By on September 19, 2008

History records an era when a Cadillac was a no-compromise choice for well-heeled individuals seeking perfection. I remember the original import-fighting Seville’s refreshing blend of global proportions with acres of unabashed Cadillac style. What followed—neglect and shameless down market downplays– left Cadillac oblivious to its former “Standard of the World” designation. So it’s no surprise that the latest STS, nee Seville, doesn’t deserve to wear the crested wreath.

The STS’s new grill evokes images of a polyester-clad used car salesman’s teeth-laden, insincere smile. The afterthought fender venti-ports are his suit. Other than that, there’s nothing memorable about the top-drawer Caddy’s sheetmetal. Sure, the watered-down cues from the last-gen CTS make for a handsome shape. But where the old CTS was a shot of Jägermeister to Johnny Walker entry-level luxo sedans, the STS’ conservative contours are a lukewarm bottle of piss.

In fact, the STS’ down market styling influences bring to mind of another silent reminder of GM’s ham-fisted product planning: the Oldsmobile Aurora. Both top-flight sedans paved the way for a new generation of American luxury. But the uber-Olds got a po-faced Alero makeover. Which nobody bought. Ditto the STS, without the plastic surgeon’s scalpel.

For all of GM’s talk of world-class interiors, the new-for-‘08 STS still has the shittiest cabin in its class. The vent registers’ flimsy actions are worthy of Aveo real estate. The console, while positively Malibuian, fails to coddle like the padded, stitched panels on the Lexus GS. The only touch-point more pedestrian than the door panel’s northern hemisphere: the hard plastic that envelops the gauge cluster, forcing the driver to make skin contact with Lumina-grade goodness with each activation of the keyless ignition system. This is a forty-five thousand dollar luxury car?

The STS’ leather looks, feels and smells worthy of the under-20k compact crowd. Even worse, front passengers get a flashback to the compromised floor pan of yesteryear’s Camaro: the bloated transmission tunnel pinches foot space and  adds claustrophobia to an otherwise inhospitable atmos. If the sensory disappointments haven’t set a nail in the STS’ coffin, the flat and flaccid BOSE audio numbs your ears with eight over-hyped, underperforming drivers. Let’s be clear: if this Caddy’s interior could talk, it’d win TTAC’s Bob Lutz award.

Thankfully the STS’ respectable underpinnings hail from the GM sigma platform, which made the CTS an American hero. Too bad the dynamic dyslexia turns this platform’s inherent “FTW” attitude into a “WTF” blend of compromises. In true Detroit fashion that means the ride isn’t half bad for a sports sedan wannabe. The cruise is plush and confident, without the mack-daddy purpose of its DTS cousin. Pavement joints, potholes and parking lot speed bumps never stand a chance.

Which leads to the inevitable trade-off. Feed the STS a corner and you’re done; inescapable understeer and prodigious body roll are your partners in stupidity. The saving grace is a fairly neutral rear wheel-drive orientation– that feels like a milquetoast E-Class Merc at anything less than 8/10ths. Our tester’s all-wheel-drive added tenacious grip; white loafer-wearing snow birds will be thrilled.

The compromised Caddy gets worse under the hood. The STS’ standard-issue 3.6-liter V6 is hot for its direct-injected torque peak (at a sky-high 5200rpm). In other words, the engine creates a brand and model-dishonest torque curve; wafters needs not apply. Thankfully, the six-pot delivers the power in a strictly linear fashion. Miserably, the six-speed autobox’s oddly spaced one-two gear interrupts the smooth and righteous application of power.

Add this bewildered forward propulsion to the mixed bag suspension and you get an anticlimactic blend of an attention-seeking engine and buzz-killing corner-scrub. Much like the CTS, the STS needs the real American spirit generated by the small-block V8s found in far cheaper GM sedans.

In fairness, the STS has an impressive options list to compensate. The model offers everything from Magnaride dampeners, to a locking rear differential, to flashy Brembo stoppers. Some require the (sorely needed) Northstar V8 and a serious chunk of change. Or perhaps the supercharged STS V-series for a cool eighty grand? Didn’t think so.

On paper, the STS matches the imports at many hotly-contested price points. There’s the GS350-alternative discussed here, and an AMG E-class fighter up top. But the cheap bones of the STS V6 prove that this Caddy is out of its league, minor or major.

Rumor has it that RenCen is resolute: Caddy’s future lies downmarket. The STS is on deathwatch– making way for a hungry rookie with a soulful V8. The Hyundai Genesis could well be the STS re-incarnate, ready to punch the luxo-sedan market in the solar plexus. In theory, the STS coulda been a contender. But reality sucks, and the Cadillac STS’s irrelevance hits home at first glance. So if it’s on the chopping block, good riddance to bad rubbish.

[CarMax provided the vehicle reviewed, insurance and a tank of gas]

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99 Comments on “2008 Cadillac STS V6 Review...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    Let me be the first to say it…sad. Just sad. Though no huge fan of Caddy, this abomination just hurts to look at and read about. Any historical cred and panache that Caddy had has left the building…

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    1/5 stars – like RF’s Focus writeup. Time for him to return the favor?

    The Chinese LWB SLS got the nicer interior, pics here.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    Once again we all overlook the obvious….

    GM is not trying to sell this car to me, you or most of the TTAC readership.

    They are aiming this car at my retired parents living in Nebraska – and they are thrilled. Seriously.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    We have been getting a lot of ex-Caddy owners coming in and checking out/buying the Lincoln MKS, and if this is all Cadillac has to offer, it is no reason why.

    The only area the STS beats the MKS is power (RWD/AWD vs. FWD/AWD being a push as customers seem to go either way in their preference on this). But as the STS can’t even make use of the power due to the excessive body lean and roll, why bother?

    Interior space, interior quality, standard features, trunk space, safety, and price all go to the Lincoln.

    To be honest I hadn’t realized that the STS was this bad, I am surprised GM didn’t manage to incorporate any of what makes the CTS so good into it’s bigger brother.

  • avatar
    tigeraid

    yeesh… I fell in the love with the STS-V when it first showed up… Maybe the V6 is just that much worse?

  • avatar
    jckirlan11

    To be honest, I am at the age and income where I want a car like this. That is to say, a relatively large family sedan with panache and COMFORT with alot of features and AWD. (I love Audi but have no time to constantly spend in the dealership)
    I want to like the STS, I really do and when I get in one and drive it and hear and feel the power if the V8 or even the V6 DI with all the bells and whistles I am smitten.
    Then I get out and look at the car and think, “Im a young man, I still have self respect, what am I thinking about”.
    The thought of driving a Cadillac turns me off of the car and the thought of dealing with the problems of a Cadillac and the dealership experince is a total turn off.
    The only Cady I would consider is a CTS V as it is one bad MOFO; the rest just make me look bad.
    Is it wrong to be so shallow? AHHHH the light hurts my eyes.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Crappy interior or not…I would choose this over the Lincoln Taurus any day. RWD, V8 ALWAYS beats FWD, V6.

    But I think it is funny that Hyundai can build a better luxury car (with the correct drive wheels, correct number of cylinders, and proper interior) than the Americans. GM has the RWD, V8 thing down…so at least it is a start.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    RWD, V8 ALWAYS beats FWD, V6.

    Except there is no V8 here.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Too bad the dynamic dyslexia turns this platform’s inherent “FTW” attitude into a “WTF” blend of compromises

    Fine wordplay!

    For this money, in this segment, pretending I’m in the target demographic, I’d probably have to give my money to a Passat 3.6 4motion or even a Toyota Avalon (if FWD suffices).

  • avatar

    I don’t know. It seems like this is written by someone who hates the car rather than someone who writes about a bad car.

    Anyhow, I won’t go to the build quality issue, maybe the price difference, even here in Europe between the STS and say the 5-Series explains it.

    However I believe the AWD doesn’t do the car any favor. The RWD is a nice car to drive, even fun sometimes, mind the size, weight, and american ride setup. But AWD doesn’t do favors to any RWD car. Try any FWD Audi and you’ll love the quattro. Drive the 5-Series x-model and you’ll hate it. It’s brisk feeling and nimble handling vanishes, it’s fun-to-drive character is gone and all you’re left is a firm ride and straight-happy attitude.

    The fact that this car has a lot of room for improvement is more than obvious, even sticking to its current price tag. However if Cadillac had to chose between a better built FWD luxury car and a car with acceptable quality and RWD, which one would you chose?

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Ouch!

    This is why I love TTAC and why they should do more of this.
    And now add more group comparisons and it is complete.

    The review:
    Very factual, passionate, humorous, well written.
    In short…everything I need in a auto review.

    Sajeev…thanks for a job well done.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Alex Kambas
    “The RWD is a nice car to drive, even fun sometimes, mind the size, weight, and american ride setup.”

