1996 Cadillac Seville Sedan

4dr Touring Sdn STS

Starting at | Starting at 17 MPG City - 26 MPG Highway

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  • $47,495 original MSRP

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Printable Version

1996 Cadillac Seville Sedan

Printable Version

1996 Cadillac Seville Sedan


1996 Cadillac Seville

Source: New Car Test Drive

The Northstar still shines bright.

by Helen Hutchings

The American motoring press rarely speaks with one voice, but the Cadillac Northstar System -- heart of the Seville sedan and Eldorado coupe -- is one area of U.S. automotive technology that's generated uniformly high marks since its introduction in 1992.

It's the critical edge that keeps these cars competitive against their rivals, import and domestic, and it revives Cadillac's old marketing slogan -- "An American Standard For The World," a corporate statement dating to 1908.

Although power is a key ingredient, the Northstar System is more than just the potent 4.6-liter, dual overhead-cam, 32-valve V-8 engine that drives the front wheels of the Seville and Eldorado. Virtually every other vehicle system is integrated as well. Engine and transmission controls are computer coordinated, giving the standard four-speed 4T80-E automatic exceptional shift quality to go with the car's blazing acceleration. Magnasteer translates driver command and returns road feel, enhancing the sense of control. Braking and acceleration are monitored and optimized by the latest GM anti-lock braking system and traction control.

And all these sub-systems are computer-orchestrated by the Northstar Integrated Chassis Control System, which adapts ride and handling to road conditions and vehicle speed.

Systems within systems within a system. Anyone who thinks that technological sophistication is the exclusive province of imported luxury cars probably hasn't had a taste of the Northstar experience.

Our most recent experience with this outstanding techno symphony came in a '96 Seville STS, the top of the Seville-Eldorado line.


It is only from behind the wheel, with the miles flowing quickly by, that the Seville reminds one of a European sedan. The exterior styling is wholly all-American -- powerful, handsome lines that still look distinctive, if not exactly new. One indication of the strength of the design is how compact and cohesive it is. The Seville is a big sedan, but its true size isn't apparent until it's parked next to a smaller car.

Changes for 1996 are minimal. Like so many GM products, the Seville and Eldorado add Daytime Running Lamps to their list of standard safety features. Another upgrade, perhaps more universally welcome, involves the ignition. When the key is in the ignition, it's impossible to lock the driver's door. No more lockouts.

Keeping pace with competitors, the remote entry system also allows pre-programming of seat position and door locks. The Seville politlely acknowledges keyfob commands by blinking its lights, a plus in vast, anonymous parking lots.

The Seville and Eldorado both come in two models, Seville SLS and STS, Eldorado and Eldorado TC. Aside from minor differences in exterior trim, the principal distinction between standard and uplevel editions lies under the hood. In basic versions, the Northstar V-8 produces 275 hp, while the STS and ETC have 300 hp.

Although the Eldorado rides a shorter wheelbase -- 108.0 inches versus 111.0 inches for the Seville -- the chassis and suspension components are otherwise essentially the same.

The Inside Story

Rather than mimic the stark grays and blacks that dominate the interiors of European luxury sedans, Cadillac elected to go its own route with the Seville and Eldorado, using warm, muted color schemes and lots of zebrano wood trim, a striking trademark touch.

Though the front seats don't offer as much side support as competing European makes, they're well shaped and spacious. The leather upholstery that goes with the STS is perforated, allowing it to breathe, and the range of adjustability -- power-operated, of course -- should make any driver comfortable.

Entry and exit are exceptionally easy here -- no more difficult than plunking yourself into your favorite living room. Room behind the front seats is plentiful, and the sound systems -- an AM/FM/cassette Delco unit (standard) or one of three optional Bose systems, two of which include CD players.

Our test car had the top-of-the-line Bose system with a 12-disc trunk-mounted CD player, a $1513 option.

As you'd expect of a car with a price range that starts at almost $42,995, the Seville standard equipment list is long and comprehensive. The STS adds dual front controls for the automatic climate control system, power lumbar support for the front seats, a floor-mounted shifter (vs. a column shifter in the SLS), a fold-down rear center armrest with cupholders, analog instruments, heated outside mirrors and, of course, leather upholstery.

Aside from sound system choices, about the only major addition one might make is the power moonroof, a $1700 option that was also part of our test car's equipment list.

One interesting new touch is Cadillac's new Rainsense Wiper System. Set the system in the automatic delay mode, and it adjusts the wiper speed based on the amount of moisture falling on the windshield.

Comprehensive also applies to the Seville's standard safety features. In addition to daytime running lights, they include ABS, traction control, dual airbags and side impact protection. About the only thing that's beginning to be conspicuous by its absence in this inventory is side airbags, which are beginning to show up in European sedans from Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Although we wish the Seville included door panel map pockets, the interior is otherwise hard to criticize. It's beautifully assembled and elegantly posh.

Ride & Drive

SLS or STS, the Seville's throttle response is exceptional. In fact, for all its other strong points, it's sheer power that sets these cars apart. Although this is a large car, weighing in at almost 3900 pounds in STS trim, it can sprint to 60 mph in less than seven seconds, and its response in tight passing situations is nothing short of spectacular. In this sense, power can be viewed as a safety feature. In another sense, power is the key element that distinguishes memorable luxury cars from the rest of the here.

Either way, the Seville and Eldorado have lots of it, double in spades.

The only soft point in the power picture is torque steer -- the tendency of the powertrain to pull the car to one side or the other at full throttle. These are the most powerful front-drive passenger cars on earth, and managing this kind of power in a front-drive system is tricky. Cadillac has all but cured the problem, but there's still a hint of torque steer when the driver punches the throttle wide open at low speeds.

The balance between ride and handling, augmented by Cadillac's Road Sensing Suspension system, leans toward firm in the STS, softer in the SLS, a distinction that also applies to the basic Eldorado and the Eldo TC. The suspension adapts to various road surfaces as well as more extreme handling maneuvers with infinitely variable damping.

Like the original STS, our test car was surprisngly responsive in abrupt maneuvers, particularly for a large front-drive automobile. However, Cadillac has softened the ride a bit from the original, a change that most drivers will welcome on rough roads.

Another positive change from the original is reduced interior noise, largely the result of exhaust system revisions. Cadillac wants its owners to hear the powerful sound of the Northstar V-8 in action, but early owners have told Cadillac that there was a little too much of this. Now there's less.

Another interesting technical feature is the Northstar's limp-home capacity. For example, even if the engine loses all its coolant, the car can keep going by firing only four of the eight cylinders in an alternating pattern--for up to 50 miles.

Final Word

Now nearing the end of their initial product cycle, the Seville and Eldorado continue to offer a uniquely American blend of style, luxury and advanced technology, with the bonus of blazing engine performance.

Backed by 24-hour roadside assistance and Cadillac's Gold Key 50,000-mile bumper to bumper warranty, these cars still carry the mantle of luxury leadership for the U.S. -- an American Standard for the World -- and they carry it well.

Order our 200+ page magazine of reviews. Send $8.00 (S&H included) to New Car Test Drive, 2145 Crooks Rd. Suite 200, Troy, MI 48084

© 1996 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

1996 Cadillac Seville Sedan

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std
Active Suspension System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std


Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

1996 Cadillac Seville Sedan

Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

¹Extension of new-vehicle bumper-to-bumper warranty to 6 years/70,000 miles, whichever comes first (from new-vehicle delivery date and mileage). Download Details
Age/Mileage Eligibility 5 years / 60,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection ² 172-Point Inspection
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible No

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1996 Cadillac Seville Sedan

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