Category Archives: Cadillac

2017 Cadillac XT5 compact luxury crossover

2017 Cadillac XT5 compact luxury crossover

“An Automotive Love Affair”

By Joseph Mavilia

The new Cadillac XT5 is improvement over SRX. Interior is all comfort – shown in available Platinum edition trim.

Photos by Cadillac.

Not just a new SUV – it’s a Cadillac

Cadillac’s current marketing campaign says, “you can make a car, or you can make a Cadillac.” This new XT5 delivers on that idea.

Cadillac had a winner with the original SRX. As good as the SRX was, it’s been replaced with the all-new 2017 Cadillac XT5. It boasts fresh styling, a roomier interior, less weight, better fuel economy and user friendliness.

The styling is consistent with the current Cadillac design language, so it looks right among the other models. Present are the familiar and signature visuals that make a Cadillac a “Cadillac,” – the waterfall grill, sharp edges, aggressive raked profile. Even though the XT5 is offered as the entry level crossover SUV for Cadillac, the vehicle does not cut any corners when it comes to delivering Cadillac brand feel, with luxury both on the outside and inside.

“The all-new XT5 not only enters the most popular segment in the worldwide luxury auto market, it is the first of four new crossovers from Cadillac,” said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. “It’s pivotal to our ongoing growth, which is why we’ve developed XT5 from the inside out to provide customers more space, more technology, more luxury and more efficiency.”

The new luxury crossover joined Cadillac’s lineup along with the CT6 Sedan. The XT5 is the next chapter in elevating the Cadillac brand: it is bold, distinctive, sophisticated with superb driving dynamics. This new crossover perfectly reflects Cadillac’s positioning in the luxury automotive marketplace, de Nysschen said.

VEHICLE HIGHLIGHTS:

MSRP starting at $39,395

Offers: GM employee plans and local dealer offers, plus two active GM offers for August, see dealer for details.

3.6-liter V6 engine.

8-Speed Automatic Transmission

Fuel economy estimates range from 19-mpg city to 27-mpg highway.

– Lightweight construction elevates efficiency and driving performance

– All-new design and structure increases interior space without adding bulk

– New V6 engine and advanced all-wheel drive

– New tech includes rear camera mirror, Apple Carplay & Android auto compatibility, new CUE system

Vehicle Rivals: All premium compact luxury crossover SUVs, especially Lincoln MKX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 is powered by the new 3.6-liter V6 engine which debuted on the ATS and CTS sport sedans and is featured on the CT6. This engine has been completely redesigned and delivers output of 310-horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque.

The Cadillac XT5 rides on a unique chassis and structure that showcases its lightweight and agile driving dynamics. The chassis tuning is superb and unique, delivering a driving and ride experience more common many thousands of dollars up-market.

The XT5 brings a new level of sophistication to Cadillac’s evolving design language. “The XT5 has a great stance, with wheels further to the corners and overhangs reduced,” said Andrew Smith, Cadillac executive director of global design.

The XT5’s interior is based on a philosophy of clean, modern elegance and craftsmanship.

“We believe that luxury crossover customers particularly focus on interior design and materials,” Smith said. “This design direction is predicated on modern craftsmanship and the artistic integration of technology.”

Interior surfaces inside the XT5 are wider and more horizontal in orientation, emphasizing efficient use of space. Like all Cadillac models, the interior is assembled with cut-and-sewn wrapped panels, rather than molded surfaces typical of mainstream vehicles.

“Our focus for the interior was sophistication and simplicity, ensuring an economy of lines to reduce visual noise and clutter,” Smith said. “A feeling of space is the ultimate luxury, so we sought to emphasize that. We also use a greater variety of authentic materials and palette of colors to deliver expressive interiors in all trim levels.”

THE VERDICT

Cadillac scores another hit with the new XT5. Overall a high-value, luxury package that is delightful. Cadillac offers a Platinum edition for the first time in this segment, which raises the luxury quotient well above the European rivals.

For more information, visit your local Cadillac dealer or Cadillac.com

2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe (960)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe. I think we all know a car is an extension of ourselves. I suspect that is why we have such a love affair with them. And yes we can love more than one at the same time even if it is inanimate, but that is an entirely different conversation.

Since I believe we consider the car an extension of ourselves this CTS-V is the perfect car to make you feel good about yourself. For me it’s like putting on the Ritz or a Tuxedo. It fits just right and the seat hugs you like a wanton woman. Want’n to make you feel comfortable and secure. The hugging Seats are an option but would be on my list to have. And as to feeling secure – I’m not sure that is totally a good thing because you tend to have false confidence. Like a seat belt or air bags don’t negate the need for you to be a good or careful driver.

The CTS-V is youthful yet elegantly sophisticated at the same time. It should be on the cover of GQ for that look of boundless energy. Really cool. If it sounds like this is a favorite of mine, you would be right. I often sing its praises because it has impressed me so much. Please don’t get me wrong, I believe the ladies will appreciate this car too. But it is a high performance car that I think appeals more to men.

I was telling some friends about how much I liked the car and their comment was that the sharp edges are not to their liking. And for me that is exactly what I like so much about it. I love the edginess look and it is one of the distinguishing features that sets it apart from most other cars on the road these days. It is a rebel ‘with’ a cause. It is right for all reasons for me it is right for all seasons. It is really a special automobile for me.

