1991 Cadillac DeVille

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Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 1 of 2

By 

Orlando Sentinel

The Cadillac De Ville Touring Sedan - in spirit at least - reminds me of the huge, powerful Cadillacs of the late '60s and early '70s.

Back then a buyer could order a massive 500-cubic-inch engine. That was when a Cadillac was a Cadillac - not a cookie-cutter version of other General Motors cars.

With new models and the powerful high-tech Northstar V-8 engine slated for a 1992 debut, Cadillac is returning to the days when it offered exclusive products. But this year, there's nothing in the GM lineup quite like the Touring Sedan.

This is a special car. In addition to abundant performance, it features real wood inlays on the doors and dash, a nicely crafted leather interior and all the room, comfort and power you expect from Cadillac.

The Touring Sedan is another poignant example that Cadillac is back.

ENGINE, PERFORMANCE

The Touring Sedan is a front-drive car powered by a 200-horsepower, 4.9-liter V-8. This is the same engine used in other Cadillacs, but a different final drive gear ratio gives it snappier performance. Cadillac says the Touring Sedan will do 0 to 60 mph in about 8 seconds - excellent for a car that weighs 3,622 pounds.

I like the 4.9-liter engine; however, it gets a bit noisy at the higher rpm's. Because there's no tachometer, it is impossible to tell how high the engine is revving before the noise becomes distracting. But driven normally, the engine is always smooth and quiet. Power is consistent, and when pulling onto a busy highway, there's more than enough muscle on tap to safely merge into heavy traffic.

Gas mileage was disappointing. The car is EPA rated at 16 miles per gallon city and 26 highway. According to the car's computer I averaged 17.1 mpg. By my calculations I averaged otherwise, about 13.6 mpg. The discrepancy might be traced to the computer system, which apparently is given to providing general, rather than specific information about such things as fuel remaining and cruising range.

The transmission is GM's four-speed automatic, a superbly smooth-shifting gearbox.

STEERING, HANDLING

Despite its healthy appetite for unleaded premium, the De Ville Touring Sedan is a joy to drive.

You just don't expect a car that's more than 17 feet long to handle as well as the Touring Sedan. Improvements in suspension make the Touring Sedan more competent than the standard-issue De Ville.

The front and rear springs are stiffer, and that reduces body roll; there are larger front and rear stabilizer bars for better handling, and electrically controlled struts governed by a computer adjust the damping mode (from normal to firm) according to the vehicle's speed. Sixteen-inch tires round out the suspension improvements.

Anti-lock brakes, discs up front and drums in the rear, are standard. The power rack and pinion steering is crisp and delivers good feedback. The wheel is easy to turn, and the driver never feels the slighte st trace of torque steer. Its turning radius (41 feet) allows for easy U-turns.

FIT, FINISH, CONTROLS

The square-ish dash is nicely styled and covered with leather, but the electronic instruments take some getting used to. In the center of the dash, speed, total miles and trip mileage is displayed.

Fuel information is displayed electronically on the lower left part of the dash in ''Gallons Remaining'' and ''Distance to Empty.'' I prefer a full set of traditional gauges. In the Touring Sedan, the driver has no way of knowing if the oil pressure, water temperature or alternator is normal; warning lights glow when something goes amiss.

Switches to control the driver's seat, windows, door locks and outside mirrors are located on the driver's door panel. Even though they are not lighted, each switch has a unique feel and can be operated without looking away from the road.

The Touring Sedan has an edge over other luxury cars in the amount of head, le , and foot room it offers for front and rear passengers. It accommodates six adults comfortably.

I loaded it with seven adults and the extra thousand pounds or so didn't tax the engine noticeably.

Long road trips are what the Touring Sedan is really best-suited for. The car glides silently down the highway at 65 mph while coddling the driver in supportive leather seats.

The Touring Sedan, of which only 1,500 will be built this model year, is an enjoyable car worthy of the Cadillac pedigree.


    Expert Reviews 1 of 2

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