As a woman who grew up with an appreciation for cars, I always was drawn to what my Grandfather drove. And for years he drove Cadillacs. So when I drove the XTS my first thought was "would he approve?" The answer is yes because he knew his cars, but this is NOTHING like his Caddy (except for the supple leather, but even that was better).
I first jumped into the Cadillac XTS in the middle of a busy NYC street and immediately tried to find a place for my iPad. It wouldn't fit in the damn glove box. I get that's the equivalent of complaining about Supercars without cupholders, but it stuck with me. So I hid it under the seat, then hit the throttle and was immediately impressed with the available power from the 3.6-liter V6. Okay, so I'll deal with my iPad later. I'm driving now.
Technology that's simple to use
As I left the city and became familiar with the car, what I was drawn to most was how the technology is apparent and in your face, yet in an elegant way. The dash and display - all digital. No cheap gauges, nothing to get sick of. Just a screen so slick and modern it felt like I was staring at that iPad I left under the seat. You turn on the car and the screens come to life with graphics and animation. Once I paired my smartphone to the audio system through the Bluetooth, I saw my album artwork right in front of me. Yeah, this is good.
PHOTOS: See more of the Cadillac XTS here
And I could connect into Pandora too right from the app on the dashboard. Though Spotify is a more comprehensive music app, and one wonders how an automaker with a five-year pipeline for building a new car can deal with an app market that changes overnight. This will be the $64 million question in the next five years. That said, everything is touchscreen with "feedback" similar to what you might expect in a Droid phone. Touch, it vibrates. Yeah, this car feels more like it came out of Cupertino than Motor City and has a super sleek interior lighting system to boot. The panels have courtesy lights within them that glow more like what you'd find in a hip hotel.
Sorry Grandpa, this ain't your Caddy
My Grandfather's Caddy floated down the highway with squishy steering and a soft suspension - which he loved at the time. The XTS is entirely different, the ride is firm and solid, with handling you'd expect out of the best from the Germans. Yet it has that comfortable feel I remember from my childhood. And even though the stereotype is that Grandpa would be technologically illiterate today (which, let's face it, is likely true) the Cadillac's intuitive interface is as easy to use as the iPad. Just wave your hand over the display and the relevant controls appears then magically vanish when not needed. Pinch your fingers to zoom in and out of the Navigation Map and the voice recognition works a hell of a lot better than Siri.
Now, anyone who knows how to use the technology we highlighted will be accustomed to the European-influenced ride, controlled by magnetic ride control. Anyone who sees the second-gen Seville above and gets wistful will find the ride a little harsh. We've become accustomed to a car that can actually handle, no matter the side, and the XTS delivers. That said, the magnetic ride control manges to sop up bumps in the road while delivering a responsive ride.
Oh and I left my iPad under the seat. I forgot all about it because well, the XTS is like driving just that - an iPad on wheels. Big fat wheels that own the road.
Engine: 3.6L V6 (304HP)
See more of the 2013 Cadillac XTS