“It’ll be easy. The story is pretty much going to write itself!” At least that’s what I thought before I picked up the 2015 Cadillac XTS V-Sport AWD you see here.
I was banking on my press car being painted black or dark charcoal, or maybe a silver hue and I was going to get my neighbour’s opinion on it.
That’ll be a witty and unique angle to the story, I thought, since my neighbour’s family runs a funeral home and have a few Caddy DeVilles or DTSes – the predecessor to the XTS. I’d simply get her opinion on the XTS, sprinkle in a few of my own observations and voila! Let’s see if the big Cadillac is still popular amongst the living who work with the dead.
But then I received the keys to this Caddy and walked out to the lot to see it’s painted a very bright “Crystal Red Tintcoat” (that’ll be an extra $1,295 thank-you-very-much).
Hmm… that’s a little gaudy for funeral duty, I mused.
Then things got worse.
Sat behind the steering wheel, I pressed the engine start button and somewhere, possibly in the next county over given how hushed its noise was, the 3.6L V6 settled into a smooth, rhythmic idle. The rich aroma of leather fills the cabin, and it’s easy to see why. The seats are of course finished in lovely, soft hides, but even the dash top, arm rests and door panels are finished in a convincing replication of leather, all stitched precisely together. In this particular car, the seats are a coloured “very light platinum” and with 13,000 km of butts having sat in them before me, were pretty discoloured. Certainly, such light seats would be impractical for a funeral car what with all the tears and dark-coloured clothing.
The real killer… excuse me, the real determining factor that this XTS is ill-suited for hauling around the family of the dearly departed lies beneath the hood. In my grumbling over the death of my story idea, I neglected to notice the “V” badge on the trunk when I got in. And so, only moments after starting the big Caddy for the first time, I drove down an on-ramp and noticed that nearly two metric tons and more than five metres of Manhattan’s finest was ripping through the atmosphere at a surprising clip.
What I had failed to appreciate until that moment was that this big cruiser had a pair of turbos affixed to its V6, bumping power from an adequate 304 to a healthy 410 hp which, when bolstered by 369 lb-ft of torque from 1,900 rpms, is plenty to move even a very large car with considerable verve. The transmission works its way through its six speeds with impressive smoothness, though they’re not as rapid-fire as the more modern gearboxes found in some competitive models. What’s more, six speeds seems a little behind-the-times in an age when seven or eight speeds are considered the norm in this class of vehicle. Tiny paddles are hidden somewhere behind the steering wheel. I tried them once, and like most XTS buyers, didn’t bother with them again. The transmission works just fine for normal duty when left to its own devices.