    Have you tried the Genesis V6? That car alone blows the STS into insignificance.
    A Hyudai!
    You cannot afford this level of work today.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    1 star? 1?

    As far off the mark as this car is, I think the rating is more of a way for TTAC to make a statement than it is an actual, honest assessment of the car itself.

    Repeat after me: credibility, guys. It means something.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    P71_CrownVic
    I have driven both a lot, well twice each, and the FWD MKS is a far, far better car.
    There are a lot of qualities both FWD and RWD bring to the table…each offering pros and cons …but one does not blow the other away.

    RWD does help when weight is shifted back on take off, less parts and help in better weight distribution.
    But FWD offers better space utilization and interior design options, economy and traction.

    Personally, I hate the interior space lost from RWD.
    The entire RACING SPORTS image of giant luxury cars is a marketing ploy aimed at men who think that they are boys and can brag about driving their 50K car hard into corners and down mountain roads!
    Good Greif!
    That whole sports/luxury is as stupid as an Off road Porsche!
    Let’s get real and remember who we are.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Alex Kambas:
    However if Cadillac had to chose between a better built FWD luxury car and a car with acceptable quality and RWD, which one would you chose?

    I’d rather have a G8 with aftermarket front seats.

  • avatar
    JJ

    Sajeev, you realize that with RWD and a V8 this is the type of car you love the most, right?

    How many stars would it get if it were the RWD V8 version and what would the review look like in that case?

    I’m guessing it would be something like not a terrible car, just not good enough to compete with the best offered in this segment (which in Europe in this segment I would say would be the 5-series/A6).

    Don’t get me wrong though, I’d never consider buying one, definitely not in the European market for obvious reasons, but also the interior, exterior, chassis, packaging, basically everything is subpar to competitors. Only with the V8 RWD it would be slightly less subpar I would think.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Keep the bad reviews coming. The result is a cliff-like depreciation that makes a one or two-year-old STS with a Northstar an incredible bargain. At $20K or so (check ebay), it’s a steal.

    Having owned a CTS for the last few years, I have to say that the three Caddy dealer we have dealt with for service have all been quite good.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    1 star? 1?

    You bet it deserves one star. the Focus got one or two star because it was no better than an 05 or even an 02 model (except cheapened)

    Again GM takes a bunch of good parts then puts them together in a dysfunctional way.

    what is really funny is that it really shows that GM thinks it doing a swell job when other companies do much more with less.

  • avatar

    The exterior styling worked better before the clumsy refresh, especially with the optional 18-inch wheels.

    The regular STS has two different suspensions, the base suspension and a sport suspension, and the latter is much firmer.

    For reasons known only to Cadillac, with the V6 you CANNOT get the sport suspension with AWD, while with the V8 you MUST get the sport suspension with AWD.

    No doubt Sajeev would have enjoyed driving this car more with the sport suspension. Though of course that does nothing to fix the exterior or interior.

    No reliability info on this one yet. Maybe in February.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    carguy622

    When the STS was initially introduced in 2005 I liked the design a great deal. It was introduced with the excellent “Let’s Dance/Breakthrough ads” and got generally good reviews from all publications, even the testy Consumer Reports.

    That said the biggest problem with the car was its lack of presence, inside and out. By making the CTS too large for the 3-Series, C Class crowd, there was no real reason to buy the ever so slightly larger, much more expensive STS. Additionally the V8 only has a handful of horses more than the V6.

    Lastly, in typical Detroit fashion, they failed to market and update the car sufficiently. It seems that they can only keep current on one or two cars at a time max.

  • avatar
    gamper

    Very harsh. Some of it definitely deserved. The interior for instance is something I would expect from a car costing far less. Aside from that, I think much of the review misses the mark by most objective standards. I think the styling is pretty good, but the car suffers from being upstaged by the new CTS, which is admittedly, a much better car and much better value.

    This review should silence the TTAC faithful who were upset about too many recent good reviews and all together too many stars hitting the net. The best and brightest called for kill, TTAC delivers by bashing the automaker its reader’s love to hate. Well done.

    It would be interesting to see actual performance data on the STS vs some of its similarly equipped rivals. Just so you can demonstrate how bad it is, or just how much of the review we should attribute to sensationalism.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Wow Sajeev, you really ripped this Caddy a new one.

    I don’t think the STS is all that bad, because it’s far better than the Seville it replaced earlier and perhaps Caddy didn’t want to really play hardball with the performance Germans (maybe that was GM’s problem all along).

    Why would anyone spring for the V8 when the V6 is so close in power?

    The fact that a Hyundai can blow the doors off this Cadillac (the Caddy being on sale far longer than the Hyundai notwithstanding) is testament to how obsolete the STS has become. I still think it’s a fine car in its own right, but just as GM missed the mark slightly with the first CTS and made up for it in the 2nd gen version, I think they’ll fix the STS/DTS into a world class car.

    I hope…

  • avatar
    John Horner

    GM’s lurch back to RWD for Cadillacs is not doing the brand any favors. The target market for this car is not hot to trot for rear wheel drive. Lutz and fellow fanatics might be, but the actual customers are rather lukewarm on the idea.

    For a long time the Seville SLS/STS occupied a unique and profitable market niche. Now the STS is a dead model walking.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I rented a DTS about a year ago. If the interior is half as bad as that then the single star was warranted.

  • avatar
    Casual Observer

    Owning a big, plush Cadillac used to be the goal of hard-working guys in this country. Keep plugging away, take care of your family, saving money, and one day your reward would be a Caddy in the driveway.

    The STS and the DTS should be re-focused to this ideal. These cars should be a reward, and not a consolation prize. The 55-yr-old empty nester deserves a reward, so give him one.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Great review but I have one problem. You gave the car one star when it deserves NONE, it’s a damn joke. You guys seriously need to consider a catagory like “no star deserved” just for cars like this.

    I drove and rode in one of these back to back with a 528xi and I couldn’t believe they were competing against eachother, especially in price. It was a 2006 model so other than the DI engine this thing hasn’t changed one bit from the junk I drove back then. The interior review is spot on, cheap compared to a Sonata. And the drive was even worse, felt like I was pulling a 2 ton anchor on a 10 foot chain. It lacked any dynamics with the AWD, and the 5-series AWD was a jem compared to the Caddy. I could drift through hard turns, it was very predictable, controllable and fast. The Caddy would understeer and fight you if you got any feedback at all, rolled and had the shittiest brakes, a land yacht like our DeVille.

    They should have killed this model when the new CTS came out, it’s embarassing to have them in the same showroom. GM is clueless how bad this makes them look, like the rest of the junk they keep peddling.

  • avatar
    Steve_K

    I really want to like this new STS. I’m already rooting for it having owned a 1983 Coupe Deville and 1994 Eldorado. It’s a big improvement over the previous WWT (wrong wheel drive aka FWD) version, but I understand what Sajeev is getting at. When I sat in it at the Detroit NAIAS I thought, “It’s OK, just not fancy, special, Cadillac enough.”

    All this aside, I buy cars based on their drivetrains, not looks. I would gladly pay $15k for a used STS V8.

  • avatar

    To reiterate: the 2008 STS to get (if you’re getting one) is probably the RWD V6 with the 1SC package. MUCH better (if still not outstanding) handling than the tested car. With the sport suspension included in the 1SC (V6) and 1SG (V8) packages, this car feels very German. Of course, the ride quality takes a hit.

  • avatar
    jpc0067

    Dan Neil just skidmarked his shorts over the CTS-V. It’s a hint at what the STS could be. Or a coda.

  • avatar
    netrun

    @Buick61 :
    1 star? 1?
    Repeat after me: credibility, guys. It means something.

    EXACTLY! You’ve missed the point of the review, but by dissing the rating you’ve proven why the car has to get the 1 star.

    In order to maintain credibility, you have to call it like you see it. If you soft pedal your position because you want to be nice to the company that makes it, you lose your credibility.

    Have you been in this monstrosity? Have you felt the materials? My dad, a 37yr GM lifer and UAW retiree, could not defend this car and bought the CTS instead. And he’s a lifetime Caddy lover!

    That said, I’ve often thought that there should be some sort of definition to the star ratings. That is, an example vehicle for each group – one bad, one good. The bad one would be the 1 star example of what not to do and the good one would set the bar. Kind of like what happened when Audi came out with the A4 back in ’02 (?’01?) that set the standard for interiors. That way all reviewers and readers would have a reference point.

  • avatar
    galaxygreymx5

    An acquaintance of mine had one of these as a rental up in Monterey for MotoGP this summer, but with the V8.

    I didn’t drive the car but that gave me all the more time to gaze around at the ill-fitting interior bits, cheap materials, lousy leather, and cramped accommodations. The car was also frightfully noisy, particularly when riding in the back seat.