At the end of the day CTS-V is simply an imposing presence on the road or even while it is sitting still – anywhere – in style.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 65%.  It is assembled in Lansing, MI, USA. Classification is Midsize. Cars from Cadillac: ATS, CTS, CTS Sport Wagon, DTS, Escalade, Escalade EXT, Escalade Hybrid, SRX, STS, XTS.

Opinions and Observations:

Some may be put off by the rumors that Cadillac’s are made in China. Although they weren’t in the past, the Chinese have an insatiable appetite for big engine luxury cars. They have imposed a huge 20% import tax in a move to get GM to build them in China where no added tax would be added.

So, General Motors announced recently that it will start building the Cadillac XTS, CTS and ATX in China in an attempt to keep up with the demand there for luxury consumption by that nation’s nominally Marxist elite. It seems that Communist Party prince-lings and their crony capitalist clients just can’t get enough Caddies, not to mention the BMWs, Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

Hey, does that mean they will dump the Unions? Can they do it here in America so they can compete with the rest of the world.

Handling & Performance:

Well, what’s not to love about how well this car handles. It is very special with a supercharged V8. I had a Rice Rocket motorcycle pull alongside while testing the CTS-V in a past year, and he motioned to me to roll down the window. I did and he said “that is some kind of car”. Apparently he had been negotiating the curves of the mountain road we were traveling following close behind. I emphasize “Behind” because it handles so well the curves were no match for the car that was equal to the challenge.

Styling:

Little things like an analog clock and special leather appointments with classy stitching that adds to the subtle warmth of the car’s interior. And to cap it off, the steering wheel is suede covered and that was the very first thing I noticed. It is particularly welcomed when I come out in the below freezing mornings of the high desert of California and climb into the car. The first greeting is the feeling of suede on your hands instead of a cold steering wheel. That is unique, I think. There may be others who have suede wrapped steering wheels but I have never seen one. And I have driven most every car made since I started driving in the late 1950s.

The design is aero dynamic and even the door handles are removed. Remember when we removed door handles way before the industry copied us? That was one way to personalize our cars, like lowering and then later the hot ticket was putting them on a ‘rake’. Now cars come stock that way.

The seats have adjustments to side and bottom cushions to fit your body perfectly. Neat. Corvette was the first car I tested in the 1990s that had the seat hugging feature. It really does make you a part of the car.

Fit and Finish:

Outstanding.

Cost:

Not for the faint of heart.

Conveniences and comfort:

One of my favorite features is the keyless start that is gaining popularity. Never having to take the key out of your pocket or purse is truly one of the best conveniences of today’s cars. It has a remote start but in California it is not so important, but of course if you live in Michigan or other deep freeze parts of the world this is cool.

Another special feature is the side blind spot alert system for significant added safety. I came to rely on this and when I got into the next test vehicle without it I felt the real impact of the feature. Sometimes it’s the absence of a thing that makes it so obvious.

Consumer Recommendation:

Wow there is a huge field of competition. Cut this out, hang it on the wall and get the darts out.

Recognized Competition:

Cadillac CTS $63,000, Acura RL $52,000, Acura TL $43,000, Acura TSX $31,000, Audi A4 $35,000, Audi A5 $39,000, Audi A6 $50,000, BMW 3-Series $45,000, BMW 5-Series $62,000, BMW M3 $60,000, BMW M5 $83,000, Buick Regal $33,000, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 $54,000, Chrysler 300 SRT8 $48,000, Dodge Charger SRT8 $45,000, Hyundai Azera $32,000, Hyundai Genesis R-Spec $47,000, Inviniti G Coupe $46,000, Infiniti G Sedan $42,000, Infiniti M $61,000, Jaguar XK Series $85,000, Lexus ES 350 $36,000, Lexus GS 450h $59,000, Lexus IS F $62,000, Lincoln MKZ $35,000, Mercedes-Benz C-Class $61,000, Volkswagen CC $38,000, Volkswagen Passat $33,000, Volvo S60 $43,000, Volvo S80 $43,000.

Good News:

Spectacular performance, wonderfully elegant – a work of art.

Bad News:

For many the price will take this off the list.

Standard Equipment:

6.2 liter 556 horsepower supercharged V8 engine, 6-speed auto transmission, limited slip differential, dual stainless steel exhaust, 19” painted aluminum wheels, performance tires and Brembo brakes, electronic parking brake, stability control with traction control, tire pressure monitor, leather seating with sued fabric inserts, front bucket power 8-way driver seat, heated front seats with power lumbar adjustment, memory seat adjuster, rear split folding seat, navigation system with Bose surround sound, 40 GB HDD and XM nav-traffic service for 3 months, Bluetooth phone connect, suede leather wrapped steering wheel, tap shift manual shift control, dual zone climate control, power tilt and telescopic steering column, rain sensing wipers, heated power mirrors, audible theft deterrent, headlight washer, fog lights, keyless start and entry system, remote start, rear parking assist, rear vision camera, front and side and side curtain airbags, side blind zone alert, power door locks and theft deterrent system.

Gas Stats:

$3.95 / Gal avg.  Feb. 5, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

12 City and 18 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $63,215.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

2008 Cadillac CTS (692)

Overview:

This week I have to tell you how much I enjoy driving Cadillac products. We’re looking at the 2008 Cadillac CTS which is one of my favorite of all cars. However I did find a little annoyance with the radio that was not as intuitive as I would expect. GM must be looking to the German cars instead of the Japanese makes for ideas of what people like. But they’ve done such a great job in design they should use their own judgment on electronics, or at least look to the Japanese for simple use of gadgets and creature comforts.  The Germans simply do a lousy job in this area as they overcomplicate everything.

