2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum Sedan (3.6L V6 AWD 6-speed Automatic)
The new XTS offers lots of space, lots of high-tech features and gets plenty of stares with its flashy styling. It even performs pretty well for a full-size Cadillac, aside from lifeless steering. It's a legitamate alternative to German sedans.
PerformanceThe XTS tries hard to walk that sports/luxury sedan high line. It does a fair job, but as with all compromises, it ends up being unspectacular at both. Still, this is the first big Caddy we've actually considered flogging on a two-lane.
Unlike its competitors, the XTS has neither a V8 nor a forced-induction option. The V6 is smooth and quiet in town, mean-sounding when wound out, but accleration is only average.
We found the brakes a bit spongy and pedal travel was on the long side. The XTS pulled to the right significantly in panic braking tests.
In an attempt to appeal to older folks, the steering has too much assist. There's also little-to-no steering feel, yet the XTS has an oddly quick (for a large car) turn-in.
The XTS does well for how big and heavy it is, thanks to magnetic dampers. There's plenty of body roll at the limit, but slalom and skid pad numbers are competitive.
Intuitive throttle delivery, a super-smooth automatic transmission (allowing for manual shifting with throttle blips on downshifts) and easy steering make the XTS user-friendly.
The XTS has a maximum towing capacity of 1,000 lb, which isn't much considering this is a full-size sedan. But then, it's the same as the Chrysler 300C.
ComfortWhile the old DTS offered an ultra-quiet, ultra-plush, completely isololated driving experience, the XTS has its sights set on the Germans, and the seats and ride quality are significantly firmed up. Yet it's still quiet and comfortable.
The seats are overstuffed, but not typical Cadillac plush. Definitely all-day comfortable, though. Rear center armrest, door armrests and headrests could be softer.
Despite the adjustable magenetic suspension, the ride isn't as cushy as you'd think a big Cadillac would be. There's none of the floaty magic carpet ride from Caddy's of yore.
Wind and road noise are nicely kept to a minimum. The engine remains relatively hushed as well, although it does make a sporty growl in the higher revs.
InteriorThe main selling and anti-selling points of the XTS's interior will be the same thing: The CUE infotainment system. It eschews all knobs for a smartphone-type experience. Otherwise, this is a well-done, luxurious place to spend time.
If you can grasp the CUE infotainment system, then you'll be fine. The icons on the touchscreen are operated much like those of a smartphone. But the lack of knobs frustrates.
The front doors open super wide and there's no issue hitting your head on the way in. You barely have to duck. The rear doors don't open as wide and the roof is considerably lower.
Excellent head- and elbow room up front, not to mention plenty of right knee room for the driver. Good rear headroom, great kneeroom and decent elbow room.
Wide B-pillars and very thick D-pillars give some pretty significant blind spots, even with the extra rear triangle windows. Luckily the XTS Platinum comes with a rearview camera.
Very small front bin, smallish door pockets and glovebox. The trunk is large at 18 cubic feet, but it's deep rather than wide, which can make loading awkward.
ValueThe XTS offers immediate value because it's an EPA-classified Large car that competes price- and performance-wise with midsizers. So it offers more space but also a plethora of standard features. Dash rattles were surprising though.
Build Quality (vs. $)
In general, build quality is excellent, materials are top-grade. We especially enjoyed the Alcantara headliner. There were a few annoying rattles coming from the dash area.
The Platinum level XTS is actually an excellent value, even at its $61,305 starting price. With CUE, Bose sound, navigation and heated/vented front seats, it has most everything.
The XTS is larger than the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, yet it starts at just $44,995 with destination. Our AWD Platinum test car came in at $62,300 fully loaded.
The EPA rates the XTS all-wheel-drive model at 17 city/26 highway/20 combined mpg. We averaged 18 mpg during 674 miles of varied driving. Not horrible, but far from impressive.
The XTS warranty coverage is a bit above average, with a 4-year/50,000-mile basic and corrosion warranty, and 6 years/70,000 miles for the powertrain.
With 4 years/50,000 miles of free maintenance and 6 years/70,000 miles' worth of roadside assistance, owners should have few mechanical worries with the XTS.
Fun To DriveIs the XTS as fun to drive as an A6, 5 Series or E-Class? No. It's hurt by lifeless, overly boosted steering and only adequate power. Simply put, it doesn't offer the precision of the German sedans Cadillac is pitting its new car against.
We wouldn't classify the XTS as a driving experience in the enthusiast sense. But this is a lovely, comfortable, quiet car to cruise around moderately in. And CUE is kinda cool.
On the one hand the XTS is trying to be that quiet, comfortable, big luxury sedan that owners expect. Yet turn it into a corner and it will surprise you with its athleticism.
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