    I built a comparable STS online and the price was somewhere well north of $55,000, which caught me off guard; this car just isn’t worth that money. I think an ES350 is more nicely appointed inside to be honest. The STS doesn’t even feel as nice as the same brand’s entry-level car, the CTS.

    The key fob was neat though. Go GM!

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Sajeev, I think you’re a brilliant writer. Not just one of TTAC’s best, but one of the best auto writers on the Web.

    But I have to hop off the bus on your opinion of this car. I admittedly am of the pampered-tushie persuasion, but I’ve driven this car, and I was much more impressed than you were.

    Two facts about this car completely change its real-world usefulness:

    1) Any RWD car doesn’t work in the Midwest, Plains or New England, and this car is available with AWD.

    2) This car instantly becomes a 100% better value if you have the sense to buy it late-model used at up to $15,000 off. At that price, it descends into the ’08 TL or Lexus ES class, where it immediately becomes a much more formidable competitor.

    When I drove the car, I thought its power was ample and fluid, and its basic road behavior very good — sort of like a softer, quieter Infiniti M. Sajeev did nail the basic turnoffs inside, along with antiquated controls and a shameful lack of rear-sear room. But if you were shorter than me and didn’t carry passengers, it had a lot of pluses.

    One other aside: I see at least twice in the test and comments here that the ultimate indictment of STS is that it can’t measure up to the Hyundai Genesis. I hope the recognition comes, sooner rather than later, that you could say this about most cars, even expensive ones, and it’s more a salute to Hyundai than a condemnation of Cadillac.

  • avatar
    Scorched Earth

    Wow, what a harsh review. I’ve never driven one so I trust that all your well-written judgements are fair, but I actually dig the design. I think the CTS edgey styling really works on this car, and whenever I see it on the road (not too often) it turns my head.

    A bigger problem for the STS than most of the comments here is just how superior the CTS is. And the CTS is a big car, similar in most dimensions and only a few inches shorter. So basically, if you kinda want an STS, get a CTS!

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Caddy’s 49 – 56 were the Detroit standard for class automobiles. The 49 with the V8 OHV revolutionized the industry. Driving Miss Daisy featured a 55 and 56 Caddy. To be Somebody, a Caddy then was the car. Elvis and all. In 1949 I happened on Bob Hope exiting a bank side entrance in Easton Pa into a black Caddy. After the mid 50′s Dagmars and all that ostentatious junk.

  • avatar

    People who are moving up from old 90′s cars to newer models will find the interior and the tech features of the STS FANTASTIC.

    Especially retirees.

    I liked the STS when I tested it back during its launch, but now, its in a sea of better cars.

    TRUTH ABOUT CARS SHOULD DO A COMPARISON OF THE STS vs. the LINCOLN MKS.

    I can’t believe American auto’s have gotten to a point where they are releasing BORING V6 engines and HYUNDAI has damn near released a cheap V8 LEXUS clone.

  • avatar
    thebigmass

    At least one comment above defends the STS with the logic that after depreciation it becomes an excellent competitor to lesser vehicles. What harsher indictment of the car could there be than this?

    To clarify, if the only ways a vehicle becomes competitive are knocking 15k off the MSRP or comparing them to cars in another class is that vehicle not an abject failure?

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I agree with tonycd that Sajeev is a great writer, him and Jonny are two of my favorite automotive journalists. I do think he was a little too harsh on this car though. The styling is a little bland but nowhere near the disaster of the most recent 5-Series (although describing the STS as “a lukewarm bottle of piss” was hilarious), and I’ve ridden in one, and the interior isn’t that bad either. It seems like a decent, but unspectacular effort that is undeserving of such harsh criticism.

  • avatar
    Turbo G

    And here I thought Sajeev was a fan of big RWD American iron? I do wonder who buys these things new however…

  • avatar
    BEAT

    My grandfather loves this car.

    It has fantastic interior.

  • avatar
    NoSubstitute

    I’m with thetopdog (unbelievably great hot dog joint in Berkeley,CA by the way if you’re ever in the neighborhood.)

    A couple of years ago when I was unhappily in possession of a GS300 and my dad had (still has) an STS, we swapped cars for the weekend. We each agreed afterward that we preferred our own wheels, but that the differences weren’t all that significant.

    On interiors, Lexus gets the nod for coming up with the design that Cadillac copied and certainly better quality materials, but all in all if you’re not a rubbing your hands across the dash kinda guy, the bottom line on each is mostly boring. With the Lexus losing points for annoying quirks (what’s with that funky little drawer to the left of the steering wheel that keeps self-opening and banging your knee?)

    As to exteriors, each of us preferred his own car’s look, but again, bottom line is mostly boring. And I have to say there’s a new STS that parks in my garage surrounded by the usual suspect BMW’s, Audi and Mercedes, and it seems to fit in just fine, maybe better than its predecessor. Big schnoz’s are in.

    Dad’s car is a V8, so power felt better in the Caddy. Ride and handling in both cars stink. We had the Caddy on some winding roads around Napa and it was certainly no worse than the nauseating float of the Lexus in similar situations.

    My Lexus is long gone and I’m glad to be back in something small, fast and uncomfortable. I’m obviously not a big fan of this type of car, but having driven the Caddy, Lexus, Mercedes E, Audi 6, and BMW’s 5 and 7, apart from the 5 the similarities overwhelm the differences.

  • avatar

    Easily the biggest sedan disappointment from GM in the last ten years.

    The only people I see buying these are the Buick retiree crowd here. Everyone else gets the Escalade or CTS.

    Having driven a new STS and DTS I actually prefer the DTS. It’s less ugly inside and out and wafts better, as a Cadillac should.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    It seems like this is written by someone who hates the car rather than someone who writes about a bad car.

    This.

    That said, I don’t think this car should exist. If the CTS was a foot shorter and 400 lbs lighter, the STS would make sense. As is, there’s no good reason to buy an STS over a CTS.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    So, Sajeev….I guess you didn’t like it, then, eh?

    If this vitriol was aimed at an author or commentator, you’d be banned for violating the no-flame policy.

    Just sayin’…..

  • avatar
    carguy

    While Sajeev’s review may sound harsh, judging by the real world pricing of the STS, he is probably right. Local dealerships are selling the STS for less than $35K (and $34K for the DTS) but are not discounting the CTS by much. To me that just confirms that the CTS is Caddy’s only competitive product.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    NoSubstitute :

    I also had a GS, a 2nd Gen GS400. The reference to the little drawer by your knee suggests that yours was a 3rd gen. I liked the GS, but I was also pretty unimpressed by it. Like you said, it wasn’t much better or worse than the STS. It was also way more expensive to maintain/unreliable than the name “Lexus” suggests. Dealer service was incredible though

    I too have gone from the GS to a small, uncomfortable car, which is the way I like it. I never really wanted the GS in the first place, but it was the best car I could get for the $20,000 I had to spend at the time (mine was obviously bought used). My C6 Vette fits my personality a lot better though (and as blasphemous as this may sound, I think I enjoy the Vette interior asmuch as the GS interior), and I couldn’t be happier with it. What did you get after getting rid of the GS?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Sajeev and I actually have very similar taste in cars. With that said, I don’t think that there is even one iota of presumption that either of us would remotely consider a car like the STS.

    The styling alone relegates it to those who are either in the very conservative, very old demographic… or those who work for corporations that get absolutely sweet lease deals from GM. Both of these segments are dying at this point. Even the traveling sales people who once enabled the DTS and Deville to soldier on well past it’s point of competitiveness are now looking at Hyundais, Buicks, and Toyotas.

    A few months before the final axe falls, the STS V6 will likely be going for around the mid-30′s. The STS is to GM what the Amanti now represents to Kia. A dead end.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Steven Lang: The styling alone relegates it to those who are either in the very conservative, very old demographic…

    Which is an interesting take, because the Art & Science look used on this car was supposed to represent a radical new direction for Cadillac, and appeal to a younger, hipper crowd.

    I’ve read that Bob Lutz “toned down” the design for this car before it was introduced. Perhaps his tweaks watered down the design too much…

    What’s more ominous for Cadillac (and, by extension, GM) is that after all of the billions spent by GM to bring the new-generation of Cadillacs to market, the only models that have really succeeded are the CTS and short-wheelbase Escalade (while the DTS still appeals to the older, more conservative buyer). And Cadillac is still nowhere near being accepted as a top-tier, non-exotic luxury brand (with Lexus, BMW, Mercedes).

    Critics keep saying that Cadillac is ahead of Lincoln, which is true from a product standpoint, but it seems to me that GM spent a lot more money on Cadillac than Ford did on Lincoln, and GM really doesn’t have all that much more to show for it.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Yes, unfortunately that is true.

