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Variance

MSN Autos: 2006 Cadillac DTS Review

21 posts in this topic

Link: http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/job.aspx...S&src=reviewers

Ann Job's Rating:
8 out of 10. 


Bottom Line:
Cadillac's big sedan, the DeVille, is restyled and renamed for 2006. Like its predecessor, the new DTS is front-wheel drive. But this is one comfortably-riding Caddie whose edgy styling on the outside and new, upgraded interior are mostly done right. 

Pros:
New, lower price
Edgy styling done right
Comfortable ride

Cons:
Some features not available
Unattractive views of exhaust system
Weird window detail


Expert Review
The 2006 version of the Cadillac DeVille is an elegant-looking car. But how can that be?

It's the latest Cadillac to wear the brand's edgy design, which I have never warmed to. Yet, I like the formal, impressive style of this large sedan. I'm not the only one. On congested Los Angeles freeways, I noticed a number of other drivers—none of them looking to be anywhere near the DeVille buyer's median age of 68—giving this new car a good look.

Maybe practice makes perfect. After all, Cadillac officials have been working at their edgy styling since 2001, when it debuted in showrooms on the Cadillac CTS entry luxury car. In the ensuing years, they've put it on the Cadillac XLR convertible and the STS sedan.

Maybe by the time they got to the refreshed DeVille, they got it right. They sure seemed to take a milder approach. Sheet metal angles are less pronounced. And while the modern, vertical headlights and prominent Cadillac grille are there in a familiar presence, the combination this time is upscale, not jarring.

The back of this new car also is nicely done. There's a long, formal rear uncluttered by the license plate, which has moved below, to the bumper. The overall style here reminds me of an earlier Cadillac Eldorado, which I had liked, too.

What else is new?
Of course, there's more to Cadillac's largest car than the new look.

There are new, more ergonomic seats, upscale, clean interior, updated suspension tuning and the first-ever 18-inch factory wheels.

There's a new name, too: DTS.

It follows the nomenclature that Cadillac started to adopt some four years ago when it introduced its CTS entry luxury sedan. So the DeVille name is gone. By the way, DTS may sound familiar. It was the name of one of the trim levels of the DeVille in the 2005 model year.

Also noteworthy: Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price for the 2006 DTS is $41,195. This is $4,850 less than the base, 2005 DeVille and makes the base DTS less pricey than many full-size, luxury sedan competitors such as the 2006 Lexus LS 430, which starts at more than $50,000.

At introduction, the DTS even had a lower starting MSRP than the Lincoln Town Car—by some $800. The DTS will be available in dealerships this fall.

Still front-wheel drive
Unlike the major competitors, Cadillac's big car remains front-wheel drive, even as new rear-wheel-drive sedans such as Chrysler's 300C have become strong sellers. Some drivers prefer rear-wheel drive for its predictable, sporty character and feel it belongs in large-sized cars.

Still, Cadillac's DTS offers the cushioned, quiet ride that buyers in this segment seek.

Even in the test DTS with performance package and new 18-inch wheels, the car sort of bobbed up and down over sizable highway expansion cracks, but I was never jolted. The DTS seemed to absorb much of the impact from potholes, too, and there was no roughness conveyed to passengers.

Long straight stretches of road were delightful, because the 4,000-plus-pound DTS sometimes seemed to skim the road surface lightly, rather than heave itself along.

But in mountain twisties, I readily noticed the back-and-forth weight transfer going on as this more than 17-foot-long auto took a left-hand curve, then a right-hand curve. The tires didn't seem to be particularly performance-oriented, as they chirped easily in these maneuvers.

Front suspension is an independent MacPherson strut design with sizable stabilizer bar, while the rear uses an independent multi-link design and stabilizer bar.

Overall, the ride is quiet. Even with semi-trailers driving nearby on a freeway, I could talk in conversational tones to passengers. I didn't notice much road noise, even with the larger tires, and wind noise seemed mild.

Cadillac retains the two versions of Northstar V8 for this car that were in the 2005 DeVille, and power has been subtly tuned.

The base, 4.6-liter, double overhead cam engine generates 275 horsepower at a lower, 5200 rpm now, rather than the 5600 rpm of last year. Torque is a healthy 292 lb-ft at 4400 rpm for noticeably quick get up and go.

But the uplevel V8 that comes with the performance package has more horsepower—291. Peak torque is 286 lb-ft at 4400 rpm and came on smartly—and always smoothly. The engine sounds had a satisfying, big-engine quality to them but didn't deter from the comfortable, luxurious ride.

Note the DTS powertrains compare with the 239 horses and 287 lb-ft at 4100 rpm in the Lincoln Town Car with 4.6-liter V8. The Lexus LS 430's 290-horsepower 4.3-liter V8 provides 320 lb-ft of torque at a low, 3400 rpm.

Fuel economy isn't great in this big-sedan segment, and the DTS is estimated to carry a rating of 17 miles a gallon in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway. This is a bit less than the 18/25 mpg of the LS 430.

