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Cadillac Eldorado (2000)

SEE ALSO: Cadillac Buyer's Guide

By Tom Hagin

Cadillac Full Line Video footage (14:35)

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 42,695
     Price As Tested                                    $ 45,085
     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                  108.0"/75.5"/200.6"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     3862 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  19.0 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                             P235/60R16 Z-rated
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                        Five-passenger/two-door
     Domestic Content                                        N/A
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.33


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            17/28/21          
     0-60 MPH                                        7.5 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                          16.0 seconds @ 93.0 mph
     Top-speed                                           115 mph
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

After many years of being a status symbol for well-to-do, "mature" people, Cadillac is taking a new direction. It offered its first truck-based SUV, the Escalade, and now it is wowing the car show circuit with the Evoc and Imaj future cars. Also, for the first time since 1950, a Cadillac will be on the grid at the 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans, a grueling endurance race held in France.

For this year, the Eldorado has remained the same on the outside, but received much of Cadillac's new technology under its skin.

OUTSIDE - The shape of Eldorado hasn't changed much since its redesign in 1992, although it has been constantly updated. It relies on its muscular shape, especially in its hindquarters, for recognition. Flat planes and sharp corners characterize its styling, which is just fine for many of its traditional customers. The slim nose of the car houses equally slim headlights and a pair of wraparound side markers. New this year are body color inserts on its side and fascia moldings, along with new alloy wheels and wider high performance tires. Also new is the Cadillac wreath and crest emblem, which has gone largely unchanged for decades. The company says the new logo is sleeker and sharper, and it comes at a time when the company is heading toward crisper, bolder design philosophies.

INSIDE - The materials used to make up Eldorado's interior are, as always, top-notch. It's roomy for a coupe, with plenty of space in the back seat for two adults, though their toe space under the front seats could be better. The dashboard is composed of straight planes and slight curves, and there's real wood on the dash, center console and door panels. It gets a sporting flair from a set of analog gauges with a 150 MPH speedometer and a tachometer, along with a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Cadillac must use lots of sound-proofing materials because the ride is hushed and quiet at all speeds. Standard interior features include keyless entry, power windows, door locks, mirrors and trunk pull-down, power front seats with memory, cruise control and climate control, tilt steering with steering wheel audio and ventilation controls, leather upholstery and a high-power, Bose-brand stereo system.

ON THE ROAD - Cadillac's Northstar powertrain appeared in 1993 and was hailed as one of the company's most technologically-advanced designs since the introduction of overhead valves in 1949. Northstar is the system of engine, transmission, steering, suspension and transaxle, along with the associated computerized systems that control the brakes and many of the car's safety features. Its 4.6 liter V8 engine uses dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and a variable rate intake system to produce 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It also has a limp-home mode that allows the engine to be run for 50 miles with no coolant. Mated to this is an electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission with traction control. Also standard is StabiliTrak, which helps the driver maintain direction in the event of a loss of control.

BEHIND THE WHEEL - Built on a unibody platform and a front-wheel drive powertrain, Eldorado rides smoothly and quietly over all but the largest bumps. Its four-wheel independent suspension uses Cadillac's Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension, or CVRSS, which uses computer controls to constantly monitor the road surface, sensing bumps and jolts and adjusting the level of damping performed by the shock absorbers in a split second. Its rack-and-pinion steering system is enhanced by MagnaSteer, a system that offers variable boosting of the steering effort to give more road feel at speeds, and less effort while parking. In addition, the system increases steering effort if StabiliTrak is in operation. Braking is handled by four-wheel disc brakes with a standard anti-lock braking system (ABS).

SAFETY - Dual airbags, ABS, StabiliTrak, traction control and daytime running headlamps are standard.

OPTIONS - Chromed alloy wheels and performance tires: $1,045; White Diamond paint: $650; Destination: $695.