1992 Cadillac Eldorado

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1992 Cadillac Eldorado
Available in 1 styles:  Eldorado 2dr Coupe shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

16 city / 25 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 1 of 2


Cadillac, the division that brought us the V-8-6-4 engine and the Allante as well as the infamous diesel, deserves a few winners after a string of also- rans-or in the case of the diesel, no run at all.

And so it has been blessed with the new Seville sedan and Eldorado coupe for 1992.

Seville/Eldorado have been enlarged and totally restyled for 1992 after serving penance since 1986when several inches and many pounds were lopped from both for the sake of downsizing. In miniaturizing them, however, Cadillac whittled away the character, personality-and prestige.

We last drove the new Cadillac luxury cars at a preview of the 1992 lineup at the division`s own headquarters and test track in Hamtramck, Mich. (Cartalk, Sept. 8). The problem with previews is that the cars can be finely tuned and honed in preparation for being turned over to media nitpickers.

We now have had a chance to test drive the Eldorado in Chicagoland with no loving Cadillac engineers at hand to tweek, twist or tighten the merchandise.

Regardless of the locale, Eldorado is a special car, though we should quickly clarify that the top-of-the-line Touring Coupe is a breed of its own. The base Eldo is rather ordinary. Same is true of Seville. The STS is the creme de la creme of the lineup, the base Seville is simply creme de la so-so. What sets the Touring Coupe and STS apart from their siblings is the touring suspension in each. In base form without the touring suspension, Seville and Eldorado are simply pleasant machines that don`t offend by transmitting road harshness back into the wheel or seat. Unfortunately, they do so by being mushily sprung.

The difference in suspensions means you ride in a Seville or Eldorado, you drive an STS or Touring Coupe.

We found a vacant straightaway and conducted a series of quick lane changes-into the left lane back to the right lane, into the left, back to the right.

The wife once owned a 1984 Eldorado. If that same left/right maneuver had been done in an `84 Eldo two things would have happened: We would have thrown up along about the third left/right and the car would be rocking sideways for about 30minutes after the little test was completed.

With the Touring Coupe it was simply one quick maneuver after another as the tires held the pavement and the body refused to rock, float or wobble uncontrollably.

OK, try a sharp corner.

The front end pointed into the turn, the body-the car`s and our own-took the trip at the same time without the car body leaning or our body sliding over into the passenger`s seat. Also, when you take that sharp turn it`s the fancy tread pattern on the bottom of those 16-inch all-season Goodyear radials that bite the pavement, not the sidewalls.

Bumps in the road.

The pavement may have been wavy, but the Touring Coupe sat flat and didn`t give in to the tendancy most luxury cars would h ave of bouncing severely in order to cushion the passenger from suffering rear-end bruises. The bouncing may camouflage the blemishes in the road, but it doesn`t provide you with total control of the vehicle.

``Control`` is an apt description of the Touring Coupe. Give the car a command either by pressing a pedal or moving the wheel, and it responds. You dictate conditions and aren`t just along for the ride as you would have been in that 1984 version. You feel weight in the wheel, but it`s the feeling of substance, not excess.

With the touring suspension you have a luxury car with the manners of a sports model-entertain the clients during the week, entertain yourself on the weekends.

The Touring Coupe requires less wheel effort going into the wide turn and minimal wheel pressure in the turn. All the while the car sits flat, and the driver is in control. Coming out of the turn, there`s no lean or sway, so you`re ready to sprint down the straightawa y without having to adjust the wheel to reposition the nose.

The focus was on little things, such as stiffening the front frame member to reduce bending or twisting or shake; retuning the engine and body mounts to combat noise and vibration; running a bar of tubular steel behind the instrument panel to reduce instrument panel shake and steering column motion; revising transmission mounting brackets to provide added stiffness to reduce torque steer; upgrading control arm bushings to increase impact isolation; and changing variable spring rates for better ride.

The Touring Coupe also has speed-sensitive power steering that the base models don`t have. There`s too much wheel play in the base models in maneuvers. In the Touring Coupe, steering movement is more in harmony with the driver`s commands.

The Touring Coupe also adds front and rear stabilizer bars while all four struts have been revalved to control vehicle motion. When you accelerate or brake, the struts shift into a firm mode to prevent lift or nosedive. During aggressive driving, the struts also shift into the firm mode to increase stability.