    Lincoln is a non-starter for virtually anyone under 40. Volvo is the predominant marque for that age demographic… as it applies to the two Ford luxury divisions.

    Personally I would have no problem buying a Cadillac. But the only ones that have interested me over the last several years are the CTS and the SRX. Even those two have backs which are a bit too frumpy for my taste, and the materials are a tier below most of the competition.

  • avatar
    NoSubstitute

    thetopdog :
    What did you get after getting rid of the GS?

    What I always get. Another in my (hopefully) endless series of Porsche 911′s (that makes number 4).

    But I did check out the C6 ‘Vette before repeating myself and was surprised and impressed. I guess you and I are a touch less fastidious than the blogger norm on automotive interior decorating, as I found the Corvette’s insides to be more than just fine. Except for the deal killing no back seat for the basset hound.

    Of course my standards are shockingly low. My ’99 911 had the stock base interior in a queasy institutional grey. There cannot be a new car on the U.S. market today with lower quality plastics or inferior fit and finish. We’re talking serious upgrading necessary to meet Playskool production criteria. Yet I don’t recall any of that dampening my enthusiasm a whit, nor did it seem to discourage passengers from offering to swap transportation.

  • avatar
    barberoux

    Dull, dull, dull. Looks like it could be a successor to the Monte Carlo. GM is mistaken making the Cadillac downmarket. If you want a cheaper car then buy a Chevy. Again they are blurring brand identification. That picture showing the front leg room and that huge center tunnel is shocking. How will the target demographic’s wingtips fit into that space? This thing’s grill is cheesy, the headlights are from the ‘80s, the turn signals and fog lamps look like add ons, the tail lights are cheapy, devoid of style, the fender vent looks awkward. It is poorly done

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Steven Lang:

    I like the styling of the STS, although I’m not in love with it. I’m also 24 years old. I will admit to always having a (somewhat irrational) love of Cadillacs, but I don’t see how the styling alone would turn somebody off considering this car. It’s not the best-looking car in the world, but it is far from offensive.

    It’s funny because I think the CTS is one of the best looking sedans on the road today, but I can imagine that many people are turned off by its polarizing styling. The STS is too bland to be offensive in my opinion

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I really like the way this car looks. Every time I see one, I think “Wow, that’s a sharp-looking CTS” only to find out that it’s an STS when it passes.

    There’s a knifeblade look to this take on Art & Science that isn’t quite there in the blocky-but-striking first-gen CTS and certainly isn’t there is fat, slab-slided current version. I feel it’s Cadillac’s best work yet and GM’s stock photos really do not do it justice.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    The original international-size Seville of 1975 was a great car for its day. So was the 1992-97 Seville, especially when the STS got the Northstar V-8 in 1993 (and the SLS got the Northstar in 1994) even though it came with front wheel-drive. The current STS is handsome on the outside, but a big disappointment.

    The CTS/STS comparisons remind me of comparing the Infiniti G with the larger Infiniti M since, like the CTS and STS, both Infinitis are based on the same chassis. However, the Infiniti M class offers a notable increase in usable interior room over the Infiniti G. The Cadillac STS compared to the CTS, not so much.

    Then there’s the cheaper-looking interior of the more expensive STS compared to the less expensive CTS. I don’t get it. I think Cadillac should have probably just discontinued the STS at the end of the 2007 model year.

  • avatar
    laeditor

    I think that this car is not such an awful car, but that it’s an awful value.

    If it were priced significantly lower from the get-go (not via depreciation), I think most people would see it in a different light, including, perhaps, its reviewer.

    But therein lies one the American automaker’s major failures, that they cannot seem to create a car that is worth what it costs, when compared to the competition.

  • avatar
    davey49

    The STS seems like nothing special for me. I like the DTS because it’s a big floaty boat 1970s style Cadillac, if not a 1950s Caddy. No car made today is a 1950s Caddy. (maybe a RR Phantom)
    The STS and CTS just seem like an American BMW, nothing much.
    laeditor- the full size SUVs and trucks are what you’re looking for. The big 3 haven’t made cars in years that are as good as their trucks.

  • avatar
    billc83

    I haven’t driven the Seville/STS since its swap to RWD – the car just doesn’t appeal to me. The CTS is quickly becoming the flagship for the brand; it is not a good sign if your entry-level vehicle outshines your more expensive offerings!

  • avatar
    agroal

    I own an ’08 Chrysler 300C AWD. Perfect? Not by any means. The lines are classic (especially from the rear 3/4 view) and have held up well, while it may not have the wow factor from 4 yrs. ago. As it has been said the car looks better the bigger the wheels. The stock 18s are nice and the 20s even better but IMO any bigger and you’re into posur territory. Who will lust after the shape of this Caddy down the road? The “art and science” look seemed heavy handed and forced at first, but GM insisted that the look was correct. I’m definately not among the gangster/rapper sub-class that worships the 300 in their videos or culture (or lack there of). To me it’s a handsome well proportioned sedan. The Chrysler 300C is a one time design triumph. It will be interesting to see what the redesign (2012?) looks like. The 300C is like the ’66 Toronado/ ’67 Eldorado. It will be remembered 40 yrs. from now. The E-class platform, suspension, 4-Motion AWD, electronics and Mercedes 5 sp. along with all the luxury & convienence options included for $39K, along with 390 lb/ft of torque and a smooth, refined yet classic V-8 exhaust roar seal the deal for me. The ’08 interior is alot nicer compared to the origional one in the ’05. It is definately of the form follows function school. No complexity for complexity’s sake. All of the controls are simple and straightfoward. Yes the materials could be a little richer but like they say: if the queen had a d*ck, she’d be king. Few if any Lexus buyers would settle for this Cadillac, inside or out. I’m biased, of course.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    someone gave a bad review!
    good deal!
    Just what I expected!
    you go guys!!
    You should be proud!

  • avatar
    quasimondo


    I haven’t driven the Seville/STS since its swap to RWD – the car just doesn’t appeal to me. The CTS is quickly becoming the flagship for the brand; it is not a good sign if your entry-level vehicle outshines your more expensive offerings!

    Sorta like how the BMW 3-series outshines the 5 and 7 series?

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Sajeev
    I agree with many above…I love your reviews and the hard work and heart you put into them.

    And I take it that although FWD, the Lincoln MKS blows this car away…and for a whole lot less money.
    I am looking at a pretty well loaded MKS right now for 42…more than likely to get it at 40, 41.
    That’s pretty damn good, if you ask me.
    I am finding very little is coming close to the MKS.
    And I do like the Genesis, as do you (you guys love that RWD!), but it simply does not have the luxury touches the MKS has.
    And this car certainly shouldn’t even try.

    And Beat…get your granddad out to a Lincoln showroom again.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    So much for star inflation…

    Lots of comments about the lone star, but probably less than one in five net positive comments – just from the comments I’d have to say your star review is right on the money. Thanks for telling it like it is!

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    “I don’t see how the styling alone would turn somebody off considering this car.”

    With all those cars from the 1990′s looking like rolling suppositories, you may be right.

  • avatar

    Thanks to everyone for reading. Before I start, I gotta get a few things off of my chest:

    1. The STS review was written and submitted weeks before I got my hands on a Genesis V8. Which is more reason why it was pretty easy to give the Hyundai a 5 star rating.
    2. Keep in mind this is a $45,000 car that’s supposed to be GM’s flagship: yet the array of (mandatory) options show just how poor the entry level offering performs. Of course, Mercedes and BMW get away with this, but they’ve earned the right to gouge their customers.
    3. If you think I’m too harsh on the interior, remember the people buying these prestige brands…and how few of them give a crap about a Caddy.

    ———————
    tigeraid : yeesh… I fell in the love with the STS-V when it first showed up… Maybe the V6 is just that much worse?

    See how many features the V6 is missing. Then again, I liked the STS-V until I sat inside and got a good look at the interior.

    ———————
    Alex Kambas : I don’t know. It seems like this is written by someone who hates the car rather than someone who writes about a bad car.

    Sorry, I don’t see the distinction between the two points you’re trying to make.

    ———————
    ppellico : Have you tried the Genesis V6? That car alone blows the STS into insignificance.

    The V6 model still has smelly and rubbery leather. Either the STS or Genesis with a six-pot is a tough sell to me.

    ———————
    Buick61 : As far off the mark as this car is, I think the rating is more of a way for TTAC to make a statement than it is an actual, honest assessment of the car itself.

    Sorry, but I can’t imagine spending this much green for a car this crappy, when the world has so many superior offerings for the same money, OR LESS.

    ———————
    JJ : Sajeev, you realize that with RWD and a V8 this is the type of car you love the most, right? How many stars would it get if it were the RWD V8 version and what would the review look like in that case?

