2013 Cadillac XTS Review

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious cabin
  • top-notch materials
  • cutting-edge multimedia interface
  • available all-wheel drive
  • many available safety features.
  • Lackluster acceleration
  • narrow trunk
  • tech overload could turn off traditional buyers.
Other years
List Price Range
$12,495 - $20,890

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2013 Cadillac XTS replaces both the DTS and STS luxury cruisers. A spacious, high-tech cabin and available all-wheel drive make the XTS a strong contender in the full-size luxury segment.

Vehicle overview

Given the style and dynamic character of the 2013 Cadillac XTS, we'd say Cadillac has completely shed any remnants of its former reputation as a maker of billowy soft land yachts. Riding atop the same platform used to reinvigorate the Buick LaCrosse, the all-new XTS looks to extend Cadillac's youthful style into the upper reaches of its model lineup by replacing the aged DTS and STS sedans. And though Cadillac insists that the XTS is not its flagship sedan -- that car will come later to compete with the top German cruisers -- for now, it represents the pinnacle of a luxury brand that has transformed itself from staid to striking within a decade.

Outside, the XTS expresses Cadillac's current styling vocabulary with its prominent grille, vertical headlamps and taillights, and sharply creased surfaces. The cabin speaks of modern refinement with its use of aluminum, leather and wood, and it's also highlighted by CUE, Cadillac's new electronics interface. It features a touch-sensitive display on the center stack to control navigation, climate systems and connected communication apps like Pandora.

The 2013 Cadillac XTS offers only a single engine choice, a slightly detuned version of the same silky direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 found in the Cadillac CTS sedan. In this application, it generates 304 horsepower, which isn't really enough to allow the large XTS to keep up with similarly priced and powered luxury sedans. On the upside, its estimated 28 mpg on the highway is quite thrifty. The XTS can also be had with all-wheel drive for improved all-weather capability.

In terms of features, the XTS comes pretty well equipped, as even the base model has adaptive suspension dampers, xenon headlamps, leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control. Safety is also at the forefront, with an optional package that includes a number of monitoring systems plus a driver seat that vibrates on one side or the other if the XTS' radar systems detect an errant lane change or potential sideswipe.

With plenty of luxury features, available all-wheel drive and an expansive trunk and rear seats, the 2013 Cadillac XTS earns its place among large luxury-oriented sedans like the Chrysler 300C, Hyundai Genesis and Lincoln MKS. As the XTS offers such a leap beyond its Cadillac predecessors, we can understand why mature buyers returning to the brand might feel overwhelmed by the aggressive styling and all the technology packed within. But the only question should be when, not why, they should make the XTS their next Cadillac.

2013 Cadillac XTS models

The 2013 Cadillac XTS is a five-passenger luxury sedan. There are four trim levels: base, Luxury Collection, Premium Collection and Platinum Collection.

Standard equipment for the base XTS includes 19-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, xenon headlamps, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats (with power lumbar control), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and leather/faux-suede upholstery. Standard electronic features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch center touchscreen, OnStar and an eight-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, iPod/USB connectivity and an auxiliary input.

The XTS Luxury Collection adds a heated steering wheel, driver memory functions, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, interior ambient lighting, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and rain-sensing wipers.

The Premium Collection package builds on those offerings with adaptive headlamps, a head-up display, tri-zone automatic climate control, a 110-volt power outlet, a navigation system, voice controls, a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system and a suite of safety features that include blind spot detection, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and front collision alert.

Finally, the Platinum Collection offers 20-inch wheels, unique exterior styling, a sunroof, a power rear sunshade and additional cabin leather trim. Optional for the Premium and Platinum is the Driver Assist package, which includes adaptive cruise control with low-speed automatic braking.

2013 Highlights

The 2013 Cadillac XTS is an all-new model.

Performance & mpg

The 2013 Cadillac XTS is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 304 hp and 264 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels is standard. All-wheel drive is available and is specified by the moniker XTS4. In Edmunds testing, an XTS4 Platinum went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds -- adequately quick, but still a second or so behind similarly priced and powered luxury sedans. Fuel economy stands at an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel-drive models are rated at 17/26/20.

Safety

The 2013 Cadillac XTS comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control, front- and rear-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.

In Edmunds brake testing, an XTS4 Platinum came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is average for a car in this class wearing all-season tires.

Optional safety features include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert and a vibrating driver seat that alerts the driver to an impending collision on either side of the vehicle.

