$7,458 - $9,012

2009 Cadillac STS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Cadillac STS was new.


Performance: 9.3

Test drivers enjoy driving the 2009 Cadillac STS. It offers buyers a choice of two powerful engines, and is built with a well-tuned suspension that's comfortable for commuting and holds its own in the corners for drivers who like to test their cars' limits. The EPA estimates that a six-cylinder STS should get 17/26 mpg, while V8 models get 15/24. Unlike most cars in this class, the STS does not require premium fuel.

  • "STS blends absorbency and firm composure to good effect." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The powerful V6 almost makes the V8 version irrelevant Meanwhile, the STS's ride and handling continues to impress, with moves that almost make you forget you're driving a sedan that's 6 inches longer and 200 pounds heavier than a Ford E-350." -- Edmunds
  • "All that on regular fuel, too." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The basic STS comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 302 horsepower and uses variable valve timing to maximize thrust. Reviewers say the V6 is powerful enough for any driver. A 4.6-liter Northstar V8 that makes 320 horsepower is also available, and reviewers like it as well, but many say it isn't necessary or worth its cost. Only a six-speed automatic transmission, which can be shifted manually, is offered.

  • "Just 18 fewer ponies than in the optional 4.6-liter Northstar V-8, and the V-6 model will likely cost some $9000 less. Nine grand for 18 horsepower!?" -- Car and Driver
  • The V6 "delivers enough low-end grunt for crisp acceleration from a standing start, and things get fairly potent later on. Power builds in a linear fashion -- there is more as you rev, but it doesn't peak all at once."-- Cars.com
  • "The torquey V6 is more than ample. With its V8-matching acceleration and higher fuel economy, the base-model STS would be our pick over the pricier V8 version." -- Edmunds
  • "The V6 engine provides strong acceleration from a stop and has outstanding passing power. Cadillac claims a V6-powered STS will reach 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which feels accurate to us." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

The STS handles fairly well, with a suspension system reviewers love and assisted steering some find overly light. Its brakes are a highlight.

  • "Terrific ride-and-handling balance. It was easy to place and control on...a slippery surface." -- Car and Driver
  • "Tracked brilliantly in tight turns." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Cadillac offers an optional Magnetic Ride Control suspension that includes Touring and Sport modes. In Touring mode, the Cadillac STS provides a cushy ride and composed handling, although the car will still dive into the turns with unwavering composure and never feels as if it's sprung too softly. In the Performance setting, the handling is a little sharper and the ride a bit stiffer, but the STS handles so well in Touring that we question the necessity for the two settings." -- Edmunds
  • "Any STS corners with poise and modest body lean, particularly the sharp STS-V. Compared with midsize cars from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, however, the steering on this Cadillac feels somewhat vague and overassisted. Reassuring brakes provide short, straight stops." -- Consumer Guide

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