11.04.2010

2011 Cadillac DTS Review

Front 3/4 view of silver 2011 Cadillac DTS

Eras end. Driven by changing tastes and the aging of customers, Cadillac will stop making and selling the big DTS sedan (the modern-day version of the Sedan DeVille) at the end of the 2011 model year.  It will be replaced by the XTS, a car that will almost certainly be targeted to the tastes of Baby Boom luxury car buyers...and thus, at Lexus, Audi and BMW.

It's easy for Boomers to ignore and even ridicule the DTS, a car you're most likely to find in retirement communities, parking lots of restaurants serving the Early Bird special dinners and the occasional rental fleet.

But it's also wrong.


Trunk and taillight detail of silver 2011 Cadilac DTS

At a base price of $46,680, Cadillac's biggest sedan is $3500 less than the BMW 335is coupe. Apples and oranges, you say? You're right. Let's put the DTS against the least-expensive big Bimmer, the 740i sedan.

The Cadillac is $24,000 less. It has more room, costs less to insure, maintain and license and the highway fuel economy difference (23 mpg for the Cadillac, 25 for the BMW) is negligible.

So what's it like to drive? I hadn't had the opportunity in 7 years (even GM's press fleet folks have been treating the DTS like a stepchild), so I rounded one up for a week.  No, it's not meant for blasting through winding mountain roads (newsflash: neither is any Lexus save the IS-F).

Interior view of 2011 Cadillac DTS

What it is is quiet, smooth, responsive, and, given its size and lack of cutting-edge handling hardware, remarkably agile.  The people who've eagerly shelled out $65K for Escalades but wouldn't give a DTS the time of day would think they're driving a sport sedan by comparison. They'd also find they and their passengers are as or more comfortable and they could make a nice dent in the power bill with the money they save on gasoline.

Something I learned programming popular music radio back in the day: There is such a thing as out-hipping yourself, walking away from things of value to a mass audience in the pursuit of image. A week in the DTS has me strongly suspecting that we'll miss it once it's gone.

(review vehicle courtesy Lund Cadillac)

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