2005 Cadillac STS Luxury Sedan (521)

Overview:

This week I tested the 2005 Cadillac STS 4-Door Sedan. If it weren’t for the fierce competition with everyone launching several new and exciting products, Cadillac could be said to be a leader in the market. But it is hard to determine who is leading and who is following. Surely Cadillac is on the cutting edge and as daring as they have ever been.

American carmakers are back. GM and Chrysler in particular seem to have put the past behind them and are moving quickly to capture the hearts and minds of consumers. Ford has been less exciting.

I particularly enjoy driving the CTS from Cadillac, and although this STS is similar in look, the more sporty CTS is my choice, for me. Some feel the sedan is too bland and could easily be mistaken for a Ford or other lesser luxury car. I don’t subscribe to that criticism and feel the overall look and feel, beyond the external view only, is that it is unmistakably a Cadillac.

Friend Merkel feels American cars break when foreign cars like the Toyota and Honda products don’t. Ok, Merkel is not far from the truth, but it is unclear whether the difference is worth the price gap. Merkel’s engineering experience explains the difference as in the overall philosophy of competing carmakers. For example, the Japanese engineer components so that at the point of breaking, they add to its durability and American car makers reduce durability until the component breaks and that’s the finished product. Thus Merkel’s contends that’s why American cars break when Japanese cars do not. Interesting theory Merkel, or is it still true today rather than when he was a design engineer for Chrysler. I’d be happy to hear from American carmakers to refute that claim.

My contention is that American cars are the best buy today when considering “Overall” performance for the money.

General Info:

Parts 

Assembly – Lansing, MI, USA

Class:  – Midsize

Cars:  – CTS, De Ville, Escalade, Seville, SRX, STS and XLR.

Handling & Performance:

Solid feel and this V6 delivered all the power I needed in every situation, but then I didn’t try to climb Pikes Peak. This is a front engine, rear wheel drive train.

Styling:

Cadillac. Futuristic and bold. I like that and apparently lots of others do too.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Not bad for a Luxury Car.

Conveniences:

Very complete, but if you want to beef up the features the Luxury performance package is optional for about $8,600. It includes multi driver memory settings, power lumbar, heated and vented front seats, heated rear outboard seats, heated wood steering wheel, Eucalyptus wood trim, studio surround sound with 6-in dash CD changer, advanced DVD navigation system, XM satellite radio 120 channels, rain sense wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror, tire pressure monitor, express open/close sunroof, rear spoiler and limited slip differential. All of the preceding is not really essential in my opinion.

Consumer Recommendation:

Well, I gotta tell you, the pick of the litter for me would be Volvo S60, Acura TL and Cadillac STS in that order. And that ain’t scientific, but based on the general feel of driving all of them.

The Competition:

Cadillac STS $40-50,000, BMW 5 Series $40-58,000, Saab 9-5 $35-40,000, Jaguar S-type $44-62,000, Infiniti M45 $43,000, Chrysler 300 $23-34,000, Mercedes Benz E Class $49-74,000, Lincoln LS $32-43,000, Volvo S60 $27-37,000, Lexus GS $39-48,000, Acura TL $33-35,000, Audi A6 $41-51,000.

Good News:

Cadillac world-class image, comfortable cruiser, solid, fast, good fuel economy for a luxury sports sedan.

Bad News:

Arguable higher maintenance cost over Japanese competitors.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter 255 horsepower V6 engine, 5-speed auto trans, traction control, 16 inch power assist ABS disc brakes with stability control, 17 inch aluminum wheels, leather, 8-way power seats, aluminum trim, climate control, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, remote start, 8 speaker Bose audio system with CD player, power widows, keyless entry, dual front and side air bags and side curtain air bags, OnsStar system, ultrasonic rear sensors, theft deterrent system, power door locks, auto dim mirrors with compass and fog lights.

Gas Stats:

17 City and 24 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $40,300.

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