Photo: Alex Davies
Over the last few weeks, I have seen a lot of commercials for Cadillac’s XTS, making claims about the ultimate meeting of luxury and technology.So when GM offered me the new sedan for a weekend, I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about.
It was an awesome three days.
The XTS is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that provides 304 hp. EPA-rated fuel economy is a respectable 17 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive; the full-size sedan also comes with all-wheel drive.
The basic XTS starts at $44,075; I drove a fully-loaded Platinum version that runs $60,385.
A Lounge On Wheels
The interior of the XTS is just as comfortable as Cadillac promises. It’s dead quiet; you hear nothing from the engine until the car is going at least 50 mph, and outside noise is well blocked, even in the middle of Manhattan.
The seats can be easily moved for proper support and comfort, and the hand stitching, leather, and wood grain in the Platinum version look great. The front has lots of leg room, the back is spacious, and the trunk is big.
Photo: Alex Davies
CUE and ControlsThe XTS and ATS are the first cars to feature the Cadillac User Experience (CUE), which the car company calls a “breakthrough” for “control and connectivity.” There’s a lot I liked about the system, but it still needs a bit of work.
I was sceptical about the idea of a touchscreen in a car. With physical buttons, you can feel your way around without taking your eyes off the road.
Cadillac promotes safe use of the large screen by disallowing certain functions when the car is in drive. The best way to control the entertainment system is through voice commands, triggered via a button on the steering wheel. I am not a big believer in computers using voice recognition technology; they simply never live up to my expectations.
The CUE system comes close: It did very well when the options were limited, like calling a contact in my phone (connected via Bluetooth) or playing a radio station.
For navigation, it fell apart. The closest it came to guiding me to Bear Mountain State Park was “Fairmont Hotel.” Even a routine Manhattan address took four or five tries to get right. Yelling at it does not help.
Once the address was in there, having the directions projected onto the windshield, alongside the speed of the car and local speed limit, makes a lot of sense, and I prefer it to hearing the commands read by a computer.
With AM, FM, and satellite radio, a CD player (hidden in the glove compartment), Bluetooth connectivity, and USB ports to connect other devices, there is no shortage of ways to play music in the XTS. The 14-speaker Bose sound system does a tremendous job of replacing the noise of the road with whatever you want to hear.
Overall, the CUE system works really well. The screen is responsive to even a light touch. It’s logical, easy to navigate, and a step up over any comparable system I’ve seen in other vehicles.
Photo: Alex Davies
How It DrivesThe XTS handles very well, and dominated one turn that has terrified me since I lost control of my high school Ford Escort on it. It accelerates and brakes effortlessly.
There are myriad little safety features that make driving easy: the rear-view camera for backing up, blind spot alerts that flash in the side mirrors, lane departure warnings in the form of a rumbling seat.
With the silent interior, the net effect is that sitting in the XTS is like being in a cocoon. You forget you are driving a car, and it takes a really sharp turn or a sudden stop to remind you. Of course, it is a luxury ride, and that is what luxury means on the road.
Simply put, Cadillac’s XTS is a great car. It provides everything a luxury sedan needs: lots of room, high-tech safety features, top notch handling, and an entertainment system full of bells and whistles.
For those who love driving, the feel of the road and the sound of an engine, this is not the right car. But for drivers who want to ride in total comfort, especially on long trips, the XTS is a good way to go.
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