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2016 Cadillac XTS: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader December 2015

The 2016 Cadillac XTS is a big 4-door that fills the gap between the CTS and the plus-size (and now defunct) DTS. Don't think of it as a competitor for luxury sedans such as the BMW 7 Series or Mercedes S-Class but rather as a high-value, affordable luxury car for shoppers who don't need or want the nameplate and expense of a high-end German brand.

Cadillac took a forward-thinking approach to the XTS's in-car electronics, introducing a number of innovative safety and convenience features in the luxury sedan. But despite its in-cabin technology and advanced Magnetic Ride Control feature, this XTS's approach to drivetrain packaging is fairly simple, with only one engine and transmission choice coupled to either a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive setup.

What's New for 2016?

The XTS adds a few new features for 2016, including wireless charging, a multi-angle camera system and an improved version of Cadillac's CUE infotainment system.

What We Like

Cushy luxury without the squishy ride; fresh technology gives cabin a contemporary feel; reasonable starting price

What We Don't

Only offered with a V6; no rear-wheel-drive model; CTS offers similar equipment in a more exciting package for less money

How Much?

$46,300-$73,300

Fuel Economy

Two engines are available in the Cadillac XTS. Most models use a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 304 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to a 6-speed automatic, and it returns 17 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive or 17 mpg city/27 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.

Drivers who want more performance will opt for the Vsport, which adds a turbocharger to the standard model's engine. As a result, it puts out 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard on the Vsport, as is the 6-speed automatic; fuel economy is 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Cadillac XTS is available in five trim levels. Luxury-oriented models use base, Luxury, Premium and Platinum trims, while drivers interested in performance can choose the sporty XTS Vsport.

Even the base-level XTS ($46,300) is loaded with equipment. It includes Bluetooth, 19-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power driver's seat, leather upholstery, an 8-in color touchscreen with Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, heated mirrors, xenon headlights, Bluetooth and new-for-2016 wireless-device charging. Of course, that's in addition to features you'd expect such as power accessories and keyless entry.

Step up to the XTS Luxury ($50,200), and you get heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, front and rear park assist, automatic wipers and a rearview camera. Luxury models also offer available all-wheel drive.

Next up is the XTS Premium ($56,700), which includes tri-zone automatic climate control (the third zone is in back), a head-up display that's projected on the windshield, a navigation system with voice control, a Bose audio system and several safety features, including adaptive headlights, rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, a surround-view camera and a blind spot monitoring system. Once again, all-wheel drive is optional.

Topping the range is the XTS Platinum ($65,500). It includes a power sunroof, 20-in wheels, a full-leather interior and a power rear sunshade. Once again, all-wheel drive is available as an option.

For drivers interested in a sportier ride, the XTS Vsport comes in two trim levels. The Premium model ($64,800) roughly mirrors the XTS Premium's equipment levels, while the Platinum ($73,300) is on par with the standard XTS Platinum. The difference is that Vsport models use a 410-hp turbocharged engine and include all-wheel drive as standard equipment. They also feature a few exterior revisions.

While there aren't many options for the XTS, base and Luxury models offer an optional Driver Awareness package, which includes adaptive headlights, rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision alert, a vibrating Safety Alert Seat and a surround-view camera system. The package is standard on Premium and Platinum trims.

Safety

In addition to the usual standard safety features (side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control), the XTS also offers adaptive headlights, rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision alert, a vibrating Safety Alert Seat and, new for 2016, a surround-view camera system. Those features are part of the Driver Awareness package, which is optional on XTS and XTS Luxury models and standard on the Premium and Platinum.

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testing, the XTS received five overall stars. It also received five stars in all three categories: frontal impact, side impact and rollover. The XTS also earned strong scores in testing carried out by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, though it hasn't yet been subjected to that group's challenging small-overlap front crash test.

Behind the Wheel

Although the standard XTS is by no means an all-out performance sedan, it does make a few conscious choices intended to satisfy the driver. For instance, rather than succumb to the current trend of maximizing fuel economy by using a lifeless electric power-steering setup, Cadillac's engineers opted for hydraulic steering, which offers greater feel. Body control is excellent given the XTS's large proportions, and this Cadillac doesn't feel excessively floaty or disconnected when driven aggressively on challenging roads.

The 3.6-liter V6 may not win any drag races, but it plays well with the 6-speed transmission, offering decent acceleration and responsiveness. Highway cruising is the XTS's strong suit, with the cabin effectively insulated from outside noise and the adaptive suspension smoothing out rough pavement. The Magnetic Ride Control feature proved its adaptability when we pushed the XTS on Malibu's winding canyon roads, where it acquitted itself with impressive nimbleness considering its overall bulk and smooth riding characteristics.

As for the Vsport, we haven't yet gotten behind the wheel -- but on paper, it looks like it may offer one thing the XTS could certainly use: more muscle.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Lexus ES -- The recently updated Lexus ES is an increasingly larger luxury sedan that offers the same eye toward comfort as the XTS. It doesn't have as much power as the Cadillac, but it does tout an available hybrid option.

2015 Lincoln MKS -- Although it's less expensive than the XTS, the Lincoln MKS is in many cases a more obvious competitor to the XTS than European offerings, such as the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The MKS offers comparable power from its EcoBoost V6 and interior styling that's consistent with the feeling of the XTS's cabin.

Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class -- The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a slightly more utilitarian 5-passenger sedan than the XTS. The Benz comes equipped with time-tested technology and impressive durability -- but it's more expensive than the XTS, so you may want to consider a used model.

Autotrader's Advice

The XTS is a great car for shoppers interested in comfort and utility over driving enjoyment. Yes, the Vsport livens things up -- but the XTS's front-drive-based platform will never top rear-drive rivals for handling prowess. As for a trim level, we'd go with the Premium. The top-level Platinum model includes a steep price increase considering the Premium boasts just about everything we could ever want.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Cadillac XTS: New Car Review - Autotrader