2018 Cadillac XTS

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
May 22, 2018

Buying tip

The 2018 Cadillac XTS probably makes the most sense in Luxury trim, which is just decadent enough to feel like a proper high-end sedan without totally breaking the bank.

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The 2018 Cadillac XTS is best experienced from the back seat, but even the driver will find it a pleasant luxury sedan.

The 2018 Cadillac XTS is full-size, old-school luxury.

It’s a fine machine, a full-size cruiser that reminds us of another era without the dated nostalgia, so we’ve rated it at a 7.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2018 XTS is available in base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, Platinum, and Platinum V-Sport trim levels. There’s even an XTS hearse variant, but we’re not planning to sample that one any time soon.

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This year, the XTS has a new look outside, some minor tweaks to its technology package inside, and a few chassis modifications that Cadillac says will make it ride better. And that last point’s an important one since the XTS has essentially replaced the Lincoln Town Car as the pay-by-the-hour executive shuttle of choice for many livery operators.

The XTS’ new look defies Cadillac convention; instead of tacking on tail-fins, the 2018 is actually an inch shorter than last year’s model thanks to revised front and rear bumpers. Inside, there are bigger changes—but they’re not quite as visible. Big upgrades to the automaker’s CUE infotainment system should make it easier to sort through and a little faster to boot.

Two V-6 engines are on offer. Most are fitted with a 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter, while the XTS V-Sport uses a 410-hp, twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6. They’re both paired to 6-speed automatics that feel a cog or two down, at least on paper, compared to rivals with 8- and 9-speed units. All-wheel drive is available on all but the base model, a boon for those wintry dashes from the airport back home.

The XTS offers good room up front with flat, wide seats ready for a day behind the wheel but not really suited to corner carving. Ultimately, it’s from its spacious back seat that the XTS is best sampled. It offers tremendous stretch-out room and is beautifully finished.

All versions are well-equipped and crash-test scores so far have been good, although some data is incomplete. Most versions of the XTS are available with a full suite of extra-cost collision-avoidance tech, something we’d rather see as standard at these hefty prices.


2018 Cadillac XTS


A minor update for 2018 keeps the Cadillac XTS looking conservative but upscale.

The 2018 Cadillac XTS harmoniously blends curves and angles in a way that hides its girth well. It’s as attractive inside as out, especially with this year’s upgrades. We’ve rated it a 7 out of 10 on account of its upscale but not exuberant look. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year, the XTS has some revised styling outside. Its profile hasn’t changed, but the details are new. A cleaner grille with more horizontal chrome trim brings it in line with the automaker’s freshest offerings. Redesigned wheels and LED taillights round things out. It’s more than just a gentle nip-and-tuck, though, as Cadillac says its front fenders don’t carry over.

Inside, the differences are more subtle, but the Platinum trim level now offers a brown and black scheme that’s particularly pleasing.

The XTS’ interior is light on overwrought design—and buttons. Centered on its dash is an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that boasts new software for 2018 but keeps the attractive if occasionally frustrating capacitive switches for most functions.

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2018 Cadillac XTS


Strong engines and a sublime ride quality make the 2018 Cadillac XTS a terrific cruiser.

As a sedate cruiser, the 2018 Cadillac XTS excels. It’s even a taut, dynamic machine in the admittedly rare V-Sport guise.

We’ve rated it a 7 out of 10, awarding points for its strong engines and sublime ride quality. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Most XTSs boast a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 304 horsepower that motivates this big sedan to 60 mph in a reasonable 6.8 seconds. It’s a fairly quick four-door, but it can feel a bit stressed with a full complement of passengers and their gear. Low-end torque isn’t its forte, but the 6-speed automatic fires of smooth and predictable gear changes.

Front-wheel drive is standard with this engine and all-wheel drive is optional. This year, the XTS lineup boasts some suspension revisions designed to improve is ride quality. We’ve not yet driven a 2018, but we’ll update this space when we do.

The XTS V-Sport, on the other hand, does an admirable impression of a sports sedan. Its twin-turbo V-6 cranks out 410 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel it to 60 mph in a hair over five seconds. It’s not accompanied by the rumble of a V-8, but that’s just fine to us. All XTS V-Sports are all-wheel drive, which is important given the amount of power being shuttled to the ground.

Underneath, Cadillac’s optional MagneRide pairs electromagnetically adjustable dampers with a self-leveling rear air suspension to provide a cosseting ride over just about any terrain—at least on last year’s model. There’s no disguising these big four-doors’ 4,000-pound-plus curb weight, but even a base XTS doesn’t feel as plump as the scale says it is. Only when braking does the XTS reveal its heft. Some nosedive, even with the standard Brembo front brakes, is evident.

The XTS V-Sport feels a bit more light on its feet, although it’s not going to be your first choice for a track day.

