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- Highs More affordable than competitors, powerful V-Sport model, plush interior.
- Lows Uninteresting to drive, competitors offer more rear-seat space, no standard driver-assistance features.
- Verdict The XTS is a competent and relatively affordable retirement cruiser, but it can't truly compete with the best in this class.
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 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 2019?
Cadillac hasn't made many changes to its 2019 XTS sedan. The car's standard wireless smartphone charging feature now offers more charging power thanks to beefed-up internals and a larger charging surface. Otherwise, the XTS is unchanged.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
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We prefer the XTS V-Sport's 410-hp twin-turbo V-6 to the standard 304-hp V-6. That raises the cost of our preferred XTS considerably, but it's still many thousands cheaper than its German rivals. The V-Sport comes standard with all-wheel drive in place of the standard front-wheel-drive setup and includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, rear armrest with built-in audio and sunshade controls, and 22-way adjustable massaging leather front seats. The V-Sport is the XTS's top trim and nearly every one of its available features is included as standard, but we'd happily shell out $350 for a compact spare tire.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Quick with the twin-turbo V-6, placid ride, available adaptive suspension.
Dislikes: Not a sports sedan by any stretch, base engine is slower than similarly powered rivals.
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 paired with all-wheel drive if desired. We don't have recent test data for a non-V-Sport XTS, but 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 time is right in the mix with most competitors at 5.2 seconds. The XTS is big and feels every bit its size on the road. Our test car featured the available adaptive suspension, and the ride was smooth and airy even over rough surfaces. There is very little feedback from the road through the large steering wheel, and it's hard to imagine any driver taking the XTS for a joyride. The XTS simply is not a sports sedan, and we'd wager that most people who buy this car are perfectly happy with its luxury-minded tuning.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
We haven't tested an XTS in our 200-mile real-world highway fuel-economy test, but its EPA highway rating of just 23 mpg suggests that the V-Sport's powerful engine is not as efficient as comparable engines from superior competitors. The lower-powered and front-wheel-drive XTS earns a 28-mpg highway rating.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Plush seats, folding rear seatbacks improve cargo capacity, desirable infotainment features are standard.
Dislikes: Not as luxurious as its rivals, fussy touch-sensitive controls, disappointing massaging seats.
The XTS is huge and comfortable, although several in this class outdo it for rear-seat legroom. Cadillac pulled out all the stops in outfitting the XTS, but you'll have to open up 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 wheel and front seats are standard. Persnickety customers should note that Cadillac's massaging-seat function, while pleasant, is not nearly as well executed as Mercedes-Benz's.
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. An 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an eight-speaker Bose audio system, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot are standard; navigation, a 14-speaker Bose audio system, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge display are optional.
The XTS's long rear overhang has one major benefit: it allows for an extra-large cargo hold—offering 18 cubic feet compared with 16 in the G90 and the S-class—which was enough room for seven carry-on bags during our testing. It is relatively normal for cars in this class to have fixed rear seats, but the XTS's seats fold nearly flat, which means a lot more space for luggage in a pinch.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The XTS did well on its crash testing (although it received incomplete testing from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) and offers plenty of driver-assistance technologies in upper trim levels. None of that technology is standard, however, and child-seat anchors can be hard to locate. Key safety features include:
- Available front and rear automated emergency braking
- Available adaptive cruise control
- Available blind-spot monitoring
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Cadillac's warranty-coverage periods mostly match those of its luxury competitors, and its six-year or 70,000-mile powertrain warranty is one of the best in class. But Genesis offers longer coverage periods in most categories, and the Lincoln Continental's unlimited roadside-assistance plan is without equal in the industry.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit