Driver's Seat: New Cadillac is 'like sitting in your living room!'

The XTS continues Cadillac's tradition of gentle angles. It is considered a contender in the luxury category.
The XTS continues Cadillac's tradition of gentle angles. It is considered a contender in the luxury category. (Cadillac News)
Posted: October 04, 2012

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum: American luxury revisited.

Price: If you have to ask ... well, it's $61,305. No options. (A base model can be had for mere pennies: $44,075.)

Marketer's pitch: "The new Cadillac XTS has arrived, and it's bringing the future forward."

Conventional wisdom: Edmunds.com says, "A spacious, high-tech cabin and available all-wheel drive make the XTS a strong contender in the full-size luxury segment."

Reality: The replacement for both the full-size DTS and STS models has a lot going for it.

Comfy ride: "It's like sitting in your living room!" That was the reaction from a colleague whom I drove home one night in the Cadillac XTS.

Not riding on air: But gone are the days when Cadillac's living-room interiors were matched to La-Z-Boy handling. The XTS moves quickly, thanks to its 3.6-liter V6 - I was sure it had a V8, but that's not even an option - and handles curves beautifully.

Lovely LCD: It does pretty much everything beautifully. The dashboard puts high-tech gizmotry to its best use ever, replicating an analog speedometer and other gauges. Three adjustable pods let drivers set up all kinds of information right in the line of sight.

Inside: Beyond the gauges, the dashboard features wood trim, and silver accents throughout sharpen the black interior. The leather seats are comfy, supple and supportive while still being spacious.

Outside: The biggest new Cadillac is a beaut. Cadillac continues its tradition of gentle angles in the XTS.

Easy electronics: The CUE interface takes away most of the buttons, but it's not at all difficult to use. I didn't find myself taking my eyes off the road for long stretches to make adjustments.

The touch screen with haptic feedback scrolls, swipes, spreads, and really copies your iPhone's moves.

Music mystery: Like the VW Touareg, the XTS's CD player is hidden away in the glove box. But unlike the Touareg, the CD player is easy to see there and is reachable from the driver's seat.

Speakers in the seats enhance the entertainment experience, as well.

Tell me about it: Voice commands are so easy to give, I made it my default method for changing the station for the first time ever. Only a few times did Lady Cadillac misunderstand my request.

Good vibrations: I'd written at length a few weeks ago about the vibrating seat cushions that alert you to danger in your path. The feedback politely alerts left cheek or right, depending on where the obstacle may be, and is much less annoying than the usual plethora of beeps and boops.

Baby got back: The rear seat offers Cadillac-worthy legroom. Separate heating controls and heated seats back there make the rear almost as good as the front, though only the front is ventilated.

But headroom is not as generous as one might expect. And the rear-wheel-drive setup (carried over from the base model) means the old-style hump chews into foot room.

Friends and stuff: A ginormous trunk will handle all the belongings you can throw at it. But the net for holding small things in my tester was really tight and almost useless.

And the rear seat splits and folds, which I wondered about in something this fancy from Detroit.

Heating and cooling: The heater vents are old-style Detroit - wide and low - but they really provide surprisingly good directional flow. I did seem to have trouble with defrosting the windshield, though.

Night shift: The overhead lighting goes so far into pretty that it's almost a little too dim. An accent lighting strip is a must at this level, now that even much smaller cars have them.

Kiss the sky: A nice big sunroof operates on a separate button from the shade. I've seen set-ups where they're on the same button and require deft timing to open just the shade.

Fuel economy: I observed 20 m.p.g. during my usual mix of highway and city driving.

Where it's built: Oshawa, Ontario

How it's built: No rating is available on the brand-new XTS, but Cadillacs generally land in the "better than most" area of J.D. Power and Associates' quality and predicted reliability ratings.

In the end: The XTS was such a nice ride that it kept my usual indignant line of questioning about luxury vehicles - "Is this really worth 60 grand?" - to a minimum.


Contact Scott Sturgis at 215-854-2558 or ssturgis@phillynews.com.

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