The Car Connection Cadillac XTS Overview
The Cadillac XTS used to sit at the top of the luxury brand's sedan lineup—that is, until the CT6 came along.
The XTS now sits somewhere in left field on its own. It's a shame in some ways; the XTS is a representation of old-school luxury in many respects. While the rest of Cadillac's sedans chase German cars in terms of performance, the XTS delivers a smooth, quiet ride with plenty of interior space.
The XTS still is a good choice for drivers that might choose an Infiniti Q70, an Acura RLX, or a Lincoln Continental.
For 2018, the XTS has a slightly revised look outside, some new trim options inside, and a few upgrades to its infotainment system.
MORE: Read our 2018 Cadillac XTS review
Available in front- or all-wheel-drive models, the XTS is more affordable than German or Japanese luxury entries. It effectively replaced the former full-size DTS four-door, which supplanted the longstanding DeVille name, when it was introduced for the 2012 model year.
The Ontario, Canada-built XTS is based on GM's beefiest front-drive car architecture, sharing some of its underpinnings with the Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse. It's longer than both of those models, with a longer wheelbase, which means more interior space, especially in the rear. It's being marketed to the livery drivers who recently lost their rear-drive Lincoln Town Cars, bringing with it much more modern looks and Cadillac's latest design language stretched over GM's biggest front-drive architecture.
The XTS was initially offered with a single drivetrain, a 3.6-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city, 28 highway for the front-drive XTS, while all-wheel-drive models are rated at 17/26 mpg. A twin-turbo XTS VSport was soon added, with a 410-hp forced-induction version of the same engine, standard all-wheel drive, and revamped suspension tuning. That model fairs only slightly worse in testing by the EPA despite the power boost, with ratings of 16/24 mpg.
As for ride and handling, the XTS bridges the gulf between the old DTS and the crisper Caddys with a new suspension that features standard Magnetic Ride Control, a set of adaptive shocks that use a magnetically charged fluid that changes shock response according to road conditions. Performance struts and Brembo brakes are included on some versions.
Overall interior space of the XTS matches many full-size sedans, though in certain dimensions it's more comparable to some mid-size four-doors. In the rear seat, for example, the XTS has 40 inches of leg room—less than today's VW Passat but more than a short-wheelbase Jaguar XJ. The XTS's trunk is large, at 18 cubic feet, though it's down a few cubes from the Ford Taurus, which checks in at 20 cubic feet.
Cadillac has also rated this big sedan for fleet service. Certain upfitters can transform the four-door into a hearse, flower car, or limousine; jobs the biggest and best Cadillac sedans have been taking on for decades.
The XTS has some of GM's most advanced infotainment technology built into its cabin. It was the first Cadillac to offer CUE, which uses a fully haptic touchscreen with proximity sensing and multi-touch gestures like those used with smartphones and tablets to control secondary functions. CUE has received some criticism for its complexity, and Cadillac has released a few updates to make it more user-friendly.
Along with the in-cabin electronics, Cadillac introduced new short- and long-range radar systems with the XTS. These systems are used for adaptive cruise control, front and rear sensing for automatic braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. The XTS also features a driver alert system that vibrates the seat in the direction of an object behind them. Perhaps the most useful example would be backing out of a parking spot with crossing traffic. The XTS also features 10 standard airbags.
The XTS will remain on sale for a few years, but it's been strongly hinted that the XTS will only be offered until Cadillac's new CT6 sedan is in full production. The CT6 is a new full-size sedan with a lightweight body and the dimensions of a BMW 7-Series. The CT6 went on sale in early 2016.
For 2017, the XTS adopts a new gauge cluster, as well as a teen-driving protection system that can give visual and audible warnings when the car goes over a set speed limit, and can display how and where the vehicle was driven during a certain time period.