Driving

At nearly 17 feet long and 6 feet wide, the 2013 Cadillac XTS is a big car. But improbably, it never feels that big from behind the wheel. With its standard adaptive suspension, sharp steering and precise throttle response, the XTS manages to shrink its big body around the driver and corners more like Cadillac's CTS than the two legacy sedans it replaces. On the highway, the Cadillac XTS is impressively quiet and provides a firm but comfortable ride without a compromise in the feeling of control.

Unfortunately, the XTS needs more power than its V6 engine can provide. Though far from slow, it nevertheless lags in terms of acceleration compared to smaller midsize luxury sedans as well as more expensive flagship models with turbocharged six-cylinder or V8 engines.

Interior

The Cadillac XTS slots right in between its DTS and STS predecessors, a little shorter than the former and a little longer than the latter. The XTS is also shorter than the Lincoln MKS, yet offers more front and rear legroom and a larger trunk. With 18 cubic feet of capacity, the XTS's trunk offers plenty of space, though it's somewhat narrow, so golf clubs will likely need to be creatively positioned alongside other luggage.

Ample space is nothing new for a large Cadillac. But it's within the front dash panel that the XTS sets itself apart. The CUE infotainment system -- which stands for Cadillac User Experience -- integrates audio, phone, optional navigation and OnStar functionality into an 8-inch touchscreen display. Those familiar with smartphone and tablet interfaces will feel at home with CUE, as it uses similar touching, swiping and pinching commands.

We've criticized similar interfaces that forgo traditional knobs and buttons for virtual counterparts, as they've proven lifeless and distracting while driving. But Cadillac's unique haptic feedback for its touchscreen sends a small vibration in response to common commands such as climate control adjustments. It's a unique and reassuring feature that helps you keep your eyes on the road.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2013 Cadillac XTS.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Big Caddy with Styling
bigwes3,10/01/2012
Premium 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
Purchased a White Diamond exterior with Carmel/Black interior Premium FWD XTS in July after considering a BMW or Mercedes. After 3,300 miles in it, the more I drive it the more I love it. Outstanding ride quality and interior finish is top notch. So glad Cadillac did not abandon the smooth ride to chase the BMW/Mercedes performance (extremely hard ride) model. This car provides a perfect blend of cushion & performance handling. Big car ride with midsize handling. The spirited V6 provides excellent power while returning great gas mileage. CUE system definitely requires a dedicated learning period to familiarize yourself with the many features.
Excellent Machine
alexblackhawke,01/09/2014
Platinum 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
Purchased new in Ohio while on vacation and drove back to Las Vegas. Averaged 28 MPG for the entire trip and was impressed with the long range comfort and handling. It won't burn off the 20" tires but lots more available acceleration than what was needed. All of the interior appointments are top quality and once you get used to the electronics, easy to adjust through the CUE system. After three months, had glove box closure issue and the dealer just replaced the entire mechanical and electronic component to repair.
Platinum FWD--A Real Delight
rgj21,05/23/2013
Platinum 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
I took delivery of my XTS Platinum FWD in Sapphire Blue Metallic on May 11. I must say that I become more pleased with the vehicle everyday. I have owned a Lexus LS, a Jaguar XJ and a Mercedes CLS and the XTS compares very favorably with each of those luxury vehicles. GM has finally met the challenge of the German and Japanese luxury vehicles with interior materials, fit and finish and technology second to none. I seriously evaluated 11 other cars and SUVs before this purchase and could not escape from the fact that dollar for dollar the XTS was the best value in its class. It is a pleasure to drive, performs beautifully and has that head-turning quotient.
Computerized nightmare
jaymedic44,10/04/2012
Platinum 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
We bought the platinum edition, liked the different grille and wheels. As the salesman was showing my wife how to operate all the features all of the sudden the radio went to full volume. The salesman tried to turn it down but as soon as he removed his finger from the button it would return to full volume. They said it needed a software update and took it to the shop. An hour later he returned and proceeded with the demonstration and it did it again, not only did the volume increase on its own you can't turn it off. Well today it is making its 3rd trip back for the same issue plus some other electronic problems such as the seat memory won't work, Bluetooth connection is often lost and so on.

More about the 2013 Cadillac XTS
More About This Model

Make no mistake, the 2013 Cadillac XTS is a big car. It's nearly 17 feet long, more than 6 feet wide and nearly 5 feet tall. But indulge this big boy's abilities on a twisty road and you'll be amazed by his moves.

