- Sprawl-out backseat space
- Quiet, refined interior
- Awesome safety net
- Near-ideal ride and handling
- Capacitative 'buttons'
- Expensive for what it is
- Front seats could have better support
If you're looking for a car that offers comfort, technology, and safety as its greatest virtues, the 2015 Cadillac XTS does everything a big luxury sedan should.
As the largest sedan in Cadillac's lineup, the 2015 XTS doesn't just aim to be a step up in size and space from the luxury brand's ATS and CTS sport sedans. It targets an entirely different kind of shopper—one who may be less concerned with all-out performance, and more in tune with comfort and plush cabin appointments.
It's a handsome car from the outside, with a softly arched roofline and smoothly styled sides to complement a look that is otherwise familiar to the other Cadillac models. The XTS targets the "large luxury" category, and shares many of inner workings with the Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse. With that in mind, the XTS represents the softer side of Cadillac, leaving the ATS and CTS sedans to fulfill enthusiasts' rear-wheel drive fantasies. From the inside out is probably the way that Cadillac would want you to see the XTS, as its instrument panel and interior trims showcase the latest from GM, with a swoopier look, softer details, and plenty of smooth contouring inside, contrasting with beveled, tightly-fitted metallic trim pieces.
You'll get one of the most extensive lists of safety features in any vehicle if you step up to one of the safety-tech packages in the 2015 XTS. There's even a system that can brake the XTS to a stop from about 20 mph—to help reduce pedestrian accidents, for instance—and occupant-safety scores are top-notch from both U.S. agencies.
Front and center inside the XTS is an 8.0-inch touchscreen that handles most of the car's infotainment features. It's the first of its kind in a new car, and it comes standard on every model. For the most part, we like Cadillac's system, which it calls CUE, thanks to its slick design. In other cases, we were slightly irked by the lack of physical knobs and buttons for some tasks—the capacitive buttons just aren't as responsive. That technophile approach extends to the gauge cluster too—most of the dials have been replaced by a configurable screen too. A Cadillac buyer from 20 years ago might not feel at home in the new XTS, but we think it's a good new direction.
Cadillac offers the XTS in four trims: base, Luxury, Premium, and Platinum trims, the latter three Cadillac calls "Collections," All versions come with CUE as standard equipment, but the latter two—Premium and Platinum—include premium audio and navigation.
There's a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, with screens that fold out of the backs of the front seats; also, a new rear-seat armrest design includes wood trim, radio controls, and controls for the available sunshade (an opaque sunroof shade is newly offered). Intellibeam headlamps and a new front-seat memory feature are also among the new items. OnStar now also offers 4G LTE connectivity and the ability to create an in-car WiFi network.
The 2015 Cadillac XTS is not trying to be a sharply tuned sport sedan; yet given its more comfort-oriented mission, it's surprisingly athletic. The base 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 is smooth and predictable with the six-speed automatic, although it's a little lacking right from a standing start; step up to the new Twin-Power V-6—a twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter, making 410 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and you probably won't be left wanting. This engine makes its peak torque from 1,900 rpm on up, so expect a V-8-like kick.
In all other respects, the XTS ends up feeling surprisingly athletic, considering its comfort-oriented mission. Thanks to a well-tuned suspension, with MagneRide magnetic ride control and air springs, the XTS stays composed and isolated, keeping minor harshness out while responses are more crisp than in other comfort-oriented cars.
At the same time, it's whisper quiet with the doors closed. Shoppers looking to shuttle four or five in supreme comfort will be pleased with the back seat in particular; the XTS has more space and more head room than competitors. Front-seat riders won't complain much either, there's plenty of room for driver and passenger too. Our only gripe is with the bolstering and depth of the seats, we think seats from other car companies hug their occupants better.