Cadillac is definitely back up to form. It’s producing some standout sport sedans, with its ATS and CTS models—and of course the top-performance CTS-V. Yet it’s worth remembering that those bold, brash sport sedans don’t exactly appeal to the heart of the luxury market. And for all the Cadillac who might shrug when you talk of Pilotis yet flaunt their Fratelli Rossettis (or just rock the Hush Puppies), there’s the 2014 Cadillac XTS.
Taking aim at the meat of the luxury market—”large luxury,” as they call it—there’s the softer, smoother Cadillac XTS. It has the boxed-out look of the other models, yet smoothly styled sides and a softly arched roofline. It’s a truly good-looking car on the outside, although you might see some semblance to the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Impala it’s related to. From the inside out is probably the way that Cadillac would want you to see the XTS, as its instrument panel and interior trims showcase the latest from GM, with a swoopier look, softer details, and plenty of smooth contouring inside, contrasting with beveled, tightly-fitted metallic trim pieces.
The 2014 Cadillac XTS is not trying to be a sharply tuned sport sedan; yet given its more comfort-oriented mission, it’s surprisingly athletic. The base 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 is smooth and predictable with the six-speed automatic, although it’s a little lacking right from a standing start; step up to the new Twin-Power V-6—a twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter, making 410 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and you probably won’t be left wanting. This engine makes its peak torque from 1,900 rpm on up, so expect a V-8-like kick.
In all other respects, the XTS ends up feeling surprisingly athletic, considering its comfort-oriented mission. Thanks to a well-tuned suspension, with MagneRide magnetic ride control and air springs, the XTS stays composed and isolated, keeping minor harshness out while responses are more crisp than in other comfort-oriented cars.
At the same time, it’s very quiet inside. If passenger space is the priority, you’ve come to the right place in considering the XTS; in back-seat space in particular, it’s roomier than most other sedans this size, with plenty of headroom and lots of legroom. Front seats allow plenty of space, too, though they could be a bit more supportive.
You’ll get one of the most extensive lists of safety features in any vehicle if you step up to one of the safety-tech packages in the 2014 XTS. There’s even a system that can brake the XTS to a stop from about 20 mph—to help reduce pedestrian accidents, for instance—and occupant-safety scores are top-notch from both U.S. agencies.
At the center of the XTS’s instrument panel is a reminder of this sedan’s leading-edge feature set: an eight-inch, fully capacitive touch screen—like what’s used in iPads and other tablets, and the first of its kind to be integrated into a new car. The system comes standard, cleaning up the dashboard and leaving it remarkably free of physical buttons; and in many XTS models there are no real gauges either—just a reconfigurable ‘screen’ of simulated ones. That’s one of our peeves, as the simulated ones don’t happen to work as well as real ones; although we like most of what we’ve seen from CUE.
The XTS comes in standard guise, plus in Luxury Collection, Premium Collection, and Platinum Collection versions. All come with CUE, although only the top two models include navigation and premium audio.
New for 2014, there’s a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, with screens that fold out of the backs of the front seats; also, a new rear-seat armrest design includes wood trim, radio controls, and controls for the available sunshade (an opaque sunroof shade is newly offered). Intellibeam headlamps and a new front-seat memory feature are also among the new items.