Inside the 2018 Cadillac XTS: Floating on Fire

Many people consider Cadillacs to be the preferred mode of transportation for the older generations, but the brand has been working hard to reverse that stereotype — or at least challenge it — with a lineup of sporty models capable of keeping up with almost anything on the road these days. While old Cadillacs might have driven slow and cumbersome like parade floats, the newest generation is quick and light on its feet. Driving a Caddy is, dare we say, becoming cool again.

The 2018 Cadillac XTS is no exception to this standard. Not quite the CTS-V in terms of horsepower, the model still offers customers luxury with a bit of pep in its step. Basic features are plenty and creature comforts top the list. Whether you choose the standard V6 or the tuned twin-turbo version, Cadillac has done well to marry sport and style in the new XTS sedan.

Performance

Powerplants for the 2018 Cadillac XTS include a 3.6-litere V6 with 304 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque and a hyped-up twin-turbo version with 410 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to the same 6-speed automatic, which can be purchased in either front- or all-wheel drive, depending on desired trim level.

Trimlines and Features

The 2018 Cadillac XTS is offered in the following trim levels:

Standard: Looking for a premium base model? Look no further than this trim level on the 2018 XTS. Equipped with LED headlamps, a Bose 8-speaker sound system, leather seats, 19-inch wheels, and push button start, this entry package might be all you need to tour the city in style. Additional features include Brembo brakes, Bluetooth, keyless remote entry, remote start, and Rear Park Assist.

Luxury: Customers who like to warm up in and cool down in the winter and summer respectively should pick this package for the heated and cooled front seats and heated second row. The steering wheel is also heated. Other selling points include rain-sensing wipers, a dual-outlet integrated exhaust, Front and Rear Park Assist, and the Driver Memory Package. A sunroof and all-wheel drive capabilities are optional on this trim level.

Premium Luxury: Driver aids abound in this trim level, from the Magnetic Ride Control with Automatic Leveling to the Driver Awareness Package, which includes Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Surround Vision, and Safety Alert Seating. A 14-speaker sound system, heads-up display (HUD), 20-inch wheels, and IntelliBeam headlights round out this trim. As with the Luxury trim level, AWD and a sunroof are available.

Platinum: Top-of-the-line! This trim level includes leather interior accents, a rear-window power sunshade, 20-inch wheels, a microfiber suede headliner, premium floor mats, audio and sunshade controls on the rear armrest, a power sunroof, and the Driver Assist Package. The Platinum trim is also available with all-wheel drive.

V-Sport Platinum: True performance in one fast package. Models of this trim level come equipped with the twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 capable of over 400 horsepower. It is the only standard all-wheel drive model and features a V-sport grille, along with many other sporty upgrades throughout. Interested customers should plan on spending near $75,000 for this model.

Safety

The 2018 Cadillac XTS received a “Good” rating in all areas of crashworthiness from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), giving it top marks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2018 XTS 5 out of 5 stars in almost every category, except a 4 out of 5 rating in the Rollover test. Between a solid production design and a litany of standard and optional safety features, this Caddy is one of the safest sedans on the market.

Fuel Efficiency

For not having a diesel or hybrid option available, Cadillac’s sedan does surprisingly well in terms of fuel efficiency—for its size, that is. According to the EPA, front-wheel drive models rank in at 19 city and 28 highway miles per gallon, with all-wheel drive models slipping down to 17 city and 26 highway MPG. Turbo models — only offered as an all-wheel drive configuration — bring up the rear at 16 city and 23 highway MPG.

Kelley Blue Book ranked the 2018 Cadillac XTS 17th on its fuel efficiency list, lagging behind front-runners like the Audi A4, Jaguar XE, and the Lexus ES. Weight is most likely a large factor, as the Cadillac strives more for luxury than being a fuel-efficient package.

How the 2018 Cadillac XTS Compares

Starting at around $46,000, the 2018 Cadillac XTS might just be the right car for you, if you want to give the neighborhood racers a bit of a challenge once in a while but still prefer to glide around town the rest of the time. Consumer Reports notes that it “isn’t the most refined or advanced [car] you’d find,” but that’s not to say you should dismiss it completely. The 2018 XTS performs well and brings you back home comfortably.

Kelley Blue Book had a lot of good things to say about the 2018 XTS, most notably that whichever trim level you choose, you’re getting a lot of car for the money. Cadillacs might not have the highest resale value out there, but they still give higher-priced competitors a run for their money when it comes to high-output engines and finer details.

Edmunds experts also appreciated the many options available on the 2018 Cadillac XTS. Their people recommend the Premium Luxury trim level for the best balance of features and pricing. While they doubted the practicality of the V-Sport model, many customers might overlook that on account of the fancy touches that make the purchase worthwhile.

Other competitors in the segment include everything from Lexus, Infiniti, and Hyundai, to the upper crust members like Range Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Porsche, to name a few. However, while Lexus and Infiniti might be similarly priced, they can’t quite offer the same oversized seating and generous interior appointments that Cadillac can. Going with any of the latter-mentioned marques generally means upping your price range by $20,000-$30,000. Cadillac occupies that sweet luxurious spot between spending too much and wishing you spent more.

The Good

  • Potent blend of sport and luxury
  • Creature comforts abound
  • Abundantly equipped base models
  • Affordable pricing

The Not-So-Good

  • Fuel efficiency
  • Infotainment can be touchy
  • Not the most practical model on the market

The Last Word

The 2018 Cadillac XTS mixes a bit of horsepower with tons of luxurious accouterments. With a multitude of options to choose from and a relatively low starting price, this model is sure to win over those not wanting to sign away their life savings to a German sports car. Your Cadillac XTS won’t necessarily be the fastest out there, but even as second or third place, you’ll be driving away in comfort, so who’s really the winner here?

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