Since 2003 this car has been a top seller for Cad and by all indications it will continue to impress all car lovers. This is one dynamite car for all seasons and any reasons you can imagine. You’ve gotta fall in love with this Cadillac. Thanks GM and Bravo.

General Info:

Parts –  US/Canadian 80%.

Assembly – Lansing, MI USA

Class:  – Mid Size Cars

Cars: – CTS, DTS, Escalade, Escalade EXT, SRX, STS and XLR.

Observation:

I have a question; are people who buy Cadillac’s and other luxury cars more intelligent than others? I asked that because only those cars seem to have automatic one touch up and down Windows. And conversely less elegant cars seldom have automatic up-and-down window features. Are they afraid people who buy average cars are less responsible and will hurt themselves in those automatic windows? Okay, so those window switches are a tad more expensive but that doesn’t totally explain or answer my question.

Handling & Performance:

Unbelievably agile and athletic, some would say.  Test drive it and you too will be blown away. Rear wheel drive makes this a very well-balanced car without too much weight on the front end.

Styling:

I love what they have done with the Cadillac design and it remains consistent since 2003.  The sharp edges and pronounced lines are simply beautifully done.  Inside, the elegant wood trim, wood accented steering wheel, and shift knob are subtle touches of class   Along with the analog clock in the middle of it all. Another nice touch is the stitching on the leather textured dash.

Quite frankly it is a testimony to the fact that the most beautiful and capable cars can indeed come from American carmakers. They appeal to so many people around the world because America is made up of so many people from around the world.

Fit and Finish:

Outstanding!

Cost:

Not bad for what you get.

Features and Conveniences:

There are all the gadgets and goodies that you can want on automobile and arguably more expensive than they should be. The options packages are very, very cool. I particularly liked the fact that when I was running low on fuel the system would ask if you wanted to find the nearest gasoline station and then it would give you directions to the one of your choice.

Consumer Recommendation:

If the styling and design of this car makes it one of your dream cars and you haven’t yet driven the automobile that experience will make up your mind for you.

Recognized Competition:

Cadillac CTS $33-35,000, Jaguar X-type $3 Lincoln MKZ $31-33,000, Mercedes-Benz  E-Class $51-85,000,  Buick Lucerne $27-39,000, Acura TL $34-38,000, Saab 9-5 $37-38,000, Infiniti G35 $32-34,000, Lexus ES 350 $33,820, Hyundai Azera $25-29,000, Volvo S60 $31-34,000, Chrysler 300 $25-42,000, Lexus IS $31-36,000 .

Good News:

Fast, classy, roomy and large trunk, elegant styling and youthful appeal.

Bad News:

Small rear door openings, options are a bit pricey.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 L 304 hp V-6, six speed automatic transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, antilock brake system, four-wheel disc brakes, 17 inch aluminum wheels, stability control, all speed traction control, tire pressure monitor, tire sealant and inflator kit in place of spare tire, leather wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary controls, dual zone climate control, 8-way power driver’s seat, power windows with driver and passenger express up and down, cruise control, driver information Center, rear seat pass through to trunk, stereo with CD player / MP3 format Bose eight speaker system, XM satellite radio with three months included, front and side impact airbags head curtain side airbags front and rear, daytime running lights, auto headlights, power door locks, theft deterrent system and OnStar with turn by turn navigational directions.

Options:

add CD /DVD player, MP3 format 5.1 cabin surround sound 10 speaker system, 40 GB hard drive, navigation system with XM traffic service, ultra view sunroof, Sapele wood trim, rain sensing windshield wipers, theft deterrent alarm, heated and cooled seats, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, leather seats with driver and passenger 10-way memory seat adjuster, heated windshield washer fluid, 18 inch all season performance tires, high-intensity headlights, headlight washer, 18 inch painted aluminum wheels, limited slip differential, sports suspension system, performance cooling system, fog lights, thunder Grey Chromaflair premium paint and compact spare tire. Total options $11,150.

Gas Stats:

$3.50/ Gal avg. Mar 11, ‘08

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

17 City and 26 Highway MPG

www.safercar.gov  or  888-327-4236

Pricing:

MSRP $34,545; with Options $45,695.

2007 Cadillac STS-V (649)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2007 Cadillac STS-V luxury sedan that is supercharged for a little excitement for the quiet dull lives of those who have the bucks. And get this – there is a gas guzzler tax of $2,100 they aren’t concerned about either.

For me – Ouch – a little speed is expensive and I stopped by the gas station twice so far and fear I’ll be stopping again to refuel. As if gas prices weren’t bad enough, we seem to drive cars that burn it all the faster. I quit – I’m buying a hybrid.

That being said it is hard to take your eyes off of her. She is very striking and it grabs most folks for at least a look and second look. Not that this could be in Sports Illustrated swim suit edition but it is beautiful even fully clothed. GM – you may have lost first position in the industry to Toyota but the war isn’t over and you’ve come a long way back. I believe Americans will rally to support our countries honor, apple pie and mom along with – yes – even General Motors because it is an American tradition and deserves our loyal support. Some remind me of Pearl Harbor and wonder why we’re so good to those who sought us so much harm.

