Cadillac XTS Weekend Test Drive Thoughts, Comments, Reflections

The Cadillac XTS is an excellent choice for a full-size luxury sedan.  It has the latest technologies in everything — power, suspension, braking, entertainment, information.  It is truly innovative in the use of CUE — and every new Cadillac needs this dash display.

This weekend I am test driving a Cadillac XTS courtesy of Crest Cadillac.  See my other posts —   Pickup, Cadillac XTS at Cars and Coffee, Cadillac XTS Virtual Dyno, Cadillac XTS Dash Display.  My test car is a Cadillac XTS with Premium Collection.

Cadillac XTS trunk open

Cadillac XTS trunk open

Highlights

I didn’t get to mention in the other XTS weekend test drive posts:

  • The Cadillac XTS has tons of head room.  Anyone should fit comfortably in this sedan.
  • Light pipes on the door handles are slick and allow the handles to light up at night
  • Interior light in the center console is a very thoughtful touch & makes it easy to find things at night
  • The 304 hp LFX has several aftermarket options for adding power and tuning now courtesy of its use in the Camaro
  • The way the door handle works with the keyless remote is different from my V but very functional.  The button on the handle locks/unlocks the door if you have the key fob.
  • The transmission in the XTS performs very well.  I prefer it in sport mode, but with normal or sport or manual shift with paddles on the steering wheel every driver can have the transmission operate the way they want it.
  • Total integration of vehicle information can’t be overemphasized.  This Cadillac is a thoroughly modern interpretation of the full-size luxury sedan.
  • Huge Trunk — the XTS trunk is a new standard in large trunks.

Headscratchers:

Items that made me go hmmm:

  • Acceleration programmed to be smooth — the XTS is drive by wire, and even in sport mode the throttle goes to 100% with some minute delay to ensure smoothness.  Not perceptible — I saw it in the data-log.
  • Missing the premium engine?  It is unusual for a Cadillac to only be offered with one power plant.  I suspect the actual premium engine is a FWD variant of the upcoming twin turbo 3.6L V6, but it is not ready yet.

 Cadillac XTS Summary

  • Worth the loot?  Yes — if you want maximum luxury + technology in a full-size Cadillac.
  • Why would you choose not to buy? If you want max performance please look at one of the Cadillac V-Series models.
  • Model I would get?  XTS Premium
  • Should I wait for the Cadillac ATS?  The XTS and ATS are very different Cadillacs.  If you want a full-size Cadillac with lots of leg room, shoulder room, full back seat, huge trunk, the Cadillac XTS is your ride.  If you want a small, sporty luxury sedan the ATS is the one.

3 thoughts on “Cadillac XTS Weekend Test Drive Thoughts, Comments, Reflections

  1. Thanks for the nice writeup, Bruce. I also had the opportunity to check out a production car this weekend. It’s my dealer’s first XTS: a White Diamond XTS Premium with tan interior. A few quick observations:

    –The seats are very comfortable and I LOVE that the headrests adjust forward and back, in addition to up and down.
    –There’s tons of back seat room.
    –The CUE system seemed to work well, especially the haptic feedback. It really felt like I was “pushing” a button on the screen.
    –The LCD screens were in the full sun (low in the sky and flooding through the back window) and I could still see both screens just fine.
    –I don’t care for the placement of the CD changer (in the glovebox), but that leads me to believe it will disappear in future models with the prevalence of iPods. If it’s going to be present, though, it should be within easy reach of the driver.
    –The trunk is big, but surprisingly shallow. I LOVE that it opens itself (instead of just popping up an inch), but I’d like to see a power close option.
    –I thought the capless fuel filler was supposed to have a smaller door. It seemed just as large as other Cadillacs and didn’t lock. Any car without a gas cap should have a locking fuel door to prevent vandalism, especially a Cadillac.
    –The salesman mentioned that the trunk and center stack compartment are both lockable with a passcode. That’s a nice touch, but he didn’t think the glovebox was lockable. If it’s not, it should be.
    –I noticed quite a few fit and finish issues, particularly with the interior. (Defroster vent for passenger side window sticking up out of dash, glue marks on the bottom of the wood trim on the dash, chrome trim pulling away at the top of the front door, creaky passenger door armrest.) I hope these are just early production glitches, but it seems that early in the production is when Cadillac would be watching most closely for small issues.
    –The UltraView moonroof is the same module as the CTS (problematic–let’s hope they’ve reengineered the whole thing and bought from better suppliers for this car). I really wish they’d offer a “standard” moonroof, plus a solid cover for the UltraView that lets no light through — like the first-generation SRX had.
    –The roofline, like most modern cars, is WAY too tall.
    –The doors do not have enough “heft” to them. Just letting go doesn’t make the doors latch completely. You have to actively “slam” them. If they’re going to be this light, there should be a motorized pull-closed mechanism like the BMW 7-Series.
    –The taillights remind me a lot of a Lincoln MKS, which isn’t a good thing. They need to be slightly more aggressive.
    –I did not like the touch-sensitive slider volume control. There’s a time and a place for touch sensitive controls. I’d never use the one they put in the car — the volume button on the steering wheel is far more functional and I couldn’t make the slider work reliably.
    –With all the ambient lighting on the car, I’m really disappointed that the door sill plates aren’t lit. The rear door sill plates are also too small (they’re pretty ridiculous looking).
    –It’s interesting to note the giant “speaker grille” that makes up the majority of the rear parcel shelf. I hope this was to eliminate rattles, but tapping on the grate makes a lot of “clanging” noises. I can see this getting noisy over time.
    –Visibility out the back seems poor and I could absolutely not see the front of the car, no matter which direction I stretched.
    –The shifter boot is just as ridiculously narrow as it appears in the pictures. The cup holders are small and shallow and I’d be nervous about trusting the rubber “nubs” that hold drinks in place.
    –The car has “fake” dual exhaust that splits right before the back of the car. It’s interesting to see that the exhaust ends right before the shaped “tips” in the bumper and is actually aimed to the sides.

    I haven’t had a chance to drive the car yet, but my overall impression was that this car would be a great replacement for the Buick Lucerne. It really *is* nice. Good looking, clearly an American car, but something about it just didn’t feel like a Cadillac. Maybe it was the color, but there were several CTS-Vs parked nearby, as well as a Regal GS, and I think I would have preferred any one of those. Not because of the size, but because the XTS just felt bland somehow. I’d definitely like to see another engine option — whether a small Northstar replacement or a twin-turbo V6.

  2. Nice, John — thanks for sharing your impressions.

    On the cup holders — Son2 did validate that a huge cup from the BBQ place fit and stayed in place properly!

  3. I’m glad you had a chance to test out the cup holders and make sure they work okay. I carry a big Smart Water bottle to the gym with me in my second-gen. CTS and it’s constantly tipping over and falling on the floor. If I have a passenger, two “medium” sized soda cups usually don’t fit side-by-side in the front cup holders unless they’re angled a little so the lids don’t catch on each other, which makes me nervous!

    I’m looking forward to additional XTS observations. This site is great and I really enjoy reading your thorough, detailed posts.

Please leave a Reply