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Cadillac STS V8 Sedan
Futuristic looks. Solid build quality. Technology like OnStar, DVD
navigation system, DVD Digital surround sound, backup sensors. Smooth and
quiet ride. Very fast. Four wheel drive optional.
Front seats are not very comfortable. Navigation system is difficult to use.
Low ceiling height makes for a confined feeling inside. Low traction in rear
wheel drive model.
The STS is
Cadillac’s and Americas answer to luxurious cars from Japan and Europe.
Completely redesigned for 2004, Cadillac has added its wedge exterior
styling cues from the CTS in a much larger platform. Hoping to capture the
BMW 5 Series market with a sporty and powerful sedan, the STS puts America
back on the buying list of many consumers who would otherwise stay in German
"Our long-term goal for
Cadillac is to become the Standard of the World once again," said Mark
LaNeve, general manager for Cadillac. "In order to succeed globally, we have
to build vehicles that have outstanding performance, exceptional quality and
reliability, and meet the demands of the most discerning car buyers. "The
STS represents the latest step in that direction."
Exterior looks are sharp and distinctive.
The STS does turn heads wherever you go. Due to limited numbers being on
the road, you are buying something exclusive and rarely seen. The front end
is particularly striking, with a smooth finish to all angular parts. Three
sets of lamps on each side of the front end with headlight washers hidden as
in German vehicles is a great upscale look. The signature The front end
features a very distinctive grille and a lower spoiler mesh grille for a
great sporty look. The taillights are setup vertically like the front
headlights with plenty of LED lamps in a distinctive pattern. Dual exhaust
tips along with a sporty rear spoiler built into the rear deck also adds
that powerful feeling. Small rear backup sensors are hidden quite nicely
into the bumpers. The low overall height of the STS from the outside gives
it a sharp stance. Chrome wheels add the necessary bling-bling to this
American luxury car.
looks are elegant and clean carrying over wedge angles, but all going away
from the driver for a open and spacious feeling. We also thought the
leather was very soft and of high quality, abundantly placed throughout the
cabin. The inner portions of the seats are covered with perforated leather
which we always love, and add to this heated and cooled seats as well. Both
front seats are fully powered as should be expected in this class, with
powered lumbar adjustment as well.
Even with all the seat adjustments
available we could not find a very comfortable seating position for long
drives. The combination of the raked front windshield and low ceiling
height does not allow you to raise the seat up high. Sitting too close to
the floor did not provide us with adequate thigh support. The limited width
of the interior was also a low point for the STS. We feel that a few inches
more elbow room should be provided.
wood trim is of high quality but the color is distinctly American in a
brownish shade. Switches are of good quality and all feel solid to the
touch. The thick leather and wood steering wheel offers great grip. It is
also heated with controls for voice recognition and stereo system. Use of
chrome inside is limited to the door handles and shift gate lever. Interior
illumination is a nice blend of white dials and dim colored switches. All
four windows are powered with auto up and down functions, a great help which
you never want to live without. The sunroof is also modern and quiet with a
distinctly German made feeling. Automatic rain sensing wipers also help in
varying driving conditions. The dual zone climate control system works well
and allows you to provide different levels of air control in the rear seat
compartment as well. In automatic setting the system is a bit loud,
especially when attempting to defrost the windshield. We liked the strong
and solid feeling of all doors and all parts inside, something that is rare
in many American vehicles.
computer and information about the vehicle’s tire pressures and fuel economy
is available in the instrument cluster by way of switches to the left of the
steering wheel. Headlights are automatically controlled with an advanced
high beam system. There is no ignition key hole in this STS, a small button
does this deed with the key left inside your pocket. A remote start feature
allows you to warm up the vehicle before you enter. The vehicle’s computer
also allows individual controls for two separate keys, remembering such
things as seat heater position, rear window defroster and heat temperature.