    Obviously I tried harder than anyone else would to like this car. It’s just that I write for TTAC, and can give a bad a review to a bad car without getting fired. The problem is, when you tack on the Northstar ($$$) you then fight with far superior German cars with way nicer interiors, cache and styling.

    I think 3 stars for the Northstar or blown Northstar is all I could possibly give. At every price point, the STS’s basic structure looks sub-par to its competition. Same thing with the XLR-V…I tried to love that thing and factor in the value, but the SL55/SL500/SL600/whatever is so, so much better.

    ———————
    bunkie :Keep the bad reviews coming. The result is a cliff-like depreciation that makes a one or two-year-old STS with a Northstar an incredible bargain. At $20K or so (check ebay), it’s a steal.

    We have nothing to do with it. Thank GM for being oblivious to their competition.

    ———————
    Michael Karesh: For reasons known only to Cadillac, with the V6 you CANNOT get the sport suspension with AWD, while with the V8 you MUST get the sport suspension with AWD.

    Why there’s a V6 model to start with is another question. STS’ should all have V8s now that the CTS is kicking so much butt.

    ———————
    gamper : This review should silence the TTAC faithful who were upset about too many recent good reviews and all together too many stars hitting the net. The best and brightest called for kill, TTAC delivers by bashing the automaker its reader’s love to hate. Well done.

    TTAC faithful should learn that crap is crap, and a car that impresses on various levels can easily get 3-5 stars with all of us. And I submitted this review weeks ago, not at the whim of our B&B. (who are all awesome!)

    ———————
    gamper : It would be interesting to see actual performance data on the STS vs some of its similarly equipped rivals. Just so you can demonstrate how bad it is, or just how much of the review we should attribute to sensationalism.

    Oh please.

    You go sit in one. Sit in its competition. You don’t even need to drive it, unless you want an air-tight condemnation. There’s nothing sensationalistic about driving a heap of $50k sedans and calling-out the one that sticks out like a sore thumb.

    ———————
    SupaMan : I don’t think the STS is all that bad, because it’s far better than the Seville it replaced earlier and perhaps Caddy didn’t want to really play hardball with the performance Germans (maybe that was GM’s problem all along).

    Sounds like me when the 1995 Continental came out. I’ve stopped saying the “its better than what it replaces” line because that just makes me feel worse about the impending bankruptcy.

    ———————
    SupaMan : Why would anyone spring for the V8 when the V6 is so close in power?

    Torque and area under the (power) curve. Don’t just read a peak hp number and make a judgement.

    ———————
    Detroit-Iron: I rented a DTS about a year ago. If the interior is half as bad as that then the single star was warranted.

    I think the DTS’ interior is nicer. That clock is pretty ritzy and keeps your eyes off the mediocre plastics.

    ———————
    Redbarchetta : Great review but I have one problem. You gave the car one star when it deserves NONE, it’s a damn joke. You guys seriously need to consider a catagory like “no star deserved” just for cars like this.

    Nah, its still RWD.

    ———————
    Michael Karesh : To reiterate: the 2008 STS to get (if you’re getting one) is probably the RWD V6 with the 1SC package. MUCH better (if still not outstanding) handling than the tested car.

    Agreed. Just made sure you get employee pricing to compensate for the lack of high quality interior materials.

    ———————
    netrun : …order to maintain credibility, you have to call it like you see it. If you soft pedal your position because you want to be nice to the company that makes it, you lose your credibility. Have you been in this monstrosity? Have you felt the materials? My dad, a 37yr GM lifer and UAW retiree, could not defend this car and bought the CTS instead. And he’s a lifetime Caddy lover!

    Not that I crave justification for my writing, but hearing the above always helps. Why anyone would buy this over a CTS is beyond me. If you need a bigger back seat than the CTS, get a DTS or a non-Cadillac.

    ———————
    tonycd : Sajeev, I think you’re a brilliant writer. Not just one of TTAC’s best, but one of the best auto writers on the Web. But I have to hop off the bus on your opinion of this car. I admittedly am of the pampered-tushie persuasion, but I’ve driven this car, and I was much more impressed than you were.

    From my “smoother than a Rolls Royce” 1965 Galaxie in High School to any Panther/DTS I rent for work, I know where you’re coming from.

    ———————
    Tonycd: This car instantly becomes a 100% better value if you have the sense to buy it late-model used at up to $15,000 off. At that price, it descends into the ‘08 TL or Lexus ES class, where it immediately becomes a much more formidable competitor.

    All of which is excellent justification for giving a new STS the 1-star rating.

    ———————
    Tonycd: One other aside: I see at least twice in the test and comments here that the ultimate indictment of STS is that it can’t measure up to the Hyundai Genesis. I hope the recognition comes, sooner rather than later, that you could say this about most cars, even expensive ones, and it’s more a salute to Hyundai than a condemnation of Cadillac.

    No, my ultimate indictment comes from the STS’ lame redesign/neglect and its parallel to the GEN II Olds Aurora.

    But the Hyundai is a natural insult to Cadillac, Lincoln and even the Japanese brands. Not only is the Genesis 4.6 a stellar product, its several thousand dollars less than a zero-option STS.

    ———————
    thetopdog : I agree with tonycd that Sajeev is a great writer, him and Jonny are two of my favorite automotive journalists. I do think he was a little too harsh on this car though. The styling is a little bland but nowhere near the disaster of the most recent 5-Series (although describing the STS as “a lukewarm bottle of piss” was hilarious), and I’ve ridden in one, and the interior isn’t that bad either. It seems like a decent, but unspectacular effort that is undeserving of such harsh criticism.

    Thanks! All in all, the STS isn’t bad. Its a car and operates much like you’d expect a car to operate. Its like a dental cleaning: mandatory if you want to keep your teeth for the rest of your life. only it costs $45,000 for starters.

    There are too many players at this price point, and the STS has no outstanding quality, much less enough good qualities to deserve a moderate-toned review.

    ———————
    Turbo G : And here I thought Sajeev was a fan of big RWD American iron? I do wonder who buys these things new however…

    I have my high watermarks for American cars against their competition at the time: the Mark VII/VIII, Seville, Riviera (T-type) and a host of others had some mojo that their foreign counterparts lacked, even if they were inferior in many respects. The STS has none of that mojo.

    And I also like smaller cars, but don’t choose to drive them personally. At least not yet. I have a something in the works. Just sayin’.

    ———————
    Mark MacInnis : If this vitriol was aimed at an author or commentator, you’d be banned for violating the no-flame policy.

    Since day one, TTAC’s zero tolerance for below average cars (and the weasel reviews about them elsewhere) makes the no-flame policy a necessary evil. Its there for a reason, and other car forums let you trash talk me as much as you’d like.

    ———————
    geeber :I’ve read that Bob Lutz “toned down” the design for this car before it was introduced. Perhaps his tweaks watered down the design too much…

    Lutz took a Jackson Pollock (CTS) and poured paint thinner to smooth out the harsh lines. Mistake!

    ———————
    laeditor : I think that this car is not such an awful car, but that it’s an awful value. If it were priced significantly lower from the get-go (not via depreciation), I think most people would see it in a different light, including, perhaps, its reviewer.

    Pricing is always a crucial element to my reviews. I’m indoctrinated with it after my last job in Revenue Management.

    Of course the interior is still the worst in its class, it would have to sell below the CTS to justify that kind of garbage.

    ———————
    ppellico : And I take it that although FWD, the Lincoln MKS blows this car away…and for a whole lot less money.

    The MKS is a good car, provided you prefer techy stuff over hi-po dynamics in your chassis. And you don’t want to fit something larger than a 24 pack of Bud in the mail slot shaped trunk. And you don’t mind the bastard styling (from a brand that isn’t Hyundai) from every angle.

    From what JB wrote in his review, the MKS drives like the original Ford Five Hundred with more power and bigger tires. (i.e. its firmer than the Taurus/Sable). It’s a hard sell for me, but its got a few tangibles (and intangibles) that the STS lacks.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Sajeev
    Again, thanks for not only the hard work and soul put into the review, but the work required to reply to every one of our thoughts.
    But…damn you and your RWD!!!
    Just joking!
    Have a nice weekend and we will all go out and enjoy the world…and cars.

    But…I have driven both the Genesis and the MKS 3 times or more each.
    No, as much as the genesis is a real step forward for Hyundai…the MKS offers so much more.
    RWD or not, V6 or not…the Genesis is not the equal of the Lincoln.
    Yes, there is a lot to be said for the fine touches and luxury the MKS offers.
    And until we can get ahold of the V8, the 6 is all we have and it ain’t better.