General Info:

Parts – US/Canadian 75%

Assembly – Lansing , MI USA

Class:  – Mid-Size

Cars: – CTS, DTS, Escalade, Escalade EXT, SRX, STS and XLR.

Observation:

Irresponsible Traffic Enforcement – Traffic cops – as distasteful as they are on our highways, hiding in places that tick you off – we need them there – we want them there. However, if we must endure their arrogant condescending Gestapo presence then they should be required to issue as many citations to slow drivers as they do fast drivers. I’m not saying fast drivers shouldn’t be slowed down, but comm’on slow drivers can be as much of a hazard on our roads as those who drive too fast.

Handling & Performance:

Won-der-full! The Crest test was a delight to experience. For a fairly large luxury sedan it hugged the curves like a love sick sailor. You’re going to love this car. And I don’t know an automotive press colleague who doesn’t agree this is one of the finest automobiles on the road today.

Styling:

I don’t know about you but for me Cadillac continues to be the world’s standard of excellence and that includes style and beauty for nearly a hundred years. The whole lineup of Cads continues that leadership.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent. You can’t leave this kind of elegance to just anyone to build. It’s made in America my friend.

Cost:

Just one look and you know it won’t be cheap. But nothing this gorgeous ever is. And of course the turbocharged V is the tip-top of the line. It doesn’t get any better than this. Truly one of the best cars of the world and this STS V is sure to be a classic in the tradition of Cadillac that has stood the test of time.

Conveniences and comfort:

“Top of the heap” as Frank sang.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you want to make a statement that you’re arrived in a quiet elegant way this is the car. Rolls Royce would be a bit showy. Ferrari would be wonderful, but notching down a bit in price range this shoe fits perfectly – Italian leather or not. I would own this STS V over every one of the competition listed below – in a heart beat with no hesitation.

Recognized Competition:

Cadillac STS $42-75,000, Lincoln LS $39,285, BMW 5 Series $44-59,000, Infiniti M $41-51,000, Mercedes Benz E Class $51-85,000, Audi A6 $42-55,000, Chrysler 300 $24-40,000, Jaguar S-Type $48-63,000, Saab 9-5 $34,695, Lexus GS $44-52,000, Acura TL $34-38,000, Volvo S80 $39-47,000.

Good News:

American Beauty that came out of and made possible by the American Dream – which by the way is the envy of the world. Even our enemies want a piece of us.

Bad News:

The bad news is that too many people have gone over to the other side without actually moving off shore. I have to confess – I led the charge in the 60s to flee from high priced American cars and bought a Datsun but now I’ve switched back because this is war – baby.

Standard Equipment:

4.4 liter 469 hp V8 supercharged engine, 6-speed auto transmission, stability control, traction control, performance cooling package, limited slip differential, brake assist, olive ash wood trim, multi driver memory setting, 8-way power seat with lumbar, heated front and rear outside seats, heated and leather wrapped power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, keyless entry with remote start button, 6-disc CD changer Bose 5.1 surround sound system, DVD Navigation system, XM satellite radio with 3 months included, universal home remote, power sunroof, power windows with express up and down, rain sensing wipers, auto dimming inside and power outside mirrors, high intensity headlights with washers, front and side airbags with side curtain airbags front and rear, OnStar with turn by turn nav one year included, tire pressure monitor, daytime running lights, rear park assist sensor, theft deterrent system, power door locks.

Gas Stats:

$3.30/ Gal avg. Apr. 29 ‘07

 www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

14 City and 21 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $74,870.

2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV (613)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV sport utility vehicle. Ok, so this is just a fancy Suburban but it is really nice and as elegant as a Cadillac should be.

No matter how Fu-Fu the Japanese make their cars they don’t have the 100 plus years of history and tradition in one brand like GM has. Tradition is important to us as a people as it is for the Japanese, but this is different than social tea’s and Bonsai trees.  

And the fuel economy you say. Poor, for sure. But then like Merkel says there are people who don’t care what the cost of gas is. That would likely be those who buy these big gas guzzling POSH SUVs. In any case every car made will get 300 miles on a tank of gas. So you won’t stop for gas more often than the next guy. Rather you will just fork out a few extra bucks. What’s an extra grand each year for the convenience of a large car to haul all the kids and gear? I know it’s not fashionable these days to have more than two kids but then there is my son who just had number four. I know he can count but Mike I think it’s time to stop with the kid’s thing. 2 boys, 2 girls are enough. You’ve done your part to populate the world. Mike has a near duplicate of this Escalade in the form of a Chevy Tahoe. Same platform and absolutely necessary for all those car seats. I get tired just watching today’s young people getting ready to go somewhere. I don’t think I could have done it when I was his age. Back then we didn’t even insist they buckle up. Today they are strapped in like an astronaut ready for liftoff.

Oh, POSH – you may recall it is a sailing term for the big luxury liners of the turn of the century traveling from England . It is an acronym that refers to Posh Accommodations and stands for Port side Out, Starboard side Home. Thus you got the sunny side both ways. You paid extra, of course, also true of a Posh SUV.

General Info:

Parts – USA

Assembly – Arlington , Texas , USA

Class:  – Special Purpose

Cars: – CTS, DeVille, DTS, Escalade, Escalade EXT, SRX, STS and XLR.

Handling & Performance:

This hunk will be considered a sled to many, but it’s amazing how well it handles. Many cars are tiresome to drive but that’s far from the case with this Cad. It almost drives itself. I equate it to the movement of a Navy ship that moves very decisively.

