2018 Cadillac XTS

2018 Cadillac XTS Review

This nod to big, old-school cruisers keeps comfort as king but also packs in modern tech.
7.2 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

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

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 Cadillac XTS V-Sport Platinum (turbo 3.6L V6 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.2 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration7.5 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering7.5 / 10
Handling7.5 / 10
Drivability7.0 / 10

Comfort

7.5 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort7.5 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control5.5 / 10

Interior

7.0 / 10

Ease of use6.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.0 / 10
Driving position7.0 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility6.5 / 10
Quality7.0 / 10

Utility

7.0 / 10

Small-item storage7.0 / 10
Cargo space7.5 / 10

Technology

7.5 / 10

Audio & navigation7.5 / 10
Smartphone integration7.5 / 10
Driver aids8.0 / 10
Voice control7.5 / 10

Driving7.5

The top-of-the-line XTS V-Sport Platinum offers enough dynamic chops to feel modern when driving at speed, which also seems out of character with the rest of the car. But with an evermore capable crop of luxury offerings in the segment, the V-Sport is losing ground in the area it shines brightest.

Acceleration7.5

With a 410-horsepower twin-turbo V6, power isn't lacking in this engine though it peaks a little later than we'd expect. All-wheel drive makes for slip-free acceleration no matter how hard you stomp the go pedal, while the six-speed automatic is nothing fancy but offers quick and smooth upshifts.

Braking8.0

The Brembo brakes perform well whether moving along casually in traffic or stomping the pedal to scrub speed quickly. The pedal travel is a bit long, but they were fade-free during performance testing and stopped the XTS in 118 feet from 60 mph, which is respectable for this class.

Steering7.5

The effort of the hydraulic-assisted steering feels appropriate for a large luxury sedan. And steering accuracy and feedback promote confidence when hustling along. But it feels a tad too light at more spirited speeds, and some testers complained of encountering torque steer on the highway.

Handling7.5

For an aging model, the XTS V-Sport feels its most youthful when it's on the move. It turns in quickly, while the adjustable MagneRide suspension helps keep body motions surprisingly tidy through corners given its size and heavy front-weight bias.

Drivability7.0

Drivability is good for the most part. The transmission will throw an occasional hard shift every once in a while, and the kick-down response for making a lane change or pass isn't as quick as we'd like. But the V6's power and torque help make up time in avoiding a compromised position.

Comfort7.5

A quiet cabin and seats comfortable enough for long-distance cruising are Cadillac staples. The suspension also delivers a decent level of comfort but sacrifices some pillowiness for performance gains. We were pretty underwhelmed by the climate system, though, which is a bit of a surprise considering this is a Cadillac.

Seat comfort8.0

Front seats are pleasant for the long haul but not performance-oriented. They're cushy with a lot of adjustments but lack real lateral support. There's a massage function, but the action is comically subtle. The rear seats come close to the softness of a couch, and all armrests are nicely padded.

Ride comfort7.5

The MagneRide suspension doesn't eliminate all undulations but does a decent job of rounding off sharp bumps and delivers a ride that feels controlled rather than floaty. We'd say it strikes a pretty good balance between comfort and sport, skewing slightly toward sport for a big luxury sedan.

Noise & vibration8.0

The cabin is well-insulated from all but a little road noise. Most noises come from interior materials, such as the seats rubbing against the armrest or steering wheel controls that squeak when you press them. There were also a couple of faint cabin rattles that were hard to locate.

Climate control5.5

Our tester's system lacked sufficient cooling capacity for a cabin this size and the touch-sensitive controls made adjustments a slow step-by-step process. Power seat ventilation is also pretty marginal even at its highest setting. The seat heaters are more effective but aren't all that quick to get hot.

Interior7.0

For a car aimed at an older demographic, usability may be a challenge. The XTS suffers from a fussy tech interface, challenging visibility and a cabin that doesn't feel as roomy as it should. As with many large luxury sedans, the rear passengers likely have it best.