    And still.
    Be open to the problem we in the cold north have.
    RWD is simply crap in day after day after goddamned day of snow and ice.
    You get really tired of not being able to drive up to the garage.
    And yes, you may be a driver’s driver…but the wife needs to be able to use the car…without me standing worriedly in front of the window watching the snow storm that popped up while she was at the store…again.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    I have driven both the 6cyl and a loaded 8cyl STS. While I disagree with the venom of this review, I certainly understand why this car isn’t flying off the showroom floors. The updated front grille and side vents are beyond horrendous. I’m surprised at the comments regarding the interior. It’s certainly no Audi. But I would put it on par with the latest 5-Series or E-Class… neither of which are very impressive but for some reason are the benchmarks. Besides the STSs tacky grille updates, the biggest problem is the price. It should be competing with the Lexus ES. Since the ES is automotive phlegm, the STS would probably compete rather well.

  • avatar

    I find it interesting that the review itself garnerned more commentary than the actual car, and that it has so many defenders.

    I’ve had many GM vehicles my whole life and typically like American cars. I wanted to love this thing when it debuted, but I agree with Sajeev, in every sense the STS is a thoroughly rancid automobile. An absolute embarrassement to GM in the brand, possibly worse than the last Seville it replaced which was also a rolling disaster.

    The STS is simply woefully built and trimmed, terrible to drive and awful to behold. I can’t imagine why anyone would spend anywhere close to the amount of money GM asks for one.

    I’d rather have a 300C, Genesis, or any number of other RWD cars (many of which cost vastly less) than any STS. It’s that bad.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    First of all, i want to say hello to everybody.
    I´ve been a stalker on ttac for a long time.

    I admire your writers who tell it like it is, without sugarcoating.

    How come Cadillac has gone from competing with the best, to something that the cat brought in?

    I live in europe, and i rarely see a Cadillac.
    I´ve never seen a STS.

    Over here, the Saabilac(BLS) is considered the best one, yet it´s inferior to the competition.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    ithout me standing worriedly in front of the window watching the snow storm that popped up while she was at the store…again.…

    I want to live where you do…37 degrees and rain in the middle of February really sucks.

    My wife owns a CTS. We sat in a STS but more out of curiosity than real intent on purchase. She looked around for a few minutes and asked why would somebody pay this much more for the STS when the CTS seemed much nicer…funny ppelico, my dad is the quintessential “Buick buyer” and I never even thought of suggesting the Lincoln MKS to him. Not out of any inherent bias (I had a ’88 LSC which I loved) but because it never crossed my mind. Lincoln has slipped into obscurity for many buyers.

  • avatar
    rj

    My biggest disappointment after driving the STS is that, as a Cadillac owner, I have no vehicle to “move up” to. When I’m done with my CTS, I’ll need to look at Lexus or Infiniti or (gasp!) Hyundai for my step-up car. The STS is a front-to-back failure, no matter which wheels are driving it.

  • avatar

    ppellico : No, as much as the genesis is a real step forward for Hyundai…the MKS offers so much more.

    I won’t recommend the V6 Genesis to anyone but the most bargain basement buyer. Or someone looking at a loaded Avalon, Lucerne or Sable…or something like that. The MKS feels nicer inside than the V6 model. And the MKS’ dash is quite stylish and unique. Why the doors don’t have wood trim is one if the few complaints I have about the inside.

    Since I live in Houston, I can’t argue with you on the FWD/RWD thing. But my friends on Facebook with RWD cars, traction control, 2 sandbags, and a set of *winter tires* claim they go everywhere and rescue FWD car owners who get themselves stuck in a ditch. It makes sense to me, its a more balanced platform. But skid control is more important in RWD in the snow vs. FWD.

    Maybe we should ask Farago how often he drives the Boxster when it gets slushy outside.

    Or TTAC’s Mr. P71interceptor, who drives a frickin Panther year around in northern climates. Hell, ask any Cop how bad RWD is in foul weather.

    ———————-
    blue adidas : But I would put it on par with the latest 5-Series or E-Class… neither of which are very impressive but for some reason are the benchmarks.

    You can’t be serious! I went from a E320 to the STS and you can’t possibly tell me that the STS is even close to the Germans’ interior quality.

    It should be competing with the Lexus ES. Since the ES is automotive phlegm, the STS would probably compete rather well.

    TTAC’s B&B compared the flagship Caddy to a reskinned Camry. While I agree, that’s pretty damn sad. But the ES has a nicer interior overall.

    ———————-

    rj : My biggest disappointment after driving the STS is that, as a Cadillac owner, I have no vehicle to “move up” to. When I’m done with my CTS, I’ll need to look at Lexus or Infiniti or (gasp!) Hyundai for my step-up car. The STS is a front-to-back failure, no matter which wheels are driving it.

    And you won’t have an aspirational Cadillac for years or decades to come…if the rumors at the RenCen are true. This brand will be stuck in entry level luxo-hell.

    Who knows, maybe that RWD Ford/Lincoln platform coming out in 2012 will be the first signs of a real American luxo-sedan. It might take what the Chrysler 300 started and have the stones to make it work long term.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Sajeev Mehta :

    A Boxster would be simple to drive in the winter. The tires aren’t that big, so it’s easy to find winter tires in that size. I can’t really imagine any RWD car short of an Enzo that would really be that hard to drive in the winter with proper tires on it.

    I managed to get through last winter in Boston with my C6 as my daily driver. With summer tires on it (because I couldn’t find 285/35/19 or similar winter tires anywhere). The tires were also nearly bald. I got stuck once, and had to call a taxi to take me to work twice the entire winter. No accidents or near-misses either (full disclosure: my friend did lend me his Civic for a few weeks while he went to India to get married). As you said, handing a RWD vehicle in the winter is not a big deal for a competent driver, unless you live out in the country where the roads aren’t plowed or something

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “You can’t be serious! I went from a E320 to the STS and you can’t possibly tell me that the STS is even close to the Germans’ interior quality.”

    I’m totally serious. If you want a decent German interior, the only option today is to go with an Audi. My perspective is an 07 E-class. I can’t get past the terrible steering wheel buttons which look and feel like what you’d find in a Taurus from the mid-90s oval era. The Nav system is junk and the cup holder is both ugly and useless. I believe that the cruise control stalk is a carryover from the 70s, yes? If that’s what’s considered acceptable, the STS should be just fine in comparison. Don’t even get me started on the 5-Series. Wake me when Bangle goes away forever.

    And yes, the ES has a marginally nicer interior than the STS. But it sounds like we agree that it’s a lame car nonetheless.

  • avatar
    AlphaWolf

    Wow, I was not expecting such a poor review for a “flagship” sedan. That being said I would rather hear the truth than excuses of why you should buy it anyway. (aka Car mags)

    Certainly explains the resale value.

  • avatar

    blue adidas : I’m totally serious. If you want a decent German interior, the only option today is to go with an Audi. My perspective is an 07 E-class.

    Looks like we aren’t gonna agree here: the E-class has stitched vinyl on the console, far more elegant chrome trim, and yards of wood/stitched vinyl/gathered inserts on the doors. The STS has none of this, but ***most importantly*** what good vinyl it has is in short supply. My perspective is a family member’s 2006 E320, which I drove shortly after I returned the STS.

    I do think the Audi’s interior is better than the Merc, but the STS is far, far below all the Germans.

    I can’t get past the terrible steering wheel buttons which look and feel like what you’d find in a Taurus from the mid-90s oval era.

    I have those buttons on my Mark VIII, trust me, the E-class buttons are far superior. I’ve messed with them both back-to-back. :)

    I believe that the cruise control stalk is a carryover from the 70s, yes?

    That’s a great feeling stalk, pretty intuitive too. I don’t care if its from the 1950s. GM would do well to rip off that thing’s sweet action.

    Don’t even get me started on the 5-Series. Wake me when Bangle goes away forever.

    Which is an ugly interior for sure, but the materials and workmanship is pretty good. They put a nice hunk of wood on each door a year or two ago, which adds warmth and color in a sorely needed spot. Its light years ahead of the STS.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    While I think the E-Class and the 5 Series interiors are pretty crummy, they sell lots of them. Caddy can’t give the STS away. And that’s all that matters. We’ll see if Cadillac’s public perception improves with the CTS.

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    I recently drove an AWD STS Northstar V8 2005. Thought it was pretty awesome myself. Trimmed in cashmere leather with white diamond exterior. Hot car.

  • avatar

    BA: there’s no German car with vent registers as flimsy as the STS. More to the point, my $18,000 test Focus SE Deluxe had nicer looking vents with wiggle-free blades.

    I could go on and on (and on and on and on…) with the weak points of the STS’ interior, and I’ve tried to forget that car for weeks now!

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Sajeev Mehta :

    A Boxster would be simple to drive in the winter. The tires aren’t that big, so it’s easy to find winter tires in that size. I can’t really imagine any RWD car short of an Enzo that would really be that hard to drive in the winter with proper tires on it.