But what is more interesting is that I took if for the Crest Test and found that at the same comfort level of handling the curves I was able to set cruise at 40-50 mph as compared with 45-55 on the Infiniti G35 sports car.

Styling:

Cadillac is still the standard by which other cars are compared with. There was a time they were losing their grip but I believe they are BACK. That from a man who’s owned 8 Cad’s and loved ‘em all for the very reason they have always led and not followed.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent

Cost:

Competitive for like kind quality SUV’s and it is made in America .

Conveniences:

Outstanding things are provided to pamper you and make life just a little easier. Ever notice how the absence of things is as noticeable as the presence of things – and maybe even more. For example:  Air conditioning on a hot day, heated seats to warm your buns on a cold day, cruise control on a long drive to relax your foot along with XM radio when you’re out of sight and out of range. And on those long trips through the Grand Canyon, Zion or Bryce National Parks , try those power windows. Yep, put them down to escape from the sterile environment of climate control air conditioning. I suspect we make things so perfect that we miss the flavor of the sounds and smells of the terrain we’re traveling through. Just a suggestion to heighten the travel experience and make it more memorable. Trust me, the kids will carry those sights and sounds and smells with them the rest of their lives. I can still remember that first apple off a tree – worm and all.

Another note about XM tunes. They are your tunes and mine. I totally relax in this Cad and although I may be in a topless Jeep Wrangler with the wind blowing through my hair next week, in the wee small hours of the morning driving on an un-crowded highway listening to the music of XM 73 – Franks place – is a bit of heaven.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are looking at a Chevy Suburban, Ford Expedition or other large ‘boat hauler’ you have to look at this Escalade. It will take you places (even with the high price of gas) cheaper and without the concern of terrorists and those horrible airport terminal lines and the indignity of being strip searched in front of a few hundred people you don’t even know or want to know. I suspect we’ll all spend more time in our National Parks and less time in the polluted air inside a transcontinental jet.

If you’ve never experienced OnStar you need to consider it.

Recognized Competition:

Cadillac Escalade ESV $54-59,000, Land Rover Range Rover $74-89,000, Lincoln Navigator $46-51,000, Toyota Land Cruiser $56,215, Hummer H2 $53,000, Lexus LX 470 $67,000, Volvo XC90 $36-46,000, Jeep Commander $27-38,000, Infiniti QX56 $50-53,000, Nissan Armada $35-43,000, GMC Yukon $34-43,000, Chevrolet Tahoe $33-46,000, GMC Yukon Denali $47-50,000, Lexus GX 470 $46,635, Ford Expedition $29-43,000.

Good News:

Very nice styling, solid ride for super comfort, big enough for that growing family.

Bad News:

Poor mileage.

Standard Equipment:

6.2 liter V8 403 hp engine, 6-speed heavy duty automatic trans, all wheel drive, road sensing suspension, auto rear leveling control, traction control, 4-wheel antilock disc brake system, 18” aluminum wheels, 14-way power front heated seats and backrests, 2nd row bucket seats, 3-passenger 3rd row seat, nuance leather seats, driver info center, stereo with 6-disc CD player, DVD and MP3. XM satellite radio service (3 months included), Bose 5.1 surround sound, power lift-gate, remote keyless entry and remote starter, rear audio sound system controls, power fold heated mirrors with curb view and signals, power adjustable pedals, rain-sense wipers, heated washer fluid system, steering wheel radio controls, tri-zone climate control, dual frontal air bags, passenger sensing system, head curtain side air bags for all seating rows, stability control, ultrasonic rear park assist, OnStar service included for 1 year directions and connections plan, tire pressure monitoring system, theft deterrent and rear door child security locks.

Gas Stats:

Government estimated fuel economy for this vehicle is stated as “Not applicable to this vehicle”. That’s because the government has set overall mileage from a car manufacturer, so they put out high mileage cars which allows them to sell cars like this Escalade.

My calculations came up with overall mileage for one tank of gas at 11.6 mpg.

9 City and 14 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $58,805.

2006 Cadillac CTS (570)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the very popular 2006 Cadillac CTS. And although GM is losing money they are still the worlds largest auto maker. And the experience can be seen in cars like this CTS.

They are doing some wonderful things and are still the leader in innovation – an expensive process. They are positioning themselves to launch at least 5 new models of fuel cell cars in about 5 years which is way ahead of the estimate just 2 years ago when I drove the High Wire hydrogen powered fuel cell car for the future. I suppose an “Anti Gravity Hover Car” like those in Star Wars will be on the scene sooner than many can imagine also. So, quietly GM is forging forward while companies like Toyota advertise they are “Moving Forward”.  

In the meantime cars like this CTS will have to do. And they do great. It is an all around great luxury car that still carries the image of the standard by which all other cars are judged. That image is likely the reason why this is the most sought after car in the Far East – Japan and China.

General Info:

Parts – USA

Assembly – Lansing, Michigan, USA

Class:  Mid-Size

Cars: CTS, DeVille, DTS, Escalade, SRX, STS, XLR.

Handling & Performance:

The Crest Test is my course of choice along with another secret course through the San Gabriel Mountains. These provide a great real world place to see how these cars perform and it is consistent across all brands. This CTS is among the best of the best. Previously I tested the Nissan 350Z and felt it is excellent on the two courses but for a large sedan this CTS will impress even the most performance conscious drivers.

