Car of the Day: 2013 Cadillac XTS
The Car: 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Premium Collection
Where I drove it: Motor City
First Impressions: Cadillac has transformed itself into a bit of a hard body. The sharp angles on every exterior of the XTS are testament to the new form language of Cadillac: Triangles have replace trapezoids. The era of the squishy Devilles that my father used to describe in a disdainful tone as “tuna boats” has come and gone with the last gangsta mobile, the DTS. Depending on your angle, the design departure is amazing (or wistful) as Cadillac has toned up its core. What I like best about the XTS is that it’s distinctive. Finally, we have an American sedan that’s no softy.
Second date: Michigan in February is not a bone-dry affair. On the contrary, snow covers the landscape and any car worth its winter driving tires is put to the test on slick highways that move at high speeds. That’s how I grew up thinking about cars – as winter warriors. The XTS is offered as both front-wheel drive or as an all-wheel-drive sedan. (My test car was AWD.) The all-wheel drive on my test model came in handy to keep up with the speedy traffic flow that persists despite the possibility of black ice patches in February. It seems to sail above the crop as a formidable boss, a new-aged gangsta, if you will. Gone is the big steering sensation as handling is more precise and poignant. I was grateful for its more sturdy qualities on long and wide freeway drives. On the dark winter nights, the LED lights beckoned from afar, embedded in the door handles, headlights and taillights.
On the inside: The Cadillac User Experience was born on the XTS and the most noticeable attribute on the interior with the mood of ambient lighting. CUE is devilishly polarizing. It’s got all the technology to frustrate drivers that lack patience and enough gadgetry to keep early adapters busy with the option for multiple screen action. The XTS started to make the rounds last spring, where I first encountered it in New York City. In New York, the XTS felt stately in quiet in the city surroundings, as if it was removed from the action. In Michigan, the XTS blended in with the bigger streets. It came with a Bose audio system, Sirius XM, power seats adjuster and leather seating surfaces. What makes XTS the ultimate surbanite option is the big trunk space that translates well for car cultures like LA or Atlanta, where suitcases, golf clubs and strollers must fit.
MPG: 17 miles per gallon city and 28 miles per gallon highway.
Under the Hood: The 3.6 liter V-6 engine produce 304 horsepower, 264 pound feet of torque.
Extras: Drivers assist package, crystal red tint coat, 20 inch aluminum wheels.
Five Days Later: GM may be its own worse enemy. The new-over achiever on the block has also produced the attractive Buick Lacrosse that has some likeness to the XTS, but a markedly lower sticker price. It comes down to the consumer’s taste for a bejeweled appearance and exceptionalism. What the XTS reminds with it’s polished good looks and well-thought out structure is that at the end of the day a Cadillac is a Cadillac. And that’s exactly where Cadillac needs to be.
What people are saying: “I can pinpoint the moment it happened: In April of 1968, David E. Davis wrote an article in Car and Driver effusively praising the new 1968 BMW 2002 as above and beyond its American competitors. Ever since then, any sedan that doesn’t feature European styling and handling is dissed as not road worthy. Sadly, such unnecessary snobbery has been the bane of one beautiful car: the Cadillac XTS. It’s the forgotten Cadillac, adrift amongst a sea of competitors from Europe, Japan, and Korea. But this is a Cadillac that oozes American-style class, with a ride quality that rewards a real world driving experience.” — Boston
“The Lincoln Town Car is no more. The Cadillac DTS is dead. Luxury, as defined by big, floating cars designed to isolate six occupants from reality, is extinct. The world has moved on, and there’s no stronger evidence than the replacement for the DTS, this new XTS.” — Car and Driver.
TOTAL: $60,620 (full vehicle pricing)