What's New for 1996
Sea Mist Green is a new interior and exterior color, and daytime running lights are standard. Eldorado gets new seats and revised audio systems. Touring Coupe interior is revised, with a center-stack console, bigger gauges and seamless passenger airbag. Rainsense, an automatic windshield wiper system, is standard on the ETC, as is an updated continuously variable road-sensing suspension.
One of the models that lured Cadillac back from the brink of becoming a laughingstock was the current edition of the Eldorado. Introduced in 1992 to critical acclaim, and then substantially improved with the introduction of the Northstar V8 in 1993, the Eldorado, and its sister car, the Seville, redefined Cadillac for the world.
However, the Eldorado hasn't been selling well. Seems the market for high-priced, traditional luxury coupes has dried up a bit during the past few years, and rumors are circulating about the death of this luxury coupe before the end of the decade. That would be too bad, because what's here is good. The Northstar V8 has been called the best production engine on the planet, and for 1996 Cadillac has improved the Eldorado. The changes aren't obvious, because exterior revisions are limited to the addition of daytime running lights and one new color.
Inside, the Eldorado's interior, seemingly inspired by Mercedes-Benz, is rich with leather and wood. Seats have been redesigned this year for better comfort, and audio systems have been revamped. An integrated voice-activated cellular phone is available, and "Sea Mist" leather is newly optional. It all works beautifully, but buyers evidently balk at spending 40 grand for an Eldorado.
The Touring Coupe benefits from additional improvements. A revised instrument panel with larger gauges and a more sporty, contemporary look debuts. Rainsense, a system that automatically turns on the windshield wipers and moderates their speed when it detects rainfall, is standard on the ETC. The restyled dashboard gets a seamless airbag design for the passenger restraint, resulting in a more smooth, refined appearance. A new center armrest contains increased storage room for music and the cellular phone. An upgraded Continuously Variable Road-Sensing Suspension is standard.
Lincoln's Mark VIII is a tad more expensive (except in California, where Marks come loaded for about $4,000 less than the Caddy) with only a slight performance penalty, and its retro-futuristic styling themes inside and out do not appeal to us as much as the Eldo's sharper edges, richly-appointed interior, and excellent powerplant, particularly in Touring Coupe form.