- Spacious interior with high-quality materials throughout
- Impressive number of high-tech features
- Available all-wheel drive for cold-weather climates
- Optional twin-turbo V6 offers strong straight-line acceleration
- Standard V6 struggles to get the big sedan moving
- Surprisingly narrow trunk opening
- Touch-sensitive controls can be a hassle to use while driving
The Cadillac XTS is nod to the large, comfortable, older-style cruisers of yesteryear but is also packed full of enough modern technology to keep the savviest gadget user happy. The proportions are purposeful and meant to appeal to the customer who values comfort and an abundance of cabin space over all-out performance. That said, those looking for a little extra passing power have the option of moving up to the V-Sport model, which comes with all-wheel drive and doles out 410 horsepower from its turbocharged V6.
As of 2016, the XTS is no longer Cadillac's largest sedan, due to the introduction of the rear-wheel-drive CT6. However, they aren’t too far apart in size and the front-drive XTS is still quite a bit more affordable and has a slightly larger trunk. The standard engine is GM’s 3.6-liter V6, which develops 304 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque and runs on regular octane fuel.
Mild updates for the XTS in 2017 include a new gauge cluster, a new 20-inch wheel design for the performance-oriented V-Sport model and a Teen Driver feature to help put parents more at ease when junior is out on an “errand.”
Some alternatives to the Cadillac XTS include the Chrysler 300, which offers comparable cabin space, a choice of V6 or V8 power and optional all-wheel drive. Hyundai's Genesis sedan doesn’t offer quite as much rear legroom as the XTS, but it sports a sleek design and healthy V6 engine. Another viable option is the MKS from Lincoln that lines up well on paper and costs less than the base-model XTS. If going slightly upmarket, we’d suggest looking into the Audi A6, with its powerful and fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine and standard Quattro all-wheel drive.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2017
The XTS remains mostly unchanged for 2017 with the exception of a revised standard gauge cluster, a new 20-inch wheel design for the XTS V-Sport model and a Teen Driver feature, which reminds and encourages young drivers to use seat belts and drive at responsible speeds.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2017 Cadillac XTS is a large luxury sedan sold in four main trim levels: base, Luxury Collection, Premium Collection and Platinum Collection. The turbocharged V-Sport is only offered in Premium or Platinum trim.
Standard equipment for the base XTS includes 19-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, rear air springs with automatic leveling, HID headlamps, LED taillamps, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather seating surfaces, and 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks with a lockable cargo pass-through.
Standard technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 4G LTE connection with Wi-Fi hot spot capability, an 8-inch color touchscreen user interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, OnStar, voice controls and an eight-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, USB connectivity and an auxiliary audio input.
The XTS Luxury Collection adds dual-exhaust outlets in the rear fascia, illuminated door handles, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding mirrors, interior LED lighting, extended wood interior trim, a heated steering wheel, driver and front-passenger memory functions, heated and ventilated front seats, a navigation system, heated rear outboard seats, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and an automated parallel-parking system (front-wheel-drive models only).
An optional Driver Awareness package for the Luxury Collection trim adds lane departure warning, lane departure prevention (FWD only), blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision alert, a vibrating safety-alert driver seat and a surround-view camera system.
The Premium Collection comes standard with the Driver Awareness package, and it adds adjustable thigh support for front passengers, automatic adaptive headlights, a reconfigurable color head-up display, an upgraded 12.3-inch, driver-configurable gauge cluster display, a 110-volt power outlet, a 14-speaker surround sound Bose audio system and tri-zone automatic climate control.
The V-Sport Premium adds 20-inch wheels and an electronic limited-slip differential, though it loses the automated parking system and lane departure prevention due to its standard all-wheel-drive configuration.
An optional Driver Assist package for the Premium Collection and V-Sport Premium adds adaptive cruise control and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking. A power rear-window sunshade and manual rear side-window sunshades are also available.
Both the Luxury and Premium Collections are eligible for a panoramic sunroof.
The Platinum Collection includes the above options as standard, adding special 20-inch wheels with chrome accents, unique exterior styling (including its own grille), a faux suede headliner, upgraded leather upholstery, extended leather trim (including the center console, door panels and instrument panel hood) and a deluxe rear armrest with audio and sunshade controls. The V-Sport Platinum is similarly equipped, including the chrome-accented wheels, but otherwise shares the V-Sport Premium's distinctions.