The car is powered by a 200-horsepower, 4.9-liter V-8 with quick yet quiet off-the-line response. Luxury car buyers measure performance in how quickly they get started. They don`t want to have a Crown Vic or Caprice scoot from the light ahead of them. The 4.9 delivers, though at about 70 m.p.h. it seems to say, ``Hey, I got you this far, give me a break,`` and wants to take a siesta.

In April, Cadillac will unveil the North Star V-8, a 32-valve, 300-h.p. powerplant that will bow in the `93 Allante(which comes out in the spring) before being offered in Seville/Eldorado, probably for the `93 model year. That engine should extend the power surge of the current V-8.

Eldorado stays on the same 108-inch wheelbase, but length was increased by 10.8 inches, to 202.2 inches. Body width swelled by 3.4 inchesbecause, despite jogging and aerobics, human bodies never underwent the same shrinkage that cars did in 1986.

With the larger dimensions comes new sheet metal. Styling will be debated, just like it was when Cadillac brought out the bustle back Seville, a love/hate attempt to be unique. The `92 sheet metal leaves us a bit cold.

Cadillac General Manager John Grettenberger told us Eldorado and Seville were to have been introduced in the 1991 model year, rather than 1992, but were delayed was because he wasn`t pleased with the Eldorado styling. Five additional styling versions were ordered after the first one failed to please Cadillac officials.

Despite Eldorado`s increased length, the bulk of the added inches seems to be devoted to trunk space-length but not depth, so you can hold golf clubs easily, but grocery bags are a trick.

The back seat could have used some of that added space. Leg room suffers. There are numerous nice touches, howev er, and obvious attention paid to detail, such as large, wide bodyside moldings to prevent parking lot pock marks. If you price body work on a car with clear coat/base coat you`d see the value of wide bodyside moldings.

The center console houses a button to activate a windshield de-icer. We had ample opportunity to check out the de-icer. Typically two minutes is all it takes from freeze to thaw so after a wisk with the wiper you`re ready to drive.

Other nice touches include simple-to-understand and easy-to-use controls in the instrument panel, including a continuous outside temperature reading and average mileage and mileage range based on fuel-in-tank readings, fan and vent controls for rear seat occupants and a center armrest up front with two stowage compartments and coin/cassette holder.

Also, automatic door locks engage when you put the car in gear and unlock when you put the selector in park; eye glass and automatic garage door opener holders are hidden in the roof; lighted mirrors and pullout plastic sunshade extensions are in each visor (though we`re surprised Cadillac didn`t employ pop-open mirrors instead of pull-open that would be hard on women`s nails); doors open wide for easy front seat entry or exit; the trunk lid opens about 90 degrees for easy loading or unloading of luggage or golf clubs; and seats can be heated by pressing a console button.

But the seats are those dumb bladder-inflated type, unnecessary because they already are wide and comfortable with terrific support.

Also, Cadillac should rethink the front-seat shoulder belt system. It`s comfortable to use, but it blocks entry to the rear seat for your guests. There`s no graceful way for a woman in gown or man in tux to get in or out of that back seat unless you enter through the moonroof via a crane.

There`s an ashtray for smokers, but it opens at a such a weird angle it`s not designed to hold ashes. It`s hard to describe its exact position, but imagine standing an ashtray on its side, then try flicking an ash into it.

Standard equipment includes anti-lock brakes, driver-side air bag, power brakes and steering, air conditioning, cruise control, side- and rear-window defoggers, heated outside power mirrors, power door locks, electronic level control, driver messenger center that displays warnings from low fuel to oil life, AM-FM stereo with cassette, leather seats, retained accessory power so windows and radio work when the ignition is turned off, tinted glass, tilt wheel, power windows with driver`s express down and platinum-tipped spark plugs for 100,000 miles of usage, to name some of the goodies.

The Eldorado Touring Coupe starts at $34,970.

>> 1992 Eldorado Touring Coupe
Wheelbase: 108 inches Length: 202.2 inches Engine: 4.9 liter, 200 h.p.V-8 Transmission: 4-speed automatic Fuel economy: 16 m.p.g. city/25 m.p.g highway Base price: $34,970 Strong point: Superb suspension system and nimble response from speed sensitive power steering makes for command of the road, larger dimensions for much needed room, ABS and driver`s side airbag standard. Weak point: Styling a bit cold. >>

    Expert Reviews 1 of 2

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