Used 2016 Cadillac XTS Review

Edmunds expert review

With all the emphasis on performance in recent years, you might find yourself wondering if any automaker even makes a good old-fashioned luxury sedan anymore. Cadillac might have what you desire, though. The 2016 XTS has the soul of a classic Caddy, thanks to its spacious interior and cushy ride quality. But it's also fitted with the latest tech and has a strong turbocharged V6 engine available. Sound like the kind of Caddy you're looking for?




What's new for 2016

The 2016 XTS gets standard wireless phone charging across the board and a new grille in Platinum trim, while the other trims get the Vsport grille as a hand-me-down. The CUE infotainment interface has been enhanced and now offers Apple CarPlay capability, while the Driver Awareness package adds a surround-view camera. Finally, the XTS no longer comes with an SD-card slot.

Vehicle overview

Cadillac's big front-wheel-drive sedan enters its fifth year as the sole remaining old-school Caddy, built to appeal to a customer base that values comfort and roominess over performance and handling. Making good use of the brand's "art and science" design language, the 2016 Cadillac XTS is certainly an attractive package. There's performance in the XTS lineup, too, thanks to the 410-horsepower Vsport that comes with all-wheel drive (an option on lesser models). But the 2016 XTS's real leg up on the competition is its spacious interior, particularly in the backseat, as well as its cavernous trunk.

For 2016, the XTS is essentially a carryover model unless you're the tech-savvy type. In that case, you'll love the standard wireless cell phone charger, and you'll want to try out the revised CUE infotainment interface to see if you like it better than last year's version. Also worth noting is the new surround-view camera system, which Cadillac now includes with the desirable Driver Awareness package. Otherwise, the 2016 XTS is fully familiar from recent years, which means it's still a big softie with two capable V6 engines and a remarkable array of high-tech features for a traditional luxury sedan.

Among the competition, the 2016 Chrysler 300 offers a rear-wheel-drive platform, a choice of V6 or V8 power and optional all-wheel drive. Hyundai's recently redesigned Genesis sedan matches all that in a particularly attractive design. Climbing higher up the price pole, models such as the 2016 Audi A6 and the 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class are possible contenders, although both are midsize luxury sedans that can't match the XTS's interior space. Ultimately, if a modern version of the full-size luxury barges of years past is what you're looking for, the 2016 Cadillac XTS pretty much stands alone.




Trim levels & features

The 2016 Cadillac XTS is a large luxury sedan sold in four main trim levels: base, Luxury Collection, Premium Collection and Platinum Collection. The turbocharged Vsport is only offered in Premium or Platinum trim.

Standard equipment for the base XTS includes 19-inch wheels, rear air springs, adaptive suspension dampers with automatic leveling, xenon headlamps, LED taillamps, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather seating surfaces and 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks with a lockable cargo pass-through.

Standard technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 4G LTE connection with WiFi hotspot capability, an 8-inch color touchscreen that serves as the hub of Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration (Android Auto compatibility comes later in the model year), OnStar, voice controls and an eight-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, USB connectivity and an auxiliary audio input.

The XTS Luxury Collection adds visible dual-exhaust outlets in the rear fascia, illuminated door handles, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding mirrors, interior LED lighting, extended wood interior trim, a heated steering wheel, driver and front passenger memory functions, heated and ventilated front seats, a navigation system, heated rear outboard seats, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and an automated parallel-parking system (front-wheel-drive models only).

An optional Driver Awareness package for the Luxury Collection trim adds lane-departure warning, lane-departure prevention (FWD only), a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision alert, a vibrating safety-alert driver seat and a surround-view camera system.

The Premium Collection comes standard with the Driver Awareness package, and it adds adjustable thigh support for front passengers, automatic adaptive headlights, a head-up display, an upgraded 12.3-inch driver-configurable gauge cluster display, a 110-volt power outlet, a 14-speaker Bose audio system and tri-zone automatic climate control.

The Vsport Premium adds 20-inch wheels and an electronic limited-slip differential, though it loses the automated parking system and lane-departure prevention due to its standard all-wheel-drive configuration.

An optional Driver Assist package for the Premium Collection and Vsport Premium adds adaptive cruise control and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking. A power rear-window sunshade and manual rear side-window sunshades are also available.

Both the Luxury and Premium Collections are eligible for a panoramic sunroof.

