Many moons ago, Cadillac was a force to be reckoned with. The lumbering levithians they built were big and bold, and exuded a sense of authority few other marques could rival. Today, however, the shoe's on the other foot as the hallowed Wreath and Crest brand tries to find itself in a luxury market that demands performance credentials over coddling isolation. The 2018 Cadillac XTS still holds its own in the segment, having carved out a place in the market as the last big, cushy Cadillac sedan.
2018 Cadillac XTS Overview
What's New for 2018
Good sales have provided the XTS with a stay of execution, and so Cadillac has seen fit to bring it up to speed in the looks department with the rest of the Cadillac stable. Up front, there's a redesigned fascia with a new grille, bumper, and headlights. Out back, a similar treatment has been applied to the taillights, trunk, and lower rear bumper. Inside, buyers will find a better integration of technology via an updated Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system, a new seat-foam structure and design, and more sound deadening. Rounding out the changes are new wheel designs and two new interior color and trim combinations for the platinum-spec XTS.
Choosing Your Cadillac XTS
Five different trim levels of the XTS are available, ranging from the base model to the top of the line V-Sport Platinum. The four lower trims are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 304 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque, while a twin-turbo variant of the same motor puts out an impressive 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Both engines use a six-speed automatic transmission to get power down, either to the front wheels in a naturally aspirated XTS or all four if it's a twin-turbo model. Gas mileage for the standard engine is 19 miles per gallon city, 28 highway, and 22 combined, while the twin-turbo is rated at 16/23/18 mpg.
On the safety front, every XTS is equipped with a melange of safety features. These include a rearview camera, 10 airbags, rear park assist, OnStar services, and a teen driver feature that lets owners set parameters and restrictions to keep young drivers from channeling their inner Jeff Gordon when borrowing the car.
AWD is standard on the V-Sport, unavailable on the base model, and a $2,000 option for the three middle trims.
Currently, Cadillac is offering strong incentives to boost lagging sedan sales, so take a look at the higher trims with the lavish features. Specifically, consider either the Premium Luxury or the V-Sport. If you're considering the Platinum, keep in mind the price hike to the V-Sport is $6,800, or about 10 percent. For that 10 percent price bump, the V-Sport brings a faster, smoother, and more rewarding driving experience thanks to the triple-digit increase in both hp and torque.
2018 Cadillac XTS Review
Upscale styling, a quiet cabin, and a plush rear seat are Cadillac hallmarks and it is in these three areas the 2018 XTS does not disappoint. This large sedan supplies just the right amount of performance and is available for a competitive price.
The 2018 Cadillac XTS is a five-passenger sedan and comes in five trims: XTS, Luxury, Premium Luxury, Platinum, and V-Sport Platinum. Standard front-wheel drive, available all-wheel drive, and two engine choices accompany this luxury sedan.
Our pick of trims is the Premium Luxury as it adds an outstanding 14-speaker Bose Surround Sound audio system, a surround-view camera, driver-assist technologies, a head-up display and adaptive suspension. We also think all-wheel drive is a worthwhile investment as it offers an important handling edge, especially on wet roads or when exiting corners.
Why not the twin-turbocharged V6? For a start, it's only available in the V-Sport. Simply put, if you have $74,000 burning a hole in your pocket and an itch for performance, why would you spend it on a big, ponderous, luxury focused Cadillac? An Audi S6 offers similar size, more performance, and a better driving experience for about the same price.
- Model: 2018 Cadillac XTS Premium Luxury
- Engine: 3.6-liter V6
- Output: 304 hp / 264 lb-ft
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- MPG: 17 City / 26 Hwy
- Options: Driver Assist Package ($1,100, adaptive cruise control and forward and reverse automatic braking)
- Base Price: $46,395 (plus a $995 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$61,090
The XTS’ standard engine delivers capable power, moving this large sedan to 60 mph in under seven seconds. That's not blistering performance by any stretch, but there's enough power here to keep the big XTS moving along well, and it doesn't sound bad to boot. The six-speed transmission delivers smooth and expected gear changes, although it's starting to feel old fashioned in a world of eight, nine, and even 10-speed automatic transmissions.
Suspension updates rolled out for 2018 give this sedan an even more comfortable ride. Steering is light at low speeds, then tightens as you pick up speed. The XTS handles well, considering its purpose, although some body roll is present, even when dialing in sport mode. The all-wheel drive model acquits itself nicely as it pulls out of corners.
Curves and angles blend to form a canvas that’s handsome and also conceals the XTS’ bulk. This year, the XTS benefits from several changes, including a cleaner grille with more horizontal chrome. New front fenders, updated wheels, and fresh LED taillights underscore the changes Cadillac made to invigorate the XTS.
Inside, the cabin offers ample room for five. Leather surfaces, chrome trim, and ambient lighting supply sophistication. The center console layout is clean and the infotainment screen has new software. The rear seat offers outstanding comfort, matching some of Europe’s finest luxury sedans.
The Best and Worst Things
A plush and large interior make the XTS a welcoming place for the driver and passengers alike. The 18 cubic feet of trunk space supplies ample space for carrying all your gear.
The capacitative touchscreen is still frustrating, despite the updated software. We're sure Cadillac will figure out how to do an infotainment system (eventually), but for now, this is still an obstinate system.
Right For? Wrong For?
Cadillac owners trading in their DTS will be at home in the XTS. Although slightly smaller than full-size Cadillacs of years past, the XTS delivers on all the finer points of Cadillac ownership tradition.
New Cadillac shoppers or individuals used to the more balanced CTS may find that the XTS doesn’t meet their performance expectations. Happily, for them, the CTS or the larger CT6 should satisfy their need.
The Bottom Line
The Cadillac XTS is a safe bet for shoppers wanting a plush, well-appointed luxury sedan. It combines Cadillac styling with drivetrain practicality, to deliver a reasonably priced luxury model.