I wish the DTS came with something other than its 4-speed automatic transmission. It dates back to the early 1990s, and while it has shown to be durable, it doesn't include a shift-it-yourself manumatic feature, much less a higher number of gears that could improve fuel economy and responsiveness.

The Lexus, for example, has a 6-speed automatic. The long-running Town Car retains its four speed.

Seats for five or six
The DTS is one of the few cars on the market where you can get six seats.

And of course, the back seat is a highlight. There's good room for three adults to sit back there without them having to squeeze tightly against each other. The middle passenger, however, has a slight hump to contend with in the middle of the rear floor and also doesn't have a height adjustable head restraint.

Note that the Town Car still is wider than this car, so hip and shoulder room in the Town Car's back seat are a bit more.

Dimensions for the new DTS are pretty close to that of the 2005 DeVille. Overall length of more than 17 feet, for example, has grown just 0.6 inch. And while the DTS is nearly an inch taller than its predecessor, front-seat headroom remains the same and back-seat headroom is reduced 0.3 inch.

Cadillac officials said they provided about an inch greater track for the front seats to go forward and back, but measured back-seat legroom is 41.6 inches now compared with 43.2 inches in the 2005 car.

I expected the DTS trunk to be larger than 18.8 cubic feet. The trunk opening is nice and wide, but the trunk seems a bit shallow and total cargo room is less than the 21 cubic feet in the Town Car.

Also, I wasn't quite sure why a couple exterior items on the DTS were sloppily done. For one thing, when I drove behind a DTS, I had an unsightly view of the car's exhaust system—specifically where the pipe comes back from the front of the car and splits into two to route to two mufflers and four tailpipes. I kept wondering why all this wasn't tucked up under the car. Alternatively, I wondered why the rear bumper didn't descend a bit lower to reduce this view.

And the window details were odd in the DTS. As I walked up to the car from the outside, I could see window sealing and other trim items in one corner of every door window. This cluttered area was all under the glass, and it was something I hadn't noticed in other luxury cars.

About those features
Night Vision, an option that helped drivers see obstacles at night and in foggy conditions, is no longer offered. Officials said few consumers—only 5 percent or so—bought it.

I liked the high-grade Tehama leather on the DTS seats for more than just its quality looks and seeming durability. The test car with this leather didn't have quite the pungently sweet leather smell as many other Cadillacs I've been in, and I appreciated that this smell was toned down. The Tehama leather, by the way, was a DTS exclusive when the car was introduced.

I also appreciated that Cadillac officials got rid of front-seat shoulder belts that used to be attached to the seats. They never felt like they fit me as well as those that are anchored on the car body pillar between the front and rear doors. This now is the anchoring point used in the DTS. Still, Cadillac might want to adjust it some because in the test cars, it didn't adjust high enough to comfortably accommodate my 6-foot-4 driving partner.

Other standard DTS safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, stability control, six airbags and improved structural reinforcements. But some safety items available on other luxury cars aren't on the DTS, even as options. For example, BMW is adding an automatic brake drying system to its sedans to help ensure good brake performance in wet weather, and Mercedes-Benz and Lexus have pre-collision safety systems that help prepare passengers and the vehicle for impact during an impending crash.

Indeed, the DTS arrives in showrooms without a factory-installed rear entertainment system. Officials said they're still studying their choices for this feature.

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Edited by VarianceJ30
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Fuel economy isn't great in this big-sedan segment, and the DTS is estimated to carry a rating of 17 miles a gallon in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway. This is a bit less than the 18/25 mpg of the LS 430.

No its not, dumbass.

(17+27)/2 = 22.0mpg
(18+25)/2 = 21.5mpg

Also, I wasn't quite sure why a couple exterior items on the DTS were sloppily done. For one thing, when I drove behind a DTS, I had an unsightly view of the car's exhaust system—specifically where the pipe comes back from the front of the car and splits into two to route to two mufflers and four tailpipes. I kept wondering why all this wasn't tucked up under the car. Alternatively, I wondered why the rear bumper didn't descend a bit lower to reduce this view.


You have to try pretty hard to see that on the DeVille where the rear valance covers most of the exhaust piping. All G-Bods did a good job of covering up their guts, except the Riv and Aurora because of their rounded shapes.

Even still, what about the Camry and ES330? You can see half the tailpipe jutting down at a disturbing angle amidship the car from behind, looking like its going to strike a speed bump.

And the window details were odd in the DTS. As I walked up to the car from the outside, I could see window sealing and other trim items in one corner of every door window. This cluttered area was all under the glass, and it was something I hadn't noticed in other luxury cars.

