2013 Cadillac XTS Expert Review

3.5 Overall Score
Performance 4.0 Comfort 4.2 Styling 3.0 Value 3.5

Editor's Overview

The all-new Cadillac XTS replaces the dated DTS sedan as the largest and most technologically advanced vehicle in the luxury brand’s expanding lineup. Beyond the elegantly sculpted sheet metal and standard Magnetic Ride Control lies a tech-laden cabin with Cadillac’s latest infotainment system, Cue, as its centerpiece.

You'll Like The 2013 Cadillac XTS If...

If nothing short of a full-size luxury sedan will suffice, but your budget is limited to a mid-size price, the 2013 Cadillac XTS could be the answer to your predicament.

You May Not Like The 2013 Cadillac XTS If...

If you are looking for a luxury sedan that provides you with an engaging driving experience and high levels of athleticism, the Cadillac XTS will leave you wanting more. The BMW 5 Series or the Audi A6 should satisfy your performance requirements.

What's New

The Cadillac XTS is a brand-new nameplate for the 2013 model year, and brings the Cadillac brand one step closer to once again offering consumers a full range of vehicles.

Interior Features

The 2013 Cadillac XTS’ cabin is impeccably assembled and surrounds its occupants with rich leather and first-rate materials – but regrettably, that’s where the good news ends. While the dash layout looks intuitive at first glance, the audio system and climate controls are operated by touch capacitive switches, which require a steep learning curve and heaps of patience to master. Similarly, the optional digital instrument cluster is excessively complex and quite distracting while driving. The front seats, however, are supremely comfortable and plenty supportive, and rear seat passengers are treated to ergonomically-designed seats and a generous amount of headroom. On paper, the Cadillac XTS boasts an additional four inches of legroom over competitors like the BMW 5 Series, however, the XTS’ front seats are designed in a way that makes it nearly impossible to slide your feet under them, essentially nullifying the advantage.

Exterior Features

The sculpted sheet metal of the 2013 XTS embodies Cadillac’s latest iteration of their celebrated “Art and Science” design language. Although the XTS is considerably longer than its mid-size competitors, exterior dimensions are shorter than the superseded Cadillac DTS sedan. Since sizable proportions necessitate sizable wheels, the XTS rides on standard 19-inch 10-spoke wheels with 20-inch polished alloys as an option. Cadillac completes the exterior with a host of chrome adornments, including door handles, window frames and upper and lower grilles.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2013 Cadillac XTS strikes an admirable balance between ride comfort and handling ability. The XTS tackles dilapidated pavement and other road deformities with incredible poise, thanks in part to its standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension system that makes 1,000 dampening adjustments every second. Up to this point, Magnetic Ride Control was utilized exclusively for GM’s high-end sports cars, but the platform’s inherent flexibility permitted Cadillac engineers to custom tailor the suspension system for high levels of comfort. Because the 2013 XTS employs a conventional hydraulic-assisted steering system rather than an electromechanical setup, steering is precise and responsive. The lone engine choice, a 304-horsepower V6, delivers adequate acceleration, though a few extra ponies under the hood wouldn’t hurt. In true Cadillac form, the strategically placed sound insulation combined with the active noise cancelling system worked so well, we found ourselves frequently checking the tachometer to confirm the engine was still running.

Pricing Notes

With a starting price of around $45,000, the 2013 Cadillac XTS undercuts the base prices of the mid-size – and relatively smaller – BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E Class and the Lexus GS sedans. A fully-loaded Platinum trim with all-wheel drive can breach the $60,000 mark, but even at that price, the Cadillac XTS delivers superb value-for-dollar. A quick glance at Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price will show you the typical transaction price for XTS models in your market area, so be sure to reference it before you start negotiating. Considering the 2013 XTS’s strong value proposition and high-quality interior materials, we predict it will preserve slightly above average 5-year residual values.

Notable Equipment

The 2013 Cadillac XTS is offered in four trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Premium and Platinum. Every XTS model includes Magnetic Ride Control suspension, Brembo front brakes, a Bose premium audio system, Cadillac’s Cue infotainment system with conversational voice recognition, push-button start, and an iPad with a preloaded Cue instructional application. Safety comes in the form of 10 airbags, a full complement of electronic stability systems and GM’s renowned OnStar emergency services.

Notable Options

While standard and luxury trims offer a basic version of the Cue infotainment system, Premium and Platinum models include the full-fledged rendition, complete with a 12.3-inch configurable instrument cluster and a robust navigation system with one-shot destination entry for quick, voice-activated address searches – even when the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, Premium and Platinum models include a full-color head-up display and an available Driver Awareness Package, comprised of lane departure, collision, blind spot and cross traffic alerts. To help mitigate infotainment-related driver distraction, we highly recommend the aforementioned Driver Awareness Package.

Favorite Features

Although head-up displays are nothing new in the automotive world, the new XTS takes this fighter-jet-inspired feature to the next level with a full-color display, speed-limit reminders and navigation instructions.

The cornerstone of the 2013 XTS sedan's infotainment system is undoubtedly the 8-inch high-resolution touch screen. The display includes a myriad of cutting edge technology, such as haptic feedback that confirms your desired input with a light vibration, and proximity sensing, which displays command icons when the system detects a hand approaching the screen.

Under the Hood

The 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan gets its motivation from a 3.6-liter, direct-injected V6 that produces 304 horsepower. Power is delivered smoothly through a 6-speed automatic transmission with a sporty sequential mode and steering wheel-mounted shift controls. Snowbelt residents will appreciate the available all-wheel drive (AWD) system, which incorporates an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and torque vectoring for increased traction on wet and dry surfaces.

2013 Cadillac XTS
3.6-liter V6
304 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
264 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 17/27 mpg (AWD)

Editors' Notes

Once the self-proclaimed “Standard of the World”, Cadillac struggled over recent years to reclaim its notorious tagline, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the 110-year-old luxury marque. The long-awaited 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan possesses the right amount of modern technology, interior refinement and contemporary styling to compete head-on with the luxury segment’s imported stalwarts. Cadillac cleverly designed the 2013 XTS with the clear intention of bridging the gap between mid-size and full-size luxury sedans. The result is a rather broad competitive set, though based on price point we feel the mid-size Audi A6, Lexus GS, Infiniti M and BMW 5 Series fit the role as the XTS’s principal challengers. While it might not be the new sedan standard of the world, the 2013 XTS decidedly fits the critical role as Cadillac’s newest flagship.

Road Test Video Reviews

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  • 2013 Cadillac XTS Full Review
  • Road Test: 2013 Cadillac XTS

Owner Reviews


9 Reviews

33% 56% 11% 2 star 0% 1 star 0%

Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

It is a luxurious car that has a ton of great things about it. It is safe, comfortable and a smooth ride

I love my car. My favorite part is the heated and cooled seats/ steering wheel. It is a very smooth ride and has good gas mileage. The only thing I dislike is that there isn't a ton of storage room

- carrie b

Has very low mileage and is in excellent condition.

Drives smoothly and gets good gas mileage. More high tech features than I need. Not as attractive as the older caddies.

- Beverley B

It's very comfortable and reliable and very smooth riding

It's reliable, comfortable, and nice. It's very smooth riding I have never had a problem with it It's low maintenance

- Trevor M