Styling:

Speaking of Star Wars – Cadillac has crafted a design over the past several years that is truly modern and space age. Yes, they have broken through their own barriers. To me the Star Wars character I think of when looking at the Cadillac line is Darth Vadar, especially when it is painted Black.

Fit and Finish:

Outstanding. I especially like the real wood steering wheel / leather combo.

Cost:

You may appreciate, as I did, the options to enhance and upgrade from the standard fare. Included was a DVD navigation system with XM Satellite radio, which also provided the Nav system with Traffic information. It plasters markers on the map to show where traffic problems are. Cost of enhanced Nav audio etc. – a mere $3,000.

Conveniences:

You just gotta love XM radio. I particularly like the music by decade feature. Another is that the monitor displays the Title and Artist, which is very cool. It eliminates arguments about the recording. The other, soon to be broadly used, is the OnStar system. I find it very helpful. It gives a great peace of mind that there is someone to help from most any driving location you find yourself. I was recently in a remote desert location in Southern California and low on fuel. Yes, we were lost. We had taken the wrong turn and with good conversation, la-la land was right around the next mountain. OnStar to the rescue. They gave us “Playback” directions, advised where the closest gas station was and “is there anything else I can do for you today”?

Consumer Recommendation:

This is a car that suits very well the younger executive on the way up. And it is priced right for that ride. If you have the option available get Run Flat tires – do that. It’s not that you can’t change a tire it is a fact that tires only go flat when you can least afford them to. It is sure to happen when you are late for an appointment or the all to familiar – running late – trip to the airport.

The Competition:

Cadillac CTS $31-51,000, Saab 9-5 $36-40,000, Lexus IS 300 $30-31,000, Jaguar X-Type $30-31,000, Infiniti M $41-50,000, Mercedes Benz E-Class $50-82,000, BMW 3-Series $31-45,000, Chrysler 300 $24-40,000, Lincoln LS $39,285, Volvo S60 $30-38,000, Audi A4 $28-45,000, Acura TL $33-36,000.

Good News:

F a a a s t, fun, but elegant at the same time. Unexpected fuel economy for a performance luxury sedan.

Bad News:

I found none.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter V6 engine, 6-speed manual trans, 4-wheel abs disc brakes, 16” alloy wheels, all speed traction control, leather wrapped steering wheel with controls, leather seating, power driver seat, power windows, power heated mirrors, cruise control, computer info system, rear seat pass thru to trunk, audio system with CD and 7 speakers, XM satellite radio, dual front air bags with head curtain side bags, rear window defogger, fog lights, auto on / off headlights, rear child security locks, theft deterrent system, remote keyless entry, OnStar.

Gas Stats:

17 City and 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $33,160.

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.

2004 Cadillac CTS-V (499)

Overview:

This week I tested the 2004 Cadillac CTS-V. If 400 horsepower doesn’t impress you, you have to be on life support. I will guarantee you’ll be impressed. But will you want to own this hot rod if all you want is a cool looking car you can sit back and relax as you get where you’re going. For many it is the destination that’s important and not the journey.

So if the journey is the thing for you, believe me, the CTS-V will keep you on your toes, if not on the edge of your seat.

Anyway, I enjoyed the ride, but wonder a lot if I would want it as a daily driver, if for no other reason than I had trouble keeping it within the speed limit. Did someone say the speed laws raised the limit to 100 mph?

Another observation is that this car draws attention to itself by virtue of the futuristic design. The bad news is the dreaded Storm Troopers also do a double take. You know those are the tough guys on the “Dark Side” with Vadar. Driving today is still a battle of good over evil. You decide which side are the bad guys.

A problem I had with the car is that it is too classy to feel the engine lopping as if it had a big cam. Smooth AND fast is better. I wonder why they didn’t put the NorthStar engine in this model.

And although the fuel consumption can be pretty good, if you don’t have a lead foot, you may want to consider learning to ride a horse. If fuel prices continue to rise, that may once again be an option. I wondered what I was going to do with my stock in that buggy whip company!

General Info:

Parts –  n/a

Assembly – Lansing, Michigan, USA

Class:  – Mid Size

Cars: – CTS / V, Deville, Escalade, Seville, SRX, STS and XLR.

Handling & Performance:

Awesome. Simply awesome. This thing has so much horsepower and torque that you only need three of the six gears. Start in first going up hill and go to 3 and then 4th gear. When you’re on level streets or down hill you can start in 2nd and then 4th and finally 6th. It’s like having two gearboxes.

0-60 mph is impressive at 4.6 seconds. When I did that test it brought back memories of the Corvette powered Model “A” sedan I owned in my youth. It made the cover of Hot Rod Magazine… that was when the earth was still cooling. The performance was as impressive then as it is “UN-impressive today. 110 mph in the quarter in 13.25 seconds, ‘eeehah! Like anything in technology, today’s good performers are better than yesterday’s best performers.

Styling:

Imposing. In a single word, imposing says it all. The presence on the road is elegant at the same time. Star Wars is this generation and Darth Vadar would drive this car… in Black, of course. The sharp lines are unique and draw a picture of the road to the future. Bravo GM. Someone ought to take the designers out for lunch… in Switzerland for a few weeks… wives and kids included. These guys are good.

Cadillac is back! Cadillac has always been world-class and GM is bent on reviving that image. Word is this car is selling like hotcakes in winter, and is especially popular with Chinese Jet Setters.

