What does $52,000 get you?
In a nutshell, a lot, but is it enough?
There’s A LOT of cars out there that anyone can buy for $50 grand. The XTS is a beauty inside and out, although I wonder if I would ever get accustomed to the spaceship headlights. I drove this maroon jewel to Georgia for my goddaughter’s daughter’s 1st birthday party and it didn’t disappoint on the way south, but the seats gave me fatigue issues on the way back home.
The thigh and glute support was just right, but the 2 separate lumbar air bladders I could never figure out the comfortable setting. My grandmother’s last 2 cars were both Cadillac Sedan de DeVilles (1978 and 1990) so I asked mom if she thought Grandma Faye would have eventually bought one of these and she said “No way”. At first I thought she answered to quickly, but after rethinking the seats, I think mom was right. This is definitely not your granny’s Caddy. The seats have changed from “8 straight hour highway cruiser” to “European spirited driving machine”. The 7-speaker Bose sound system and flawless highway manners are definitely top tier and undoubtedly continue that long tradition of 1st choice rides for a road trip. Under any highway or city street conditions, the suspension did a marvelous job of smoothing out imperfections, even with the large ‘sporty’ 19″ wheels. Calling it a BMW competitor is a stretch, but it’s obvious what German-made target market is in the crosshairs. The base 530i is barely $1200 more than this XTS, but with nearly 60 less horsepower under the hood.
The grille of the XTS resembles the rest of the Cadillac line with the unmistakable crest centered in the air intake, but the narrow chrome surround fog lights differentiate it from the ATS and CTS.
The 304hp V6 was a good mix of fuel economy and power, but with aggressive city driving, fuel economy will barely get out of the low teens. The 6 speed automatic was smooth in all conditions, but fuel economy would benefit greatly with at least 2 more top end gears. Handling was better than expected in a 2 ton Caddy, but no comparison to the near 50/50 weight distribution of a 5-series BMW. The Brembo brakes were impressive in wet and dry conditions.
The interior wood trim was beautiful and should hold up well over time. Within the wood trim in the doors was indirect LED lighting that looked incredible at night. The heated seats and heated steering wheel came on automatically when conditions warranted outside. The steering wheel felt warm to the touch in barely 20 seconds, but would stay on until I turned it off. The heated seats gradually turned down from the max (3 lights) to the minimum (1 light), but would never turn off completely on their own.
I inadvertently found the wireless charging compartment behind the HVAC controls. There was no indication at all that there was a ‘secret’ charging station above the USB and power outlet above the gear shifter. If the top of my hand hadn’t touched the chromed bottom button release, I never would have known that was there. I expect we’ll have more than a few customers leave phones because “out of sight – out of mind”.
In typical Cadillac fashion, the XTS trunk could swallow 18 cubic feet of suitcases and bags.
The dashboard has been upgraded immensely since my grandmother’s 1990 de Ville, but the gauge cluster and interior button fonts haven’t changed a bit. The steering wheel controls and menus took some getting use to and I really thought it’d be more similar to the Impala of a few weeks ago. I think it’s a positive that Cadillac has differentiated itself from the much less expensive Impala, but it was a little surprising.
The LED rear tail lights were unusually bright. I only know that because when the trunk is opened remotely, they turn on automatically. As you can see, the weather conditions were not ideal this weekend and extra lighting of any type was welcomed!
I was bewildered that all the latest safety features and tech weren’t standard issue. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warnings are only available on the higher Premium Luxury and Platinum trim levels which add $7,000 and nearly $17,000, respectively, to the base prices. In no way, shape, or form can Cadillac justify the Platinum trim level with an additional $20,000 to the base XTS with the same engine and transmission.
65 out of 100 – should be higher for a luxury car
70 out of 100
90 out of 100 – Bose has another winner
75 out of 100
65 out of 100 – 600 miles on a tank is possible
95 out of 100 – testament to suspension and tires that soak up nearly every road flaw.
60 out of 100 – parallel parking could be challenging.
RECOMMEND TO RENT:
70 out of 100
RECOMMEND TO BUY:
20 out of 100 – MSRP is ridiculous.