2013 Cadillac XTS

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$11,583–$27,675 Inventory Prices
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Key Specs

of the 2013 Cadillac XTS. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    20-21 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    304-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Spacious interior
  • High-quality materials
  • Show-stopping tech
  • Impressive handling

The Bad

  • No rear-drive version
  • Touch-panel replaces buttons
  • Lackluster acceleration
  • Styling not a standout

Notable Features of the 2013 Cadillac XTS

  • All-new full-size sedan
  • Replaces DTS and STS
  • 3.6-liter V-6 engine
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Six-speed automatic
  • Debuts CUE interface

2013 Cadillac XTS Road Test

David Thomas

The Cadillac renaissance of the past decade has focused on turning the brand's cars into rear-drive, performance-oriented coupes, sedans and even a station wagon. But what about the Cadillacs that earlier generations grew up with — those elegant, large sedans, even front-wheel-drive ones, that drove comfortably and had lots of room?

My parents and grandparents had a few of those types of Cadillacs and loved them because they drove like tanks — in a good way. Not every buyer wants to tackle the Autobahn; some people just want to get to work or the mall feeling safe and comfortable.

For those buyers, Cadillac couldn't have built a better tank for today than the all-new XTS.

Though it isn't incredibly fast, the 2013 Cadillac XTS rides well, handles better than a sedan of its girth should and has a state-of-the-art multimedia system.

Performance
If you're looking to peel out from stoplights or tollbooths in your luxury sedan, the XTS is not for you. In fact, the 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 under the hood produces just enough power to keep the very large and heavy sedan moving at acceptable speeds in most situations. This lackluster power was a negative for most of our editors, but no one thought it necessarily made the XTS uncompetitive. Plus, it's really hard to peel out from a stop with front-wheel drive. (That said, don't try it in the available all-wheel-drive XTS, either. You'll be disappointed and look downright foolish as the ...

The Cadillac renaissance of the past decade has focused on turning the brand's cars into rear-drive, performance-oriented coupes, sedans and even a station wagon. But what about the Cadillacs that earlier generations grew up with — those elegant, large sedans, even front-wheel-drive ones, that drove comfortably and had lots of room?

My parents and grandparents had a few of those types of Cadillacs and loved them because they drove like tanks — in a good way. Not every buyer wants to tackle the Autobahn; some people just want to get to work or the mall feeling safe and comfortable.

For those buyers, Cadillac couldn't have built a better tank for today than the all-new XTS.

Though it isn't incredibly fast, the 2013 Cadillac XTS rides well, handles better than a sedan of its girth should and has a state-of-the-art multimedia system.

Performance
If you're looking to peel out from stoplights or tollbooths in your luxury sedan, the XTS is not for you. In fact, the 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 under the hood produces just enough power to keep the very large and heavy sedan moving at acceptable speeds in most situations. This lackluster power was a negative for most of our editors, but no one thought it necessarily made the XTS uncompetitive. Plus, it's really hard to peel out from a stop with front-wheel drive. (That said, don't try it in the available all-wheel-drive XTS, either. You'll be disappointed and look downright foolish as the car next to you whizzes past.)

Mileage is EPA-rated at 17/28 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive, which is comparable to or better than other V-6 luxury cars in the class.

There wasn't much magic carpet in the XTS' ride despite the sophisticated standard magnetic suspension system. It was smooth over bumpy surfaces but not as isolated over unblemished stretches as a Mercedes S-Class, or even the more comparably priced Lexus LS or Hyundai Equus. Like the car's power, its ride is one most shoppers will deem "good enough."

The XTS' one standout performance aspect is its remarkable handling … for a 202-inch-long vehicle. Other sedans I've tested, like Jaguar's XJL flagship, take corners sharply, but you feel the large mass of vehicle that stretches behind your seat in every turn. The XTS feels almost nimble in comparison, which should add some driving confidence to make up for the lack of power.

Interior
Let's not get confused about what the XTS is supposed to be: It's meant to deliver a luxury experience, not a thrill ride. Inside, Cadillac has delivered one of its richest interiors. My test car was a Premium trim level with all-wheel drive, which starts at $56,730, with a tan interior. I also spent time in a Platinum  — $59,080 with front-wheel drive — with a black interior that I found even more elegant, with contrasting purple stitching and a suede-like headliner. Both prices include a $920 destination charge. You can compare features and prices across all trim levels here.

Simply put, shoppers won't be compromising on materials if they choose this Cadillac over similarly priced cars from Lexus and Infiniti.

The seats are wide and supportive with plush leather. Take the XTS for a long drive, and it will treat you well.

The XTS' legroom, headroom and hip room meet or beat the rest of the class, which includes the current LS, Equus and Lincoln's MKS. And while the XTS is long, the Equus and MKS are longer and all three competitors are wider, which is surprising considering the XTS' favorable interior dimensions. You can compare the four here.

Other sedans, including the LS and Jaguar XJ, offer extended-wheelbase versions for more rear legroom, but I can't imagine anyone, even those who are above-average height, finding fault with the XTS' rear confines.

