- 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 XTS 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. The XTS sports a softer approach starting with its roofline and smooth sides. It's a good plus-sized companion to the rest of the Cadillac range, and it gets better on the inside. Its instrument panel and dashboard sport the latest technology, and its swoopier insides, smooth contours, and tightly fitting metallic trim are some of the best we've seen for a while from General Motors.
It's the biggest sedan in the luxury brand's lineup, although it's a bigger philosophical shift from the ATS and CTS that just having a longer wheelbase. We imagine most XTS buyers will be considering the big caddy for its comfort rather than its all-out performance, which is more in line with the XTS' mission.
The Cadillac XTS is not trying to be a sharply tuned sport sedan; yet 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.
Everywhere else the XTS tones down the cushy, underdamped past and dials in a more connected driving feel. Magnetic ride control and air springs team up to keep the XTS drama-free and polite on the road, without falling asleep like other comfort cruisers. It's quiet inside, but manages to keep drivers engaged with a crisp response to inputs.
Shoppers who prioritize interior room won't be left wanting; the XTS is roomy and spacious for five. Its back seat boasts plenty of leg and head room, with enough room for three across thanks to a well-cushioned center seat. The front seats are spacious and comfortable, although we'd like a little more support.
The XTS is loaded with plenty of safety features, and optional extras make it a good pick for choosy shoppers. The XTS can be fitted with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking that can arrest the car completely from 20 mph or less, or reduce the impact of a crash at higher speed.
Cadillac offers the XTS in several trims including base, Luxury, Premium, and Platinum collections. All versions are equipped with Cadillac's infotainment system, which it calls CUE, and Premium- and Platinum-trimmed cars come stocked with navigation and premium audio as standard.
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.