Growing up, my father had a perpetual string of Cadillac Fleetwoods which he loved. These where large, comfortable luxo-barges of the 1970’s and 80’s that coddled six occupants and isolated them from the road. The world has moved on and today the largest Cadillac sedan available is the XTS. Even though it’s no Fleetwood, it does a great job as the brand’s full-sized sedan flagship (for the time being).
Based on the same Epsilon platform as the Chevrolet Impala, the XTS is large, comfortable and elegant. With a substantial trunk and roomy rear seat, the XTS will delight the car service companies that are looking for a replacement of the ubiquitous and now discontinued Lincoln Town Car. As GM is a major player in the Chinese market, it now includes the tastes of the Chinese consumers in its design philosophy and the XTS shows this by being a bit less edgy, featuring softer lines as compared to other models in the current lineup.The bling is still there with the large grille as well as with the optional 20” alloy wheels.
Inside, the XTS offers an elegant, familiar interior. The iPad-like CUE infotainment system and a well thought of instrument cluster, featuring the ability to customize the displays, is a pretty cool feature. Fit and finish is excellent with higher-grade materials that look and feel better than previous generation Cadillacs.One nice feature of the CUE system are the large icons as well as the vibrating screen, confirming the individual commands.
Interestingly enough, due to its aggressive aerodynamic design, looking out the back window is fairly limited. Fortunately there is a back-up camera that is a huge help, especially when parallel parking in tight spaces or entering a garage in reverse.
Engine choices are all six cylinder and vary depending on the trim level you choose. We drove the smaller 3.6 liter, 305 HP engine that felt smooth, compliant and surprisingly thrifty on fuel. As an option, there is a more powerful 3.6 liter, twin turbo 410 HP engine, creating a more-sporty experience. The XTS comes in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive as an option. I was truly surprised with the front wheel drive version, as it only hints of being driven by the front wheels only in aggressive driving and cornering. Magnetorheological shocks provide ride smoothness without the classic large American car float of yesteryear… Bravo Cadillac! The XTS is clearly trying to go after established German luxury sedans and it shows in the way Cadillac is tuning its transmissions and suspensions. There is a reassuring, direct feel from the steering wheel as well as the dynamic feedback in the turns and during aggressive braking.
Our one week with the XTS went by too quickly and I realized that the more I drove it, the more I liked it. I wish my father would have been around to drive the XTS, he would have enjoyed it immensely.
The 2014 Cadillac XTS, it’s not your father’s Fleetwood, and that’s a very good thing.
MSRP: $50,435.00 MSRP (As tested): $53,935.00
Engine: 3.6 liter V6, 305 HP / 3.6 liter V6, twin turbo, 410 HP (optional)
Fuel Economy (Observed): 22.5 MPG
Typical Options: Driver awareness package, moon roof