2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum Steve Purdy Review

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2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum
A Flagship Reborn

By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

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The new Cadillac front-wheel drive/all-wheel drive, XTS replaces the aging full-size sedans called STS and DTS. While slightly smaller than it progenitors, XTS feels about the same in terms of interior space and it is more agile on the road, being a full generation more sophisticated in chassis design and in dynamic qualities. Assembled in the Oshawa, Ontario plant the new XTS promises to put Cadillac back into the mainstream of full-size luxury cars.

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Our strikingly black test car is the top-of-the-line Platinum level with all-wheel drive. It shows a sticker price of sixty grand and includes HID adaptive headlights, navigation magnetic ride control, high-performance suspension, Brembo front brakes, 20-inch aluminum wheels with chrome inserts, dual exhaust routed through the rear fascia, 60/40 folding rear seat backs, full leather seating and trim, keyless access with push button start, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, lovely ambient interior lighting, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and plenty more. The base car, still very well equipped but with front-wheel drive, starts just over 44 grand.

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Inside we find a comfortable, generous, well-appointed cockpit with good quality materials, although our test car shows a bit of lumpiness in the broad expanses on top of the dash. That may be an anomaly. A thin line of suede trim on either side of the dash appears a bit rough where it seams with the neighboring leather, but it is an attractive styling detail. The overall style and design of the dash is attractive and elegant in appearance. A storage bin tucked tightly into the base of the center stack is useful for phone or sunglasses but retrieving items often results in accidentally opening the deep cubby where the USB port resides. The touch surface that actuates the cover did not always respond to my touch.

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A full application of Cadillac’s new CUE (Cadillac User Experience) brings controls for connectivity, climate control, audio, navigation and many other functions to a large touch-screen high on the center stack. I remember commenting a few years ago on the more than four-dozen knobs, buttons and switches on the dash of an Escalade. This XTS dash is clean and neat with flat touch surfaces that respond with a soft thud (haptic feedback) when actuated.

Having lived with two Cadillacs in a row in winter with nearly identical dash designs – the new ATS and this XTS – I can say that I’m not fond of this hard, cold dash. Though intriguing, it cannot be managed with cotton gloves on, and that surface is mighty cold on the unprotected fingers. A fairly steep learning curve accompanies many of the controls, including cruise control. While as a reviewer I get annoyed when I have to go to the manual to figure something out, it really won’t take long for folks to learn new ways of doing things. Younger buyers may find it much easier to acclimate.

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The Goldilocks seats were not too firm and not too soft. They were just right for my ample backside. We drove to Chicago and back – 3 ½ hours each way – without a hint of butt fatigue. Decent lateral support and plenty of adjustability will allow most folks to fit well. The rear seat has plenty of room for guests, and trunk capacity is excellent.

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Only one powertrain comes in the XTS – a 3.6-liter, direct injected V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA rates this combination at 28-mpg on the highway, and 17 in the city on regular fuel. With 304 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque using regular fuel, we found that to be plenty of power for this luxury sedan. We have decent acceleration under full throttle as we enter the freeway or if we just punch it for fun. With a 0-to-60 mph time of around 7 seconds you’ll win a few stop-light races if you like. Not many XTS drivers aspire to that kind of competition, we’ll bet. (You’ll need the CTS-V rocket ship for racing.) With a 19-gallon fuel tank we have well over 400 miles of highway cruising range in most environments. We were unable to find the cumulative or instant fuel mileage readouts among the data outputs so we’re not sure exactly what our mileage was for the week.

The XTS comes with lots of safety features beyond the multitude of airbags – lane departure warning, blind spot indicator, adaptive headlights, rear view camera and other features. The signal for the lane departure warning is a tickly buzz in your bum. If your turn signal is not on and you flirt with, or cross, the lane indicator line to your left or right the corresponding side of the driver’s seat will buzz. I got used to it quickly and found it rather helpful, and maybe just a little stimulating. Other elements of the XTS’s ergonomics take more patience in getting used to.

The XTS’s design reflects Cadillac’s angular and distinctive styling language. Its profile and stance are impressive, making the car look large but not bulky. For those who think all cars look alike these days I’ll posit that most would immediately recognize this as a Cadillac.

Cadillac’s new car warranty covers the entire car for 4 years or 50,000 miles and the powertrain for 6 years of 70,000 miles. One year of OnStar service come with the car and a subscription is required after that.

It seems the older I get the more I like large, comfortable sedans, but I have not lost the need for strong and agile performance and handling. The new XTS provides a good balance of both.

İSteve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

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