Don’t let the words “large, luxury sedan” fool you.
The largest sedan in Cadillac’s lineup, the 2013 XTS, handles with the poise and competence of a smaller car and with a smoothness not typically found in high-end, sporty sedans.
The modern, top-notch interior design of the car – complete with front seats that can have some of the biggest thigh support extenders in the business – is the best to come from Cadillac in years.
Still, it takes practice to use the new Cue information display with touchscreen. Even reaching over to pick up something on the floor can cause the radio to change channels because the driver’s hair accidentally brushes a display screen.
The XTS exterior is pleasing, as years of Cadillac’s sharp-edge styling is smoothed for more graceful lines.
The car earned five out of five stars in government frontal, side and overall crash test ratings.
This rating didn’t take into account the fact the sedan is first with a safety alert seat that vibrates the driver’s bottom if the system senses the car may be backing into an obstacle or moving into an adjacent lane that’s already occupied.
The new-for-2013, five-passenger XTS has a starting retail price of $44,995 with front-wheel drive and $51,835 with all-wheel drive. All models come with a 304-horsepower, direct-injection V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission.
At nearly 17 feet long, the XTS is about the same length as a Cadillac Escalade sport utility vehicle. It is longer than Cadillac’s other sedans. It’s 10 inches longer than a 2013 CTS sedan and about 19 inches longer than the ATS sedan.
The back seat is roomy, with a full 40 inches of legroom.
But the front seats offer even more legroom – a full 45.8 inches. Seat travel fore and aft is long enough to accommodate lanky fellows, and thanks to a steering wheel that telescopes as well as tilts up and down, anyone can settle into the driver’s seat nicely.
The seats were eminently supportive for long drives in the test car but didn’t feel hard or overly firm. Front seats also had fans for keeping bodies cool. All versions have leather-trimmed seats
Fitted with Magnetic Ride Control suspension, this sedan responds to a driver’s inputs and handles with poise and grace without sending road bumps through to passengers harshly.
Some auto enthusiasts, accustomed to V-8 power, quibble whether a 3.6-liter, double overhead cam V-6 is enough for the XTS. But the test XTS performed so well on city streets and highways, with power coming on so smoothly, transmission shifts weren’t noticed. Neither was the lack of a V-8.
Torque doesn’t peak to 264 foot-pounds until 5,200 rpm, so low-end power isn’t like a sports car.
But the direct gasoline injection of the engine gave the test XTS a lot of energy, and 0-to-60 miles per hour is estimated at a decent 6.5 seconds.
The 4,215-pound, all-wheel drive XTS is rated by the federal government at 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, while a front-wheel drive XTS is rated at 17/28 mpg.
A nice perk for the XTS owner: The car uses regular unleaded, not the more pricey premium gasoline that many luxury cars require.
A couple of nits: The 18-cubic-foot trunk looks impressive, but the opening is pinched by the sloping back window and much of the space is under this rear window, so upright items can be problematic. At least Cadillac provides 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks so tall things can slide through on their sides.
Also, the glovebox lid in the test car always looked like it was ajar and crooked on the right side, even when it was latched.
A word of caution: The bright-colored multidisplays in can be distracting, and less-than-immediate response to touches of the Cue display screen can make early working of Cue confusing.
And turned off, the display screen shows off all the fingerprints it collected.