2018 Cadillac XTS

2018 Cadillac XTS Review

This nod to big, old-school cruisers keeps comfort as king but also packs in modern tech.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

The 2018 Cadillac XTS delivers on the brand's traditional strengths: a smooth ride quality, a quiet cabin, a big back seat and classy styling. It should be appealing if you value these qualities and don't need a bunch of performance capability in your luxury sedan.

That's not to say the XTS doesn't have any hustle. Although we've found the standard V6 struggles to launch the big sedan with any urgency, the 304-horsepower engine does fine once up to speed. We'd love to steer everyone into the top V-Sport trim and the 410-horsepower turbo V6 engine that comes with it, but that fully loaded model might be overkill for most drivers. Fast but perhaps not practical.

That's why it's hard to go wrong with any of the XTS trims, whether you just want a standard set of luxury and tech features or more modern conveniences and all-wheel drive. For 2018, the XTS gets a more refined cabin environment, with increased sound deadening and upgraded seats and a few exterior freshening tweaks. Whichever XTS you choose, you'll get a sharp luxury sedan with loads of room, especially in back, and a comfortable, quiet ride.



what's new

For 2018, the Cadillac XTS updates its exterior look with LED headlights and new bumper, fascia, grille and wheel designs. A new tire design and additional sound insulation should make the cabin even quieter, while revised seat frames and construction aim for improved comfort. Cadillac has also revised availability of certain features and updated the infotainment system with improved graphics and speed.

we recommend

The V-Sport will no doubt catch your eye; it's a comfortable cruiser with immensely satisfying speed. But assuming you don't share our tolerance for traffic violations, we'd steer you to the Premium Luxury trim. Get it for its extra standard features that burnish the XTS' luxury sedan credentials, including driver assistance features (a surround-view camera, for example), an adaptive suspension and a premium Bose audio system. Pricing for the Premium Luxury is reasonable, too.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Cadillac XTS is a five-passenger large sedan available in four trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum. The turbocharged V-Sport variant is only offered in Platinum trim. The base trim (called simply XTS) comes nicely equipped with a fair amount of luxury and tech, while the Luxury amps things up with features like heated front and rear seats and a navigation system. The Premium Luxury adds more desirable tech features, and the Platinum loads up with the best of the Cadillac catalog. The V-Sport Platinum also comes fully loaded but adds a 410-hp V6 engine.

The XTS comes equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine (304 horsepower, 264 pound-feet of torque) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available on all but the base trim.

Standard features on the base model include 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated side mirrors, rear parking sensors, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, and 60/40-split folding rear seats with a cargo pass-through.

Tech features include a rearview camera, Bluetooth, OnStar (includes a 4G LTE data connection and Wi-Fi hotspot), an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system with satellite radio.

The Luxury trim adds automatic wipers, ambient interior lighting, extended wood trim, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a navigation system, front and rear parking sensors, and an automatic parking system (front-wheel-drive models only).

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

The Premium Luxury comes standard with the Driver Awareness package and adds 20-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, adjustable front-seat thigh support, adaptive headlights, a head-up display, an upgraded driver-configurable gauge cluster display, a 110-volt power outlet, front-seat memory settings, a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system, and tri-zone automatic climate control.

Moving up to the Platinum adds an electronic limited-slip differential, a panoramic sunroof, a simulated-suede headliner, upgraded leather upholstery, extended leather trim (center console, dash panel), 22-way power-adjustable massaging front seats, and a deluxe rear armrest with audio and sunshade controls. Advanced driver aids include adaptive cruise control and forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking

The V-Sport Platinum is, no surprise, equipped almost identically to the regular Platinum trim, with the exception of a turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine underhood (410 hp, 369 lb-ft). All-wheel drive comes standard with the V-Sport, as does a six-speed automatic transmission.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 Cadillac XTS V-Sport Premium (turbo 3.6L V6 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current XTS has added tech features that include a Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless smartphone charging and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's XTS.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

3.5 / 5.0

Acceleration4.0 / 5.0
Braking2.5 / 5.0
Steering2.5 / 5.0
Handling3.5 / 5.0
Drivability4.5 / 5.0

Comfort

3.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Ease of use2.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out2.5 / 5.0
Roominess2.5 / 5.0
Visibility2.5 / 5.0
Quality3.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The standard XTS adequately straddles the line between sport and luxury. With this turbocharged V6 under the hood, it leans heavily toward sport. All-wheel drive amplifies its athleticism.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The 410-horsepower, turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 needed just 5.1 seconds to reach 60 mph. This is nearly 2 full seconds quicker than the non-turbocharged V6. All-wheel drive helps it dig out from a stop. The shifts are very quick but a bit rough.

braking

edmunds rating
The XTS stopped from 60 mph in 124 feet, about average for this class. Its brake pedal exhibited somewhat long travel yet remained fairly firm. It's perfectly suited to around-town driving.

steering

edmunds rating
The power steering assist is excessive for our tastes. The feel is disconcertingly light at low speeds. It stiffens up at speed, but even then it doesn't provide the confidence we expect from a sedan with sporting intentions.

handling

edmunds rating
The XTS handles well for its size. Despite noticeable body roll, even with the Sport mode for the suspension selected, this Cadillac can be quick around turns. All-wheel drive helps with exiting corners.

drivability

edmunds rating
There's lots of power available at low rpm, though you'll notice some delayed responsiveness when leaving a stop. Overall, though, it's very manageable around town.

comfort

edmunds rating
The V-Sport falls on the rougher side of the luxury sports car meter. Seat and ride comfort are firm as a result. Still, the cabin remains as quiet as those of most competitors.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
We found the seats adequately comfortable over long distances. They're not overly squishy, but they're not race-car seats either. They're easy to sit in for hours.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
Our test XTS had the optional adjustable suspension, but its ride quality wasn't particularly soft. It clearly errs on the side of sport.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Very little noise from the outside makes its way inside the cabin. One exception is the gentle rumble of the engine at higher rpm. This year's XTS should be even quieter thanks to improved sound-deadening measures.

interior

edmunds rating
Cadillac's CUE infotainment system is the most polarizing feature of the XTS interior. Even with practice, the system can never quite be mastered. Still, many users appreciate that it can be operated much like a smartphone.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The touchscreen features of the CUE system should be simple enough to operate. But it is the system's sluggishness, lack of knobs, and reliance upon soft-touch sliders and dials that we found frustrating.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The front doors open wide and the roofline is high enough that we had no trouble climbing in and out. The rear doors don't open as far, and the roofline is lower. Watch your head.

roominess

edmunds rating
Front passengers enjoy lots of shoulder room; those riding in the back have a bit less. The rear headroom is adequate, and the angled seatbacks allow plenty of space for knees.

visibility

edmunds rating
Its stylish design comes somewhat at the expense of visibility. Both front and rear roof pillars are thick despite the extra window cutouts.

quality

edmunds rating
The build quality was excellent on our test car. The top-tier materials feel luxurious.

utility

edmunds rating
Small-item storage is limited, with modest concessions up front, such as a small center armrest bin and glovebox and average-size door pockets. Trunk space is large at 18 cubic feet — big for the class — but the trunk opening itself is narrow and limiting.

technology

Cadillac has updated the CUE interface this year to have faster responses and better graphics. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and a Wi-Fi hotspot are standard.

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.