- 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
The 2016 Cadillac XTS has virtues beyond its size; as a VSport, it's an exceedingly comfortable, quick cruiser.
The 2016 Cadillac is a handsome take of the brand's "Art & Science" design language, although it has eased from the extreme angles and edges of prior generations of Cadillacs. With a softly arched roofline and smoothly styled sides, it's a plus-sized complement to the other Cadillac models. 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.
As the largest sedan in the luxury brand's lineup, the 2016 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 than with a careful balance of comfort and capability.
The Cadillac XTS is not trying to be a sharply tuned sport sedan; yet given its more comfort-oriented mission, it's more athletic than its size implies. The base 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 is smooth and predictable with the 6-speed automatic, although it's a little lacking from a standing start. Step up to the VSport's twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter V-6, and you won't be left wanting by its 410 hp. It truly delivers a V-8-like kick.
In all other respects, the XTS tones down the cushy, underdamped past and dials in a more connected driving feel. 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 very quiet inside.
If passenger space is the priority, you've come to the right place in considering the XTS; in back-seat space in particular, it's roomier than most other sedans this size, with plenty of head room and lots of leg room. Front seats allow plenty of space, too, though they could be a bit more supportive.
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 2016 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.
The XTS comes in standard guise, plus in Luxury Collection, Premium Collection, and Platinum Collection versions. All come with CUE, although only the top two models include navigation and premium audio.
CUE sits at the center of the XTS's instrument panel, and it's the focus of this sedan's leading-edge feature set. At its heart is an 8.0-inch, fully capacitive touchscreen—like what's used in iPads and other tablets. The system helps clean up the dashboard, leaving it remarkably free of physical buttons. It also provides a touch-sensitive interface that mostly—if not always—enables an easy to use set of new features that wouldn't be possible with a roller-controller system, one like BMW's iDrive, for example.
There's a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, with screens that fold out of the backs of the front seats. The XTS also has a rear-seat armrest that includes wood trim, radio controls, and controls for the available sunshade (an opaque sunroof shade is newly offered). Intellibeam headlamps and a front-seat memory feature were added recently, as was 4G LTE connectivity with OnStar, and the ability to create an in-car wi-fi network.
For 2016, the XTS also adds available surround-view cameras, and integration with Apple CarPlay, which mirrors some iPhone content on CUE's screen.
According to the EPA, the base XTS with front-wheel drive earns gas-mileage ratings of 18 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined. Adding all-wheel drive pushes the numbers down to 17/26/20 mpg.