And big guys who can really dance are always fun.

Still, it's the XTS's capacity to shrink itself around its driver that makes it feel so capable. Largely, this competence is a product of the sedan's magnetic-ride dampers, honest steering and precise throttle control, which yield road manners far closer to its V-based brethren than to the DTS and STS cars that it replaces.

We'll admit that part of us is intrigued by a Cadillac that floats down the road while pillowing through potholes and wallowing over frost heaves, but mercifully, the XTS is no Fleetwood Brougham.

Authentic Confidence
For this you can thank Bill Peterson, the lead development engineer on the 2013 Cadillac XTS. His team tuned the sedan's magnetorheological dampers to yield a controlled ride with enough compliance to satisfy all but the most highly sensitive backsides. Ride quality in "Tour" — the softer of the dampers' two base settings — is compliant but controlled. Big impacts are adequately isolated, while body roll is well managed, which means some busyness still penetrates the cabin on a truly rough road.

You won't find a large menu of chassis adjustments on this Cadillac, either. And their absence reaffirms our belief that the right hardware coupled with confident tuning produces a luxury sedan that doesn't need to be adjusted.

There are compromises, of course. The XTS lacks the extremes of soft and stiff settings offered by its German competition. The upshot is that you won't spend time trying to dial in the perfect combination.

Old-school hydraulic-assist steering provides good on-center feel and off-center effort suited to a modern luxury sedan. Steering response strikes a just-right balance between sport-sedan quick and Fleetwood flaccid. And we were pleasantly surprised by a throttle with ample precision and linear response — especially at low speed. It's almost as if Cadillac looked at the qualities of old-school analog control hardware, realized the value in its authentic responses and tuned the electronic hardware accordingly.

Familiar Powertrain
Only one engine and transmission combination is available in the 2013 Cadillac XTS. It's the same 3.6-liter direct-injected V6 used in the smaller CTS, but here it's mounted transversely to drive the front wheels (all-wheel drive is optional). It's tuned to produce 304 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque and coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission.

According to Peterson, the front-drive, 4,006-pound XTS is good for zero to 60 in 6.8 seconds and will hit a top speed of 136 mph. Front-drivers are also estimated to achieve 17 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

All-wheel drive is offered on all but the entry-level XTS. It's designed to improve all-weather capability rather than increase the car's handling limits. We drove the XTS aggressively enough to expose any handling advantages the system might offer, and its presence went undetected. At the limit, as you might imagine, this big boy relies on the safety of understeer.

Paddle shifters are present on the backside of the steering wheel but are only activated by dropping the shifter into Manual mode. Doing so also switches the dampers to Sport mode and reduces steering assist. Downshifts are rev-matched while the braking is taken care of by Brembo four-piston calipers and 13.6-inch ventilated rotors up front.

CUE the Tech
Cadillac is aiming squarely at its German competition with the addition of a touchscreen infotainment system called CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience. The system — which integrates audio, phone, navigation (optional) and OnStar functionality into an 8-inch touchscreen interface — eliminates knobs and offers no traditional buttons. It's a new way to interface with these systems and — in our brief experience, at least — it seems to be a good one.

If you've become accustomed to iPhone and iPad interfaces, you'll be comfortable with CUE. Navigating through CUE menus and functions is done by touching, swiping, pinching and expanding. It works well largely because the touchscreen and HVAC controls below it respond with a positive pulse through your finger every time you give them a touch command. This "haptic" feedback is similar to what you feel in a handheld video game controller that vibrates — except in the XTS it doesn't feel cheap. The result is that you can look at the road while you repeatedly activate a control.

CUE is highly configurable, allowing users to store favorite destinations, phone numbers, radio stations and more in the menu bar at the bottom of the screen. After a preset time of non-use, all menu items disappear from the screen. A proximity sensor returns the menu items with a pass of your hand — no touching the screen required.

The system's layout is also logical and intuitive — at least to us. We were able to pair our phone to the car in about a minute with no prior instruction. And for those who might find this level of technology challenging, Cadillac supplies an iPad with every XTS. OnStar operators are also trained to support CUE functionality.

Optionally available is a 12-inch configurable gauge cluster that offers four instrument arrangements with varying levels of information. Configurable displays in each preset callow further user customization at a level unavailable in any other vehicle sold today.

