Cadillac For 1999
By Carey Russ
There is big news at Cadillac this year. Big as in full-size sport- utility. Cadillac joins the luxury sport-utility field with its first SUV, the Escalade.
The Cadillac automobiles enter 1999 relatively unchanged. The German-built Catera has engine modifications that give it lower exhaust emissions. The Seville, DeVille, and Eldorado, larger, front- wheel-drive cars powered by the "Northstar" V8, have relatively minor changes this year.
Since "luxury sport-utility vehicle" is no longer an oxymoron but a necessity for any luxury car maker, Cadillac has entered the fray with the Escalade. Based on the same full-size General Motors SUV platform as the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, the Escalade combines Cadillac luxury with truck toughness.
The Escalade's exterior styling is more upscale than that found on working-class trucks, with body-colored bumpers and integrated side cladding and running boards. Inside is room for five adults and their luggage, outfitted in typical Cadillac luxury style. Leather seats, Zebrano wood trim, and a Bose "Acoustimass" audio system with separate rear-seat controls are standard, as it the "OnStar" security and electronic concierge system.
Although the Escalade's creature comforts are pure luxury Cadillac, it is pure truck underneath. Sturdy body-on-frame construction and the legendary GM "small-block" 350-cubic inch V8 make it as capable in the outback as at the country club. "AutoTrac" four-wheel-drive helps it get through tough conditions. Horse and boat owners will be pleased by its 6,000-lb. towing capacity.
Cadillac's small European import has some small trim and equipment changes for 1999. More significantly, it is the first Cadillac to meet upcoming "Low Emissions Vehicle" (LEV) standards, thanks to new power train control computers, an electronic throttle control, and internal modifications to its 3.0-liter, 200-hp V6 engine.
The latest generation of Seville was new last year, and is designed to compete with the world's best luxury cars on their home ground as well as here in the U.S.A. It's the first Cadillac since 1941 available with right-hand drive. The front-wheel-drive, Northstar- powered Seville is offered in 275-hp Seville Luxury Sedan (SLS) and 300-hp Seville Touring Sedan (trim). Adaptive seats are now available in both models; massaging lumbar seats may be had in the STS. There are new color choices this year.
What's an American luxury car? The DeVille nameplate has graced the best-selling luxury car in the country for the past 13 years. Currently, three versions are offered, all powered by a version of the Northstar V8. The standard DeVille is the modern interpretation of the American luxury sedan. The Concours is Cadillac's stealth sports sedan, and the D'Elegance is for traditionalists who like their Cadillac fully-equipped. Massaging lumbar seats are available in the Concours and D'Elegance this year, and all versions have new color choices.
Eldorado is the best-selling prestige luxury coupe in the country, and has extremely high owner loyalty. Two models are available. The Eldorado uses a 275-hp version of the Cadillac Northstar 4.6-liter V8, while the Eldorado Touring Coupe (ETC) has a 300-hp variation of that engine. Changes are few for 1999, highlighted by new exterior and interior colors and minor equipment upgrades. The ETC has available seats with massaging lumbar support.