With an 18-cubic-foot trunk, the XTS equals the Lexus and is larger than the Equus, but it's just short of Lincoln's MKS, which has 18.7 cubic feet. However, it's so large it's likely to accommodate four golf bags and luggage for a weekend trip with relative ease.

CUE Multimedia System
Every XTS comes with CUE (Cadillac User Experience), the brand's new multimedia system, which is housed in the dashboard's center control panel. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, not part of the CUE package, is available only on higher trim levels.

CUE is impressive whether it's teamed with the digital gauge cluster or not.

It features two main components. The first are touch-sensitive capacitive buttons at the bottom of the panel for stereo and environmental controls. We've seen similar setups from Ford, Lincoln and other brands, but the XTS sends a pulse of feedback through the panel whenever a control is selected. This tells drivers the function they were aiming for has actually been activated, helping at least slightly to keep attention on the road. (Also, the sliding volume bar worked with more accuracy and in a more natural fashion than a similar attempt by Lincoln.)

Second, atop the stack is an 8-inch touch-screen. It, too, has capacitive touch that sends that vibration back through the finger. That's rare in the marketplace, and it provides a feedback pulse as well. It features so many functions you'll likely need both in-depth instructions from a Cadillac dealer and the free iPad that comes with every XTS equipped with an app to help explain things.

The system houses standard multimedia capabilities like USB compatibility, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth wireless music streaming, Bluetooth phone connectivity and even apps, including Pandora internet radio.

CUE stands out for two main reasons.

The screen's clarity is remarkable. Cadillac says it's twice as bright as an iPad, and I believe it. When listening to music via an iPod, the car's screen displays crisp album artwork, and the artist and song information is easy to read. Navigation maps, too, are among the best-looking ones I've seen.

There isn't much clutter on the display … until you reach toward it. When your hand gets close enough, two sensors tell the system to display more buttons on the screen. It might seem like a gimmick, but it worked flawlessly throughout my test and made me appreciate the good-looking graphics all the more.

General Motors has been ahead of its time for years by allowing stereo presets to be a combination of FM, AM or satellite stations all in one presentation. I love this function, as I jump between AM talk radio and satellite quite a lot. CUE takes this premise many steps further.

You can program 60 favorites, including not just radio stations but also your favorite artists, albums or songs on your iPod, as well as any of your phone contacts or favorite GPS destinations. You can also program a favorite navigation search — to find the closest Starbucks, for example, wherever you happen to be. I joked that I could call my wife, listen to my favorite Pearl Jam bootleg and find the nearest Starbucks by using just three buttons. And what else do you really need to do on a commute?

A voice recognition system replicates many of these same functions. I'm normally not a fan of these because I can generally get what I want faster with buttons — especially with CUE's presets. But Cadillac's version does an exceptional job of recognizing commands, and it allows a single press of the voice-activation button to accept a single command instead of requiring multiple steps. (Some systems require a conversation with the computer.) With CUE you can use simple language, too, like "Play Pearl Jam" instead of "USB," "Play Artist Pearl Jam."

The digital gauge cluster can be configured with four different designs, from classic gauges to more space-age options. I had a few favorites, but this wasn't as big a selling point for me as the CUE system itself. If you get an XTS without the digital gauge cluster, there's a separate LCD information screen between the more traditional analog gauges.

Safety
An all-new model, the XTS hadn't been crash-tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as of this writing.

The Cadillac XTS comes with 10 standard airbags, including side impact and side curtain airbags for front and rear outboard seats. Knee airbags for the driver and front passenger are also standard.

Advanced safety features like front collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are available but not standard on the base model.

You can see a full list of safety features here.

Cadillac XTS in the Market
The XTS' price crosses a number of segments, from smaller, sportier sedans like the Infiniti M37 and Audi A6, which are more fun to drive, to larger, more serene rides like the Lexus LS and Mercedes S-Class, which are more expensive.

This thoroughly modern tank stands out because of its price in the middle of the luxury battlefield. All that cross-shopping could bring more eyeballs to the XTS and CUE, so it's a good thing for Cadillac that it executed both well enough to win shoppers over.

Send David an email  



2013 XTS Video

After nearly a year without a full-size luxury sedan, Cadillac gets a new flagship called the XTS. The 2013 Cadillac XTS has a well-appointed interior with a new intuitive and functional multimedia system called CUE.

Latest 2013 XTS Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.2)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Very well put together rides really smooth

by Smile on August 13, 2018

Car has nice leg room back seat very comfortable trunk has ample space i like that the back seat folds down giving room for long items Read full review

(5.0)

Beautiful , Comfort and I love the Safety features

by Janice on June 16, 2018

Beyond my expectations I love the Platinum features and all the perks... Grateful to God for allowing me to have such a car.... To God Be The Glory ! Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2013 Cadillac XTS currently has 5 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2013 Cadillac XTS Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
acceptable
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
acceptable
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    72 months / 70,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Cadillac

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, trip-interruption services, 24-hour consumer relations center hot line, Free OnStar service for six months and Vehicle history report

  • Limited Warranty

    6 years / 100,000 miles

    Every certified Pre-Owned Cadillac comes with a 6 year or 100,000 mile Certified limited warranty coverage
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 60,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The XTS received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker