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2013 Cadillac XTS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Cadillac XTS was new.


Performance: 7.4

Reviewers don’t consider the 2013 Cadillac XTS a sports sedan, but they appreciate its comfortable ride and controlled handling. Still, some critics say that a more powerful engine would make the XTS more fun to drive.

  • "The V6, automatic and all-wheel-drive do a good job of getting the car moving, and while the ride is smooth, there's good body control so there's never a feeling that this is some big Cadillac whale from the past." -- AutoWeek 
  • "In either front- or all-wheel-drive form, the XTS has poise. It's not overtly sporty, but the chassis offers control and confidence that bucks big-Caddy traditions." -- Car and Driver 
  • "The XTS is no sleeper, but it performed better than we expected." -- Motor Trend 
  • "This full-size sedan with its V-6 engine is smooth and incredibly quiet on the road; it makes any driver feel safe and in control." -- Mother Proof

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Cadillac XTS is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that generates 304 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. The EPA reports that the 2013 XTS gets 17/28 mpg city/highway, which is slightly less than cars like the Mercedes-Benz E350 and Lexus GS 350.

While many test drivers say that the XTS offers decent acceleration, some write that a more powerful engine would be welcome under the XTS’ hood. One reviewer says that the transmission doesn’t help matters. He writes that it’s slow to downshift when you need to pass someone on the highway. However, other critics say that the transmission shifts smoothly.

  • "The power from the V6 in my opinion was just OK around town-this is a heavy car, though the six is smooth as are the shifts from the transmission." -- AutoWeek 
  • "The automatic travels fluidly through its six gears and never draws attention to itself." -- Car and Driver 
  • "In the real world the XTS gets moving quickly enough, though the V-6 could use a bit more mid-range torque and the transmission can be somewhat reluctant to downshift during highway passing maneuvers, conspiring to make the XTS feel slower than it actually is." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Given the sturdy legs under the car, a little more horsepower would be welcome." -- The Wall Street Journal 

Handling and Braking

Though test drivers don’t consider the XTS to be the most athletic luxury large car, most agree that it offers a comfortable ride and composed handling. The XTS wins points for its strong brakes, but a couple auto writers mention that the steering system could provide more road feel.

  • "The XTS is exactly what a modern-day Caddy should feel like. The ride is supple, but not in the floaty way. … It's soft but with a bit of firmness." -- AutoWeek 
  • "The variable-effort power steering is light to the touch, but also graced with some semblance of feel. Strong front brakes provided by Brembo are good enough for V-series Cadillacs." -- Car and Driver 
  • "On twisty roads the XTS handles OK for a big car, though its electric power steering box leaves a little to be desired on the feedback front." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The XTS's chassis tuning is also quite good for such a middle-child of a car. With magnetic dampers in front and air suspension in back, the XTS's ride is agreeably serene but composed, firming up nicely under lateral cornering loads and laying into corners well planted." -- The Wall Street Journal

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