Used 1999 Cadillac Seville Sedan Review




what's new

The Seville sees only minor changes after its successful redesign in 1998. Cadillac's new massaging lumbar seats are offered as an option on the STS. Heated seats become part of the adaptive seat package, which is now available on both SLS and STS trim levels. And the optional OnStar mobile communications system will automatically notify the OnStar customer assistance center in the case of any airbag deployment, front or side, so that the center can dispatch emergency services to the scene. Previously, notification occurred only with a front airbag deployment. There are also three new exterior colors, Cashmere, Parisian Blue and Sterling Silver, and one new interior shade called Oatmeal.

vehicle overview

Since its rebirth at the 1991 North American International Auto Show, the Cadillac Seville has enjoyed premier status as the best American luxury sedan on the market. Imagine how the engineers and stylists selected to improve upon that award-winning design must have felt as they undertook the mission to create an all-new Seville for the 1998 model year. Thrilled? Terrified? A box of Depends, anyone?

The goal was to produce a world-class performance car that offered consumers sumptuous luxury and all the technological goodies available today. From our vantage point the goal was not only met, but exceeded. The world premiere of the 1998 Seville was held in September of '97 at the Frankfurt International Auto Show to exemplify the car's global focus. The first Cadillac ever to debut outside the United States, the Seville embodies not only the best America has to offer, but in many respects the best of what the world has to offer, too.

For example, there are two engines available for the Seville. Both are dual-overhead-cam V8s, rated among the best on the planet. A 275-horsepower version of the 4.6-liter Northstar V8 goes into the Seville SLS, while the STS gets an additional 25 ponies under the hood. But these motors are smoother and quieter than even the second-generation Northstars from the 1997 Seville. Induction and exhaust noise is muted, and engine-driven accessories are bolted directly to the engine block to reduce vibration and harshness.

Both Seville models have a slick-shifting four-speed automatic transmission, but the STS comes equipped with a feature titled Performance Algorithm Shifting (PAS). PAS uses sensors to evaluate a driver's intentions, and programs the gearbox to behave like a manual transmission during spirited driving. For example, while approaching a corner and standing hard on the brakes, the transmission will select the proper gear for taking the turn before the car begins to change direction. Then it will hold that gear in the corner, eliminating an upshift that could unsettle the Seville's balance during that kind of maneuver.

StabiliTrak is standard equipment on Seville. According to Cadillac, that's like having a co-pilot on board. Sensors hooked to a microprocessor monitor steering angle and other driver inputs to determine what the driver is going to do. If the Seville responds in such a way that is inconsistent with the computer's expectation of what the driver intends, the system selectively applies the front brakes to help keep the car on the intended line. In snow or on ice, this can make the difference between remaining on the road or sliding off the pavement and into the woods.

Under the sheet metal, a Continuously Variable Road-Sensing Suspension (CVRSS) and an Integrated Chassis Control System (ICCS) seemingly tether the Seville to the ground. CVRSS employs dampers at each corner to instantly adjust the Seville's ride and handling setup to accomplish the task at hand. Think of CVRSS as an active suspension without all the heavy high-pressure hydraulic hardware. ICCS reads the road surface and selects the best shock absorber setting within milliseconds. Together, these systems are designed to provide optimum suspension control at all times, regardless of driver input or road surface.

Inside, passengers find luxurious leather appointments, Zebrano wood trim, and an ergonomically functional control panel highlighted by electro-luminescent analog gauges. Interior storage is outstanding, with a glovebox that accommodates a Franklin planner, a clamshell-design center armrest console, and an umbrella tray under the front seat. Standard on the STS is the Bose 4.0 audio system, which excels at providing crystalline sound reproduction through eight speakers and a trunk-mounted subwoofer. For 1999, a new heated seat is part of an adaptive seating package available on both models. Adaptive seating works via a network of inflatable air cells installed in the seat cushion, seatback and side bolsters. The system automatically measures pressure in these areas and adjusts the amount of cell inflation to provide optimal comfort and support. If you prefer, you may simply order massaging lumbar seats as an option on the STS.

Styling is evolutionary, and it only looks dramatically different from the previous Seville when new and old are parked side by side. Compared to the 1992-97 model, the new Seville has a wider stance and a lower hood, resulting in a more aggressive appearance. Edges have been softened all around, a contemporary look that should wear well.We could go on about the optional On-Star Communications system, the RDS stereo system and other Seville goodies, but space is limited. What we have here is an outstanding example of American design and engineering excellence. The Seville looks to be well worth every penny.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.