The Platinum Collection includes the above options as standard, adding special 20-inch wheels with chrome accents, unique exterior styling (including its own grille), a faux suede headliner, upgraded leather upholstery, extended leather trim (including the center console, door panels and instrument-panel hood) and a deluxe rear armrest with audio and sunshade controls. The Vsport Platinum is similarly equipped, including the chrome-accented wheels, but otherwise shares the Vsport Premium's distinctions.

The Platinum Collection models also come standard with 22-way massaging power front seats that are optional on the Premium Collection.

Optional on Premium and Platinum models is a rear-seat Blu-ray/DVD entertainment system with dual displays, wireless headphones and a remote control.



Performance & mpg

The 2016 Cadillac XTS starts with front-wheel drive and a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 304 hp and 264 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is standard. All-wheel drive is available and can be identified by the moniker "XTS4."

In Edmunds testing, an XTS4 Platinum went from zero to 60 in 7.3 seconds, a second or so behind similarly priced and powered luxury sedans. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg combined (18 city/28 highway) with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg combined (17 city/26 highway) with all-wheel drive.

If you want more pep, the Vsport Premium and Vsport Platinum trims come with a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter V6 that produces 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It requires premium-grade gasoline. All-wheel drive is standard with the turbo V6, as is a six-speed automatic.

We clocked an XTS Vsport at 5.4 seconds from zero to 60, which is about average for a premium luxury sedan with an upgraded engine. The EPA rates the Vsport at 18 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway).

Safety

The 2016 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.

Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, a more advanced forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking, a blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning and lane departure intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera system and a vibrating driver seat that alerts the driver to an impending collision.

In Edmunds brake testing, an XTS4 came to a stop from 60 mph in 123.4 feet, which is average for a car in this class wearing all-season tires. The XTS Vsport required a tenth of a foot more.

In government crash tests, the XTS received a top five-star rating overall, with five stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side crash safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the XTS its highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal offset impact test as well as the side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash protection (seats and head restraints) tests. The IIHS also rated the XTS's optional frontal collision warning and mitigation system as "Superior."

Driving

As imposing as the 2016 Cadillac XTS seems at the curb, it's a distinctly smaller car from behind the wheel. Thanks to the standard adaptive suspension and trusty steering, the XTS manages to shrink its big body around the driver.

Nonetheless, rival sedans are generally better bets in terms of driving dynamics. Comfort is king for a traditional Cadillac sedan, and the XTS doesn't disappoint. The same adaptive suspension that keeps the body composed in corners provides a buttery-smooth ride on most surfaces. It's far from the floaty Cadillac land yachts of yore, but when you're rolling down the highway in an XTS, there's no doubt you're in the lap of luxury.

In the engine room, the Vsport's turbo V6 really transforms the driving experience. Not that there's anything terribly wrong with the base engine, but the standard XTS just lacks the confident oomph of traditional Cadillacs. The muscular Vsport, on the other hand, feels more like an old Caddy V8 off the line. Springing for the upgraded engine is a no-brainer if power is a priority.

Interior

The Cadillac XTS gives you the kind of passenger volume you expect from a nearly 17-foot-long luxury sedan. Rear riders in particular will appreciate their ample accommodations. With 18 cubic feet of capacity, the XTS's trunk is one of the biggest on the market, but it's unusually narrow, so long items like golf bags may need to be creatively positioned.

Of course, we're used to Cadillacs that give us room to stretch out. The XTS's futuristic dashboard, though, is something else altogether. The optional 12.3-inch gauge cluster display is beautiful, first of all, with all manner of driver-configurable options. Then there's the CUE ("Cadillac User Experience") infotainment interface, which integrates audio, phone, optional navigation and OnStar functionality into an 8-inch touchscreen display. Those familiar with smartphone and tablet interfaces should feel at home with CUE's touchscreen, as it uses similar touch, swipe and pinch commands.

There are also auxiliary touch-sensitive buttons beneath the touchscreen, and these are a mixed bag. These buttons help control the stereo and climate systems, and they can be a challenge to use if you're trying to drive at the same time. For efficient operation, you may need to look down at the panel for a bit to see what you're pressing, which of course requires you to take your eyes off the road. As slick as this control panel looks, we're not convinced that it's practical enough for prime time.

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.