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2018 Cadillac XTS

Comfort & Quality

Should you find yourself in the back seat of a 2018 Cadillac XTS, you’ll be very comfortable.

Think of the 2018 Cadillac XTS from the back seat forward. It’s hugely roomy back there, not so bad up front, and its finishes range from luxurious to decadent.

That earns it an 8 out of 10 from us. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Open the big rear doors—or have a livery driver do it for you—and you’ll find enough room for a basketball team in back. There’s plenty of room for three adults to stretch out, even if they’re tall. While most luxury cars equipped with moonroofs have limited rear seat head room, the XTS boasts plenty of noggin space without any feeling of claustrophobia for passengers over 6-feet tall.

Up front, it’s much the same story. There’s a wide range of power adjustment as standard and good all-day support without much bolstering. One plus is that the XTS’ seating position is slightly higher than what you’ll find in most cars, which aids visibility.

Even the base XTS is nicely finished with plenty of leather. Opt for the Platinum and you’ll be surrounded by higher grade hides, synthetic suede, and glossy wood with a gorgeous inlay. It’s not quite a Bentley, but the XTS doesn’t cost as much as one.

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2018 Cadillac XTS


We don’t have a full picture of the 2018 Cadillac XTS’ safety, but what tests have been performed have been excellent.

Crash-test scores for the 2018 Cadillac XTS have been excellent so far, but we’re still waiting on a few figures before we can assign a score here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Both the NHTSA and the IIHS have raved about this big four-door. Federal regulators rate it at five stars overall, with four stars for the rollover test that’s calculated based on a vehicle’s dimensions and weights.

The IIHS hasn’t subjected the XTS to its challenging small-overlap test yet, but it has earned top “Good” scores in every other category. It also rates the XTS’ available automatic emergency braking as “Superior.” The IIHS has not yet evaluated this Cadillac’s headlights.

In terms of standard safety equipment, all versions of the XTS include a full complement of airbags, stability control, and a rearview camera.

The most desirable active-safety tech is grouped in one of two option packages. Available on the Luxury and standard otherwise, the Driver Awareness Package includes low-speed automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors. Premium Luxury and Platinum trim grades can be further equipped with the Driver Assist Package that adds adaptive cruise control and full-speed front and rear automatic emergency braking. It’s a shame that full-speed automatic emergency braking is restricted only to high-tier versions of the XTS, but at least the tech is available.


2018 Cadillac XTS


The well-equipped 2018 Cadillac XTS can be loaded up with opulent features for the right price.

The 2018 Cadillac XTS is available in five basic flavors. Even the base model is well-outfitted for livery duty, while Platinum trim levels are downright decadent. Pair those attributes with the 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen and you’re at an 8 out of 10 in our eyes. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The XTS starts as the front-wheel-drive-only base model. It’s the lowest-price offering in the lineup, but it’s hardly basic. Standard equipment includes an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, Bose audio, eight-way power front seats wrapped in leather, LED headlights, keyless ignition, OnStar connectivity with a 4G LTE antenna, and 19-inch alloy wheels. This livery-oriented model doesn’t have any optional equipment.

From there, the 2018 XTS Luxury offers the option of all-wheel drive and adds standard navigation, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, automatic parking at the press of a button, heated front and rear seats, cooled front seats, and a heated steering wheel. Major options include low-speed automatic emergency braking, a surround-view camera system, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors.

The 2018 XTS Premium Luxury adds all that safety tech plus a head-up display, a 12.3-inch configurable screen in the instrument cluster, magnetic dampers, rear seat automatic climate control, an additional six speakers, and a few more goodies.

The decadent 2018 XTS Platinum goes further with semi-aniline leather upholstery, 20-inch alloy wheels, and more opulent interior trim.

Both the Premium Luxury and Platinum can be further upgraded with full-speed automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Topping the lineup is the all-wheel drive XTS Platinum V-Sport. In addition to its twin-turbo V-6, it includes a firmer suspension, and numerous styling touches.

The XTS’ Cadillac User Experience infotainment system has been revised this year with updated software designed to simplify and speed up some of its complex menus. We’ll have to get more seat time in a 2018 and will report back with any findings regarding this year’s updates.

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2018 Cadillac XTS

Fuel Economy

For a big sedan, the 2018 Cadillac XTS is something of a fuel miser.

The 2018 Cadillac XTS is a big sedan, but its fuel consumption may be better than you expect.

We’ve rated it a 6 out of 10 based on how efficient the more popular naturally aspirated V-6 versions are. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With standard front-wheel drive, the EPA test suggests that the XTS will sip at a rate of 19 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined. Opt for all-wheel drive and those figures decline to 17/26/20 mpg—still not bad.

The XTS V-Sport’s numbers plummet to 16/23/18 mpg, which is the sacrifice for more fun.

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