Ease of use6.0

The touch-sensitive controls are responsive and refined, but it's still a clunky interface overall. Some controls are haptic while others are not, and the gloss-black surface and screen are prone to finger smudges. The touch-sensitive power storage compartment is annoyingly easy to activate unintentionally.

Getting in/getting out8.0

An easy-entry feature really helps with access to the driver's seat. And all doors swing open wide enough to accommodate individuals of all sizes. It's big for a midsize but on the small side for a full-size sedan. There's a slight step-over, but it shouldn't be an issue for most.

Driving position7.0

If you like being ensconced in a cabin, you'll feel a bit high in the XTS. There's a wide range of seat adjustments for side and lumbar support as well as a massage function that can be controlled through a seat-mounted knob but guided through the touchscreen. The steering wheel reach and tilt are only adequate.

Roominess7.0

For such a large car, the interior feels far from spacious. Front passengers won't be short on room. However, a large dash and center console take up a good amount of cabin space. The backseat passengers fare a little better with a decent amount of legroom and less of the cabin wrapping around them.

Visibility6.5

The chunky bottoms of the front pillars and sideview mirrors slightly obstruct the view forward. The view out back through a short rear window is mostly unencumbered, though the high decklid and chunky rear pillars make you thankful for excellent surround-view cameras with various view modes.

Quality7.0

The materials quality feels nice in areas such as the leather-wrapped dash and the soft premium leather seats. But the glossy simulated-wood trim and much of the switchgear just look cheap. Panel gaps aren't bad but don't look as tight as in other luxury offerings at this price point.

Utility7.0

The XTS boasts a trunk bigger than most close competitors and features rear-folding seats, which is rare in the large luxury sedan segment. But the Cadillac loses ground with a high liftover and narrow walls. Small-item cabin storage is also somewhat lacking, but not due to effort.

Small-item storage7.0

There are several storage bins throughout the cabin, including an (overly) touch-sensitive power flip door in the center console, a cubby on the driver's side, a modest armrest bin, and door pockets that hold a standard water bottle. It reflects a real attempt to provide options but falls short in execution.

Cargo space7.5

The trunk is deep, but the high liftover could pose some issues with heavy items. The covered side walls create a clean look but also a narrower luggage space that won't fit a set of golf clubs widthwise. The seats fold down, which is not too common in this segment. By the numbers, 18 cubic feet is good.

Child safety seat accommodation6.0

The lower seat anchors are hard to access due to firm seat cushions that you need to push away to access the hooks. Good luck not scratching the leather. The headrests flip down, which helps access to the upper tethers. There should be enough legroom to fit a good-size rear-facing seat.

Technology7.5

Cadillac may not have the best user interface, but when it comes to technology and connectivity it offers a decent package. The audio system gets creative with seat-mounted speakers, and OnStar provides off-board support for many of the systems below. We found the cameras to be most useful.

Audio & navigation7.5

The upgraded Bose system is pretty nice with its surround-sound speakers embedded in the front seats, though there are more impressive systems in competitors. The native nav is above average. It operates like a smartphone map and is responsive and easy to manipulate, with map data powered by OnStar.

Smartphone integration7.5

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and work well for the most part. There were a couple of instances we could not answer an incoming call through the car or phone, but that may have been an anomaly. There's wireless charging up front and a rear 110-volt outlet in the back.

Driver aids8.0

The lane departure system vibrates the driver's seat as a warning but does not provide steering assist. The adaptive cruise control will slow to a stop but lacks finesse. Surround-view cameras provide excellent resolution and are very helpful with multiple view modes. Blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert work pretty well.

Voice control7.5

Voice controls use your smartphone if it's plugged in but otherwise use enhanced off-board voice recognition. You can't adjust the climate, but you can search for locations without knowing the address. It was easy to use, even if only a few of the searches were successful in finding our request.

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.