The stereo and navigation system uses a
touch screen to input commands, our most preferred method. The system is
difficult to use due to the wide array of menu’s and icons rather than
labeled buttons. The navigation system is particularly hard to use, even
for inputting routes. Most things are described by icons which we could
never remember by heart and so you have to touch each one to find the one
you need. Most of the system does not work while the car is moving so your
co-captain cannot do much. The DVD based system can lookup addresses by
phone numbers which is a handy feature to have. The map system also
features a 3D birds eye view and a split screen mode for viewing turn
directions as well as a map view. The screen is quite large and thus most
things are easily visible. The system also has Bluetooth capability to link
with any cell phone. Voice recognition on the STS allows you to control
infotainment as well as climate control features. We could not get the
system to work well with our voice, no matter how clearly we spoke.
The build in six disc DVD/CD changer along
with Bose 5.1 channel surround sound is also a great new feature available
on the STS. The Bose DTS stereo system is amazing and once you hear it you
will never want to go back to normal stereo or radio again. 15 speakers
deliver theatre like digital sound which truly surrounds you.
Media formats supported by the DVD system include
DVD audio, DVD video, CD audio and MP3. Media types supported are CD/DVD
ROM and CD/DVD-R. DVD video can only be activated when the vehicle is in
"park" for those times when a TV is not available. You do need
special DVD audio discs to hear the full effect of the system, one of which
is provided by Bose. Satellite radio, which was also on our STS, could not
deliver the digital surround sound that DVD audio discs could create.
wheel the STS is a truly world class vehicle. The smoothness of the ride is
immediately noticeable. Integrated chassis technologies include a two-mode
Magnetic Ride Control offering performance and touring selections, four
channel StabiliTrak, and an available high-precision ZF steering gear. The
STS handles very well and offers very low body lean keeping a smooth and
confident character during hard driving. Interior noise levels are also
extremely low due to loads of sound deadening materials used in every part
of this vehicle.
The powerful engine, a Northstar V8 4.6
liter, produces loads of horsepower. 320 horsepower and 315 lb-ft. or
torque are enough to make this car feel lightweight and nimble. We quickly
hit high driving speeds without noticing movement at all. The steering feel
is not at the level of BMW but is very similar to Mercedes models. The
engine is not very loud either, with smooth shifts and a very calm
demeanor. Manual shifting is also available however we found it to be slow
and more automated than we would like. Gas mileage was very low on our
model, hovering around 18 miles per gallon, not the 26 claimed on the
sticker for highway economy. The STS is also available with a six cylinder
engine but we highly recommend it with the V8.
The STS also features stability control,
traction control, antilock brakes and a panic brake assist feature which
applies full force to the brakes. Six airbags are standard protecting most
parts of the interior, we wish automakers would develop ceiling airbags as
well. Radar cruise control is also offered for keeping a safe distance in
front of your vehicle. A first on the STS is an intelligent high beam
called Intellibeam automatically switches to low beam when it senses a car
oncoming, and then switches back to high beam automatically. A sensor on
the back of the rear view mirror turns off the high beams gradually before
it distracts other drivers, and can also react instantaneously when cresting
over a hill. Also optional is a head up display sending important data to
the windshield in front of you while driving.
of the STS starts off at $46,800 for the V8 model. Add to this a whopping
$11,065 for the luxury performance package. This includes all things needed
in a car of this class. Multi driver memory settings, power adjustable
lumbar, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated
steering wheel, eucalyptus wood trim, the Bose 5.1 surround sound stereo
with in dash 5 disc DVD changer and DVD navigation system, XM satellite
radio, rain sensing wipers, Homelink garage door opener, HID headlamps,
Intellibeam high beams, polished front wheels, tire pressure monitor,
magnetic ride control, sunroof, rear spoiler, and limited slip differential,
as well as the performance cooling package. All these options really should
be standard features as the car is pretty plain without these items. These
items do also bring the price tag to $57,665 which is quite high and puts
the STS in competition with vehicles such as the Phaeton, BMW 5, and
Mercedes E class.
While the STS has come quite close to
delivering BMW levels of performance and driver feedback, ergonomically, the
Germans still have a more comfortable interior with a feeling of connection
to the road without isolation. The STS is still a very distinctive look
with futuristic styling and a great list of available features. We look
forward to seeing what the future brings from Cadillac. At this price
however the VW Phaeton is a much better car for your money.