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2009 Cadillac DTS

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2009 Cadillac DTS Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors


The 2009 Cadillac DTS (formerly known as the DeVille) continues with relatively few changes. Designed to appease traditional Cadillac buyers who may be turned off by the company's newer products, the DTS maintains a firm foothold in the soft-riding, moderate-handling category. With its long hood, six-passenger seating and huge trunk, the DTS is equally as capable of accommodating a foursome's trip to the golf course as it is a family's weekend retreat. Although priced well into Lexus territory, Cadillac feels the long list of electronic goodies on the DTS, coupled with its famed Northstar V8 engine, should be sufficient to keep brand-loyal customers from jumping ship. Yet, as aging baby-boomers look for more comfortable means of transport, the DTS just may win over an entirely new generation.

You'll Like This Car If...

Drivers of any age who place comfort and luxury over sportiness and performance might be well-satisfied behind the wheel of a DTS, even if they couldn't quite bring themselves to buy one. Mature shoppers are most likely to appreciate the DTS's many available comforts and amenities.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Steer clear if you're embarrassed to be seen in a car that your parents or grandparents might drive, despite its alluring comforts. Although the ride is far better than in Cadillacs of the distant past, it's less direct and more isolated than many of today's motorists would prefer.

What's New for 2009

Some minor exterior and interior upgrades make up the major changes for 2009. The roof-mounted antenna is now body colored, while inside a speed alert warning system joins newly designed switches for the heated and cooling seats. Bluetooth hands-free communication is now part of the OnStar 8.0 package.

Driving It Driving Impressions

Smooth and silken throughout, the 2009 Cadillac DTS suggests motoring from an earlier, more elegant era. Ride quality approaches genteel most of the time, but that translates to a reduced feeling of precision and security when the pavement turns rough. Despite an indisputably soft suspension, the DTS is far less floaty than might be expected and body lean in corners is tolerable. The steering, however, delivers a noticeable disconnect between driver and road. Expect utterly smooth response from the standard V8, with near-seamless shifts from the automatic transmission and virtually no delay in passing or merging with traffic. Except for a tiny vibration at idle, the DTS is ultra-quiet.

Favorite Features

Northstar V8 Engine and Hydra-Matic
The Northstar V8 is well known for smooth running and energetic response to the gas pedal, helped by unobtrusive shifts from GM's Hydra-Matic transmission.

Optional Front Split Bench Seat
Even if many shoppers may not particularly want one, it's refreshing to know that a six-passenger sedan still exists on the market.

Vehicle Details Interior   photo

Dual-firmness seats provide plenty of travel, while the instrument panel is lower and farther forward. Normally seating five passengers, the DTS promises abundant front-seat space that lets occupants stretch out on comfortable, well-cushioned upholstery. Rear-seat space is no less bountiful, but the hard center seatback curtails comfort. The glovebox is a long reach and items fall out easily. Analog gauges are easy to read, augmented by a small digital speedometer. Visibility is good, despite wide rear pillars and a high back shelf. Many controls and buttons are difficult to decipher, so owners must consult the manual.

Exterior

"Cadillac-signature" styling ties the 2009 DTS to the DeVilles of the past, as well as to the company's present and future. Details were developed to fall into line with other current Cadillac models, such as the CTS and STS. Front-end sheetmetal and the egg-crate grille, and the rear quarter and decklid, including the vertically-shaped LED taillamps, are new, and Intellibeam automatic high-beam headlamps are now standard. Cadillac calls the DTS styling "more architectural" and "linear" and, according to the company, body gaps are tighter than ever, within one millimeter between hood and fender and less than two millimeters between taillamps and decklid.

Notable Standard Equipment

Safety items top the list of standard features, including four-channel anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control, roof-rail side-curtain airbags and front-seat side-impact thorax airbags. A factory-installed Adaptive Remote Start system includes a personalization provision. The 17-inch tires are mounted to machined aluminum wheels, and leather upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, folding power mirrors, a CD player with MP3 capability and GM's OnStar assistance system are standard.

Notable Optional Equipment

Although the 2009 Cadillac DTS is offered in a single trim level, option groups can add extra features. The Performance Package includes the 292-horsepower high-output V8 engine, performance algorithm shifting, Magnetic Ride Control and 18-inch tires on machined aluminum wheels. Option Package Luxury I includes front and rear parking assist sensors, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, heated windshield-washer nozzles, brake assist and four-channel StabiliTrak stability control. Radar-based adaptive speed control provides audible and visual alerts. Additional options include a moonroof, DVD navigation system, power rear sunshade and color-keyed grille.

Under the Hood

In standard form, the Northstar LD8 4.6-liter dual-overhead-cam V8 develops 275 horsepower and is matched with a Hydra-Matic four-speed transmission. A higher-output, higher-revving Northstar L37 V8 is available with the Performance Package – rated at nearly 300 horsepower but yielding less torque than the LD8.

4.6-liter V8
275 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
295 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23

4.6-liter V8 High Output
292 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
288 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22

Pricing Notes

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) for the 2009 Cadillac DTS range from just over $46,000 for the base car to as much as $65,000 for a loaded Platinum Series. Other luxury makes in the price range include the new Volvo S80, the Lexus GS 350 and, at the high end, the Jaguar XJ8. To be sure you make your best deal, check the Fair Purchase Price to see what the DTS actually sells for in your area. Compared to the Volvo and Jaguar, the DTS holds its own in the areas of resale and residual value. However, when compared to the Lexus, the DTS falls far behind.

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