    I managed to get through last winter in Boston with my C6 as my daily driver. With summer tires on it (because I couldn’t find 285/35/19 or similar winter tires anywhere). The tires were also nearly bald. I got stuck once, and had to call a taxi to take me to work twice the entire winter. No accidents or near-misses either (full disclosure: my friend did lend me his Civic for a few weeks while he went to India to get married). As you said, handing a RWD vehicle in the winter is not a big deal for a competent driver, unless you live out in the country where the roads aren’t plowed or something

    RWD + great snow tires (small to medium width) + some additional weight in the trunk you can get thru a winter where I live (Pittsburgh, PA). Although, you would not stand a chance with a C6 and no snow tires. Even with snow tires (too wide). Why? The hills. Finding level ground here is all but impossible. And there are HUGE inclines. Everywhere. Watch ‘Striking Distance’ (Bruce Willis) during the car chase scenes. You’ll see what I mean… Matter of fact, a buddy of mine had a 350Z and it was all but ‘un-useable’ if any snow/ice was on the ground. Poor guy couldn’t even get out of his inclined driveway. That being said, we usually only see about 15 days during a winter where the roads are snow covered. So you can always get a ride those days or buy a $500 beater.

    BTW – My Viper would give the Enzo a run for the worst winter car. Huge torque, stick only, 335 tires in rear, front engine (less weight over rear wheels than mid-engine Enzo). Given, I haven’t tried it yet ;)

  • avatar

    Thanks to the winter drivers who chimed in. I’m a little surprised everyone fares well in performance cars, but all this info makes RWD sedans more palatable in that climate. More weight in the rear, (well, except for the Boxster) skinnier tires, more availability of super skinny (and cheap) wheels from other sedans, more room for 2 sandbags and all your cargo, etc.

    That said, I dunno how you all do it…slush, muddy slush, ice, salty roads, etc. :)

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I was driving back from a meeting the othere day on the NJ turnpike from Newark to Philadelphia. I was being coddled (yes for real) by my work car – a brand new DTS Northstar, had my music machine plugged into the caddy’s sound system, and was sliding down the road in comfort and safety. Is it a palace? no. It is a high tech wondermachine? No. It is comfortable, yes. Is is sturdy? yes. Can you take it on road rallys? no. Will your friends actually have enough room to spread out and maybe take a nap? YES. Its very quiet, and wonderfully comfortable. I love that. Can other cars do that? yes.

    Would I pay 52 large for it? no. Then again i would not pay 52 large for any car.

    However, i have noted that they are cheap as dirt used. I would consider it for 30 large which is what they for used one year old.

    I am not familiar with the STS, to i suspect it is kinda like the dts.

    My complaints are these: The dashboard plastics are hard.

    Thats about it.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    I come from a family of GM owners. My father, now in his mid-70s, has owned Opel, Pontiac, Chevrolet and Cadillac. His one dalliance with another make – Volkswagen – was an indelible stain of an experience. Myself, I’ve been driving for over 27 years and have owned Pontiac, Chevrolet and just this year Cadillac.

    Back when the first pictures of the STS were released I made them my wallpaper. I really wanted to like it. It has RWD and an available V8 that combined create my preferred drivetrain. But my hopes were dashed after driving one for an hour or so. The interior is piss-poor and I felt that the seating position was too low below the window-line creating an uncomfortable, almost claustrophobic, atmosphere. In terms of the drive, while I liked the dynamics, and especially the brakes, I had a sense that I was driving an American version of a Mercedes-Benz – not a Cadillac.

    I too drove an E class extensively, and would have bought one, but I was frightened by their poor reputation for reliability, and not reassured by the M-B warranty that only covers lubricated parts, both compounded by questionable dealer service. But most importantly M-B offered me a dealership that didn’t understand that a competitive price is also a factor in a buying decision.

    So in the end, I bought a DTS. A decision that I could never have predicted based on a paper analysis. But the reality is that the DTS has a far better interior than the STS, V8 power, comfortable and quiet ride, plus solid warranty and dealer service. Of all the models that I drove – and I drove ten potential candidates from five brands – I felt the most comfortable and relaxed in the DTS. The icing on the cake was a dealership that understood that they were in competition for my business, notwithstanding my long family association with GM.

    Message to GM, if even I – a lifetime GM loyalist – cannot bring himself to buy an STS, then who can?

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I just passed a cadi lot today with what looked to be about 1000 of these. It was sad, you know a dealer is supposed to have, what, a 20 day supply tops? This was more like a 365 day supply. It said either one of two things, both equally damning… either we can’t sell any of these damn cars (because they suck) or everybody and their brother will have one and you’ll feel about as special as joe kia. I mean part of the thing of buying a so-called “luxury” vehicle is that you won’t see the same one in all your neighbor’s driveways. A luxury dealer should only have 10 to 20 of the same model in plain view, not 1000.

  • avatar
    vento97

    I wonder if “Maximum Bob” Lutz and company can honestly look us straight in the eye when attempting to extol the “virtues” of this automotive piece of work….

    Now where’s Joe Isuzu when you need him???

  • avatar
    jnik

    Mikeincanada, if you love your parents, PLEASE get them to a Hyundai dealer and seat them in a Genesis!
    And if they want FWD because of Nebraska snow, sit them in an Azera!

  • avatar
    oldyak

    I think that just about any Cadillac review on this site is just an invitation to the GM haters to keep coming back.
    I was really surprised to see such a positive review of the G-8 Pontiac..and i`m sure there were a lot of “are you really sure about this” questions asked!
    Caddilac`s DON’T compare to ANYTHING!(good or bad)
    If you want a caddy….you want a caddy!!!
    Nothing else matters!

  • avatar
    KingElvis

    Maybe it won’t be so bad if it GM is ‘forced’ by CAFE to expand the front drive DTS.

    The front drive lets you have big bench seats and no floor hump. ROOM FOR SIX MAN! Even the S series doesn’t have that!

    Take the DTS – put six inches of space in front of the firewall so it LOOKS RWD, put another five inches into rear seat legroom.

    Bingo 125″ wheelbase “flagship” that has no Nurburgring (?) delusions of grandeur.

  • avatar
    karkidd

    Wow, I can’t believe how horrible the interior looks compared to the Chinese SLS.

    That’s shameful especially for this price-point ($40-$60+). Without the nav system it looks like a sub $20-grand interior.

  • avatar
    topdog

    My wife and I are very fortunate to have both a 2006 STS and 2004 330i. The STS has the V-8, sport performance package, tuscany leather, upgraded Bose concert hall system, and RWD. The options are what make it good. As configured, the sticker price was close to $60K back then. It is great on the highway or spirited cruising in the country, and it is I think as good as anything made this year costing less than $90K. But, for any drive just around town or say less than 15 miles, I always grab the keys for the 2004 330i.

  • avatar
    Yo mama

    What’s all the hoopla in the press about these cars? In the past several years Caddy has made some of the uglist cars in thier history. It has to be the marketing gimmicks that makes these sell. I’m a GM fan but have to say I see why the japanese are kicking GM’s a**.

  • avatar
    roddy

    Once you’ve managed to help nail the coffin in the Big 3, you can move to South Korea. Your job here will have gone away and you’ll be competing with the slugs from Motor Trend and Car and Driver.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    There’s nothing wrong with an STS that isn’t addressed by the STS-V. What’s $40K more to get the car right and to get the right car? Seriously.

    The STS-V gets the much cleaner mesh V grille, and an overall cleaner, leaner stance with the right wheels, tires and wheel-well fit. The interior has leather and alcantara everywhere and the woods are tastefully dramatic, the seats are firmer. And you get that glorious 4.4L hand-wrenched Supercharged Northstar mill. Perhaps the naturally-aspirated Northstar should be a lower-cost option. But with the current CTS elbowed out inside and amped-up in fit, finish and visual drama, there’s no reason for an STS below, say, $65,000, and certainly no place for one with a V6. A 2Mode hybrid variant would be cool. Which brings me to the CTS.

    I just spent a few days in a base CTS while having some service done on my XLR-V. Overall, the new CTS is a best-in-class four door. The interior is fully competitive for design, materials, fit and finish, and it continues Cadillac’s excellent sense for UI and technology integration in their passenger cars. Even in base mode with all-season tires and a V6, the car is dynamically precise, responsive and stable. The structure is stiff and my loaner, with 20,000 hard miles on it, was completely, utterly, free of rattles or any other extraneous noises. The upcoming CTS-V is going to be a sensational car, no doubt, built up from the basic goodness engineered into this car.

    However, the CTS also vividly demonstrates that GM cannot meet its market requirements through Chevrolet and Cadillac alone. The ignored middle would simply be too wide. Chevy and Cadillac don’t meet at a common boundary.