You’ll notice a slight difference in the front end from the CTS Sedan. The V model includes an additional mesh grill below the bumper to provide not only a unique front appearance, it permits more airflow to the engine compartment.

Fit and Finish:

Good.

Conveniences:

Good. Nice size trunk with pass through. OnStar safety system – you gotta love this feature. XM radio is great for those who want a great selection of tunes and more.

Cost:

Not so good. A little pricey and I think they should do a little better because the competition offers a lot too.

Consumer Recommendation:

The uniqueness of styling, great electronics and spectacular performance will endear this car to many in the fast lane. This is a contender and has to be on your test drive list in class.

The Competition:

Cadillac CTS V $49,300, Chrysler 300M $29-33,000, BMW 3 Series $28-44,000, Volvo S60 $27-37,000, Lincoln LS $32-43,000, Audi A-4 $26-44,000, Saab 9-5 $35-40,000, Lexus IS 300 $29-31,000, Jaguar X-Type $29-34,000, Acura TL $33-35,000, Mercedes Benz E-Class $48-79,000, Infiniti I35 $30,600.

Good News:

Impressive performance with decent fuel economy.

Bad News:

A little pricey for the competition.

Standard Equipment:

5.7 liter 400 horsepower V8 engine, 6 speed manual trans, 4-wheel 4-piston Brembo brakes with 14” vented rotors, 18” alloy wheels with run flat tires, Traction control, dual exhaust, leather with sued fabric inserts, power front seats, multi driver memory, heated seats, split folding rear seat, power heated mirrors, cruise control, power windows, audio system with 7 speakers and CD player, XM satellite radio, front and side airbags, fog lights, auto headlights, auto door locks, alarm system, remote keyless entry and 1 year OnStar system service.

Gas Stats:

16 City and 25 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $49,300.

2004 Cadillac XLR (491)

Overview:

This week I tested the 2004 Cadillac XLR and I’m not ashamed to tell you how hedonistically wonderful a car like this makes one feel. Fact is you don’t know what you don’t know until you DO know when you experience unique and different things.

Many things in life are that way, like the first time you eat an apple or oysters. With this XLR, there were so many neat features to discover and appreciate it was like an Easter egg hunt.

But this was not like testing the surreal oversized toy called the Plymouth Prowler.  This XLR is new and exciting serious business. The smaller retractable hardtop Mercedes Benz SLK comes to mind. But XLR is more a rogue. It is less refined but all the more exciting for that fact. Or perhaps it is the wayward child of an SL500 and a Corvette. The male is sure to be the more macho Corvette. No same sex unions here.

General Info:

Parts –  n/a

Assembly – Bowling Green, KY, USA

Class:  – Two Seater

Cars: – CTS, DeVille, Escalade, Escalade EXT, Seville, SRX & XLR.

Handling & Performance:

Wonderful. It’s smooth, comfortable and just flat fun to drive … and fast too. That’s NorthStar fast at 320 horsepower mated to a 5-speed transmission gives you super smooth shifting. It also has a manual controlled shift, but the XLR doesn’t offer a manual transmission, rightfully so. Competitors are similarly powered but the lighter weight XLR helps it to sprint 0-60 in just 5.8 seconds, which is a little faster than the others.

Styling:

Forward thinking and very tomorrow. The sharp lines are attractive, strong and confident. The grill is beautiful and daring. This is a “Go For It” kind’a car and the expected production of only 3,000 cars will make it hard to find. It has lots of sex appeal and the expected buyer will be a 54-year-old male with annual household income of about $250,000 seeking much younger woman, the personals will exclaim. But I have news for the ladies – at the end of the day this car will out perform its owner.

Fit and Finish:

Nothing to complain about.

Conveniences:

More than you can imagine. Let’s see, where do you start with a car that has every gadget available?

Ok, start by placing the key fob in your pocket or purse and leave it there. When you walk up to the car the door unlocks and a touch pad opens the door (no handles), then you get in and a light on the dash (where the key would ordinarily be inserted) lights up. You touch the button and wa-la the car starts. Pressing the bottom of the button turns the ignition off. Ok, I just thought of one thing it doesn’t have… remote starting.

Anyway, you tool down the highway seated in heated or cooled power seats. You engage the cruise control and that information pops up on the window reflecting the speed you are traveling, the speed you set for cruise and it then controls and maintains a safe distance between you and the car in front. You can just see it isn’t long before we have “Auto Pilot” in cars. When someone pulls in front of you and shortens the distance between you and that car, braking occurs as needed. Wonderful. I’ve tested this feature before and I’m lov’n it more every time.

The hard top magically tucks away in the trunk at the touch of one button. When it starts to sprinkle or rain, the wipers snap to attention and wipe away the moisture. Just say thank you. The Navigation system provides the usual map and assists you in reaching your destination when needed. OnStar system is available not only for emergencies, but it can be the most convenient thing on the car. You can request help finding a gas station, or any directions or distance anywhere. They will tell you where you are, call for roadside assistance or lead you to the nearest Neiman Marcus or Mervin’s for that matter.

When you get to your destination and parallel park, sensors alert you when you’re getting close to any object. Then with the touch of a button the door pops open. What’s not to love on this car?

Cost:

It doesn’t matter!

Consumer Recommendation:

There are many who would like to drive this XLR, but few who would own it for several reasons. One, it is a big two seater, so it limits utility. Two, it is a retractable hard top car so there is almost NO storage space with the top down. Three, it costs nearly $80,000. But that being said, this is a keeper. That’s my code for I Really Love This Car. When I hate to give a test car back, I know it’s special.

