2013 Cadillac XTS Review

Jerry Reynolds | July 26, 2012
2013 Cadillac XTS Review
Luxury and technology collide in the all-new 2013 Cadillac XTS. For now, this is the flagship Caddy sedan, although a lot of rumors are swirling of an even bigger version than this almost 17-foot long, all-wheel drive luxury sedan.

Under the hood, you’ll find the always dependable 3.6-liter V6 that is rated at 304-horses. It comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Performance is good in the XTS, with strong, steady acceleration and superior handling. The XTS has Magnetic Ride Control which comes in exceptional performance cars like the Corvette ZR1 and Cadillac CTS-V.

The interior is comfortable and you get a feel of an airplane cockpit when you sit down behind the wheel. The front seats are large, heated and cooled, and easy to adjust. The rear seat occupants will enjoy a ton of leg room and heated seats. This car is a real joy for everyone inside.

Debuting in the XTS is Cadillac’s new telematics system called CUE. According to GM, CUE is the first fully capacitive touch screen—much like the one in the iPad—in an original-equipment car system; the first gestural and proximity sensing in a car-based interface; and the first built-in touch feedback in any screen-based system. CUE can do a number of things that only a few other systems can at this point, like read text messages to the driver or send pre-formatted text replies. It utilizes a next-generation version of voice-recognition software from Nuance, installed and processed onboard rather than relying on a network/data connection.

I had a pleasant and productive experience with CUE's voice recognition system, better than the systems in most other new cars. Over the nearly ten different voice tasks tried, mostly audio- or navigation-related—CUE understood my natural-language command and simply did it. It comes with navigation system, Pandora, real-time weather and traffic, and CUE also houses the backup camera. From the driver's seat, I found CUE's configurable gauge panel to be very useful. You can choose from four primary gauge layouts, placing whatever information is particularly important to you, and then it's all within easy sight and controllable via steering-wheel toggle buttons. CUE is the future, only it’s here today.

XTS comes loaded as you would imagine in a Cadillac. You get push button start, keyless access, remote start, cap-less fuel tank, heated steering wheel, blind-spot warning system, and adaptive cruise control with crash avoidance system. You get 19” wheels and Brembo brakes as standard equipment. The XTS has the most vibrant heads-up display I have ever seen, and puts a variety of info up on the windshield, just below your line of sight.

Besides the CUE system, one really cool feature of this car is the Lane Departure Warning system. A lot of cars these days beep at you if you stray outside your lane. On the XTS, if you veer out of your lane to the left, you get a strong vibration on the left side of the driver’s seat. If you venture out of your lane to the right, the right side of your seat vibrates.

This is a GREAT car and a worthy competitor to the Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6. GM priced it right too.

What I liked most: The electronics and ride/handling.

What I would change: Come on GM, give me a spare in this car, not an inflater kit.

MSRP: $55810 as equipped with the Premium package.

Fuel Economy: 17 in town, 26 on the highway.

2013 XTS in a few words: Luxury and technology combined in a great luxury sedan.