2009 Cadillac STS-V Expert Review

You'll Like The 2009 Cadillac STS-V If...

If you like the edgy styling of the CTS and XLR cars, you'll no doubt like the 2009 Cadillac STS. It has room for five, a massive trunk and a long list of electronic features and gadgets.

You May Not Like The 2009 Cadillac STS-V If...

The 2009 Cadillac STS' styling has been seen before, namely on the CTS sedan. It does not stand out like the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and buyers at this level often prefer a more distinctive vehicle.

What's New

Other than a new motor for the optional Active Steering feature, the STS remains relatively unchanged.

Interior Features

The 2009 Cadillac STS interior is certainly pleasing to the eye, but not ground-breaking by any means. The usual color choices of black, tan or gray are offset by the occasional use of nice wood trim. A sprayed-on urethane "skin" gives the dash and door panels a rich look mimicking real leather, but we do worry how well this material will hold up over time. Optional equipment, such as the four-color head-up display and Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound audio, help liven things up a bit. Premium Platinum models feature hand-cut leather on the dash, door panels and console, as well as an Alcantara headliner. Rear-seat legroom and headroom are plentiful, and the huge trunk with its low lift-over height allows for easy loading.

Exterior Features

The 2009 Cadillac STS sports many of the same styling cues as the newest CTS sedan, but a closer look reveals a bit more curvature in the design. The STS is two inches wider than its CTS sibling, giving it a more substantial look, and its C-pillar design is narrower at the top, with the rear doorframe clearly outlined. Cadillac's signature wide front grille is flanked by a set of stacked HID headlamps, while around back the signature Cadillac taillights are lit by two long rows of LEDs.

Driving Impressions

With key fob in pocket, our 2009 Cadillac STS knew of our presence, unlocking its doors in anticipation of the coming drive; the same fob permitted us to start the car with a push of a button. On the road, we found the STS' new 3.6-liter V6 to be quiet and free of vibration, even at full throttle. Power was readily available and fuel economy proved surprisingly good, especially on long highway trips, leaving us to wonder, "Why pay more for the V8?". The STS' rear-wheel-drive platform and sport-tuned suspension allowed little body roll and gave predictable handling. The STS tracked brilliantly in tight turns, though the steering response was somewhat soft and slow to react. StabiliTrak stability control proved admirable in keeping the STS from skidding off course.

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the STS V6 with rear-wheel drive starts in the $45,000 range, while the V8 model starts around $55,000. You'll pay a bit more for a comparably equipped Mercedes Benz E-Class or BMW 5 Series, but less for the new Lincoln MKS. The Fair Purchase Prices show what consumers are currently paying for both the V6 and V8 models. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what people are currently paying for an STS in your area. The 2009 Cadillac STS is a relatively new model, which may be why it trails behind the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Lexus GS in projected residual values.

Notable Equipment

The V6-powered STS has a six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, OnStar, keyless start, auto-dimming mirror, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, Bose audio, front side-impact and front and rear head-curtain airbags, leather seats, cruise control, leather-wrapped power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels. The V8 model features a memory package for the driver's seat, mirrors and steering wheel, dual eight-way power seats, heated rear seats and 17-inch polished aluminum wheels.

Notable Options

Options are numerous, are generally arranged by trim level and packages and include onboard navigation, Head-Up Display (HUD), garage door opener, six-disc DVD changer, Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound system, HID headlamps, power glass moonroof, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, limited-slip rear axle, rain-sensing wipers, 18-inch wheels and tires, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert, adaptive cruise control and a performance handling package.

Favorite Features

Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound
The Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound option features 15 speakers placed strategically throughout the cabin, including on the tops of the seats and beneath the center console. It delivers great sound.

Supportive Seats
The STS seats show Cadillac has found a nice combination of comfort and support, and they do a good job of holding you in place without being too firm.

Under the Hood

The new 3.6-liter V6 engine is strong enough to satisfy most owners, while the V8 offers plenty of performance for the enthusiasts. It really comes down to how you like to drive and how much money you have to spend.

3.6-liter V6
302 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
272 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26

4.6-liter V8
320 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
315 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22

Editors' Notes

Cadillac's evolution from a builder of cushy luxo-barges to world-class touring sedans is complete, and nowhere is this transformation more evident than with the 2009 Cadillac STS. Along with the CTS, the STS has the mission of putting Cadillac back on the world's radar screen, and if ever there was a Cadillac that could lure younger buyers from their love affairs with Lexus and BMW, it's the STS. With a choice of V6 or V8 engines, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive and enough sophisticated electronics to please the most demanding technophile, about the only thing lacking from this car is a manual transmission, a feature some enthusiasts may desire.

Road Test Video Reviews

  • Motorweek Video of the 2006 Cadillac STS-V
  • 2008 Cadillac STS-V
  • 2008 Cadillac STS V Test Drive
  • Random Car Review: 2006 Cadillac STS-V
  • 2009 Cadillac CTS-V // Review
  • MotorWeek Road Test: 2009 Cadillac CTS-V

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