:blink:
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now c'mon. your "expert" needs to pick on something. otherwise they'll have to give it a 9 or 10 out of 10 rating and we can't have that. an american name plate must always be a little lower than its euro-rice counterpart.
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Well, if GM wanted to charge $20k to $30k more for a DTS then Cadillac would offer more luxury/ultra luxury features but lets be realistic... a top-of-the-line & fully loaded DTS will still be less expensive than a base Lexus LS430. To get several of those luxury features on the LS430, you'll have to go up to and over $70k which the DTS doesn't even come close to in price.
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Another mistake on the reviewer's part. Few people seem to realize that Toyota had lowered their performance numbers. The claimed 290hp/320torque of the LS430 is incorrect. It is rated at 278 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 312 lb-ft torque @ 3,400 rpm.
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After all, Cadillac officials have been working at their edgy styling since 2001, when it debuted in showrooms on the Cadillac CTS


Yeah, because the Escalade DEFINATELY didn't debut it. (Sarcasm)

The back of this new car also is nicely done. There's a long, formal rear uncluttered by the license plate, which has moved below, to the bumper. The overall style here reminds me of an earlier Cadillac Eldorado, which I had liked, too.


Glad someone else noticed this.
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The new Deville.....er DTS looks very nice. I agree that it is seriously a great improvement over the last model. But, considering that it wasn't built off of Sigma or the recently cancelled-recently back on track Zeta, but rather a 15 year old platform, I don't necessarely think this is going to be what puts Cadillac back on the map. I think the DTS should be priced outside of the STS range with cheap options. That will make the DTS very successful. But, it can only be for the traditional S-Class and 7er buyers...
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The new Deville.....er DTS looks very nice. I agree that it is seriously a great improvement over the last model. But, considering that it wasn't built off of Sigma or the recently cancelled-recently back on track Zeta, but rather a 15 year old platform, I don't necessarely think this is going to be what puts Cadillac back on the map. I think the DTS should be priced outside of the STS range with cheap options. That will make the DTS very successful. But, it can only be for the traditional S-Class and 7er buyers...

[post="7984"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Just a point of order, the platform is a modified G-body and is actually about 10 years old now.
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They did a nice job cleaning up the DTS. I figure with AWD and another 60hp it would eat up the competition. I remember reading that XMS of Southern California was working on a supercharger for the Northstar. I couldn't imagine what some managed extra horses would do for this car.
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No its not, dumbass.

(17+27)/2 = 22.0mpg
(18+25)/2 = 21.5mpg
You have to try pretty hard to see that on the DeVille where the rear valance covers most of the exhaust piping. All G-Bods did a good job of covering up their guts, except the Riv and Aurora because of their rounded shapes.

Even still, what about the Camry and ES330? You can see half the tailpipe jutting down at a disturbing angle amidship the car from behind, looking like its going to strike a speed bump.
:blink:

[post="7356"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Between you and FOG and the way you guys disect the most obvious BLATANT IMPORT ADVERTISTING....I swear. Nobody says it better.
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any1 else notice the lower level V8 makes more torque than the upper level one? lol

[post="8004"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



I think that was always true of the old FWD Northstar cars...

Like;

Seville SLS: 275hp/300lb/ft
Seville STS: 300hp/290lb/ft

Or something like that.. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Actually, I'm going to recant my argument regarding the exhaust system after actually driving behind a DTS today. It is noticable. Overtly so. Bad job, guys. That crappy new rear valance doesn't cover half as much as the old one did. The rest still stands, though.
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I saw a white one on RTE 30 in Straford, NJ yesterday, pretty nice, the rear window looked odd, though, almost like it had no rear headroom. I does look at lot more sporty than the outgoing model. a pretty nice package considering you are getting a Luxo-car for less money than a LS430 and the like. It would be nice if Caddy had more features for it.
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It would be nice if Caddy had more features for it.

[post="9097"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


I know of the features that the reviewer brought up, but what features are you referring to that are missing from the DTS Performance that makes it a deal breaker? (by features I'm not referring to "wrong platform" RWD/FWD/AWD argument)
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saw a dts level one yesterday. poor drivers door fit. lower line was about an eighth of an inch off.
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Another mistake on the reviewer's part.  Few people seem to realize that Toyota had lowered their performance numbers.

The claimed 290hp/320torque of the LS430 is incorrect.  It is rated at 278 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 312 lb-ft torque @ 3,400 rpm.

[post="7461"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


It's not just Toyota. It's everyone.. That's why the DeVille's don't have 300 horsepower anymore.. Same difference.. The actuall "wheel" horsepower hasn't changed any. It's only on paper...

Amazingly enough, the Lexus LS430 does 0-60 in 5.9 seconds.. I think the DTS is somewhere around 7 seconds.. I forget... Edited by Sal Collaziano
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Unfortunately, the 1993-1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham spoiled me. The amount of room inside that car, and the plushness of the interior and ride was very impressive.. I don't think I'm going to be whole-heartedly impressed with Cadillac again until something like that comes along. To me, THAT is what Cadillac was all about.. Luxurious vehicles. They're going to the "sporty" ride and smaller, colder, harder interiors these days.. It's just not cutting it for me. If I want a BMW, that's what I'll buy. If I want a Cadillac, I have to look in the local newspaper classifieds for something used... Edited by Sal Collaziano
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