a 3.6-liter, 304-hp V6 (at 6,800 rpm) with a 6-speed automatic transmission. This six makes more power than the former 292-hp Northstar V8 gas-guzzler of old. EPA rates the V6 powertrain at 17 city, 28-highway mpg for front-wheel drive, and 17/26 for the all-wheel-drive model.
One noticeable difference here is that the V6 comes into its own at higher rpm’s so low end acceleration is not as brisk as the V8 was. It’s been 0-60 tested at about 7.3 seconds. But hey, wouldn’t’ you rather have better mileage than gasoline slurping low-end torque? Even wealthy folks look for economical transportation.
The XTS handles competently and rides smoothly (with magnetorheological dampers) without the traits of old. It’s a completely different big-car ride that has evolved into a semi-performance sedan despite its 202-inch length and 4,280 pound weight. The suspension is adjustable for Sport or Tour, the latter being the softer ride.
One trait the XTS did retain from Caddy’s of old is a hush quiet ride. Parallel parking too is no longer an event with its quick ratio steering. It’s easily manageable and assisted via a rearview camera and a buzzing seat bottom that tells the driver you’re dangerously close to an obstacle. And if backing too quickly, a stabbing brake action deploys.
Interior accommodations are substantially better than what was in my mom’s ’89. While she had bench seats in front, the XTS sports supportive buckets with extended thigh support. And the huge CUE (Cadillac User Experience) display system uses unique chromed buttons that emit a subtle “thump” sound and vibration so you know your selection registered.
The entire high-tech system is similar to a Smartphone or iPad wherein screen selections can be touched, swiped, pinched and expanded. For computer challenged folks, the system may be intimidating, cumbersome and time consuming. Some apps require taking your eyes off the road. I did, however, like the “weather app” that shows a wide area weather radar display that gives temp’s, weather in the area and announces temperatures at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. daily. Pretty cool.
The back seat of the XTS is huge and limo-like. Because of that and its wide opening rear doors, this will be the new limo of choice since Lincoln no longer makes the Town Car.
Trunk space is also generous with 18 cubes that can swallow three medium roll-a-longs and two, maybe three golf bags. Or, flip the 60/40 seatbacks and space doubles.
An XTS FWD starts at $44,995 with delivery and escalates to $62,300 for the Platinum-4 AWD version I tested. Compared to the competition from Germany and Bavaria, the XTS offers more for the money and above all, it’s made in America.
To test drive an XTS, stop by Faulkner Cadillac off Route 22 in Bethlehem. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.