2013 Cadillac XTS AWD

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Images courtesy Cadillac

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD, images courtesy Cadillac

Cadillac, like so many automakers, has gone through a product transformation of late. Adding new models, discontinuing others, all the while attempting to reach new clientele without losing the base customers that got them here.

Large, luxurious land yachts have always been the staple at Cadillac but to look at the current lineup one would be left scratching their head. Where have all the big cars gone?

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD

Yes, Lincoln and Cadillac have abandoned (at least for now) the “land yacht” stereotype and offer smaller, more fuel-efficient models across the board leaving not only consumers but commercial and livery customers wondering where their next big ride will come from.

Cadillac replaced its last large car, the DTS, with the XTS this past model year and offers it in front- or all-wheel drive format. Also gone is a V-8 powerplant as the automaker opted for the now ubiquitous 3.6-liter V-6. (All hope is not lost however as the next XTS is rumored to be getting the V-8 mill that will arrive with the next-gen CTS sedan.)

For now folks will have to be satisfied with a really nice sedan coupled to a mediocre powertrain.

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD

The 2013 XTS is a very solid platform, one shared in the GM family with the likes of the Buick LaCrosse. It is powered by the 304hp direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 engine that powers the SRX crossover and CTS sedan models along with a host of other GM product. Mated to it is a six-speed automatic gearbox with manual shift mode and steering wheel paddle-ish shifters. Fuel economy arrives at a satisfactory 17 mpg city and 28 mpg highway (26 for AWD models).

Our recent tester arrived in all-wheel drive Premium packaging. Its notable features include standard integration of Magnetic Ride Control, advanced Haldex AWD system, Brembo brakes on the front, short- and long-range radar systems that support advanced safety features and Cadillac’s first use of new CUE Cadillac User Experience indash infotainment and connectivity technology.
We also saw the standard 19-inch wheels and tires replaced with 20s and our tester included the driver assist package as well.

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD interior

In true Cadillac form, the XTS arrives in all its luxury and opulence. The interior is bathed in examples of fine craftsmanship while still being able to offer the latest safety technology including industry-exclusive safety alert driver seat, automatic front and rear braking, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and rearview camera with dynamic guidelines.

While we have seen many of these technologies in other vehicles, the new safety alert seat is quite unique and when activated offers a bit of a surprise. The first time I pulled up to an object too fast I got quite the “buzz” in my backside as the seat used vibration modules in the cushion bottom to help alert me of an approaching object. (And yes, from then on I found myself approaching every object a little too quickly.) The seat will also alert drivers to vehicles in blind spots when sensing a potential lane change of the XTS into another vehicle’s path.

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Rear

The 2013 XTS is quite the technological marvel yet it left me a bit disappointed by its lack of sport mode especially given everything else it offers. I found the ride to be very well controlled and this chassis leaning more toward the sport end of the luxury spectrum, albeit with a powertrain incapable of keeping pace.

CUE the Caddy

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD CUE

Like many of the new technologies introduced into the mobile environment, the new Cadillac User Experience is not perfect and has a bit of a learning curve. I found it to be a bit too slow to respond for my liking and it caused undo distraction. While perhaps seeming similar to modern smart devices I will not use those for comparison as we need to see a few system updates in CUE before that will occur.

Nonetheless, the system offers drivers haptic touch control over the XTS be it navigational, infotainment or environmental needs. It utilizes a large screen at the top of the center dash and its layout is fairly straightforward. The screen can sense your presence and you can speak naturally to its voice recognition interface and not have to remember a long list of commands.

Pricing starts at $55,810 for the 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD with Premium package with our tester arriving at just a tick over 60 grand.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.