Looking at the cost of the competition the XLR is most affordable of many. But if you want to pop for one, you’d better act fast due to limited production.  If you want to open your wallet wider, you can easily find a higher priced competitor since there are far fewer able to afford the ride. But those few are not on this planet anyway. Why, because only race drivers can truly appreciate the handling prowess of such cats. More importantly, those other cars can never really appreciate the average driver. If you’ve ever ridden a horse and think it doesn’t know your ability to set astride that magnificent animal, think again. If they could only talk! Cars can talk, but they would never say anything offensive like, Where’d you get your license, in a Cracker Jack’s box?

The Competition:

2003 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage $142-152,000, 2003 BMW Z8 $132-136,000, Lexus SC 430 $63,000, Jaguar XK Series $69-93,000, Mercedes-Benz SL Class $89-126,000, Maserati Spyder $86-90,000.

Good News:

Fantastic styling, fun to drive and features from the next dimension.

Bad News:

Pricey.

Standard Equipment:

4.6 liter NorthStar 320 hp V8 engine, 5-speed auto trans with driver shift control, 4-wheel independent suspension with magnetic ride control, 4-wheel power assist ABS disc brakes, 18 inch polished alloy wheels with run flat tires and pressure monitors, Stabilitrak and traction control, speed sensing power steering, power retractable hardtop, keyless access with push start, heads up display, heated and cooled 8-way power seats, Bose AM/FM with 6-disc CD changer, DVD Navigation and voice recognition system, adaptive cruise control, climate control, Eucalyptus wood trim, wood and leather wrapped steering wheel, high intensity headlights with washers and twilight sentinel control, ultrasonic rear sensors, dual front and side airbags, fog lights, theft deterrent system and OnStar system.

Gas Stats:

17 City and 25 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $76,000.

2003 Cadillac CTS (403)

Overview:

Well, this week I tested a car I would own. The 2003 Cadillac CTS is new to this world and I suspect GM’s Cadillac division is placing a lot of faith in this design to kick sales into high gear. Will they do it? Who really knows? But I have to tell you my guess is that it will be a winner for Cadillac.

And although they expect 40% of sales to be to women, I believe it will be more. This is more a man’s car than they already expect. Women won’t like the stiff sporty ride, or the sharp lines that are so reminiscent of Star Wars’ Darth Vadar. Futuristic and different is what characterizes this sporty youthful car for the 21st Century.

CTS stands for C-Series Touring Sedan, and for me the very comfortable seating offset any stiff performance suspension. The 5-speed manual transmission gives it even more of a sporty feel and the last time Cad sported a manual trans was in the 1950’s.

General Info:

Parts –  USA

Assembly – Lansing, MI USA

Class:  – Mid-Size

Cars: – CTS, DeVille, Eldorado, Escalade, Escalade EXT, Seville

Handling & Performance:

The CTS is powered by the “Short Star” representing a NorthStar engine less two cylinders. With the 5-speed on the floor you’ll feel like “Johnny Rocket”. Stiff suspension adds to the sporty feel, but shifting is more jerky than I’d like to see.

Styling:

You’ll be the judge in the final analysis, but you gotta just love this gutsy design. I thought only Chrysler had the “Huevos” to challenge design boredom so common these days of “cookie-cutter” styling.

Fit and Finish:

It’s a Cadillac so it’s very good. More importantly it is classy and no gimmicks.

Conveniences:

The list is good and if you care to pop for another $6,775 you can have the Sport Package that includes power passenger seat adjuster, Zebrano Wood trim, audible alarm, Homelink garage door opener, talknote recorder, driver memory settings, compass in mirror, sport tuned suspension, performance brake lining, Stabilitrak, load leveling, speed sensitive power steering, 17” polished alloy wheels, Bose stereo, sunroof, high intensity headlights & heated front seats. Well, I don’t know about you, but I can do without most of this stuff.

Cost:

The least expensive Cadillac and I’d jump on this now if you were in the market for a luxury mid-size sports car.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you’re in the market for a BMW or Mercedes Benz this is a Must Test Drive option.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

Shifting is jerky and hard to control. That needs looking into.

The Competition:

Acura TL $29-33,000, Audi A4 $25-33,000, BMW 3-Series $27-42,000, Chrysler 300 M $29-32,000, Infiniti I35 $29,000, Jaguar X-Type $30-36,000, Lexus IS 300 $29-31,000, Lincoln LS $33-41,000, Mercedes Benz C-Class $25-50,000, Saab 9-3 $28-45,000, Volvo S60 $27-34,000.

Good News:

Priced extremely well, luxury sport vehicle, Very comfortable seats,

Bad News:

Price is bound to go up next year.

Standard Equipment:

3.2 liter V6 engine, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, 4-wheel independent suspension and ABS disc brakes, 16” allow wheels, traction control, power steering, steel safety cage, dual front and side impact air bags, fog lamps, auto headlights, auto door and child security locks, Remote Keyless entry, OnStar 1-year plan, leather seating and wrapped steering wheel, climate control, tinted glass, 8-way power driver seat, power windows and mirrors with heaters, auto dimming inside mirror, cruise control, computer information center, AM/FM cassette and CDE with 7 speakers, rear seat pass through to trunk.

Gas Stats:

19 City and 26 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $29,350.