The 2018 Cadillac XTS is the type of luxury car Cadillac made for decades and that became popular with many buyers. It’s big, front-wheel drive, comfort-focused and mechanically related to other GM products. It’s especially popular with limo companies, and you can even get one as a hearse. If there’s one model that shouts "old Cadillac," it’s the XTS.
Now, for many, that’ll be great, and truth be told, the XTS is a far cry from the lumbering, forgettable land yachts of the 1980s and 1990s. It’s surprisingly sharp to drive for a front-drive large sedan (especially with the available magnetically controlled suspension), yet its ride remains comfortable and quiet. Both elements were actually improved for 2018, as Cadillac’s engineers massaged the chassis and tire selection.
So, if you’re someone who thinks Cadillac’s current obsession with high-performance and beating the lap times of European sport sedans is all a bit silly, the 2018 XTS will probably remain up your alley. We’d still recommend considering Cadillac’s two other similarly sized sedans, the CTS and CT6, as they are indeed more modern and sharper to drive. We also think they look a bit better despite the XTS’ styling updates for 2018. Yet, for what it is, the XTS does its old-school job quite nicely.
What’s New for 2018?
The XTS gets a pretty significant styling update for 2018, with revised front and rear fascias. The interior adopts Cadillac’s latest infotainment touchscreen, redesigned seats for improved comfort and a few more standard features. The chassis was also revised and different tires specified for a more comfortable and quiet ride.
What We Like
Cushy luxury without the squishy ride; fresh technology gives cabin a contemporary feel; reasonable starting price
What We Don’t
CTS and CT6 offer similar equipment in more exciting and modern packages for similar (or less) money; standard V6 provides mediocre performance and 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, with front-wheel drive (FWD) standard and all-wheel drive (AWD) optional on all but the base trim level. It returns 19 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving with FWD or 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined with AWD.
Drivers who want more performance should opt for the V-Sport and its turbocharged 3.6-liter V6, which puts out 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and a 6-speed automatic are standard. Fuel economy is 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Cadillac XTS is available in five trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, Platinum and Platinum V-Sport.
Even the base-level XTS ($46,400) is loaded with equipment. It includes 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, a backup camera, remote ignition, proximity entry and push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, 8-way power front seats, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel, OnStar emergency communications, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, wireless smartphone charging, an 8-in touchscreen, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Bose sound system with satellite and HD radios.
Step up to the Luxury ($50,400) and you get power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, driver memory settings, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and an integrated navigation system. AWD models get rear parking sensors, while FWD models get an automatic parking system. The optional Driver Awareness package includes forward-collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems and surround-view parking camera. With AWD, this package includes lane-departure warning.
Next up is the Premium Luxury ($56,800), which includes the content of the Driver Awareness package plus 20-in wheels, a magnetically controlled adaptive and auto-leveling suspension, adaptive headlights, tri-zone automatic climate control, a head-up display, an upgraded all-digital gauge cluster and a 14-speaker Bose sound system. Lane-keep assist is standard on FWD models. The Driver Assist package adds adaptive cruise and higher-speed automatic emergency braking.
The Platinum ($65,700) adds the Driver Assist items, special styling, a panoramic sunroof (optional Luxury and Premium Luxury), upgraded leather upholstery, full leather interior trim, rear seat audio controls, sunshades (power rear, manual rear-side) and 22-way power front seats with massage (optional on Premium Luxury).
The Platinum V-Sport ($72,500) adds a more powerful engine, standard all-wheel drive and an electronic limited-slip differential.
The 2018 Cadillac XTS comes standard with stability control, front- and rear-side airbags, front- and rear side-curtain airbags, front knee airbags, a backup camera and OnStar emergency communications. The Driver Awareness package includes forward-collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, a rear cross-traffic warning system and Cadillac’s vibrating Safety Alert Seat that warns you of the above accident possibilities. Lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist systems are also available depending on trim level and drivetrain.
In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testing, the XTS received five stars for overall, frontal and side crash protection. The XTS also earned the 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
Cadillac apparently improved ride comfort for 2018, and although we haven’t had a chance to evaluate these changes, the XTS was already a comfortable car, so we should assume that its engineers succeeded. The magnetically controlled suspension of upper trim levels should improve things further, while also enhancing the handling that’s otherwise good for a big sedan, though certainly not as sharp or confident as Cadillac’s rear-drive sedans.
In base form, it’ll also be slower, as the base V6 provides pokier acceleration than the norm — even for a full-size sedan. Of course, opting for the 410-hp V-Sport corrects this, but if you’re really interested in power, we think the CTS would be a much better choice, as it’s an altogether more complete performance package.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Cadillac CTS — For some reason, Cadillac sells three big sedans. For most buyers, the CTS will be just the right spot in terms of size, equipment, price, performance and driving experience. We also think it looks considerably better than the XTS.
2018 Lincoln Continental — Maybe the big front-drive car isn’t endangered after all. The Continental is all-new, and though it’s arguably more stylish than the XTS, its collection of talents is similar.
2018 Lexus ES — The Lexus ES is another front-wheel-drive large luxury sedan that flaunts modern convention by putting comfort and space first on the priority list. Its available hybrid option makes it stand apart from the XTS.
Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class — Although its heftier price tag means you’ll probably end up in a used model (and a previous-generation version at that), the E-Class is nevertheless one of the finest luxury cars you can buy and should deliver the sort of elements desired in the XTS.
Although the base XTS provides a ton of standard equipment for the money, for just a bit more, the Luxury raises the bar even further to get the most bang for your buck. Similarly equipped and sized luxury sedans, like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, would cost many thousands more. We would avoid the top XTS trim levels, as their sky-high price tags seem highly questionable given the more modern, similarly priced CT6.