Cadillac XTS

2016 Cadillac XTS

Until performance-oriented models took precedence, full-size sedans served as the solid pillars of the Cadillac lineup. Introduced for 2013, the Cadillac XTS is the largest sedan in the group. Considered a step up from Cadillacs ATS and CTS sports sedans, the Cadillac XTS is about comfort, refinement and capabilities.

Drivers get ample passenger room with the Cadillac XTS. Backseat space qualifies as massive, topping that of most similar-size sedans. Occupants enjoy abundant headroom and bountiful leg space, within a quiet and refined four-door. Compared against such rivals as the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac scores well in technology and available features.

Changes are modest for 2016. The 2016 Cadillac XTS is distinguished by revised grilles, integration with Apple CarPlay, and wireless smartphone charging. A Surround Vision camera is newly available.

Two 3.6-liter V6 engines are available. Smooth and predictable, the base engine sends 305 horsepower to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Buyers of upper-level models who prefer more get-up-and-go can select a Vsport twin-turbocharged version of the V6, whipping up 410 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

Plenty of safety features are available, though you have to purchase an option group to get the most advanced items. One of them can apply brakes automatically, when sensors detect trouble, bringing the car to a halt from up to about 20 mph.

Also on the technical front, 4G LTE connectivity with GMs OnStar can create an in-car wi-fi network. All XTS sedans have CUE (Cadillac User Experience), with an eight-inch capacitive touchscreen (similar to an iPad) at the center of the instrument panel. Few actual buttons exist; nearly everything is done on-screen.

Fuel economy is about on par, considering the XTSs size. The Environmental Protection Agency estimated the base front-drive model at 18/22 mpg City/Highway, dropping to 17/26 mpg with all-wheel drive. Picking a Vsport engine lowers the estimates to 16/23 mpg.

Cadillacs XTS has earned good scores in crash testing, with a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) deems XTS Good, its highest rating.

2014 Cadillac XTS

The Cadillac XTS sedan was a new model for 2013, continuing to bring the marque up to the times with sexy shapes replacing cars with designs from the '90s such as the STS and DTS. The styling is bold, consistent with recent Cadillac direction, but not edgy. The Cadillac XTS is roomy and refined, with high-quality interior materials as one expects from Cadillac, and high-tech features such as a configurable electronic TFT (thin-film transistor) instrument cluster.

The basic structure of the Cadillac XTS was originally developed by Opel (that's a good thing) and is also used for the Buick LaCrosse. The base engine is GM's well-liked 3.6-liter V6, mated to a smooth and proven 6-speed automatic transmission. However, new for 2014 is the XTS Vsport, a twin-turbo version of that V6, making 410 silky horsepower with standard all-wheel drive.

We got nine sweet days in the car, and loved the seat time except for some electronic things. Not only the powertrain, but the ride and handling matches that of any European car, and it wasn't too long ago that you could never have said that. The looks, as well. BMWs seem to have lost their distinction, but not this Cadillac. Price-wise, it slots beneath comparable models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and even Hyundai, making it a compelling value.

The standard 3.6-liter V6 delivers 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque at a high 5200 rpm. The Vsport engine is a fast and wonderfully silky twin-turbo V6 making 410 horsepower and 369 pound-feet at a low 1900 rpm, for only a couple miles per gallon less than the EPA-estimated 17/28 in the base model. However, the Vsport requires Premium gasoline because of the engine's higher compression ratio.

The 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is seamless and obedient. The ride and handling in the base front-wheel-drive XTS is stable and composed. The Vsport gets all-wheel drive and a beefed-up and tuned suspension, and it corners with stability until it's pushed really hard.

Cadillac XTS comes standard with CUE, an acronym for Cadillac User Experience. The system features a large touchscreen and uses proximity sensors and voice recognition to control phone, audio and navigation functions. Like similar systems on other cars, we can't find anyone except the manufacturer who says it's easy. In addition to our nine days in the car, there was an event where 25 Northwest journalists drove the same XTS for about 30 minutes each, and we didn't hear any raving, not that they had time to mess with CUE.

New features for 2014 include standard electric power steering on front-wheel-drive models, available automatic parking assist also on FWD, Intellibeam headlamps that dim automatically, a rear seat entertainment system, front passenger memory seat, and opaque sunroof sunshade.

2013 Cadillac XTS

Cadillac is introducing a new full-size sedan for 2013. The 2013 Cadillac XTS fills a hole left in the Cadillac lineup since production of the STS and DTS ended a couple of years ago. In their place is the 2013 Cadillac XTS, a roomy cruiser that shows off the latest technology, upgraded interior materials and a refined Cadillac design.

Exterior styling on the Cadillac XTS is bold, but softer than on other models we've seen from the brand in the past few years. Also notable is the use of premium interior materials, such as leather upholstery as standard equipment, as well as a fully configurable electronic TFT (thin-film transistor) instrument cluster in front of the driver.

The Cadillac XTS is the first model to use CUE, an acronym for Cadillac User Experience. The system features a large touchscreen and uses proximity sensors, haptic feedback and voice recognition to control phone, audio and navigation functions. CUE comes standard on all XTS models, but navigation costs extra on the two lower trim levels. To sweeten the deal, Cadillac is including an iPad with all new XTS purchases, pre-loaded with an app that helps owners learn how to use the CUE system.

Underneath the new wrappings are decidedly familiar components. Namely, General Motors' Premium Epsilon platform, originally developed by Opel and used in several variations on GM vehicles worldwide, including the current Buick LaCrosse. The 2013 Cadillac XTS is powered by GM's much-used 3.6-liter, naturally aspirated V6 engine found on other Cadillac and Chevrolet models. Same goes for the 6-speed automatic transmission.

The new Cadillac XTS is longer than the old STS, shorter than the DTS, though the XTS rides on a much shorter wheelbase (111.7 inches). The XTS is slightly wider than the STS but 2 inches narrower than the DTS. The front seats in the new XTS are slightly roomier than those in the STS and DTS.

The 3.6-liter V6 in the new XTS delivers 304 horsepower at 6800 rpm, 264 pound-feet of torque at 5200 rpm. That's similar to the output of the old STS V6 model. Fuel economy in the Cadillac XTS is an EPA-estimated 17/28 miles per gallon City/Highway. The XTS is much more efficient on the highway than the old STS and DTS models, which were rated 15/23 mpg.

The new Cadillac XTS offers European-inspired ride and handling, quality materials, and plenty of standard features. And it retails for much less than comparable models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and Hyundai, making it a compelling value.


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