Safety Tech
Two safety packages will offer an array of driver aids ranging from simple warnings to autonomous braking. The Driver Awareness package includes familiar technologies like lane departure warning, blind-spot warning and forward collision alerts. Unique to the XTS is Cadillac's Safety Alert Seat, which warns its driver by vibrating on the side of the seat corresponding to the threat. Wander over the white line and the seat vibrates on the right side. Begin a lane change into an occupied lane to the left and it vibrates on the left. Close too quickly on the car in front and it vibrates on both sides.

We've experienced these features before in many cars and find Cadillac's safety seat solution preferable to systems that utilize flashing lights, alarms or both. More importantly, we found the system calibrated to tolerate the heavy traffic we experience in L.A. Its subtle blips in the backside serve as an effective — but not terrifying — notice to wake up. Also, turning the system off is as easy as pushing a single button.

The Driver Assist package (not available until this fall) will include adaptive cruise control as well as front and rear automatic braking, which will bring the car to a stop from speeds up to 20 mph. This feature will prevent you from bumping the car (or fire hydrant) in front or behind while parking. It also includes a "collision preparation" feature that scrubs speed before an unavoidable collision.

Pretty, Functional Inside
Cadillac spent considerable energy styling the XTS interior — a fact that isn't fully appreciated until one experiences the top-level materials. Details like the microfiber suede headliner, tasteful wood trim and leather seat inserts give the XTS the feel of a much more expensive car. Base models forego the abundance of high-end materials, but still exhibit material quality aligned with their price. Six interior color combinations are available, including one with purple stitching. Sounds weird, but it's actually quite stunning.

The button-free, touch-sensitive center stack is an undeniably clean design, and a hidden compartment with a handy USB port resides under the HVAC control panel. Another two USB ports are available in the center console along with an SD card slot, so connectivity is never a problem. Dual-zone climate control is standard, and a third zone for the rear seats is optionally available.

Sized Right, Priced Right
One of the biggest questions facing the 2013 Cadillac XTS is its size relative to the models it's replacing. Cadillac insists DTS buyers will find the XTS amply large, and after driving it we can't argue. With an overall length of 202 inches, it lacks the DTS's sheer expanse (207.6 inches), but space is used more efficiently here — and it's still more than 5 inches longer than the STS.

At 111.7 inches the XTS's wheelbase isn't as long as the standard-wheelbase versions of the Audi A8 (117.8 inches) or BMW 7 Series (120.9 inches), but it exceeds those cars' front and rear legroom and its 18-cubic-foot trunk makes their cargo areas look laughably small by comparison. We adjusted the driver seat for our driving position, then planted our 5-foot, 9-inch frame in the backseat and found nearly a full foot between our knees and the seatback. Only the mutants will need more room.

Four trim levels — Standard, Luxury, Premium and Platinum — provide a broad range of luxury features and functionality. Standard models start at $44,995 including destination. Figure about $5 grand for each additional package, with the Platinum topping the range at $59,080. Cars will hit dealer lots by early June.

Complete Package
The 2013 Cadillac XTS's extensive tech puts it at the leading edge of automotive features, functionality and interface design. And from behind the wheel it's as competent, capable and comfortable as it needs to be. But it's still not the massive, rear-drive sedan offered by some of Cadillac's competition.

How much this matters will depend on just how big you need your big boy to be. We think this one is plenty big enough.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.

Used 2013 Cadillac XTS Overview

The Used 2013 Cadillac XTS is offered in the following submodels: XTS Sedan. Available styles include Luxury 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Premium 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Luxury 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Platinum 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Platinum 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Cadillac XTS?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Cadillac XTS trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Cadillac XTS Luxury is priced between $13,490 and$19,950 with odometer readings between 42764 and111040 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Cadillac XTS Premium is priced between $12,987 and$19,800 with odometer readings between 42744 and132975 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Cadillac XTS Base is priced between $15,900 and$16,995 with odometer readings between 29545 and57284 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum is priced between $12,495 and$20,890 with odometer readings between 65908 and117949 miles.

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Which used 2013 Cadillac XTSES are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Cadillac XTS for sale near. There are currently 16 used and CPO 2013 XTSES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,495 and mileage as low as 29545 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Cadillac XTS.

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Find a used Cadillac XTS for sale - 11 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $25,425.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Cadillac XTS for sale - 6 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $24,188.

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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Cadillac XTS?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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