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2019 Cadillac XTS Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.7

The 2019 Cadillac XTS strikes a delicate balance. While it offers a smooth ride and crisp steering, the XTS is unlikely to disappoint anyone looking for a luxury car that focuses more on comfort than agility. Its V6 engines aren’t half bad either. The base V6 is adequate for most daily needs, but the upgraded twin-turbocharged one offers even more power and stronger acceleration.

  • "Drivability is good for the most part. The transmission will throw an occasional hard shift every once in a while, and the kick-down response for making a lane change or pass isn't as quick as we'd like. But the V6's power and torque help make up time in avoiding a compromised position. " -- Edmunds
  • "The 2016 XTS sedan from Cadillac walks the line between coddling cocoon and a hard-driving sports car. It's a place most luxury-car buyers have settled and one the XTS roams freely." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "Although the standard XTS is by no means an all-out performance sedan, it does make a few conscious choices intended to satisfy the driver." -- Autotrader (2016)

Acceleration and Power

This Cadillac’s base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 304 horsepower. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. For good or bad, this powertrain doesn’t stand out. It has adequate power for driving around town or on the highway, and it earns an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which is about average among large luxury cars. Models with all-wheel drive earn 17/26 mpg city/highway.

On the other hand, the V-Sport model feels a lot livelier. It has a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 410 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. With this engine, the car accelerates eagerly and is more fun to drive. Upgrading to the turbocharged engine gets you more oomph but lower fuel efficiency of 16/23 mpg city/highway.

  • "With a 410-horsepower twin-turbo V6, power isn't lacking in this engine though it peaks a little later than we'd expect. All-wheel drive makes for slip-free acceleration no matter how hard you stomp the go pedal, while the six-speed automatic is nothing fancy but offers quick and smooth upshifts. " -- Edmunds
  • “The 3.6-liter V6 may not win any drag races, but it plays well with the 6-speed transmission, offering decent acceleration and responsiveness." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "Power from the standard V6 is acceptable but not thrilling. We suggest opting for the 410-horsepower twin-turbo V6 in the Vsport trim, instead." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

Handling and Braking

This car attempts to strike a sweet spot between comfort and agility. The ride is reasonably smooth, and the available Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension system does a lot to smooth out rough roads for a smoother driving experience. It feels controlled around turns, and the strong Brembo brakes provide plenty of stopping power. As is expected from a car of this size, it can be tough to maneuver in tight areas. Front-wheel drive is standard in the XTS, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The MagneRide suspension doesn't eliminate all undulations but does a decent job of rounding off sharp bumps and delivers a ride that feels controlled rather than floaty. We'd say it strikes a pretty good balance between comfort and sport, skewing slightly toward sport for a big luxury sedan." -- Edmunds
  • "The XTS performs well on the open road, but its size becomes more obvious once you get into smaller, city-sized confines." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "This large Cadillac has a fairly absorbent and well-controlled ride, but don't expect it to be as compliant as the log-departed (sic) Cadillac DTS. Some jiggle is noticeable, possibly due to the low sidewalls of the tires. The highway ride could be steadier and better cushioned." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
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