2013 Cadillac XTS Review
We try out the new flagship Caddy.No Comments
We found the ride firm but not punishing--gone is the soft float of big Caddys of yore.
Cadillac is working hard on rehabbing its image to appeal to a younger demographic, since a brand with world-class luxury aspirations must do more than just be big in Boca Raton, and launching the flagship XTS sedan, along with the 3-Series challenger ATS, is the next step in that process. The brand makeover began with the successful CTS, and now it's up to the XTS to provide a credible challenge to the large luxury cars like the Hyundai Genesis, while also offering a lower price of entry than the Lexus LS or Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Will the XTS be able to wipe Caddy's last flagship, the unlamented DTS, from our memories? Read on.
Besides CUE and the reconfigurable instrument panel, the XTS offers features such as: a capless fuel-filler, adaptive cruise control, OnStar, heated and cooled front seats, a Driver Awareness Package (lane-departure warning, a blind-spot alert system, a rear-cross traffic alert system, and a 'Safety Alert Seat' that vibrates to warn of potential collisions), dual-zone or tri-zone climate control (depending on trim), 19- or 20-inch wheels, and heated rear seats.
There are four trims for the XTS: base, Luxury, Premium, and Platinum. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available on all but the base trim. All XTSs are powered by a 304-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 that pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Our all-wheel-drive Premium tester came standard with 19-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, wood trim, a 60-40 split-fold rear seat, satellite radio, a power tilt/telescope steering wheel, keyless entry and starting, a remote start, the heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats, tri-zone climate control, the Driver Awareness Package, adaptive headlamps, and a rearview camera. Total cost without additional features: $55,810.
The only options were a sunroof ($1,450), the white tricoat paint ($995) and rear window sunshades ($250). With the $920 destination charge, our tester topped out at $59,425.
Power delivery is strong, but the XTS isn't light, so that hampers overall acceleration to some extent. The magnetic ride control suspension gives the car stability in cornering, but it doesn't feel particularly agile. Steering feel is unremarkable at best, but it's certainly not overboosted, which is a positive. We found the ride firm but not punishing--gone is the soft float of big Caddys of yore.
We found that the safety seat could be intrusive at times, especially when parking, but it does get the driver's attention. The heads-up display has an integrated warning that alerts drivers when they're following too closely, and we kind of liked it, even though it seems like a bit of technology safety-net overkill.
On the other hand, the pinch method worked for zooming in and out on the map. CUE does offer some neat tricks, and it seems less buggy and more intuitive than Ford's MyFordTouch/MyLincolnTouch system. The reconfigurable IP is cool, too, offering easy to read gauges that can be easily customized to driver preference.
Otherwise, the XTS interior is on par with other current Cadillacs, with class-appropriate materials that feel nice but a notch below what's offered by Lexus and Mercedes. The interior is also nice and quiet, which is what buyers want in this class.
Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway--not great, but about right given the car's size and V-6 powerplant.
It's rare to refer to a Cadillac as a good value proposition, but the XTS does undercut the heavy hitters in price, and it offers a better experience than the Lincoln MKS while being on par with the Genesis. It doesn't quite compete with the Germans (as well as Lexus) in terms of interior class, but it's close enough that we suspect most buyers won't care.
The XTS doesn't blow us away, nor does it shoot to the top of the class. But it's solid enough that it will be very competitive. The same can't be said of the--wait, what was the name of Caddy's previous flagship? DTS? Memory-erasing mission accomplished.