We're not your typical Cadillac drivers. Actually, we're not your typical drivers, period. Yet Paul found himself drawn to the all-new 2000 Cadillac DeVille Touring Sedan - a performance-tuned edition that Cadillac refers to as the DTS. Like its
sibling, the Seville Touring Sedan (STS), the DTS combines a sophisticated suspension with one of the best powertrains on the market. For 2000, it also wraps its state-of-the-art components in new skin. DeVille's profile? We'll let you be the judge.
Among its razzle-dazzle features, we were less impressed with the ballyhooed Night Vision system than we were with the Rear Parking Assist - a nifty feature that made our friend Ken obsolete. She: Forget about Ken for a second. I picked up
Great-Grandma - who worked in a bar until she was 85 and never minces words - for church in the DTS. Keep in mind that she's going to be 98 in May. She settles into the luxurious heated front seat with power massaging lumbar, and tells me, "Now THIS is a
car." So there's one endorsement. He: Think Cadillac will want to hire her as a TV pitch woman? She: She's pretty convincing. But as much as I love and respect her, she couldn't sell me completely on the DTS. Why? Too expensive and too
much gimmicky technology that I found requires too much concentration and can be too distracting. And I kept asking myself, is this better than the competitors from Lexus, BMW and Mercedes? I can't justify the $51,735 price tag on a DeVille - any
DeVille. He: Considering an LS400 starts at around $54,000 these days and doesn't have nearly as much interior space, the DTS looks pretty good to me. That is, if you can get past the profile. Let's face it. This is not a terribly attractive car,
even with the redesign. If you're into big boats, I much prefer the shape of the Lincoln Town Car. She: The DeVille has less of a boat-like ride, but it's still a dowdy car. And surprisingly not well-designed for an older crowd. Even you agreed
with me that the doors on the DeVille are big and unwieldy - difficult to close even for people like us who are younger and more agile. But let me go back to the technology, especially that military-style Night Vision system. An infrared camera mounted
behind the grille captures an image of the road ahead. It projects that hazy black-and-white image onto the lower part of the windshield, just above the instrument cluster, so it's in the driver's line of sight. I thought it was distracting. And it cost
almost $2,000! He: Did you read the fine print? Night Vision is intended for really bad weather, like heavy fog, when you can't normally see the road ahead very well. Of course, you're usually driving in a fog anyway. I thought you liked the Rear
Parking Assist, a $400 option that we didn't even know was on our test car until Ken tried to help us park one night. She: Yeah, he jumped out in the freezing cold after we got blocked in at the pizzeria parking lot. Befo
re Ken could say anything, the system started alerting us to the car right behind us. I'd rather keep the $400 and still take Ken out on dates. He: Better make sure you bring his wife, Debi, along, too. You notice that even with four adults, we
had loads of room in the DeVille. She: The rear compartment is really fancy. It has heated seats and separate climate controls, and you can get optional side air bags for the rear passengers. He: From the pilot's chair, the ride quality
seemed exceptional - no marshmallowy sensation, no impact harshness, just a smooth and comfortable ride that soaks up even those dreaded Michigan craters. The secret is a computerized chassis that Cadillac calls "continuously variable road-sensing
suspension." I can't tell you exactly how it works, but believe me, it works. So does the speed-sensitive power steering, which gives the DTS an amazing degree of precision and control that I'm just not used to in a car this size. She: You c
t argue with the 300-horsepower Northstar V-8 either, although I'm surprised that Cadillac hasn't gone to a five-speed automatic transmission like many of its competitors. On the plus side, it does take regular gas this year, and it gets 28 miles a gallon
in highway driving. The big Lexus only gets 25. But you know what? As we wrap up this test drive, I'm giving the DTS an above-average rating of three stars, while you're giving it four stars. Before you pick an argument about that, remember the words of
Billy Graham's wife, Ruth: "If two people in a marriage agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary." He: I wonder if Ruth and Billy ever did test drives together ... 2000 Cadillac DeVille DTS Anita's rating: above average
Paul's rating: world-class Type: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, five-passenger luxury sedan. Price: Base, $44,700; as tested, $51,735 (including $670 destination charge). Engine: 4.6-liter V-8; 300-hp; 295 lb-ft torque.
EPA fuel economy: 17 mpg city/28 mpg highway. 12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan: $2,627 (Estimate. Rates may be higher or lower, depending on coverage and driving record.) Where built: Detroit Likes: Superb
suspension, combining precise control with exceptional ride comfort. Terrific Northstar V-8 packs a 300-hp wallop, yet returns 28 mpg on the highway. Tasteful and roomy cabin equipped with all the amenities - even heated rear seats. One of the most
comfortable driver's seats in the luxury segment. Impressive safety features, including front and rear side air bags, traction control. Dislikes: $1,995 Night Vision system is more of a nuisance and a distraction than a benefit. Fully loaded
DeVille sticker getting frightfully expensive, at $51,735. Still an awfully big car for many drivers, and those doors are hard to handle. Although redesigned for 2000, the exterior still looks pretty dowdy.