By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
Once proclaiming to be "The Standard of the World," Cadillac has more recently been fighting to reach a new – younger – generation of buyers. The addition of the excellent ATS compact sedan has been a big step forward, and the XTS aims to do the same on the other end of Cadillac's lineup. As the luxury brand's newest flagship sedan, the 2014 Cadillac XTS possesses a good balance of exterior style, interior refinement and modern (though potentially confusing) technology. Smaller than the geriatric DTS it replaced, the chiseled XTS bridges the gap between midsize and full-size luxury sedans. Starting around $45,000, it faces a broad set of rivals, from the Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz E-Class to the more performance-oriented BMW 5 Series and Audi A6.
If you want a mature, comfortable full-size sedan with the presence and prestige for which Cadillac is known, the XTS fits the bill in a contemporary suit. On the value side of the equation, the XTS undercuts most European and Japanese rivals while still offering plenty of standard features.
If you want your big cruiser to be engaging when the road twists, a more performance-oriented car like the rear-drive BMW 5-Series can scratch that itch. We must also mention the CUE infotainment system. Its complexity and lack of intuitiveness could be a deal-breaker, so we advise giving it a full test-drive, too.
The big news for the 2014 XTS is more power thanks to an optional twin-turbocharged V6 engine. The invigorated powerplant makes 410 horsepower and comes standard with all-wheel drive (AWD). Also of note are automatic parking assist, an available rear-seat entertainment system, and electric power steering in front-wheel-drive models.
Driving Impressions The Cadillac XTS offers a commendable balance between comfort and handling. The big sedan is especially competent when cruising over wide stretches of pavement, remaining poised even when the road...is scarred. The Cadillac's ability to soak up bumps is due in large part to its standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension, which adjusts to varying road conditions within milliseconds. The XTS's hydraulically-assisted steering system, used on all-wheel-drive models, is precise and responsive. Overall comfort is enhanced by a quiet cabin that is so well-insulated that we had to check the tachometer to make sure the engine was running. On that front, the standard engine is a 305-horsepower V6 with adequate but not exceptional performance. When the XTS was introduced for 2013, we pined for more horsepower. This year, Cadillac has delivered with a twin-turbo V6. That optional powerplant produces 410 horsepower and comes standard with AWD.
DRIVER AWARENESS PACKAGE
This system bundles advanced safety features that constantly monitor surroundings to prevent an accident. In addition to blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert, the system boasts Safety Alert Seat, which literally shakes the driver's seat as a warning to dangers such as drifting from a lane or crashing into an object.
Although head-up displays are nothing new in the automotive world, the Cadillac XTS takes this fighter-jet-inspired feature to the next level with a full-color display, speed-limit reminders and navigation instructions.
Step inside the 2014 Cadillac XTS and you will see a rich, impeccably assembled cabin. Comfortable, leather-trimmed seats are standard, and top-line models are further outfitted with leather-wrapped interior panels. The 3-passenger rear seat offers good legroom, and a massive, 18-cubic-foot trunk. Cadillac calculates that the XTS can swallow five or more suitcases. But not all is perfect inside the XTS. While the standard 8-inch touch-screen center controller is visually appealing and offers haptic feedback (in which the screen feels like it's touching you back), the standard CUE system is unintuitive. It requires a steep learning curve to operate what should be simple functions like audio and climate settings.Exterior
The Cadillac XTS has the angular, wedge-like profile of its CTS and ATS sedan siblings, but in longer and larger form. Design highlights include windswept headlights and side creases. Befitting this large sedan are sizable wheels: 19 inches on most models and 20-inch versions on high-end trims. Twin exhaust outlets also lend a sporty feel. All-wheel-drive models have "XTS4" badging to indicate all wheels being driven. Less obvious, but helpful, is a capless fuel-filling system that means you'll never have to unscrew a cap before refueling.
Even if you spend the least on a base model XTS, you'll be getting a lot for your money. Among the niceties are dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, rear parking assist, and an 8-speaker Bose sound system with CD/HD Radio, streaming Bluetooth audio and USB inputs. Stepping up trims brings features like a rearview camera, heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 12.3-inch driver-information display, and the Driver Awareness Package. Safety features include 10 airbags, GM's OnStar communications service with automatic crash response, and Brembo performance brakes. Complimentary maintenance is standard for four years or 50,000 miles.
All-wheel drive is available on base V6 versions of the XTS (it's standard on turbocharged models). Other options vary by trim and include navigation, a 14-speaker Bose Studio Surround Sound audio system, a dual-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and a sunroof. The new Parking Assist feature included in higher trims enables the XTS to parallel park itself with minimal driver input. Added safety is available with the Driver Assist Package that includes adaptive cruise control and automatic braking in both forward and reverse if the system senses an impending collision.
Two engine choices are available in the 2014 Cadillac XTS. Base models use a 3.6-liter, direct-injected V6 that produces 305 horsepower. Those seeking more oomph should look to the twin-turbocharged version of that engine, which boosts pony count appreciably to 410 horsepower. The base engine can be had with all-wheel drive instead of the standard front-wheel drive, while turbo models come exclusively with all-wheel-drive. The AWD in the XTS uses Haldex technology and a limited-slip differential to transfer power front to back and side to side. It's helpful in Snowbelt states where traction can be compromised. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The standard V6 runs on regular unleaded, while the turbo one requires premium fuel.
305 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
264 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 17/26 mpg (AWD)
3.6-liter turbocharged V6
410 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,900-5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
With a starting price of around $45,000, the 2014 Cadillac XTS undercuts the base prices of the midsize – and relatively smaller – BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Lexus GS sedans. This year, the XTS has new competition in the highly capable Acura RLX, which starts a few thousand beyond the base price of the Cadillac. The Infiniti M also starts a few thousand above the XTS, while the Audi A6 opens at a few thousand below (albeit in 4-cylinder form), as does the V6 Lincoln MKS. Like other luxury cars, the XTS's price can inflate quickly. Load up a top-line turbo version, and the Cadillac's price can crest $70,000. To get the best deal before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price. We expect the XTS's resale value to parallel that of most others in this class, but to be significantly below that of the Lexus GS.
By Henry on Monday, February 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,250overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Car is comfortable, easy to drive."
Cons: "Clock a big disappointment."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"The clock is of no value. The clocks are unreliable when crossing from one time zone to another along with the time of arrival. Cadillac says this is a Normal Characteristic. This is shown to be for Buicks, Chevrolets, GMCs, etc. Attempts to correct this problem by the dealer has been unsuccessful. If you buy a GM vehicle with the CUE system, you better have a watch with you if you want to know the correct time."
By Organguy on Friday, February 21, 2014
I owned and sold this caroverall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looking, and loaded with features."
Cons: "Those new features are very troublesome!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"A great looking car with a lot of needless technology. Constant ongoing problems from the first day. Nothing serious, but never ending annoying problems that just couldn't be resolved as the dealer did their best trying to stay on top of the many things that just didn't work right. It got to the point that Cadillac agreed to buy the car back and put me in a brand new 2014 which has none of the former problems. I was warned about buying a first year production of a completely new car. I should have listened!"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By David on Monday, January 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Roomy, comfortable and myriad features available."
Cons: "Learning to properly use CUE can be daunting."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My wife and I are long retired and moved about 10 years ago to Tennessee. I have owned several DeVilles and DTSs, while my wife has preferred the STS models. In 2011 I purchased a CTS Premium coupe because I was taken by the design and in December of 2012 I bought the new XTS Luxury primarily for my wife to drive. After a year of ownership and about 9,000 miles of mostly local driving, I am completely satisfied with the car. Other than one LOF at the dealer and some initial instruction there for the CUE system we have had no problems. It is decidedly as comfortable to drive as the DTS was, the engine performs flawlessly and gets us easily and safely up and down many of Eastern Tennessee's mountain interstates. We have no complaints whatsoever."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Organguy on Sunday, January 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great design, perfect fit and finish."
Cons: "Plan on a lot of time with dealer service!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I had great expectations waiting for the introduction of the new XTS. I owned 7 other new Cadillacs and they were all great cars. I ordered a Luxury upgrade and took delivery in August of 2012. Almost from the start there were little but anoying problems. I wasn't overly concerend and expected a few minor adjustments. Those little anoying things just didn't go away, and continued to grow, and most could not be resolved. My dealer has been doing their very best, and I have no complaints...but one problem is fixed, and another starts, and then the first problem returns. Just for one problem alone it took 8 visits to the dealer before cadillac Engineers got involved and came up with a solution. This car has been in for repairs more than the previous 7 Cadillac's combined! The latest problem is the suspension that has a harsh ride that has to be dealt with. This car just turned 9000 miles a week ago. It now legally qualifies as a lemon car and I may have to go to arbitration as a last resort. I've never had a car like this that is riddled with problems. I spent over $50,000 for a car that should have never left the factory. In fairness I'm told the 2014's don't have these problems."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Jerry on Saturday, November 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looks, and a new driving experience."
Cons: "Good thing I live near the dealer for service!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I've owned a lot of new Cadillacs over the years, and most if not all were great cars. Prior to the XTS I owned a DTS and loved it. The XTS was supposed to replace the DTS in 2010, but because of GM's near bankruptcy, it was put on the back shelf. It finally arrived in showrooms in July of 2012 and I was one of the first in the State to order the Luxury version. It showed up the end of August and I loved the ride home after delivery. The CUE system took a couple of days to learn, and you will too. Now after a year I can objectivly describe the good and the bad. In my opinion the CUE system is very redundant to do simple tasks such as turning on the A/C. Before all one did to turn on was turn the A.C knob, and it was on. With CUE you have to go thru 3 different screens to accomplish this once easy task. Half the time voice commands have to be repeated over and over, and I have a very clear and distinct voice. Generally it's a pain. The city MPG is excellent...right around the 19 MPG with normal stop and go driving. Sadly the car has been back to the dealer more times than I can remember for little problems. The dealer is really good, and doing their best with Cadillac updates. I guess that goes with a brand new model. I don't know if the 2014's have the same problems. I stll like the car, but it is frustrating after spending almost $50,000 plus tax that I spend so much time at the dealer that I almost feel like I should be on their payroll."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Jerry on Saturday, November 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent handling, comfortable ride, good gas mil"
Cons: "CUE is too complicated, touch screen too sensitive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is my 9th Cadillac in 25years and the best engineered car Cadillac has produced with the exception of the CUE system. The CUE is too complicated to operate while driving. I've had to return it to the dealer 4 times to have the CUE system reprogrammed. Every other feature is great."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful