2013 Cadillac XTS The return of the big American luxury car
Cadillac might be one of the oldest car brands in the world, if not the oldest car brand in the US. But that hasn’t stopped the company from innovating, pushing the envelop, and continuously trying to set the benchmark. However, Cadillac now more than ever probably faces the most competition in its 100+ year history, and is looking to capture more of the luxury market by introducing sedans such as the Cadillac XTS, a wonderfully, if not excessively equipped 4 door people mover.
Aesthetically, there is not a vast departure between the ATS, CTS, and XTS. They all have been afforded sharp sloping lines, and smiling grills that leave a little something to be desired. But aesthetics are largely subjective, and despite Cadillac’s traditionally boxy cut, it’s one that is iconic of the brand. That all said, this didn’t stop me from capturing what I’d deem aggressive looking photos of the 4-door Sedan. Nevertheless, the XTS suffers from a similar fate to that of soap opera stars; the camera makes it look heavier than its actual 4,006 curb weight (comparatively speaking the BMW M5 and Audi A7 weigh more yet look much lighter in photos). That all said, the XTS is the biggest of the aforementioned Caddy models, though one might not be any wiser while sitting behind the wheel of this fully equipped sedan.
Now, keep in mind that the XTS isn’t designed for racing or traversing the most tenacious of terrain. It’s a sedan that should be prefaced with words like luxury, comfort, and perhaps even boat. Two ride types are available, each with their own characteristics. Much like the Ranger Rover Evoque, the XTS sports a magnetically adjustable suspension, called Magnetic Ride Control, which can also be found in Chevy’s Corvette. Instead of accessing this feature using a traditional knob like control, it’s activated when the car is shifted into sport mode, which is the last notch in the gate. Activated, the XTS is transformed from a somewhat boat like ride, to a more nimble beast that is capable of slinging itself through corners with more agility, as well as stability, thanks in part to the 304hp V6 engine. Needless to say, there is no technology that can negate a vehicle’s curb weight, but this comes damn close. When off, or in regular drive mode, the Cadillac XTS exudes less vibration through its entire body and steering column, and moves a bit more sluggishly, though tolerably through turns and curves. Steering is also loosened, and the paddle shifters are made inoperable.
The above in mind, the XTS is an everyday driver. But you didn’t need me to tell you that. My point, though, is that it is an exceptionally comfortable car. The supple leather seats, which are both very supportive and soft, offer built-in air conditioning that is something like sitting within close proximity of an open fridge. Mind you they also radiate heat, though in my SoCal climate they were hardly necessary. I stand at just about 6 2 and with the front seat in a reasonably far back position – thanks to the full adjustable steering column – I was still able to sit in the rear with great comfort. That said, the XTS is a true 5-seater, provided of course you don’t lay down the rear seat’s arm rest and poke a set of skis through.
This model of Cadillac, which mind you was fully loaded minus the panorama roof, includes a variety of tech goodies that will have even the most iPhone affluent pressing buttons for days – if you’re reading between the lines that is both good and bad. Although a traditional instrument cluster is available, this version (Platinum) of the XTS boats a 12-inch display as well as a HUD.
The 12-inch LCD screen can be adjusted in accordance to one’s driving temperament. A total of four different layouts are available: simple, balanced, performance, and enhanced. I stuck with performance for most of my driving as I have an affinity for watching the tachometer rev up and down next to the speedometer – it’s a more sports car oriented setup. The balanced option also served well, as it can display a variety of infotainment info, and can be modded to show tire pressure, a small version of the map, nav turns, and a variety of other info. It’s all relatively well laid out. Furthering that is a HUD like display that appears in the windshield. I spent time with a comparable version in a 2012 Buick LaCrosse, though this one can be modified to show the tachometer, as well as upcoming turns and your iPhone’s song of choice. However, selecting the information can be a struggle, as the steering wheel controls aren’t very responsive, if not somewhat cryptic in their layout. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Pros: A two ton sedan that handles well through twists and turns despite its 4,006 curb weight. The interior is sumptious, its trunk space massive, and actually has a a comfortable and very useable back seat.
Cons: The infotainment system, CUE, overshadows much of the XTS’ other tech, such as the 12-inch instrument cluster (which is technically part of it). Furthering that frustration is the poorly developed and slow to respond touch controls found in the center stack.
More Pictures of 2013 Cadillac XTS