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2018 Cadillac XTS Overview
The full-size Cadillac XTS luxury sedan receives extensive updates for 2018, including new exterior styling, an improved chassis, and new interior colors, materials, and tech features.
The 2018 XTS improvements start from the ground up. Cadillac introduces 19- and 20-inch alloy wheels for the luxury sedan, along with tires designed to provide a smoother ride and reduce cabin noise. The front end gets a redesigned fascia, bumper, grille, and LED headlights with vertical daytime running lights. The updated design is more sleek and better balanced. In the back, the XTS gets vertical LED taillights and a revised rear fascia. The slightly arcing sidelines, low roofline, and subtle wheel wells remain unchanged. The restyled front and rear fascias result in a slightly shorter XTS, measuring 200.9 inches long. The wheelbase remains the same at 111.7 inches.
Exterior specifics depend on the trim. Cadillac again offers the XTS in Standard, Luxury, Premium Luxury, Platinum, and V-Sport Platinum trim levels for 2018. The Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum trims get illuminated door handles and rain-sensing windshield wipers as standard features; the Platinum and V-Sport Platinum come equipped with a unique grille. The Standard trim rides on 19-inch Pearl Nickel wheels with chrome inserts, while the Luxury gets new 19-inch painted-finish wheels and available polished wheels. The higher-end trims all come with 20-inch wheels, premium painted wheels for the Premium Luxury, new ultra-bright machined wheels for the Platinum, and Sterling Silver painted wheels for the V-Sport Platinum.
Cadillac retuned the chassis and suspension for the 2018 XTS, providing a more comfortable ride and improved balance and handling. The revisions maintain the suspension's stiff structure while ensuring its ability to easily absorb road imperfections and rough spots. Lightweight Brembo front brakes and GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control system are standard on all trims.
In its standard configuration, the XTS rides on a front-wheel-drive (FWD) platform with electric variable-assist power steering. The V-Sport Platinum adds the automaker's smart all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that includes an electronically controlled limited-slip differential to split torque between the rear wheels, maximizing stability and handling. The AWD system is available as an option on the Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum trims. In addition, the Premium Luxury, Platinum, and V-Sport Platinum deliver sharper handling and a more responsive ride thanks to a Magnetic Ride Control system with automatic rear air leveling. It replaces the standard shocks with electronically controlled units that make split-second adjustments to improve handling and stability on all types of road surfaces and driving conditions.
Power for all trims except the V-Sport Platinum continues to come from a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder making 304 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. While the base 6-cylinder provides adequate power for most driving situations, buyers seeking sportier performance will want to opt for the V-Sport Platinum, which ups the ante with a twin-turbo 3.6-liter 6-cylinder delivering 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Both engines mate to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a tap-shift manual control feature. Fuel economy numbers check in at 19 mpg city, 28 highway, and 22 combined for the base 6-cylinder and 16, 23, and 18 for the twin-turbo 6-cylinder.
Inside, Cadillac offers new color and interior trim choices for 2018, including an updated Jet Black with Shale color scheme for the Standard, Luxury, and Premium Luxury trims, and an exclusive Maple Sugar with Jet Black interior theme for the Platinum trim. The front seats have been upgraded with a new frame structure, revised foam distribution, and improved heat pad design. The driver and passengers continue to find plenty of legroom and headroom in both rows. Sound insulators added for 2018 reduce exterior noise and ensure a quieter cabin. The XTS continues to offer expansive storage space, with 18 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk.
Cadillac equips the 2018 XTS with its next-generation CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment system. Featuring a new Summary View, a more intuitive interface, and increased personalization options, the updated CUE system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a new navigation app. It provides a Wi-Fi in-car hotspot and offers built-in OnStar services like vehicle diagnostics and maintenance notifications. The next-generation CUE system includes an updated 8-inch touchscreen, advanced park assist, four USB ports, and a 12-month OnStar subscription. Navigation is included on all trims except the entry-level Standard. Other tech features for the XTS include an 8-speaker Bose audio system for the Standard and Luxury trims; high-end trims upgrade to a 14-speaker Bose system with surround sound.
The Standard trim comes well-equipped with leather upholstery, 8-way power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, and push-button and remote start. The Luxury trim adds heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and LED ambient lighting; the Premium Luxury gets tri-zone climate control, a head-up display, an upgraded configurable 12.3-inch instrument gauge cluster, and a memory package for the seats, steering wheel, and outside mirrors. At the top of the line, the Platinum and V-Sport Platinum add deluxe features like 22-way power-adjustable front seats, upgraded leather upholstery, a suede headliner, and a power sunroof.
The XTS comes standard with 10 airbags, including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger. The Premium Luxury and Platinum trims add a Driver Awareness Package with forward collision alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, blind-zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and low-speed automatic braking. The Platinum and V-Sport Platinum also get a Driver Assist Package that includes adaptive cruise control and forward and reverse automatic braking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the XTS a five-star safety rating, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded it with a top safety score of Good.
Some reviewers consider the XTS outdated—a remnant of Cadillac's decades-long tradition of full-size luxury sedans—but the 2018 XTS is a viable contender in a competitive market.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.
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