Cadillac redesigned its full-size front-drive sedan for the 2000 model year by softening its shape and making it the first car to offer Night Vision. Employing infrared, heat-sensing technology, Night Vision projects images of the road ahead and sends them via a head-up display onto the windshield.
In its current form, the DeVille has been the best-selling luxury sedan in the U.S. market. An advanced DVD-based navigation system is available for 2002, and an XM satellite radio will arrive later in the model year. The DeVille displays Cadillacs revised wreath-and-crest badging, and this model gains dual-stage airbags and express-up/down front windows.
A 4.6-liter V-8 engine produces 275 horsepower in the base and DHS models or 300 hp in the DTS sedan. The DHS and DTS sedans feature optional voice-operated services such as navigation assistance, downloading and listening to e-mail, and serving as an infrared port for Palm Pilots and other personal digital assistants. Web-browsing and e-mail capabilities are disabled unless the car is stopped.
More rounded and bulky in appearance than DeVilles of the recent and distant past, the four-door sedan is 207 inches long overall about the same length as the Buick Park Avenue and slightly shorter than the Lincoln Continental. Riding a 115.3-inch wheelbase, the DeVille is 74.4 inches wide and 56.7 inches tall. Cadillac does not offer whitewall tires, but some dealers can install a set for buyers who like the traditional look.
Regardless of the seating arrangement, DeVilles are known for offering space for taller passengers in the front and rear seats. The backseat has ample legroom even when the front seats are moved all the way back.
A split, front bench seat is standard on the base and DHS models. The DTS comes only with front buckets and a floor-mounted shift lever. The DeVilles trunk lid swings open 90 degrees, with a low liftover for easy loading. Cargo volume is 19.1 cubic feet, and the trunk has a wide, flat floor. A foursomes golf bags can fit inside easily.
GMs standard OnStar communication system can be fitted with two premium services. Personal Calling allows hands-free, voice-activated calls from the car without an additional cellular phone contract, while Virtual Advisor provides Internet-based information such as news headlines, sports scores, stock quotes and weather conditions through voice activation. With the infrared, heat-sensing technology, the optional Night Vision accessory uses a camera mounted in the grille to let the driver see three to five times farther than the headlamps can reach.
Under the Hood
The base Deville and DHS are equipped with Cadillacs 275-hp, 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 engine, while the DTS comes with a 300-hp version of that engine. Both power plants can run on regular fuel, but Cadillac recommends premium gasoline for the best performance and fuel economy. Each V-8 works with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Night Vision detects other moving vehicles, humans and animals long before the naked eye can see them. This system alerts the driver by means of a black-and-white head-up display that projects images and sits in front of the windshield. An ultrasonic rear parking-assist system is optional. When the car is in Reverse, four sensors in the back bumper detect objects that are less than 5 feet away and give audible and visual warnings to the driver.
Side-impact airbags are standard for the front seats and come as optional equipment for the rear seat positions. The front airbag on the passenger side is designed to protect both the right-front and middle-front passengers.
This is a Cadillac in the old mode, but it comes packed with modern technology and gadgetry. Strong Northstar V-8 performance blends with admirable transmission operation in the smooth-functioning powertrain. Downshifts are prompt and certain, yet smooth and nearly gentle. From a standstill, the DTS practically leaps ahead, responding almost as effectively for passing and merging. But at certain speeds, response is a little less vigorous.
The DeVille handles with a light touch but doesnt feel as taut as some competitors, especially among the import brands. The easygoing, genteel ride isnt as woozy or floaty as Cadillacs of the past, though the driver may not feel entirely connected to the road at all times. The DeVille may seem as if it isnt fully in charge when the pavement is flawed. Many typical Cadillac owners wont find this to be a problem at all.
The DeVille promises plenty of room for people and cargo in a handsome interior. The seats are big and relatively soft, yet theyre reasonably supportive. The dashboard instruments in the DTS are exceptionally easy to read. Engine noise is blissfully subdued and muted, and other sounds are minimal. Visibility is generally good, though the back window is a tad squat and massive rear roof pillars might limit the drivers view for parking and lane changes. The huge trunk has an easy liftover.