New Car/Review

Cadillac

Cadillac Seville STS (2002)

SEE ALSO: Cadillac Buyer's Guide

by Brendan Hagin and Mikele Schappell-Hagin

SPECIFICATIONS

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 49,080
     Price As Tested                                    $ 55,355
     Engine Type              DOHC 32-valve 4.6 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 279 cid/4565 cc
     Horsepower                                   300 @ 6000 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               295 @ 4400 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  112.2"/75.0"/201.0"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     4095 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  18.5 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                             P235/55R17 W-rated
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
     Domestic Content                                        N/A
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A

PERFORMANCE

     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            18/27/24
     0-60 MPH                                        6.5 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                                  14.5 @ 96.5 mph
     Top-speed                                           155 mph
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

MIKELE - Your brother and your Dad had last year's Cadillac Seville to drive around for a week and I was hoping that we'd get a chance to try it, but it just didn't work out. I'm glad that we got first crack at it for 2002. It hasn't changed much from last year but that's fine by me. My folks have always been General Motors people but I can't remember them ever having a Cadillac. I'm not the "trendy" type and I'm able to check out luxury cars without being influenced by brand names that's are considered more "in." Being a graphic designer, the first thing that impresses me about a car is that I get a feeling of "wholeness." I got that in the Seville. The curve of the top section of the steering wheel blends in with the curve of the dash panel where it sweeps over the round matched speedometer and tachometer dials. I get the same general feeling of a "flow" all around the cabin of the car.

BRENDAN - The only thing that doesn't "flow" and blend in with the dashboard is the vehicle navigation system. It would be pretty hard to ignore it since it's over six inches diagonally. I'm told that last year's version was CD-based, but now it operates from a single DVD disc and it covers the entire country as well as Canada. The thing is tuned in to voice recognition so drivers doesn't have to fumble with controls while they're driving along. It can be programmed in five different languages and operates off global positioning satellites. The voice recognition system recognizes two different drivers and it can "remember" as many as 60 different locations for each driver.

MIKELE - The screen tips down so that you can slip in the navigational DVD or a single audio CD, but knowing you, I'd bet that you installed six of your favorite music CDs and soon as you found the slot where you could stick them in the dash. The system can even put a DVD movie on the screen but only when the shifter is in the Park position. And that's a real plus for me, Brendan. I wouldn't want a movie to distract you while we're driving along.

BRENDAN - Having been a professional delivery driver in my earlier days, Mikele, I long ago learned to pay attention to what's going on around me when I'm behind the wheel. And behind the wheel is a very comfortable place to be in this Cadillac. The seating is very plush, more so than the European luxomobiles. It's more in the style of the big American land-yachts of my youth. Dad had a '64 Cad Deville that he got second-hand and we all had a good time riding in real luxury. The front seat on this new Seville is really special. Periodically, the front seat senses the driver's physical position and rearranges itself just slightly. It doesn't do it very much, just enough to keep the driver's muscles from getting static.

MIKELE - Although the Seville has adaptive suspension that adjusts itself to the way the driver is handling the car, It's just not the kind of car that I want to drive fast or hard. At 300 horsepower, the V8 engine puts out enough power to make it a good performer at a stop light, but again, it isn't that kind of a car. Cadillac doesn't target it to people as young as us in general or potential hot-rodders like you. It wants to attract buyers who are in the 45-to-55 age group but I think that's kind of optimistic. Like many other traditional American "big cars," the new Cadillac Seville is comfortable, loaded with amenities and has a good track record for serviceability. But the "upscale" youthful luxury car buyers won't give it a tumble.

BRENDAN - It has some pretty good safety items, too, Mikele. Owners living in areas that suffer from ice and snow on the road will appreciate the built-in stability system that takes over automatically, applying braking power where its needed to straighten out the car. It also carries a on-board tire-pressure monitor that warns the driver if any of the pressures are low. This is pretty important now that most gas station attendants don't volunteer to check your oil and tire pressures. Drivers have to do it themselves.

MIKELE - Somehow I can't picture owners of new Cadillac Sevilles getting out and checking their own oil levels, Bren.

 

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