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- Highs Respectable power, tons of storage space, priced lower than most competitors.
- Lows Less luxury than luxury-class rivals, most desirable features cost extra, finicky infotainment system.
- Verdict The 2018 Cadillac XTS, with its roomy, nicely appointed cockpit, provides a decent amount of luxury for a reasonable price, although it lags behind many competitors.
Large luxury has always been the name of the game for Cadillac, but its not-quite-a-flagship XTS sedan proves that the company is no longer at the head of the pack for land yachts. There is an available twin-turbocharged V-6 that provides the kind of wafting power we desire from executive cruisers, and there are plenty of luxe features in the upper trim levels. But despite its general elegance, the XTS can’t come close to the opulence and refinement of the king of this particular jungle, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. By offering its wares at a much lower price than Mercedes, and by holding on to some of the brand magic that makes the XTS more desirable than the similarly priced Genesis G90, Cadillac makes its case. The XTS is a credible option for broad-based luxury that will please buyers in search of some status and style, but not so much that they’ll need a second mortgage to afford it.
What's New for 2018?
The XTS’s design was lightly tweaked for 2018, with changes to both the front and rear ends, including LED head- and taillights and a new grille. Those changes brought the XTS’s overall length down by a little more than an inch. New tires for both the 19- and 20-inch wheels are intended to improve ride comfort and reduce road noise, and the XTS’s CUE infotainment system received updated software and access to various cloud-based apps.
- Base : $47,390
- Luxury : $51,390
- Premium Luxury : $57,790
- Platinum: $66,690
- V-Sport Platinum: $73,490
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Both of the XTS’s available engines are reasonably quick and powerful, with the V-Sport’s twin-turbo engine delivering the kind of easy power that we expect from a large luxury sedan. The XTS comes standard with front-wheel drive and a 304-hp V-6 engine, while top-of-the-line V-Sport models have a 410-hp twin-turbo V-6 with all-wheel drive. Both engines pair with a six-speed automatic, and the entry-level engine can be equipped with all-wheel drive if desired. The powertrain hasn’t changed since we recorded a 6.6-second zero-to-60-mph time in a front-drive model. An all-wheel-drive variant of the 304-hp car needed 7.2 seconds to complete the same task. Those figures are respectable, if not impressive, and won’t leave XTS owners frustrated on highway on-ramps. The V-Sport’s engine is a much better fit for the XTS’s large-luxury attitude. It provides effortless power both off the line and when accelerating to pass, and its zero-to-60-mph times were right in the mix with most competitors. The six-speed automatic is smooth and well programmed, but its shifts are never hurried even if the driver demands full-power acceleration. There are better engines in this class, notably from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but the V-Sport’s powerplant makes a strong case for Cadillac. The XTS is big and feels every bit of its size on the road. Our test car wore the available adaptive suspension, and the ride was smooth and airy even over rough surfaces. None of the available drive modes seemed quite worthy of the V-Sport badges our car wore, which are more honest when they grace the Cadillac CTS V-Sport. The XTS simply is not a sports sedan, but we’d wager that most people who buy this car are perfectly happy with its luxury-minded tuning. Its power is meant for highways, and its suspension is tuned for comfort, not sharp handling. It does its job well, but this heavy cruiser will never be the right choice for an enthusiast driver.
EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov website. Under the heading "Find & Compare Cars" click on the "Compare Side-by-Side" tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you're interested in.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The XTS is huge and comfortable, although several in this class outdo it for rear-seat legroom. Its interior isn’t quite as nice as that of the gold-standard S-Class, but the XTS provides most of the luxury of the Mercedes and costs tens of thousands of dollars less. Cadillac pulled out all the stops in outfitting the XTS, but you’ll have to open your wallet wide to enjoy them. Rear-seat audio controls, an interior ambient-lighting system, and heated and cooled massaging front seats with 22-way adjustment are all available, but of our favorite luxury-car features, only a power-adjustable steering column and front seats are standard. Persnickety customers should note that Cadillac’s massaging-seat function, while pleasant, is not nearly as well executed as the one from Mercedes-Benz. With a large trunk and relatively useful interior storage spaces, the XTS makes good practical use of its size. Folding rear seats are helpful, too, for owners who sometimes carry unwieldy cargo. The XTS’s long rear overhang has one major benefit: it allows for an extra-large cargo hold—18 cubic feet, compared with 16 cubes in the Genesis G90 and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The XTS’s door pockets are narrow and short, but otherwise the Caddy's interior storage spaces are roughly average for this class.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Cadillac’s infotainment system has all the makings of an excellent offering, but its finicky and unreliable touch-based controls are frustrating, especially when attempting to operate the system while driving. The XTS comes standard with four USB ports and a wireless charging pad, but its most interesting features are software based. The CUE system in our XTS had good response times, but in practice we found the lack of non-touch-based redundant buttons to be troublesome. Even the volume controls, which are mounted on the dash and not part of the touchscreen, are touch sensitive, and we found it challenging to make small adjustments while driving. The good news is that steering-wheel-mounted controls are standard and user-friendly.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
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