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2013 Cadillac XTS

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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2013 Cadillac XTS

2013 Cadillac XTS looks good from every angle

Photo © General Motors

Journey's End: Right car, wrong platform

There's a lot I like about the XTS: Bold styling, fantastic interior, innovative electronics. Still, I can't help but feeling let down by the mundane mechanicals. I'm not a rear-wheel-drive snob by any means, but no one else is building a large luxury car with front-wheel-drive -- not BMW, not Lexus, not Mercedes, not Audi, not Infiniti, not even Hyundai. Why couldn't GM have stretched the CTS platform, or based the XTS on one of their big Aussie cars like the Holden Commodore? I have no doubt that Caddy could have produced a $75,000 V8-powered sedan that would have knocked the German automakers on their collective ärsche. GM has broken the unwritten "don't discuss future product" rule by hinting heavily that just such a car is coming in the not-so-near future, which leads me to believe that they expect us all to be disappointed by the XTS's phoned-in engineering job.

Would I buy an XTS? No way -- not when the same money gets me an Audi A6 which is just as cushy, just as roomy, and doesn't feel like it had its engineering budget pared to the bone. The basic A6, with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, leather, and Bluetooth, can be had for $2,500 less than the rental-car-spec XTS, and adding all-wheel-drive, Audi's magnificent supercharged V6, and navigation only brings the price up to around $55k. While we're speaking German, let's not forget that for the same money as a mid-level XTS, you could be driving a BMW 528i. And if all you want is a big, cushy luxury car, you can save a crap-ton of money by buying a Hyundai Azera or a Lexus ES 350.

To be fair to the XTS, it does set new standards for design, luxury and technology at Cadillac, and it can be quite rewarding to drive, provided you're willing to beat it up a bit. But it just doesn't meet the standards set by the CTS and promised by the ATS. I am pleased that the XTS' advanced styling and upscale interior will soon spread to other Cadillac models. The sooner that happens -- and the sooner the XTS is replaced by a properly-engineered luxury flagship -- the better. -- Aaron Gold

What I liked about the 2013 Cadillac XTS:

2013 Cadillac XTS engine

Ubiquitous 3.6 liter V6 seems like an awfully mundane engine for what should be an exciting car

Photo © Aaron Gold
  • Luxurious, well-trimmed interior
  • Well-designed infotainment system
  • Kind of fun to drive fast

What I didn't like about the Cadillac XTS:

  • Ride is too firm, steering is too light
  • Touch-sensitive "virtual buttons" can be too sensitive
  • Parts-bin platform engineering

Description:

  • XTS is the new full-size Cadillac, occupying the vacancy left by the DTS and STS
  • Price range: $44,995 - $64,110
  • Powertrain: 3.6 liter V6/304 hp, 6-speed automatic, front- or all-wheel-drive
  • EPA fuel economy estimates: 17 MPG city/28 MPG highway (front-wheel-drive), 17/27 (all-wheel-drive)
  • Best rivals: Audi A6, Lincoln MKS, Hyundai Azera
Disclosure: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. Accommodations, meals, vehicles and fuel were provided by General Motors. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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