The Platinum Collection models also come standard with 22-way power-adjustable, massaging front seats that are optional on the Premium Collection.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
The Cadillac XTS provides the kind of passenger volume you expect from a nearly 17-foot-long luxury sedan. Rear passengers in particular will appreciate their ample accommodations. With 18 cubic feet of capacity, the XTS' trunk is one of the biggest on the market, but it's unusually narrow, so long items such as golf bags might need to be creatively positioned.
Of course, we're used to Cadillacs that give us room to stretch out. The XTS' futuristic dashboard, though, is something else altogether. For 2017 the standard gauge cluster gets a face-lift, but it’s the optional 12.3-inch gauge cluster that gets our attention. Then there's the CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment interface, which integrates audio, phone, optional navigation and OnStar functionality into an 8-inch haptic touchscreen display. Cadillac has improved CUE’s response time significantly from when it was initially introduced, and the current system is finally something we’d call user-friendly. Those familiar with smartphone and tablet interfaces should feel at home with the CUE touchscreen because it uses similar touch, swipe and pinch gesture commands.
There are also touch-sensitive buttons beneath the touchscreen. These buttons control things such as the stereo and climate systems, and they can be a challenge to use if you're trying to drive at the same time. For efficient operation, you might need to look down at the panel to see what you're pressing, which of course requires you to take your eyes off the road. As slick as this control panel looks, we're not convinced that the touch controls are the way to go.
The 2017 Cadillac XTS comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control, front and rear-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. The Teen Driver feature, which is standard for 2017, supports safe driving practices by muting the sound system if any front occupants aren’t wearing seat belts, presents audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling faster than preset speed limits, and lets parents view how their teen was driving through an onboard display. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.
Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, a more advanced forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview or surround-view camera system, and a vibrating driver seat that alerts the driver to an impending collision.
In Edmunds brake testing, an XTS4 came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is average for a car in this class.
In government crash tests, the XTS received a top five-star rating overall, with five stars for total front-impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the XTS its highest possible rating of Good in its moderate-overlap front- impact test as well as the side-impact, roof strength and whiplash protection (seats and head restraints) tests. The IIHS also rated the XTS' optional forward collision warning and mitigation system as Superior.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The 2017 Cadillac XTS comes standard with front-wheel drive and a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 304 hp and 264 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is standard. All-wheel drive is available and can be identified by the moniker "XTS4."
In Edmunds testing, an XTS4 Platinum went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, a second or so behind similarly priced and powered luxury sedans. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg combined (18 city/28 highway) with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg combined (17 city/26 highway) with all-wheel drive.
If you want more pep, the V-Sport Premium and V-Sport Platinum trims come with a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter V6 that produces 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It requires premium-grade gasoline. All-wheel drive is standard with the turbo V6, as is a six-speed automatic.
We clocked an XTS V-Sport at 5.4 seconds from zero to 60 mph, which is about average for a premium luxury sedan with an upgraded engine. The EPA rates the V-Sport at 18 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway).
As imposing as the 2017 Cadillac XTS seems at the curb, it has a distinctly smaller feel from behind the wheel. Thanks to the standard adaptive suspension and feather-light steering, the XTS manages to shrink its big body around the driver.
Nonetheless, rival sedans are generally better bets in terms of driving dynamics. Comfort is king for a traditional Cadillac sedan, and the XTS doesn't disappoint. The same magnetically controlled adaptive suspension that keeps the body composed in corners provides a buttery-smooth ride on most surfaces. It's far from floaty, but when you're rolling down the highway in an XTS, there's no doubt luxury is its main mission.
When it comes to power, the V-Sport's turbocharged V6 completely transforms the driving experience. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the base engine, but the standard V6 lacks the confident oomph Cadillacs are usually associated with. The V-Sport, on the other hand, feels more like an old, muscular Caddy V8 off the line. Springing for the upgraded engine is a no-brainer if you like the idea of having power to spare.
The Cadillac XTS is no longer the biggest sedan in the brand's lineup, but its smooth ride quality, quiet cabin and classic styling make it a solid choice for those who aren't looking for a sport sedan.