    Simply put, the base CTS as configured today is not and should not be a Cadillac, but it deserves a place nevertheless. No Cadillac should have a manual seat position adjuster on the passenger side. No Cadillac of its size and mass should have less than 300hp. I’m not even sure any Cadillac should be delivered without a navigation system. No Cadillac should lack seat heaters. Coolers optional. In today’s market, no Cadillac should sell for under, say, $42,000. But such cars that do fall below these thresholds are more than Chevies.

    With the V’s suspension, accouterments and cleaner appearance, the CTS would be a stunning car in lesser-powered form. A similar level of trim execution but in a softer-touch Touring option is also warranted. The new version of the CTS is almost roomy enough to obviate the current STS. But not quite.

    Much separates CTS and STS, still. All said and done, the excellent CTS nevertheless feels like a modern origami sheet metal car. STS feels more carved from billet. CTS’ attitude is striver, like Mercedes C and E classes, but STS is quietly confident, secure, done with social climbing. STS-V particularly is tasteful and unadorned. It’s also unfettered, and for those who take the trouble to drive it, a distinct alternative to 7 Series and high E/low S class. STS. It’s roomier enough over CTS to feel more stately. It’s more solid feel takes it upmarket from the smaller brother. In V trim its handling and dynamics are incisive and blessed with the ideal quality of driving smaller than it is. The car is confidently handsome and modern, not derivative. Sure, in current Cadillac design idiom STS could sport more visual drama. Look for that in the next one. Meanwhile this STS gets noticed for what it isn’t as well as for what it is.

    STS has no business packing a V6 heart. It needs more torque, and it needs the music of the V8. It really needs the 4.4L SC. Unfortunately, Sajeev reviewed the STS that shouldn’t be, the one that should be an Oldsmobile or Buick if wrapped in a different body. He should have reviewed the STS that is wholly Cadillac — the V. V8 only, n/a and s/c options in the V interior and dynamic equipment. Stick to that at nothing less than $65K and suddenly STS not only makes sense; you have a real Cadillac in your hands.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    The thought of driving a Cadillac turns me off of the car and the thought of dealing with the problems of a Cadillac and the dealership experince is a total turn off.

    You should re-think this. In Los Angeles for example, the current Cadillacs have street cred the 25 – 45 y.o. demographic that is doing well, with the DTS retaining interest from the Caddy cruiser seniors. The V cars skew between them. As for the dealership experience, it might vary by location but both the purchase and subsequent service experiences have been exemplary for me. In fact, it couldn’t be — nor have been — better.

    Phil

  • avatar
    topdog

    I think Phil has it right. To me the STS with the premium luxury performance package (yeah baby!)is a good value compared to the STS-V, at least for an 8/10s driver like me. I added the mesh grill as a dealer installed option and front end appearance problem solved. My dealership experience has been A+. When in for service the CTS loaner feels just fine, but when I get back into the STS, it feels a giant step better.

  • avatar

    roddy : Once you’ve managed to help nail the coffin in the Big 3, you can move to South Korea. Your job here will have gone away and you’ll be competing with the slugs from Motor Trend and Car and Driver.

    Please explain your logic. But I would be impressed if anyone levies the blame (for Detroit’s corporate-level stupidity) to the likes of me. There are much better scapegoats in this world, ya know.

    —————————-
    Phil Ressler : There’s nothing wrong with an STS that isn’t addressed by the STS-V. What’s $40K more to get the car right and to get the right car? Seriously.

    Maybe if it had the Chinese interior. But since it doesn’t, and the AMG E-class is within spitting distance I can’t see buying a better performing STS without the added snob appeal, a far superior interior and arguably better styling (that justifies its price) of the Merc. I vaguely remember the E55 AMG stacked up better than the STS-V in performance, and I’m guessing the new E63 is still worth the added cost.

    —————————-
    The interior has leather and alcantara everywhere and the woods are tastefully dramatic, the seats are firmer.

    I’ve sat in several at the dealer and at car shows. Still can’t hold a candle to its competition, or the Chinese Caddy.

    —————————-
    But with the current CTS elbowed out inside and amped-up in fit, finish and visual drama, there’s no reason for an STS below, say, $65,000, and certainly no place for one with a V6.

    True dat.

    —————————-
    The upcoming CTS-V is going to be a sensational car, no doubt, built up from the basic goodness engineered into this car.

    Which goes back to my concerns about the STS-V considering how inadequate the V6 model is relative to its competition.

    —————————-
    Stick to that at nothing less than $65K and suddenly STS not only makes sense; you have a real Cadillac in your hands.

    Not sure I’d agree with that–because I still hold Caddys to the “Standard of the World”–but the $65k Caddy isn’t a one star car.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    Maybe if it had the Chinese interior. But since it doesn’t, and the AMG E-class is within spitting distance I can’t see buying a better performing STS without the added snob appeal, a far superior interior and arguably better styling (that justifies its price) of the Merc. I vaguely remember the E55 AMG stacked up better than the STS-V in performance, and I’m guessing the new E63 is still worth the added cost.

    The Chinese interior looks good in photographs. Not having been in it, I have no comment on the actual sensory experience of being inside. So that’s moot here in the US. I don’t share reverence for the modern Mercedes and certainly don’t count their current interiors among their competitive assets. If you think an E class AMG interior is “far superior” to that in the STS-V, it’s hard to argue against a subjective assessment but I much prefer the understated, straightforward STS-V interior, including its materials. We disagree on the styling. The E class looks dated, vaguely cheap, and derivative to me, while the STS-V is sharp, upright, clean and confident. Also subjective. What I can say is that I never considered nor bought a car for snob appeal so I have no idea what that’s worth to someone, though where I live Mercedes cars are far too common to have any vestige of snob appeal remaining. A Maserati Quattroporte is the new minimum entry for snob appeal in sedans. Everything under it is just mass production.

    Phil

  • avatar

    Nor do I buy a car to impress people. But I gotta say that (even with the outdatedness) the level of wood, chrome and leather in the Benz far surpasses the Caddy. I’ve given many line items to make the point, but here’s another: the wooden “roll top desk” door on the MB’s console is another justification for its price.

    There’s nothing even close to that in the STS to justify its asking price, V6 or V8 or blown V8. There’s always something better (CTS or otherwise) at each price point.

    Not having been in it, I have no comment on the actual sensory experience of being inside.

    Sometimes the pics are all you need. Its pretty clear that the extra craftsmanship, extra parts and richer design in those pics makes the Caddy on par with its foreign compeition.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    Nor do I buy a car to impress people. But I gotta say that (even with the outdatedness) the level of wood, chrome and leather in the Benz far surpasses the Caddy.

    I just can’t see it. The Merc interior has more chrome than the STS-V, but that’s a design choice. The V has textured matte aluminum, which looks more appropriate to me. Leather? It’s all pretty much the same until you get to an interior made in Italy. Yeah, a Maserati puts all the rest to shame in leather.

    I’ve given many line items to make the point, but here’s another: the wooden “roll top desk” door on the MB’s console is another justification for its price.

    I dislike roll-top covers in cars and give demerits for them. They break, trap dirt, eventually buzz and are generally more troublesome . Where I do fault the Caddy interior is carpet. All the V cars and the performance luxury upgrades below them should have considerably better carpet, at Jag level or better.

    Phil

  • avatar

    We have another “agree to disagree” standoff.

    Sure, the STS has wood trim, leather trim and shiny metallic accents, but their design/placement/frequency of use/presentation is sub-par. E-class, 5-series, M-series, GS-series, whatever…they all excel over the GM product.

    But Phil, grab one of the STS’ vent registers: cheap and flimsy! My Focus SE tester had higher quality vents, and that’s inexcusable.

  • avatar
    fps_dean

    Fom the reviewer: “My Focus SE tester had higher quality vents, and that’s inexcusable.”

    I’ve driven both cars, somewhat frequently and the vents don’t even turn in uniform on the Focus because they are just that cheap. The vent registers in the STS aren’t very much different than what’s found in Mercedes, BMW, Audi, etc.

    Now I drive a 2005 1SF (v8 RWD) model, and the handling of the car is most excellent. The new v6 engine offers similar performance, which is competitive with any car in the class — the older v6, not so much. I only test drove 1SF and 1SG models however, so perhaps the lower trims do not ride as nicely — but keep in mind the base models sell for quite a bit cheaper than the competition as well. Other cars that I test drove and were the Mercedes Benz E350, BMW 5 series, Audi A6, and Volvo S80, but the STS definitely drove at least as nicely, had more power available, arguably the best audio (very close either way) and all of the options and in many cases then some. Again, I only drove 1SF and 1SG models.

    I feel this review doesn’t do this car justice. The STS is not a bad car at all — most legitimate reviews at least recognize that the folks at Cadillac have made a huge jump in the right direction, and the STS is still a good offering even if there’s other cars that they like better.


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